With thanks to Carolina Athletic Products and Hickory Orthopedic Center for sponsoring this year’s induction ceremony
Donald Albert “Don” Arndt
had great success on the baseball diamond and basketball court during his high school years in the 1950s. But his greatest claim to fame was as a member of the Howard’s Furniture-Western Steer softball teams that won twelve national softball titles before the team was disbanded in 1989. He recorded more than 1400 pitching victories while playing for the Howard’s team, and his home run total has been estimated at more than 6000.
Mr. Arndt was born in Catawba County and became a star basketball player while at Sherrills Ford High, where he led his team to the finals of the 1952 Barium Springs Invitational Tournament, and then took his team to the championship of the same tournament in 1953. His success on the court continued after Sherrills Ford and Balls Creek High Schools were consolidated to form Bandys High School, as he led the team to a conference basketball championship and averaged 25 points per game. He also pitched for an unbeaten Bandys High baseball team that won the conference championship in 1955.
After high school, Mr. Arndt played semi-pro basketball and, in 1956, began playing softball for the team formed by Richard Howard, the owner of Howard’s Furniture Company. Arndt pitched for the team from the 1950s into the mid 1980s. He is a member of both the United States Slow-pitch Softball Association’s Hall of Fame and the American Softball Association Hall of Fame.
Thomas E. “Tom” Brown
had an outstanding record as coach of the Maiden Blue Devils, includes two state championships. He is the third winningest high school football coach in North Carolina history and he won the Kellogg’s National 2A High School Coach of the Year Award in 1978.
A native of Lewistown, Pennsylvania, Coach Brown lettered in five sports at Lewistown High School before enrolling at Lenoir-Rhyne College in 1961. He was named Outstanding Freshman of the Lenoir-Rhyne football team in 1961, played in the NAIA Championship Game in 1962. He was named MVP of the football team in 1964, and MVP of the Lenoir-Rhyne baseball team in 1965.
Coach Brown began his career as a high school football coach at Maiden High in 1966. In his first twelve seasons at Maiden High, his teams won six Southern District 7 2A conference championships, and North Carolina 2A football championship in both 1971 and 1978. After leaving the coaching ranks for a few years, he returned to coaching football with Bunker Hill High School from 1982 through 1985, then again at Maiden High as head football coach and athletic director from 1986 until the present day. His teams have won eight additional conference championships, and he was named Southern District 7 Coach of the Year thirteen times. He was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne College Hall of Fame in 1995, and the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame in 1999.
Walter C. “Walt” Cornwell
successes on the playing field began in his native Lincoln County and blossomed at Lenoir-Rhyne College. He later became a successful teacher and coach in the Catawba County School System and rose to the rank of administrative assistant in the Superintendent’s Office.
Mr. Cornwell became the first Lenoir-Rhyne athlete to make all conference and all district teams in all three major sports. He led the North State Conference in scoring with 72 points on the 1956 football team, the only undefeated team in Lenoir-Rhyne history. In basketball, he was a three-year starter at guard and was named to all-conference, all-district and all-tournament teams. In baseball, he was a three year starter and was named to all-conference, all-district and all-state teams as a utility player.
After graduating from Lenoir-Rhyne, Mr. Cornwell began working as a teacher, coach and athletic director at St. Stephens High School, then earned a Master’s Degree in Health/Physical Education and Administration from Appalachian State University. His St. Stephens High football and basketball teams won conference championships in 1961. Mr. Cornwell then became an instructor in Health and Physical Education at Lenoir-Rhyne College, where he served as an assistant football coach, defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator from 1962-1972 and was head baseball coach from 1963-1971. He then served as an Assistant Principal, Athletic Director and Administrative Assistant with the Catawba County School System, from 1973 until 1998.
Robert Merritt “Pat” Shores
served his nation in the Navy in World War II, and then served his new community of Hickory and Catawba County as a high school and college coach, athletic director, and as an author. Shores was born in 1901 in Prattville, Alabama. A 1926 graduate of Maryville College in Tennessee, he came to Catawba County as a coach at Hickory High School. He served as Director of Athletics, and head football, basketball and baseball coach at Hickory High from 1927 until 1932. He then served as Director of Athletics, and as football and baseball coach, at Lenoir-Rhyne College from 1932-1942.
Shores was the only man to coach three varsity sports at the same time at Lenoir-Rhyne College. His 1939 football team went 6-1-3 and tied for the North State Conference title. He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, completing basic flight training and later overseeing physical training at a naval base in St. Simon’s, Georgia.
After leaving the coaching ranks, Shores served as Personnel Director for Valdese Weavers and, in 1975, published a book entitled “Just How It Was” about his experiences on the local sports scene. Shores was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne College Sports Hall of Fame in 1975 and into the Maryville College Hall of Fame in 1981. Mr. Shores passed away in 1985.
2005 High School Student Athletes of the Year
Bandys High School – Daniel Brown – Allison Brown
Bunker Hill High School – Martin Turbeville – Brittney Shook
Fred T. Foard High School – Nick Gullett – Allie Mauser
Hickory High School – Ryan Succop – Katy Robb
Maiden High School – Brandon Finger – Krystal Ramseur
Newton-Conover High School – Ashton Coulter – Julie Mikus
St. Stephens High School – Josh Bruner – Kara Trent