N E W S   R E L E A S E

Burke County Sports Hall of Fame announces Three 2023 inductees     

Courtesy: Morganton News Herald

Gary Leonhardt retired as the director of the city of Morganton’ Parks and Recreation Department after a 48-year career. He helped establish the Burke County Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Morganton Aggies semi-pro baseball franchise. He was instrumental in completing the Catawba Greenway from the Catawba River Soccer Complex through Catawba Meadows Park, phases 1 and 2 of the Catawba River Soccer Complex, the Morganton Aquatic Center, Catawba Meadows Park and the Red, White and Bluegrass Festival.

Jimmy Powell was drafted in the eighth round of the 1974 NBA Draft after playing for Middle Tennessee State University. He returned to Morganton and was a teacher, coach and mentor. Powell was hired in 2007 by the city of Morganton on a part-time basis as an umpire and building and field supervisor. The time and effort he put forth in his teaching, coaching and officiating is recognized as making a difference in the community. He resides in Morganton and continues to give back to the community as a referee of many sports.

Wayne Owens (1902-1973) will be inducted posthumously. He was the director of sports and youth Activities at the Valdese Community Center for almost 20 years. He coached the Valdese Little League baseball teams, the women’s softball teams and the adult men’s basketball team. Owens formed after-school sports leagues and won the 1958 State Biddy Basketball Tournament in Gastonia. He lost his left arm at a young age, but never let that stop him from playing or coaching sports. The gymnasium at the Valdese Community Center is currently being renovated and the new basketball court will be named Wayne Owens Court.

There will only be 140 seats available, so those who wish to attend should secure their spot soon. No tickets will be sold the night of the event.

For more information, call the Collett Street Recreation Center at 828-438-5350

Burke County Sports Hall of Fame announces Three 2021 inductees 

William “Bill” Allman Served in the US Army, was selected to the 2nd US Army. All-Star Softball team and played in the All Army National Tournament. He was also 1999 Morganton Man of the Year


Karri GardinBasketball:   At Virginia Tech, Karri led her Hokies to four consecutive NCAA appearances. The North Carolina native played during the heart of the women’s basketball program’s golden era. The Hokies played at least one NCAA Tournament game in all four years of her career from 2002-06. 

Karri still holds or shares six of Tech’s single-game records and two single-season records


Eddie C Bridges - A Legendary Hunting and Fishing Conservationist

Eddie was appointed to the NC Wildlife Resource Commission, where he created the NC Lifetime hunting and fishing license. The Endowment has raised 165 million 5/2021 In 1989, Eddie created the NC Wildlife Habitat Foundation

This year’s induction banquet will be held November 18, 6:00 p.m., at The Morganton Community House. Tickets will be available for purchase at the Collett Street Recreation Center, Seating will be limited.

Former sports editor at The News Herald, Durward Buck, will be the newest inductee into the Burke County Sports Hall of Fame.


The announcement was made late last week by the Men’s Club of Morganton and the Morganton Parks and Recreation Department, co-sponsors of the local Hall of Fame.


According to a press release, Buck “is remembered most for his dedication and complete coverage of youth and high school sports in Burke County” during his time at The News Herald from 1963-77.

This year’s induction banquet will be held April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at CoMMA. Tickets will be available for purchase at the Collett Street Recreation Center, at Sain’s Barber Shop and at CoMMA starting March 9. Seating will be limited.

Burke County Sports Hall of Fame announces 2013 inductees

Earl Causby and Johnny Jacumin selected as 2013 inductees into the prestigious Burke County Sports Hall of Fame.

The selection of the newest members of the Hall of Fame was announced today by the Men’s Club of Morganton and the Morganton Parks and Recreation Department, co-sponsors of the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame was established in 1993 to honor Burke County Sports greats who have achieved state or nation recognition.

Earl Causby -       American Legion Baseball leader and supporter for over 30 years.  He is known for his leadership and support for American Legion Baseball throughout the State of North Carolina. Inducted into the American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 for his outstanding contributions.

Johnny Jacumin  – The third Post-Humus induction into the Sports Hall of Fame. Noted Women’s Head Basketball Coach at Wingate University.  Compiled 591 wins with 218 losses in a 27 year career.  His teams were consistently District and Divisional Champions. Appearing in 21 national tournaments advancing to the sweet sixteen and the elite eight twice and appearing once in the final four. He is a member of the Wingate University Hall of Fame and the South Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame. Jimmy passed away June 17, 2010.

The new inductees will join Billy Joe Patton (inducted 1993), Doug Cline (inducted 1994), Ralph “Jug” Wilson (inducted 1995), Joe Cheves (inducted 1999), Melvin Ruggles (inducted 2001), Marsha Crump (inducted 2002), Charles Horton (inducted 2003), Perk Reinhardt (inducted 2003), Bill Cline (inducted 2004), The Morganton Little League All-Stars (inducted 2004), Roy Waters (inducted 2007), and Oval Jaynes (inducted 2008), Terry Rogers (inducted 2008), Leon Johnson (inducted 2010), Clinton Foust (inducted 2010), W.A. Hord (inducted in 2011), Charlie Crowe (inducted in 2011) and Joe Brown (inducted in 2012).

The Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held at the Morganton Community House on Friday, November 22 at 6:30 pm with a reception and Ceremonies beginning at 7:00.  Tickets will be on sale at the Collett Street Recreation Center and COMMA.

Burke County Sports Hall of Fame  

PO Box 3448
Morganton, N.C. 28680        
Phone – 828-439-1866