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Union inducts seven into first Hall of Fame class

Union Hall of Fame inductees include (clockwise, from upper left) David Blackstock, Sandy Fitzgerald, Bobby Jelks, Don Morris, Charles Spain and Benny and Norma Fesmire.
Union Hall of Fame inductees include (clockwise, from upper left) David Blackstock, Sandy Fitzgerald, Bobby Jelks, Don Morris, Charles Spain and Benny and Norma Fesmire.

JACKSON, Tenn.Nov. 3, 2006 – Union University inducted seven sports legends into its inaugural Hall of Fame class during a dinner Nov. 2 as part of Union’s Homecoming festivities.

Inductees were:

-- David Blackstock, Union University’s athletic director for the past 33 years. In 17 seasons as coach of the Union Lady Bulldogs basketball team, Blackstock compiled a record of 509-89 and led his team to the 1998 NAIA National Championship.

He also served as coach of Union’s baseball team for 11 years, and is now the head coach of the Lady Bulldogs softball team.

Blackstock was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1999. He and his wife Armita have two children.

-- Sandy Lewis Fitzgerald (posthumously). Fitzgerald was a 1979 Union graduate and a four-year member of the Lady Bulldogs basketball team. After leaving Union she served as coach at Haywood County High School in Brownsville for a year, then as teacher and coach at Jackson-Central Merry High School for 22 years.

She led her team to a state championship in 1996 and earned many honors during her coaching career.

Fitzgerald died in 2002. She and her husband, Jeff, have one son, Zachary.

-- Bobby Jelks (posthumously). A 1938 Union graduate, Jelks ended his Union coaching career in 1953 when the university shut down its football program. He later served as a trustee for 21 years.

He died Feb. 16, 2006, at age 91. His wife Martha is a 1938 Union graduate. The couple had many children and grandchildren who also graduated from Union.

-- Don Morris, a 1962 Union graduate. Morris served as head coach of Union’s golf team from 1972-1998, as assistant coach from 2001-2002 and as head coach again from 2002 until the present.

During his tenure as coach, Morris led Union’s golf team to 12 NAIA national tournaments from 1979-2006, as well as nine conference championships and three district championships.

Morris and his wife Pat, a member of the Union library staff, have been married for 45 years. They have three sons, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

-- Charles Spain, a 1962 Union graduate, was a basketball standout during his college years. He was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association and remains the only Union player ever drafted by an NBA team.

After his basketball career, Spain was a teacher, basketball coach and assistant principal at Grove High School in Paris, Tenn., and had a successful career in life insurance for more than 30 years.

-- Benny and Norma Fesmire, for their distinguished services to Union University athletics. The Fesmires have been strong supporters of Union University by providing scholarships and by helping to fund facilities.

The Fesmire Foundation provided a major gift for the Fesmire Fields, which were dedicated in 2000, and the Fesmire Field House, dedicated in August 2006. The Fesmires have two children and five grandchildren and are members of West Jackson Baptist Church.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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