Co-Lin Athletic Alumni Association to induct four into Sports Hall of Fame
WESSON – The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Athletic Alumni Association will induct four members into the Sports Hall of Fame during homecoming festivities Saturday, Oct. 11.
Those to be honored are Stephen Hobbs of Hoover, Alabama; Gerald “Tooley” Martello of Baker, Florida; Bruce Steele of Florence; and Heather Ratcliff Watts of Brookhaven. The four will be inducted during the annual meeting of the Athletic Alumni Association at 9 a.m. in Rea Auditorium and later recognized during an alumni luncheon at 11 a.m. in the cafeteria and also during halftime of the ballgame.
Hobbs played football at Co-Lin in 1983 and 1984 where he earned All-State and All-Region 23 honors. After Co-Lin, he played for the University of North Alabama where he was the leading receiver in 1986 and 1987. He signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1988 and later signed as a wide receiver with the Washington Redskins, leading the team in special teams tackles in 1991 and winning Super Bowl XXVI, in which he was a team captain.
Hobbs and his wife Demetria have two children, Nalona and Brandes. They attend Worship Center Christian Church in Bessemer, Alabama.
Martello is a 1957 graduate of Co-Lin where he lettered in basketball and was on the All-State junior college team. Prior to Co-Lin, he played one season at The University of Southern Mississippi where he was selected for the first Mississippi All-Star Game.
After Co-Lin, Martello transferred to Centenary College of Louisiana where he was named to the All-Tournament team in which he served as captain, and was the leading scorer and rebounder for the team. He set the school record for most points scored in a single game.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Centenary College, a master’s degree from The University of Southern Mississippi and an additional master’s degree from Troy State University. He worked as a teacher, coach and administrator in Florida high schools for over 35 years, winning a Southeast NCAA regional tennis championship and four regional and seven district tournament titles in basketball. He also played in over 550 independent/AAU basketball games, nine national championship softball tournaments and has served as a high school and junior college official.
Martello and his wife of over 53 years, Bernice, have four children, Vince (deceased), Chris, Tena and Mike, eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Steele is a 1973 graduate of Co-Lin where he was named First Team All-State in football, was selected to play in the All-Star Game and was an honorable mention All American as defensive tackle his sophomore year. After Co-Lin he attended Southeastern Louisiana University.
Steele worked offshore for 12 years, as a building contractor for 12 years, and has worked as a hunting outfitter for many years. He is currently employed with Berry’s Seafood in Florence. He has been active in his community and church, serving as a football and softball coach and as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church in Florence. He is married to Dr. Claudia Steele, and they have three children, Bryan, Bradley and Brittany, and three grandchildren.
Watts is a 1995 graduate of Co-Lin where she led the women’s basketball team to the MACJC state championship and the Region 23 championship her freshman year, and participated in the NJCAA National Tournament. She was named MACJC First Team All-State and NJCAA All-Region 23, averaging 14.5 points, 6 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.5 assists per game. A torn ACL ended her basketball career after her promising freshman year.
After Co-Lin, Watts attended Pearl River Community College, where she received a physical therapy assistant degree. She has worked as a PTA for 18 years and currently works at Brook Manor nursing home. She and her husband of 20 years, Jason, have four children, Courtney, Sawyer, Tucker and Tanner.
The alumni luncheon is at 11 a.m. in the Henley Cafeteria. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased at morning registration at Rea Auditorium or at the door. Pre-game ceremonies begin at 2:30 p.m. at Stone Stadium. Kickoff for the homecoming game against Hinds Community College is at 3 p.m.
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