Nine new members were inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame Saturday at the organization’s annual luncheon at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Murfreesboro on April 15, 2023.
One administrator, four coaches, three officials, and one contributor were inducted into the Hall of Fame which first began in 1982.
Those inducted at this year’s luncheon were: Bryan True, administrator from Lawrenceburg; Vic Grider, coach from South Pittsburg; the late Jim Heinz, coach from Cordova; David Meske, coach from Knoxville; the late Danny Joe Young, coach from Memphis; Marty Clements, official from Jackson; Dale Ford, official from Jonesborough; Donnie Graham, official from Rockford; and Pat Swallows, contributor from Cookeville.
Bryan True has been an educator and administrator in middle Tennessee for more than 30 years. He began his teaching career in 1988 in Hickman County, before becoming the coach and assistant principal at E. O. Coffman Middle School in Lawrenceburg for six years. In 1998, he moved to Summertown High School, where he served as assistant principal, athletic director, and later principal over a 10 year period. After this, True became assistant principal and athletic director at Lewis Co. High School until 2017, and he currently serves as athletic director and assistant principal at Loretto High School. He has been a member of the TSSAA Board of Control for Athletic District 6 since 2004 and has been awarded both the TSSAA A. F. Bridges District 6 Principal of the Year and Athletic Director of the Year.
Vic Grider had a long and successful career as a football coach at South Pittsburg High School, where he served for 30 years. During his 22 years as head coach, he had an impressive 232-54 record, leading his teams to three TSSAA State Championships (1999, 2007, 2010) and three State Runner-up finishes (2009, 2011, 2020). He was also responsible for 14 region titles over the course of his career. Grider’s father, Don, is a member of the TSSAA Hall of Fame Class of 2010, and Vic himself is a member of the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame.
The late Jim Heinz dedicated more than 50 years to teaching, coaching, and athletics in the Memphis area. He began his career at Colonial Junior High School and then moved to Briarcrest Christian School in the 1970s, where he served as the baseball coach. In 1982, he moved to Evangelical Christian School in Cordova and became the head baseball and football coach. His ECS baseball teams won three TSSAA State Championships, two runner-up finishes, and had an overall record of 427-209. His football teams won four State Championships with three runner-up finishes, with an overall record of 218-88. He returned to Briarcrest as an assistant coach in 2012 and has been inducted into the ECS and Briarcrest Halls of Fame, as well as the TN Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Memphis Amateur Sports Hall of Fame.
Dave Meske served as the head football coach at Webb School of Knoxville for nearly 40 years, compiling an overall record of 291-146. His teams won six TSSAA Division II-AA state championships (2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014) and one Division I 2A state championship (1996), and were state runners-up three times (1997, 2005, 2015). Meske also served as the school’s athletic director for 28 years, the Upper School Dean of Students for seven years, and has been a member of the TSSAA Board of Control since 2015. He was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame and TN Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the stadium at Webb was named the “Dave Meske Stadium” in 2015. Meske has also received numerous coach of the year honors, served in the military for 20 years, and is set to retire after the 2022-23 school year.
Danny Joe Young, a longtime track and field coach from Memphis, began his career in 1975 at Snowden High School. He then coached girls’ track and field at Northside High School from 1980-1984, football and boys’ track and field at Bellevue Jr. High School in 1984-1985, girls’ track and field and Jr. High girls’ basketball at East High School from 1985-2007, and girls’ track and field at Melrose High School from 2008 until 2011. His Northside teams won a TSSAA state championship in 1981 and his East teams won seven titles (1989, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001). He was a seven-time state coach of the year, a region coach of the year 18 times, Best of the Preps Coach of the Year twice, and was nominated for National Coach of the Year.
Marty Clements has officiated TSSAA sporting contests for nearly 50 years, beginning his career with the Reelfoot Association in 1972. Over the course of his career, he has worked over 2,000 TSSAA sports contests, including the 2002 and 2021 TSSAA State Championships in football, a sport which he has officiated for 50 years. He also officiated the 1981 TSSAA State Championship in volleyball, worked nearly 400 basketball games over nine years, and officiated the 1980 TSSAA Softball State Championships. In addition to officiating, Clements served as the first president of the Southwest Officials Association, was a supervisor in football, and served as a supervisor and assigning officer for softball and volleyball. In 2011, he was named Southwest Football Officials Association Official of the Year, and in 2017 he was awarded the TSSAA A.F. Bridges Award.
Dale Ford has been an official for TSSAA in football, basketball and baseball for more than 50 years. Following his retirement from Major League Baseball, he has been involved with the Tri-Cities Baseball Umpires Association and TSSAA for 20 years. He has served as a camp instructor for the TSSAA, umpired in 20 consecutive TSSAA state baseball championships, and worked numerous district, regional and sectional games. During his 27- year tenure in Major League Baseball, he umpired two World Series and two All-Star games.
Donnie Graham has been a track and field official for the TSSAA for more than 30 years. He started teaching and coaching in 1970, coaching boys’ and girls’ cross country, boys’ and girls’ track and field, and football at West High School in Knoxville. He then served as a coach at Bearden Jr. High and High School, coaching football, girls basketball, and track. Later, he moved into administration at Halls High School, where he served as assistant principal and athletic director before becoming principal in 2003 and retiring in 2005. Graham has also been a member of the TSSAA Track and Field committee and has served as meet director for the Regional TSSAA meet in Knoxville, regional director for Decathlon and Pentathlon, and head starter for district and regional track meets in East Tennessee. He is well-known as the starter and “voice” of the TSSAA state track meets and was a recipient of a TSSAA Distinguished Service Award.
Pat Swallows had a long and successful career in the world of Tennessee baseball. He started the baseball program at Livingston Academy in 1969 and coached there for more than 30 years. Swallows also coached two years at Cookeville High School, amassing an overall record of 533-310. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association in 1992, where he served as President and, later, Executive Director. Additionally, he has been the Assistant Director of the Tennessee Athletic Coaches Association since 2012, overseeing hospitality areas at TSSAA state championship events and acting as an Ex-Officio member of the TSSAA Board of Control.