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Hall of Fame inductees named

SoVaNow.com / February 19, 2018
The latest class of inductees for the Halifax County/South Boston Sports Hall of Fame includes a four-time NFL Pro Bowl honoree; a former minor league professional baseball player and Comet standout; a former VMI and Halifax County High School baseball standout; and one of the most respected educators and community leaders in Halifax County.

Here are the new honorees: Norman Snead, Casey Waller, Bert Saunders and Gaitha Richardson.

The banquet will be held Saturday, April 7 at the Halifax County Middle School. Advance tickets are $20 each, with a limited number of tickets to be sold at the door for $25 each.

DEACON AND NFL STANDOUT: Norm Snead is one of the most prominent athletes on a national stage with direct ties to the county. Snead has extensive connections to Halifax County and has attended family reunions in past years.

He was born in Halifax County on July 31, 1939. Now, 78, Snead grew up in Newport News, and became a three-sport standout at Warwick High School.

Snead played football for Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference and left Deaconland with 15 conference single-games, season and career passing marks. Snead played both ways, common in that era, and led the ACC one season with interceptions with seven.

Snead enjoyed a standout career at Wake Forest. He earned second team all-ACC honors as a quarterback in 1958 and first-team all-ACC recognition in 1959 and 1960. Snead also collected second team all-American honors in 1960 at quarterback, from United Press International and the Football Writers Association of America.

Snead was the second overall pick of the 1961 NFL draft and had stints with five teams, including the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, the New York Giants, and the San Francisco 49ers. Snead was also an AFL draft pick after college, but went to the NFL.

Wearing no. 16, Snead earned NFL Pro Bowl honors in 1962, 63, 65 and 72.

Snead led the league in completion percentage and was second in passer rating, according to league statistical records.

Snead left the NFL after throwing for more than 30,000 yards. Snead played for the Eagles, this season’s Super Bowl champions, from 1964-70.

Snead became a member of the Virginia Sports Hall in 1984.

COMMUNITY LEADER: Richardson is highly respected in the county.

Richardson was introduced to basketball by Charlie Cge, then a teacher and basketball coach at Halifax Training School. Richardson played forward and center for the Training School hoops squad, outside on a dirt court.

Later, the Training School united with Booker T. Washington High School, and Richardson played at the South Boston Armory. He was a two-year captain.

Richardson went into the U.S. military and played basketball with Army service squads. He later played college hoops at St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville.

Richardson earned his degree from St. Paul’s in 1959.

Richardson enjoyed a long career in education. He had the opportunity while teaching at Sinai Elementary to influence future local Hall members Warren Davis, Brad Ballou, Calvin Crews, Jack Crews and the late Lawrence Carter.

Richardson formed a youth travel basketball team and played in Danville, Clarksville and other venues across southside Virginia.

Richardson said this was the most enjoyable time of his basketball career. He later became Sinai’s assistant principal and served as the principal at Wilson Memorial Elementary. Richardson retired in 1991.

He was instrumental in the establishment of the local Mentor-Role Model program, along with Carter Hicks and Harvey Dillard.



Richardson has been active in a number of worthy causes, including past service as chairman of the Salvation Army and commander of the Bruce-Walker American Legion Post 99.

WALLER ELEVATED TO HALL: Waller has done it all. His resume includes headlines as a prep baseball standout, a college and professional minor leaguer, and later, as a high school baseball coach.

Waller learned the game in youth baseball for Bert Mills on the Rotary squad.

He later played for the Lions and Comet baseball programs under Hall of Famers Scooter Dunn and Frosty Owens. Waller also played Comet football at defensive back for Fred Palmore and had a noteworthy prep contributions.

Waller played second base for the HCHS state championship team in 1984, on a squad loaded with talent. Three players from that squad have been honored as previous Hall inductees - Len Wentz, Chris Cole, and Kelvin Davis. Owens coached the state title squad.

Waller played college baseball at Virginia Tech and started every game, after receiving a full scholarship. Waller was an 11th round draft pick by the Phillies in 1989 and went on to a lengthy professional minor league career. He won considerable respect as a prospect to watch in 1990 with the Phillies. Waller played baseball around the country and also played with the Florida Marlins organization in 1995. Waller played indepenent baseball in Thunder Bay, Canada in 1995 and 1996.

Waller has retired from high school coaching, but he had a heck of a run at Loyalsock (Pa.) Township High School. This included the first district baseball championship in school history, the Final Four in 2009 and a state title in 2008. Waller later coached six years at Hughesville (Pa.), including that school’s first-ever district championship, along with an elite eight appearance in the state tournament in 2013.

WINNER AT ALL LEVELS: Saunders lives in Mechanicsville. He will soon officially join the local Hall with a strong body of work.

Saunders was twice an all-star in Dixie Youth baseball in South Boston for the late Addison Marable, a Hall icon.

Saunders’ Babe Ruth team won championships all three years, and the future Comet was a two-time all-star. Saunders’ senior Babe Ruth baseball team won championship all three seasons and the player was twice an all-star.

Saunders later helped the Lions win conference crowns in 1977 and 1978 for future local Hall member Dunn.

Saunders earned tremendous respect as a Comet baseball player. He was all-Western district honoree in 1980 and 81 and all-regional in 81.

The 1980 Comets lost in the state semifinals, and the 1981 squad lost in the state finals. Saunders was co-captain in 81 and received the best offensive player award in 1981.

The Virginia Military Institute came calling, and Saunders flourished in a demanding college atmosphere.

Saunders helped lead VMI back to respectability, including a berth into the Southern Conference tournament in 1984. At that time, this was their first berth since the 1960s.

Saunders was a four-year starter in the outfield and served as captain in his senior season, 1985.

He earned all-SoCon honors in 1984. In 1984, he led the Keydets in triples, home runs, and total bases. In 1985, Saunders led the Keydets in hits and runs. Saunders finished his career fourth-all in career slugging percentage and still ranks ninth in the record book (.545). He was third in career homers and is now tied for ninth in that category with 30.



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