The nominations for this year’s Liberty County Athletic Hall of Fame starts tomorrow as the board looks to select five more individuals to be inducted at the ceremony scheduled for December.
This year, the Hall of Fame committee and board are under the direction of a new president, Craig Stafford, who is stepping in for founder and former president, Charles Shuman.
Stafford who’s been involved with the Hall since it began five years ago said he was happy to step into the role left behind by the man he calls the father of Liberty County’s recreation department.
"After five years of doing an excellent job, Charles Shuman thought it was time for him to step down," Stafford said. "He is the reason why the Hall of Fame is what it is now. All the board members have participated, but Charles has carried the Lion’s share and he’s really been the backbone."
Shuman will remain as immediate past-president and offer guidance to Stafford and the board as needed.
"Charles has meant so much to this community," Stafford said. "He is the one who started it all."
Stafford graduated from Bradwell Institute in 1986. He was the Tiger’s quarterback for four years. A multi-sport athlete he also played baseball, basketball, ran track and golf.
He spent one year on the U.S. Army football squad while at West Point before transferring to Georgia Tech to finish his law degree.
Stafford said they have roughly 20 active members on the board and recently added Liberty County High School basketball coach Willie Graham and Hinesville Assistant City Manager Kenny Howard to the committee.
Stafford said both were welcome additions based on their long-standing commitment to athleticism, education and community involvement.
Despite the new leadership and members, the focus is the same.
"The vision is to continue what Charles and the others started," Stafford said.
For the mission to continue, he said the community’s input is needed.
"I think it’s important that the community step up and nominate whoever they feel should be a part of the Hall of Fame," he said. "Keep in mind that it’s not just athletes, we have an at-large classification and we have a coaching category."
Nominations will be accepted starting on Thursday through Sept. 10.
"We want to keep everything going," he said. "We’ve had a very successful five years. I think it’s brought the community together. Athletics brings the community together, unlike politics, the economy and all the other things. This is that common denominator that brings everybody together. And so we want to keep that going."