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COACH   JELKS
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COACH   SPAIN

Jelks,  Spain  Part  of  Inaugural  Class  for  Union   Hall  of  Fame

 

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Two members of the Paris-
Henry County Sports Hall of
Fame have received a similar
honor at Union University in
Jackson.

Charles Homer Spain and the
late Robert Jelks were part of the
inaugural class inducted into the
Union University Athletic Hall
of Fame last Thursday. They
were joined by current Union
athletic director and NAIA Hall
of Fame women's coach David
Blackstock, Donald R. Morris
and the late Sandra Fitzgerald.

Jelks first came to Union as a
player under the late head coach
Paul "Bear" Bryant. He was the
star of the 1936 Bulldogs' squad
that fought to a scoreless tie with
a heavily favored University
of Mississippi team. That same
year, Union beat Murray State
to clinch the Southern Intercol-
legiate Athletic Association foot-
ball championship.

He went on to a successful
high school coaching career at
Gleason and Lexington before
becoming head coach at Grove.
At Grove, Jelks' undefeated
1949 beat Memphis Central for
the West Tennessee champion-
ship.
Jelks also coached basketball
and led the first team from Henry
County to the state tournament in
the 1944-45 season. Grove won
the consolation game that year.

He left Grove in 1951 to
take the job as athletic director,
basketball and football coach
at Union. He was the final
football coach at Union as the
school stopped playing football
in 1953.

Spain was a three-time All-
Conference player at Union and
led the conference in scoring
twice. He was the captain of
the Union squad for two years.
He was the first recipient of the
Fred Delay Trophy as Union's
Most Outstanding Athlete.

He was drafted by the Min-
neapolis Lakers of the National
Basketball Association and
is the only Union player ever
drafted by an NBA team.

Spain is remembered in Henry
County as a long time head
coach at the former Grove High
School in Paris. He led the Blue
Devils to a 162-72 record in just
over eight seasons as coach.
The 1956 and 1958 Grove squads
advanced to the state tournament.

Blackstock has been at Union
for the past 33 years as a women's
basketball, baseball and now the
school's softball coach. As ath-
letic director he heads 10 varsity
sports at Union. He directed the
Lady Bulldogs' basketball team
to a 509-88 record over 17 sea-
sons, including the 1998 NAIA
national championship.

He was inducted into the NAIA
Hall of Fame in 1999.

Fitzgerald played four years of
basketball at Union in the mid-
1970s and went on to coach in
high school at Haywood County
and Jackson Central-Merry. She
won numerous district and state
awards as a high school coach.

Morris held the longest tenure
as the Bulldogs' golf coach from
1972-98 and was assistant coach
in 2001-02. He returned to his
present position as Union's golf
coach in 2002.

His teams won nine confer-
ence titles and the NAIA District
24 championship three times
along with eight Tennessee Inter-
collegiate tournament wins.

 

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Reprinted from the  Paris   Post-Intelligencer
Paris, Tennessee
Wednesday,  November 8, 2006  Edition

 

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