It was a night of tears, cheers, and a lot of smiles.
McAlester High School inducted two new members into its Hall of Fame during a ceremony Feb. 7 in Bob Brumley Gymnasium.
Former McAlester track standout Michelle (nee Thomas) Worthy and the late basketball coach Bob Brumley were inducted into this year’s class — with their family and friends gathering at half court to receive their plaques and be recognized among Buffs fans in attendance.
Gina Stanley, the daughter of Brumley, said that the entire day was special for her and her family, as well as a number of Brumley’s former players.
“What was really great is several of his former players were here to come pay honor to him, and the way the crowd reacted to him,” Stanley said. “It’s just nice to know that he’s still remembered well.”
Brumley coached at McAlester from 1951 to 1977 with a 423-185 record and six state tournament appearances, while also coaching the Buffs to a state title in tennis in 1963. He becomes the first coach inducted into the McAlester Hall of Fame.
Stanley said that it was great for the family to come back to the building that bears her father’s name, and to be able to see how much of an impact her father had on the school and the town.
“We all grew up here. This is where we lived our childhood,” Stanley said of the gym. “Even before it had his name on it, we thought it was his gym.”
For Worthy, spending the special day with her family is what meant the most.
She lives with her husband and children in New Jersey, but said it was wonderful to be back in McAlester.
“It’s just nice being recognized for all the work that went into it,” Worthy said. “I don’t feel like I’m just by myself. I feel like the whole team is here.”
Worthy is a 2000 graduate of McAlester, where she ran track. She was the state runner-up in 1999 and 2000, and helped McAlester win the 4x800 relay championship in those years.
After high school, she attended the University of Oklahoma where she was named to the Academic All-Big 12 team and was the first Sooner to receive the NCAA Inspiration Award.
When talking about inspiration, Worthy was thrilled that her recognition meant she was setting another example for her children. She admitted that her husband and boys are all about wrestling — but she said that she can already see the passion for running in her daughter.
“When it comes to me and track, I don’t talk about it as much. Coming down here (to McAlester), my sons are going to look at me differently,” Worthy said. "My daughter, I think she’s an awesome runner. I think she’s going to do a little more on the track because of what she’s seeing."
Contact Derek Hatridge at firstname.lastname@example.org