Special to the Guide
The 22nd Annual induction class for the Hampton Roads African American Sports Hall of Fame includes football coach Kevin Clark, baseball coach Wiley Lee, Collegiate football player Willie Spence, Collegiate tennis coach Nathaniel Warren, Olympic boxing coach Gloria Thornton-Peek and Special Community recognition George Banks.
This year’s induction banquet is December 1, 2018 and the induction reception is November 30, 2018 at the Renaissance Hotel 425 Water Street Portsmouth, VA 23704. Tickets are $80 a person or $800 for a table of 10. Tickets may be purchased by calling Heather Johnson-Wall at (757) 286-4202 or (757) 495-0143.
Kevin Clark attended Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia, where he starred as an All-District football player. After graduating from high school, Clark continued his educational and athletic career at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia where he graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education. Coach Clark led the Edward Waters College of Jacksonville, Florida to the South East Atlantic Conference Championship in 2004, 2007 and 2008. Coach Clark was selected Conference Coach of the year in 2007 and 2008.
Coach Wiley Lee stole a then ODU school record 120 bases a mark that ranked second at the time in the Sun Belt Conference history. Coach Lee earned Freshman All-American honors. In 1986, Coach Lee was a member of the U.S. National baseball Squad where he started at second base. In 2003, he led Great Bridge High School to the Virginia AAA State Championship. In 2011, he led the Wildcats to their second AAA State Championship.
Willie Spence began playing football at Virginia Union University in 1964. During Willie’s four years at VUU, he broke five (5) school records that remained unbroken for 20 years. The records were: Most Passes Attempted and Completed, Most yards gained passing, Most Touchdown passes and the best average per punt. Willie was inducted into the Virginia Union University’s Hall of Fame in 2012.
Coach Nathaniel Warren spent 17 years as the head coach of the men’s tennis team at Norfolk State University after starting the program up in 1992-93. He was also responsible for the startup of the women’s team in 1994-95. In 1996 and 97 the men’s team captured CIAA conference championships. The Spartans won the Division II Southeast Regional title in 97 advancing to the NCAA round of 16. Warren was named the 1994 CIAA Coach of the year and the 1995 USTA Virginia Coach of the year.
Gloria Thornton-Peek, a true trailblazer, has traveled the world coaching both male and female boxing teams to represent the USA in international competitions. Coach Peek is the only woman to date in the U.S. who coaches males on the elite level. She made history in 2011 when she was selected as the head coach for the male and female U.S. boxing team for the Pan-American Games. Her history making accomplishments continued when she was selected as the first and only female coach for the 2012 Summer Olympic Boxing Team in London, England. There she coached both male and female boxers, making her the first and only female in the world to coach both sexes on the Olympic stage.
George H. Banks is a lifelong resident of the Berkley Section of Norfolk, where he has been an icon in the community and at St. Mark United Church of Christ. An Army Veteran and 19 year Civil Service worker, George Banks has left his mark of leadership throughout Norfolk. Mr. Banks has always been involved in community Civic Leagues. Mr. Banks has been the Property Manager at Bell Diamond Manor and Sumier Terrace, Project Manager for the Beacon Light Community Housing Development Organization, providing assistance to First-Time home buyers with HUD provided Grants administered thru Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Board Member for the Southside Boys and Girls Club and STOP Organization.
Mr. Banks’ service to his community has been richly rewarded with the naming of the “Banks at Berkley Apartments” in his honor. He has been married to his wife Delores for more than 60 years (they have two children and six grandchildren). His testimony is to serve God who give him strength to serve others.