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Burton, Lee, Palmore, Weddle named to Hall class

SoVaNow.com / February 18, 2019

A NASCAR figure, a beloved sports figure in the community who has recently passed, and two talented former Comet athletes make up the 2019 class for the Halifax County/South Boston Sports Hall of Fame.

The 31st annual Hall banquet will be held Saturday, April 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Halifax County Middle School.

Jeff Burton, who had an excellent race career, will be joining the local Hall. Burton is a NASCAR television race analyst. He’s also now the third member of the Burton family in the local Hall, joining his brother Ward and father John Burton.

The late Fred Palmore, who had a lengthy career coaching Halifax County High School athletes, is also being remembered this year for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Palmore brought a no-nonsense style, but also showed how much he cared for the student-athletes at HCHS. Palmore also helped further the career of Comet athletes with college potential.

Former athletes Keith Lee and Greg Weddle, who have moved on to successful business careers, round out the newest class of inductees.

FRED PALMORE

Palmore was the MVP in football in 1961 at Blackstone High School. He later played at Ferrum Junior College and was the football MVP in 1963.

He also earned junior college All-American honors at Ferrum.

Palmore later coached at Kenston Forest, Nottoway and Randolph-Henry high schools before a lengthy tenure HCHS.

Palmore first served as an assistant in football from 1977-79, before taking over as the head football coach from 1980-89. He had two Western Valley District championships and two appearances in the Virginia High School league Northwest Regional playoffs.

Palmore was an assistant coach in the VHSL All-star game in 1997. He later served as a long-time Comet assistant from 1989-2010, and was on the staff for the state title championship celebration in 1991.

Palmore also served again as an assistant from 2013-2018, before his passing last year.

Palmore was also the Comet head baseball coach from 1977-79 and kept the HCHS basketball score book for the boys and girls’ teams for 34 years.

Palmore had a 49-year run coaching football.

GREG WEDDLE

Weddle was one of the first baseball hitters ever from HCHS. He later went to Virginia Military Institute and was inducted into the college sports Hall of Fame in 1997.

Weddle played football and baseball in high school. He earned all-district honors as an offensive lineman and as a kicker. He helped pave the way for future University of Virginia and NFL standout Barry Word.

Weddle was an all-district selection for three years as a first baseman, and helped lead three Comet teams to the state playoffs in baseball.

He later made his mark in the VMI baseball record book. Weddle was an all-state selection by Virginia sportswriters in 1986. Weddle earned all-Southern conference first team honors in baseball in 1985 and 1986.

KEITH LEE

His father, Frank, is a member of the local Sports Hall, and now Keith is set to join the ranks.

Keith Lee won the J. Marshall Swanson Award for academic achievements and social responsibility in the ninth grade, before moving on to a distinguished career at HCHS as a student-athlete.

Lee became a three-time letterman in baseball under coach Frosty Owens. He was all-Western District punter as a junior and had an outstanding highest single game punt average record of 50.3 yards. Lee played several positions, including receiver, kicker and punter.

Lee also emerged as a baseball standout in baseball under Owens. He was a member of the 1984 state championship team. He was the 1985 best all-around athlete at HCHS as a senior.

Lee moved on to Virginia and played for Dennis Womack. At Virginia he was an all-ACC selection in 1989 as a designated hitter. He was the 1989 co-captain of the baseball team.

He received the John Beverly Pollard award in 1989 at Virginia for his work as a top scholar athlete and gentlemen.

JEFF BURTON

Burton will be inducted into the Virginia Sport Hall of Fame in April.

Noting his accomplishments as posted by the Virginia Sports Hall:

Burton, the South Boston native, started his engine in 695 races over a 22-year career in NASCAR’s top division. Along with his 21 victories, Burton compiled 254 top-10 finishes. The 1994 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year finished a NASCAR season top-10 in points eight times. Burton currently works as a broadcast analyst for NBC Sports NASCAR coverage, a role he has held since 2015.





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