JACKSONVILLE — Jacksonville has produced many great athletes over the years, particularly on the gridiron.
On Monday night, the Jacksonville Education Foundation honored 12 former professional athletes and two NFL coaches at the eighth annual “Evening with our Stars” event at the Norman Activity Center.
Those recognized were:
— Harold “Burr” Davis, Jacksonville High School Class of 1955: Davis played at the University of Houston and for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian Football League, where he was a part of the 1960 Grey Cup champions.
— Pete Lammons, Jacksonville High School Class of 1961: Lammons played at the University of Texas, where he was a part of the 1963 national championship team. He played for the New York Jets from 1966-71, winning Super Bowl III in 1969, and he played for the Green Bay Packers in 1972.
— Billy Newsome, Fred Douglas High School Class of 1966: Newsome played at Grambling State University before playing for the Baltimore Colts from 1970-72, winning Super Bowl V. He also played for the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets and Chicago Bears.
— Marshall Johnson, Fred Douglas High School and Jacksonville High School Class of 1971: Johnson played for the University of Houston and then played for the Baltimore Colts from 1975-78.
— Jerry Aldridge, Jacksonville High School Class of 1975: Aldridge played at Angelo State University. He then played for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL and then Oakland Invaders of the USFL.
— James Noble, Jacksonville High School Class of 1982. Noble played at Stephen F. Austin State University before a year each with the Washington Redskins and Indianapolis Colts.
— Ray Ethridge, Jacksonville High School Class of 1987: Ethridge played at Pasadena City College. He then played for the San Diego Chargers in 1992 and the Baltimore Ravens in 1996-97.
— Kevin Aldridge, Jacksonville High School Class of 1998: Aldridge played at Southern Methodist University. He played in NFL Europe and for the Tennessee Titans.
— Josh McCown, Jacksonville High School Class of 1998: McCown played at SMU and Sam Houston State University. He played in the NFL from 2002-19 for the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets.
— Micah Hoffpauir, Jacksonville High School Class of 1998: Hoffpauir played baseball at Lon Morris College and Lamar University. He played Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs from 2008-10 and then played in Japan for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters from 2011-13.
— Luke McCown, Jacksonville High School Class of 2000: McCown played at Louisiana Tech University. He played in the NFL from 2004-16 with the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.
— Toby Gowin, Jacksonville High School Class of 1993: Gowin played at the University of North Texas. He then played for the Dallas Cowboys (twice), the New Orleans Saints and the New York Jets from 1997-2004.
— Coach John Paul Young, coached at Jacksonville High School from 1964-66: Young coached at SMU and Texas A&M. In 1978, Young started a 23-year NFL coaching career with the Houston Oilers, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears. He also coached in the Arena Football League and NFL Europe.
— Oail Andrew “Bum” Phillips, Coached at Jacksonville High School in 1958: The late Phillips played for the SFA Lumberjacks. He coached at Texas A&M, Houston and SMU. Phillips then was the head coach at the University of Texas at El Paso in 1962 before coaching in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers. He was the head coach of the Houston Oilers for four years and New Orleans Saints for six years.
“It’s unbelievable,” Hoffpauir said. “It’s really neat to see this community come together and do something like this. It’s a really neat opportunity to be able to sit here, look around and kind of bask in the emotion of this.”
“You read about the athletes and the things that have been produced from Jacksonville, and it’s really an honor,” Luke McCown said “We’re a tight-knit community. Each of us have traveled and moved to different places, but there’s a reason why we come back here. We’re proud to be a part of this community.”
“I enjoyed hearing the stories,” Gowin said. “There’s a lot of tradition here in Jacksonville.”
“It’s been such a thrilling experience, a very humbling experience,” Young said.
“I feel honored to be recognized with some of the best to come through Jacksonville,” Jerry Aldridge said. “It was a really good turnout. I’m just glad to be here.”
“This is quite an honor,” Johnson said. “I know the names of some of these guys, but now I get a chance to personally meet them, and for a great cause. It was a great event this evening.”
“We’ve had a lot of good football players,” Kevin Aldridge said.
There were nearly 400 tickets sold for Monday’s event.
There were also 10 Influential Indians honored, including John Paul Young, current Jacksonville head football coach Wayne Coleman, Jacksonville superintendent Chad Kelly, Dr. Floyd Verheyden, Harry Tilley, Rick Richards, Cindy Richards, Hedda Alexander, Tommy Wade, Lee Traylor and Jeff Austin Jr.