There are many athletes from the area who have gone on to professional sports careers and other accolades.
Here’s a list for a start, although it’s difficult to be completely comprehensive:
Sam Bowens, OF, Wilmington, Williston High: He played seven years in the majors and received a World Series ring with Baltimore Orioles in 1966.
Gus Brittain, C, New Hanover: He played for the Cincinnati Reds in 1937.
Tommy Greene, RHP, Whiteville: He tossed a no-hitter for the Phillies in 1991 and pitched in the 1993 World Series.
Bill Harris, IF, UNCW: He played two years in the majors, but is famous for running into the dugout in the ABC Wide World of Sports intro.
Chris Hatcher, UNCW: The former Seahawks catcher played five games for the Florida Marlins in 2010, then was turned into a reliever by the franchise and returned to the majors to pitch on July 16, 2011. He is the first MLB players since 1936 to accomplish the feat.
Patrick Lennon, OF, Whiteville: He played six seasons with four big league teams.
Quinton McCracken, OF, South Brunswick H.S.: He played 12 years with six teams in the big leagues as a switch-hitting outfielder.
Steve Mintz, RHP, North Brunswick H.S.: He spent two seasons in the majors and is now the pitching coach for the Fort Myers (Fla.) Miracle in the Minnesota Twins system.
Ron Musselman, RHP, Hoggard: In three seasons, he had a 3.73 ERA in the majors.
Donell Nixon, OF, West Columbus H.S.: He played four years in the bigs and participated in the 1989 “Earthquake” World Series with the San Francisco Giants.
Otis Nixon, OF, West Columbus H.S.: He played 17 years in the majors and finished with 620 career steals.
Trot Nixon, OF, New Hanover: He hit .357 in the 2004 World Series when the Red Sox broke the curse of the Bambino.
John Raynor, OF, UNCW: Signed with the Florida Marlins after the 2006 MLB draft and played 11 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010.
Carl Willis, RHP, UNCW: He helped the Minnesota Twins win the 1991 World Series after compiling an 8-3 record, 3.10 ERA in relief. He is now the pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners.
Sam Aiken, WR, James Kenan H.S.: Current free agent has played in the NFL for Buffalo (2003-07), New England (2008-10) and Cleveland (2010).
Connor Barth, K, Hoggard: Current Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
Arnold Brown, DB, Laney: He played two seasons in the NFL.
Wray Carlton, RB, Wallace: Key player on Buffalo Bills 1964-65 AFL championship teams.
Alge Crumpler, TE, New Hanover: The four-time Pro Bowl selection is currently a free agent after playing in the NFL with Atlanta (2001-07), Tennessee (2008-09) and New England (2010).
Roman Gabriel, QB, New Hanover: He is a former NFL MVP and in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Nate Irving, LB, Wallace-Rose Hill H.S.: The 2011 Brian Piccolo Award winner from the ACC for his return to play after a car accident that broke his leg, Irving was an all-ACC selection (and third-team All-American by the Associated Press) in 2010 and a third-round draft pick in 2011 by the Denver Broncos.
Kitwana Jones, DE, Laney: The former UNC and Hampton University player has been in the Canadian Football League since 2005 and is currently with the Montreal Alouettes.
Sonny Jurgensen, QB, New Hanover: He is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Chester McGlockton, DT, Whiteville: He played in four pro bowls.
Greg Peterson, DE, East Duplin H.S.: Played for Tampa Bay and Jacksonville in the NFL for three seasons and is currently on the roster of Hartford in the UFL.
Jay Ross, DL, New Hanover: Former Wildcat and East Carolina standout was on the Green Bay Packers practice squad for the 2011 Super Bowl champions.
Clyde Simmons, DE, New Hanover: He finished with 121.5 career sacks in the NFL and was a part of the New York Jets coaching staff in 2010.
Reggie Singletary, DT-OG, West Columbus H.S.: He played five years in the NFL.
Owen Spencer, WR, North Brunswick: All-time leader in yards per catch at N.C. State, signed as undrafted rookie free agent with Tennessee Titans in July 2011.
Hal Stephens, DE, Whiteville: He played with the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions.
Chucky Brown, North Brunswick H.S.: He won an NBA title with the Houston Rockets and played 13 seasons in the NBA. He is now a scout for the New Orleans Hornets.
M.L. Carr, Wallace-Rose Hill: He was a former Boston Celtics player and later became the team’s coach. He was famous for towel waving on the bench on the teams with Larry Bird.
Kenny Gattison, New Hanover: He played in 494 NBA games and later became an NBA assistant coach.
Michael Jordan, Laney: You might have heard of him. NCAA champion. Six-time NBA champion. Olympic gold medalist. 2009 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Current chairman and majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats.
Meadowlark Lemon, Williston H.S.: He was known as the Clown Prince of Basketball and went into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.
Sam Pellom, Leland H.S.: He played four seasons in the NBA with Atlanta and Milwaukee from 1979-83.
Cedric Simmons, West Brunswick H.S.: Played for NC State and four NBA teams from 2006-09. He has been playing in the Chinese Basketball Association since the fall of 2009.
Chris Wilcox, Whiteville: Has played for five teams over nine NBA seasons after winning an NCAA title at Maryland.
Tamera Young, Laney: No. 3 all-time leading scorer in Colonial Athletic Association, three-time all-CAA selection and inaugural draft pick of WNBA’s Atlanta Dream. Now member of Chicago Sky.
Jackie Rogers: Born in Wilmington in 1943, ran on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series from 1974-76, competing in 41 races with 10 top-10 finishes.
Chad McCumbee, Supply: Raced regularly in NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series from 2006-2009 and had three top-five finishes. Has made one start in 2011.
Hoss Ellington, Wilmington: Former NASCAR racer and, later, team owner from 1968-1989.
Althea Gibson, Wilmington: Five-time Grand Slam singles champion moved to city for tennis in the mid-1940s and was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971.
Cody Arnoux, New Hanover: All-State selection and all-American at Wake Forest, won national championship with Deacons in 2007. Now playing professionally with Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer.
Date posted: December 23, 2009
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