Four athletes will be inducted into the Liberty County Athletic Hall of Fame this year. The annual sports awards banquet is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at Club Stewart.
This year, the honor of being inducted goes to John Barbee, Metra Walthour, James Latimer Jr. and Candice Ferrell.
Barbee is a 1968 graduate of Bradwell Institute where he served as the senior class president and was selected as Mr. Bradwell.
Barbee lettered in football, track and tennis for three years. In 1967, he was named the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Honorable Mention All-State running back for Bradwell.
Barbee was a member of the 1965 state-championship BI squad. He earned a four-year Army ROTC scholarship to Davidson College. He played collegiately as a rover back for the Wildcats football team for three seasons (1969-71). During his first season with the Wildcats, he helped the team win the Southern Conference Championship and played in the 24th annual Tangerine Bowl held in Orlando in December 1969.
Barbee was president of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, in 1971 and graduated college with a psychology degree in May 1972.
Immediately after college, he embarked on a career with the U.S. Army. From 1978-79, he commanded the 988th Military Police Company at Fort Benning. He became an Army chaplain and infantryman. While in the military, he finished his master’s degree in education, coached high-school football in Hawaii and later retired at the rank of colonel in 2002. Since his retirement, Barbee has served as a Baptist pastor in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Julie, recently moved back to Hinesville.
James Latimer Jr.
A 1985 graduate of BI, Latimer was a three-year letterman in football and was the team captain in 1984. A dominant force on the Tigers’ defensive line, Latimer was named Class AAAA First Team All-State by the AJC. Latimer tallied 15 tackles in the 1984 Bradwell Tiger football game where the BI boys beat then-ninth-ranked Savannah High, 33-2.
He earned a four-year scholarship to the University of South Carolina, where he was awarded three letters in varsity football, accumulating 26 tackles, a forced fumble and a sack. Latimer graduated from USC in 1990. He passed away several years ago from complications due to diabetes but will always be remembered as one of BI’s great football players by his former teammates. His memory is kept alive by his father, James Latimer Sr., and his mother, Laura, both of whom live in Liberty County, as well as his sister Carmen, who resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Ferrell started her athletic career early while running track for the Fort Stewart youth Service Rockets’ team. In 1999, she earned a trip to the Junior Olympics in the 4x100 relay, 100- and 200-meter dashes.
She continued her track career at Bradwell Institute, where she also excelled in basketball. During her senior track season, the Lady Tiger runner placed first in the 400-meter run in the Region 3-AAAAA meet and placed fourth in the same event at the state track meet.
On the basketball court, Ferrell earned an Honorable Mention recognition for the Savannah Morning News’ All-Coastal Empire Girls’ basketball team in her junior year and was named to the third team in her senior season. She was named to the All-Tournament team after her performance at the Macon Shootout in her senior year. During that last year, she averaged 12 points, four rebounds and four steals per game.
Ferrell accepted a four-year scholarship to Valdosta State University, where she continued to excel in basketball. She is the 11th all-time VSU scoring leader with 1,389 points, and was a three-time second-team All-Gulf South Conference award winner and a three-time VSU leading scorer in her four years as a starter.
Ferrell led the team to four consecutive conference-tournament appearances.
A 2007 graduate of Liberty County High School, Walthour was a four-year starter for the Lady Panther varsity team as a point guard. As a Lady Panther, she was named All-District player all four years of high school. During her senior year, she was named the WTOC Player of the Year, was the All-State Honorable Mention recipient and was ranked 71 in the nation among high-school seniors by All-Star Girls Report. In high school, she was selected as MVP and one time scored a game-high 37 points.
Walthour also was a member of the National Honor Society. She earned a scholarship to play basketball at Georgia Tech and played all four years. Collegiately, she finished third in number of games played/all games played, fifth in all-time assists and seventh in all-time steals. She earned All-ACC tournament team honors in 2012 while leading the Lady Yellow Jackets to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.
She was a part of the senior class that set several records, including most wins in a season (26), most ACC wins (12) and most overall career wins (97). In 2012 after graduation, Walthour played one season of professional basketball for the Czech Republic and is now pursuing her master’s degree at Georgia Tech.
Tickets for the banquet are $20 and are available at the Liberty County Recreation Department office. Club Stewart is at 1020 Hero Road on Fort Stewart. The banquet begins at 7 p.m. and will feature a guest speaker, dinner and the introduction and induction of all honorees.