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BSC National "B" Club Hall of Fame "Class of 2011" Induction Ceremony Welcomes Nine New Members

  • Created
    Tuesday, October 04 2011
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103 jnelson@bluefieldstate.edu

(Bluefield)— The Bluefield State College National "B" Club's third annual Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon inducted nine new members to the Hall during a recent ceremony in Bluefield. More than 80 BSC alumni, family and friends, BSC employees, and community leaders attended the program.

This year's honorees included posthumous inductees Elhanier Willis (1935), John Flippen (1936), Matthew Johnson (1936), Algie A. Link (1936), and James E. Scott (1960), as well as living honorees John H. Jones (1959), Ralph N. Polk (1962), Ernest Smith, Sr. (1958), and E. Ray Williams (1947).

Orlando Henderson, chairman of the Hall of Fame committee and President/Bluefield State College Alumni Association, praised this year's honorees as "individuals of distinction on the athletic field, in the classroom, and in the community."

Deirdre Guyton, Bluefield State College's Director of Alumni Affairs, narrated a "Spotlight Parade of Hall of Fame Inductees," during which each new Hall of Fame member was recognized for his achievements.

The BSC National "B" Club Class of 2011, along with a brief biographical description, follows:

Elhanier Willis, Jr.—A star student-athlete in track, basketball, football, volleyball, and softball at Peabody (PA) High School, he participated in the Pennsylvania State Track Championships. He enrolled in Bluefield State Teachers College in 1938. Willis was a star football player, whose aggressive style earned him the nickname "Killer Willis." He completed his collegiate career with high academic and athletic honors in 1942. After serving with pride and distinction in the U.S. Army during World War II, he was hired by Genoa School as an educator and athletic instructor, and at Park Central High School, his basketball teams won a state championship in 1957, while also winning six sectional titles and four regional runner-up titles. His football teams posted a 93-68-20 record and his track teams were a state dynasty, winning championships four times during the 1960s. Coach Willis handled the entire sports program at Park Central without an assistant for 17 years.

John T. Flippen—After graduating from Genoa High School as class valedictorian, John Flippen enrolled at Bluefield State College and graduated, summa cum laude, with a baccalaureate degree in education. He was a four-sport (football, baseball, basketball, and track) letterman at BSC and was twice selected as an All-CIAA fullback. While serving in the U.S. Army, he received numerous honors for service, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Combat Infantryman Badge. After a distinguished high school career as an educator and administrator, he joined the Bluefield State College faculty in 1950. He also served as the BSC football and basketball coach and as Director of Athletics. He was Chairman of the BSC Division of Education and was Executive Secretary of the BSC Alumni Association. He continued his career as a collegiate educator and administrator in Washington, DC until his retirement in 1985.

Matthew U. Johnson—Mr. Johnson was nicknamed "Hinge," because of his blocking ability in football. After graduating from Kimball High School as a three-sport star, he accepted an athletic scholarship at Bluefield State College. As a collegian, he was an All-American in basketball and a first team All-American in football. In 1937, Johnson played in the College All-Star game against the Chicago Bears. After earning a master's degree in biology, he returned to the area, teaching at Kimball High School. He was head coach of the Kimball High football, basketball, and baseball teams for 21 years, winning several state championships. He served in the military, fighting in the European, African, and Pacific theaters of World War II. Upon moving to Minnesota, he was very active in the Minneapolis Urban League and was honored by the City of Minneapolis upon his day of retirement when the city's major proclaimed an official "Matthew U. Johnson Day" on May 20, 1981.

Algae A. Link, Sr.—Mr. Link was a graduate of Monessen (PA) High School, where he was an "All-Mon Valley Conference" honoree as an end on the football team. He was later a standout football player at Bluefield State, where he graduated with a degree in Education in 1938. Upon his return to Monessen, Link was a police officer for the city, retiring as a lieutenant, then was a Westmoreland Engineer.

James E. "Poop" Scott, Sr.—Mr. Scott was a star football, basketball, and baseball player in Beckley, WV, enrolling at Bluefield State College in 1956. During his years at BSC, he was a standout in football, basketball, baseball, and track, serving as captain of the BSC basketball team for two seasons. During the 1959-60 season, BSC defeated West Virginia Conference Tournament favorite, West Virginia Tech, and Scott was a first team All-Tournament selection. He later coached football and basketball at Amherst (VA) County High School, winning a division championship in football and advancing to the state tournament in basketball. For three years (1963-65), Scott played semi-pro football for the Brooklyn Black Hawks of the New York Football Conference. He led the conference in receptions and punt returns, later playing pro football for the Scranton (PA) Miners and Westchester Bulls, a farm team for the New York football Giants. He was inducted into the West Virginia All-Black Sports and Academic Hall of Fame in 2008.

Ellis Ray William, Sr.—Mr. Williams was class president and valedictorian at Gary District High School, graduating in 1940. He was an all-county and all-state selection in football. At Bluefield State College, he was co-captain of the 1946 Big Blues football team, playing in a post-season bowl game against Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA. He was president of the BSC Student Council and graduated, cum laude in 1947. He earned a master's degree from WVU and Certificate in Doctorial Studies from Virginia Tech. Mr. Williams served in the U.S. Army, European theater, during World War II, with nine-months' combat duty that included the campaigns of Roer Valley, Rhine River, and the Battle of the Bulge. He was an educator, administrator, and coach in McDowell County and Wyoming County for more than 40 years and served as an instructor for Bluefield State College, the West Virginia Department of Interior, and the West Virginia Community Action Directors Association. He has received numerous awards, including "Distinguished Teacher Award" from the Kimball High School National Alumni Association, Gubernatorial appointment to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission, and the State of West Virginia Pendant and Plaque for Civil Rights Contributions to West Virginia.

Ernest E. Smith, Sr.—Mr. Smith is a graduate of Bluestone High School, later graduating from Bluefield State College in 1958. At BSC, he was a multi-sport letterman and captain. He also played professional baseball in the Negro National League with the Baltimore Elite Giants. The BSC baseball team upon which he played was the first team to integrate the WVIAC, and he played in the CIAA. He received a master's degree from Virginia State University in 1963 and earned a second master's degree from Radford University in 1978. Very active in the Wytheville Recreation Commission, he was named Scott Memorial High School principal, athletic director, teacher, and coach in 1958. His basketball teams won the Virginia State Championship in 1962, and his career basketball coaching record at Scott was 109-17. In 1966, he was the Wytheville Intermediate School assistant principal, AD, and basketball coach, compiling a 257-7 record. He later coached junior varsity teams at George Wythe High School, and his combined coaching record for 30 years of coaching was 643-46. He is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Wythe County Hall of Fame , the Wythe County Sports Hall of Fame (as the organization's initial inductee), and the West Virginia All-Black Schools Sports and Academic Hall of Fame (in three categories).

John H. Jones--Mr. Jones was a star football player at Aracoma High School, earning West Virginia All-State honors as a tackle in 1954. He received a scholarship to Bluefield State College, participating for four seasons, 1955-1958. During that time, he earned three letters, was co-captain of the Big Blues' team, and was voted to the All-CIAA second team in 1958. He was also voted the Most Outstanding Offensive and Defensive Lineman during the 1957 and '58 seasons. After graduation, he attended The Ohio State University, receiving certification in Special Education. He enjoyed a stellar career in Vocational Education in the State of Ohio, where he served in capacities that included counselor, teacher, and Assistant Director of Vocational Education Training. He is also active in community service, volunteering with the Godman Guild Association as a counselor for youngsters.

Ralph N. Polk, I—Mr. Polk was a standout student-athlete at Lucy Addison High School in Roanoke, VA, where he was treasurer of the senior class and co-captain of the football team. He accepted a scholarship to attend and play football at Bluefield State College. After graduation, he became a teacher and coach at Southside High School in Blairs, VA. During his coaching career, Mr. Polk led the Southside Rams' football team to two district championships and the first state championship in the history of Pittsylvania County. He was twice named District "Coach of the Year." In 1970, he accepted the position of Area Manager at the local Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and was selected to the "Top Ten Club" for his excellent performance. He is active in church and community. In 2011, Polk received the Richmond Area Office 2011 Appreciation Award for outstanding service in support of the United Negro College Fund as area chairman of the Danville Community Campaign.