Saturday night, the view was the same.
The two former Calhoun County coaches were among six new inductees into the Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Anniston City Meeting Center.
The last time they were among such elite company — in 2002 — Adcock was being inducted into his hometown Coweta (Ga.) Sports Hall of Fame and Herring, then head coach at the county’s Newnan High School, was in the room to back a former rival and long-time Alabama friend.
But on this night, whether by fate or simple alphabetical order, they sat side by side on the dais of perhaps the most geographically diverse class in the local Hall’s history and were enshrined one after the other.
“The whole thing about Coach Adcock is we have been friends for all those 14 years (Herring was at Oxford) and he was real close to my son,” Herring said. “Through that, we got to be good buddies, then his daughter taught at Oxford and that made us real close, so when he went into the Hall of Fame in Coweta County, I couldn’t wait to see him and talk to him.
“Tonight, with getting the same award together, I’m going to like that because we’re both on the same level.”
Adcock is a Georgia native but was being recognized Saturday for his accomplishments at Wellborn, and there was a large contingent of Panther faithful among the largest induction banquet crowd to support him. Herring, of course, was inducted for his great success at Oxford.
They were joined in the Class of 2012 by former Saks football coach Jack Stewart, former Jacksonville athlete David (Little Toe) Luttrell, former Anniston athlete Vaughn Stewart and former Cobb Avenue athlete and state championship basketball coach Ernest Washington.
“One of the things that stood out to me about this class is we had six different inductees representing six different communities in the county,” said Jon Holder, a member of the Hall of Fame’s board of directors, emcee for the night’s festivities and spokesman for the board. “I don’t know right off the bat that that’s happened.
“Typically, we’ll have multiple representatives from the same communities, but that was the first thing that really hit me when we had this class set. I think it’s really representative of the entire county.”
A standout at East Coweta, Young Harris College and later basketball letterman and captain at Alabama, Adcock came to Wellborn as head basketball coach in 1963. He was varsity head coach for 15 seasons, going 408-218, and was named Calhoun County coach of the year three times. He later coached the school’s junior high and varsity ‘B’ teams for 20 years and continues to be a fixture at the school today.
“When I went in (the Coweta Hall of Fame) that night, it was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had in athletics; it’s a great feeling to go back home,” Adcock said. “But this Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame is special.
“This has meant so much more to me because I’ve been at Wellborn High School — I’ll be starting my 50th year in August — and I have a lot of friends in this county.”
One of them is Herring. His football teams won more than 300 games and five state championships. He coached Oxford for 14 seasons — from 1985 through 1998 — going 118-42 with state titles in 1988, 1989 and 1993. The 1988 and 1993 teams each went 14-0.
“Herring is a great coach,” Adcock said. “I’m not even in his class as a coach. He’s just a good coach and a good friend.”
Luttrell was an outstanding athlete at Jacksonville. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his four high school seasons (1954-57) and was first team all-county his last three and the state Class AA back of the year as a senior. The 322 points he scored in his career stood as the county record for years after he graduated.
Jack Stewart is revered in Saks for leading the school’s infant football program into the AHSAA playoffs. In 1968, his third Saks team was 9-0-0 in the regular season, one of four Class 3A teams to qualify for the postseason, and finished as state runner-up. Three years later, they were 8-0-1 in the regular season and reached the 3A semifinals. His 12 Saks teams were 70-40-4. Stewart died in 1998.
Vaughn Stewart was an outstanding lineman for Anniston’s teams in the late 1930s. He was second-team all-county as a junior in 1937, first-team as a senior in 1938 and second-team All-State both years. He went on to letter in football at Alabama and played in the National Football League in 1943 and 1944. He died in 1992.
Washington was a multi-sport athlete at Cobb Avenue prior to graduating in 1954 and after being turned away by his alma mater for his first coaching job, went on to a 30-year coaching career that produced 534 wins for Tuskegee Institute High and two state championships. He also returned home to win the 1972 Calhoun County Golf Championship.
“This is a great county for sports, it really is,” Adcock said. “You won’t find any better competitors.”
Al Muskewitz is a sports writer for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3577.