GAINESVILLE — A man who led a program to five state titles, teams that won back-to-back state titles, and a golfer who earned four straight state titles are among the inductees to the 2022 Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame class.
Jack Roberts, Billy Martin, Mahogany (Hudson) Caldwell, Kingsley (Barrett) Peeples, Wayne Vickery and the back-to-back state championship boys basketball teams from 1983 and 1984 will be honored as the newest members of the Hall of Fame during a banquet April 16 at The Civic Center in Gainesville.
Roberts earned all-state honors in four sports (football, basketball, baseball, track) before graduating from Gainesville High School in 1949. He helped the Red Elephants to state runner-up finishes in football (1947) and baseball (1947 and 1948) before leading Gainesville to its first state baseball championship in 1949. Roberts also won the state high jump title in 1949. After high school, Roberts took his multi-sport ways to the University of Georgia where he became an All-Southeastern Conference pitcher and played running back for the Bulldogs.
Martin, known as the “Jolly Giant,” graduated from Gainesville High School in 1960. A three-sport star for the Red Elephants, Martin earned all-state honors in football and baseball while helping the basketball team to back-to-back state finals appearances his junior and senior years. As a star tight end for Georgia Tech, Martin played to All-SEC and All-American (1963) levels before being drafted by the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and NFL’s Chicago Bears in the second rounds of the leagues’ respective 1964 drafts. After a two-year stint with the Bears, Martin played for the Falcons and Minnesota Vikings.
Mahogany (Hudson) Caldwell earned all-American, all-state, and Miss Georgia Basketball honors during her time leading the Gainesville Lady Red Elephants basketball program. A 1994 graduate, Caldwell led Gainesville girls basketball to a 30-0 record and the program’s first state championship as a senior while setting the season and career records for steals and assists. After playing in the Georgia-Tennessee All-Star Game and earning Street and Smith’s Honorable Mention All-American status to wrap up her high school career, Caldwell moved on to the University of Florida where she was a four-year starter and three-year captain at point guard.
Kingsley (Barrett) Peeples won four straight state golf championships for the Gainesville Red Elephants before graduating in 2001. When she shot a 68 as a senior to win her final title history was made as Peeples also earned the distinction of being the first golfer in the state’s history, male or female, to win four-straight state championships. Peeples play earned her a scholarship to Auburn where she was named Freshmen of the Year and All-SEC performer for the then-nationally-ranked and renowned Tigers.
Whether in his role as a coach or an administrator, Wayne Vickery knew his way to a ring. From 1989-2008, Vickery coached the Gainesville High baseball program to five state titles (three straight from 1996-1998, and two straight in 2001 and 2002), 470 victories, and 13 region championships. For 15 years starting in 2000, Vickery also served as athletic director for the Red Elephants, overseeing programs that won state titles in girls basketball, girls golf, boys soccer, football, and boys golf.
The Gainesville boys basketball teams of 1982-1983 and 1983-1984 round out this year’s induction class. Those early-80s teams led by Patrick Hamilton and Cris Carpenter remain the only ones to earn state basketball championships in Gainesville’s storied history.
To be eligible for induction in the Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame, athletes must have graduated from a Gainesville City School (including EE Butler and Fair Street schools) no fewer than 10 years ago. Nominations are accepted year-round on Gainesville’s athletic website.
Tickets to the April 16 banquet at The Civic Center are $125 per person, tables are $800. Tickets can be purchased on the Gainesville Athletic Club website, gainesvilleathleticclub.com.