Courtesy of Bill Miller, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame
Class of 2016
DAVID CUTCLIFFE / COACHING – Born September 16, 1954 in Birmingham, AL. He was a long-time assistant coach at Tennessee. He received the Frank Broyles Award in 1998 as the Best Assistant Coach of the Year while coaching for the Vols. He was Tennessee’s Offensive Coordinator when they won the National Championship in 1998. As head coach at Ole Miss he led the Rebels to four bowl victories. The Rebels tied for the SEC Western Division Championship in 2003. He was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2003...He has mentored two Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks in Peyton Manning (Tennessee) and Eli Manning (Ole Miss).
In 2012 he led Duke to their first Bowl game in 18 years. The ten wins in 2013 for Duke was the first double digit win total for a season in 100 years of Blue Devil football. Duke’s 2013 club became the first ACC squad to lose its first two conference games and win the division championship. The overtime victory over Indiana (44-41) in the 2015 New Era Pinstripe Bowl was the first Bowl victory for the Blue Devils since 1961.
JIM FULMER / BASKETBALL – Born June 19, 1931 in Florence, AL. He played basketball at the University of Alabama. He was a part of the 1956 Crimson Tide squad that went undefeated in Southeastern Conference play to win the conference’s regular season title. He led the team in scoring in 1957 with 557 points and averaged 21.4 points per game. Also that year he led the team in field goal attempts (481) and tied for field goals made (184) in a season. He also led the team in free throw attempts with 263 and free throws made with 189. He led the team in rebounding in both 1957 and ’58 with 383 and 225. He presently ranks third all-time in single season rebounds with 383. Additional he ranks sixth overall in career average rebounds per game with 9.4. He is the only Alabama men’s basketball player to make 17 free throws in two separate games. For his career, he scored at least 30 points in a game four times. He was the second pick in the fifth round by the Cincinnati Royals in the 1958 NBA Draft.
MARTHA JONES LANG / GOLF – Born December 15, 1952 in Decatur, AL. She played collegiately at the University of Alabama, where she earned All-American honors. She won the Alabama State Junior Championship four consecutive years (1967-1970); the Alabama State Amateur Championship in 1973; won the Women's Southern Golf Championship twice (1974 &1980). She won the Women's State Amateur in Texas (1979), and in Louisiana she won the Women's Amateur title ten times. She won the U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur in 1988. She won the Women's Southern Senior Amateur Championship in 2005. She won the Louisiana Senior Amateur three consecutive years (2003-2005) and won the Alabama Senior Amateur in 2007. She was a member of the United States Women's Curtis Cup Team in 1992 winning her two single matches and Captained the Team in 1996. She serves on Women's Southern Golf Association Board and is a member of the USGA Executive Committee. In 2015, she became one of two American women to be invited to join the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.
CHRIS SAMUELS / FOOTBALL – Born July 28, 1977 in Mobile, AL. He played collegiately at the University of Alabama. As a senior in 1999 he was a consensus All-American and First-team All-SEC. He won the Outland Trophy as the nation’s best college interior lineman. He also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC’s most outstanding blocker. In his 42 starts as a college player, he never yielded a sack. He was drafted third overall in 2000 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. He played his entire NFL ten season career with the Redskins. He was All-Pro in 2001 and was a six-time Pro Bowl selection. He was voted as the Redskins 2002 Ed Block Courage Award winner. In 2008 he was named Team Captain. He was named one of the 80 Greatest Redskins.
CALVIN SMITH / TRACK AND FIELD - Born January 8, 1961 in Bolton, MS. He would go on to star as a sprinter at the University of Alabama, where he was an eight-time All-American (four times indoor and four times outdoors). He won the NCAA 200 meter championship in 1983. He set the 100-meter world record on July 3, 1983 with a time of 9.93 seconds. That same year, he claimed two Gold Medals in the 200-meter dash and the 4x100 meter relay, along with a Silver Medal in the 100-meter dash in the inaugural Athletics World Championships. He won a Gold Medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics in the 4x100 meter relay and a Bronze Medal in the 1988 Olympics in the 100-meter dash. In August of 1983 he was the first athlete to run under 10 seconds (9.97) for the 100 meters and under 20 seconds (19.99) for the 200 meters in the same evening in Zurich, Switzerland. At the 1987 World Championships, Smith successfully defended his 200-meter gold medal. In 2007, he was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
The Board of Directors of the State of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is proud to announce that W. Edgar Welden has been named the 2016 Distinguished American Sportsman. The Board surprised its Chairman with this recognition at its recent quarterly board meeting.
Welden is the fourth Chairman of the Board since the Hall of Fame was founded in 1967. He has served on the Board since 1992 and was elected Chairman in July of 2003. He also serves as Chairman/President of the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Scholarship Program. The Bryant-Jordan program annually awards over 100 scholarships to high school seniors based on athletic and scholastic achievement.
In 2002, Welden founded the Birmingham Athletic Partnership, a non-profit organization which supports the city of Birmingham’s public middle and high school athletic programs. This program enhances the athletic departments’ abilities to provide the necessary leadership, education, facilities and equipment to assure that the students have opportunities to excel in their sports and related extracurricular activities including band, choir, and cheerleading.
In January of 2015, Welden Co-Chaired the Committee instrumental in bringing the World Games to Birmingham in 2021, and serves as Chairman of the Board. The 2021 Games will give Birmingham the opportunity to host athletes, officials and visitors from over 100 countries, bringing worldwide exposure to the City of Birmingham, and to the state of Alabama.
A native of Wetumpka, Welden graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Commerce and Business Administration in 1965. He is a retired Birmingham businessman who partnered in varies companies involved in real estate development, apartments, property management and the mortgage business. He was also a minority partner in the Birmingham Fire of the World Football League in 1991-1992.
Along with his many business and philanthropic interests, Welden is an avid sports fan. In 1997, he took a year off and traveled more than 120,000 miles to all fifty states while attending over 250 different sporting events – from the blockbusters such as the World Series and the Super Bowl, to the more obscure X-Games and the Iditarod. In 1998, he founded a small publishing firm, Will Publishing, LLC; and published a book about his extensive travels called Time Out! A Sports Fan’s Dream Year. A truly avid tennis player, he took the summer of 2003 and traveled to all 67 counties in the State playing tennis in every county while promoting the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. If there was not a tennis court available, he would play in the street; and on one occasion, he even played in the hallway of a county court house.
Welden has received numerous honors over the years including induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor in October 2014, the Alabama Humanities Award in 2010, as well as, the University of Alabama Distinguished Alumni Award in that same year. He was inducted into the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. He was honored as the National Governors’ Association Distinguished Service to State Government Award in 1992; and was named Alabama’s Citizen of the Year for 1987 by the Alabama Broadcasters Association. President George W. Bush appointed him as a Board Member to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 2006-2008. He also served as Captain of Birmingham’s Monday Morning Quarterback Club.
In addition to being Chairman of the Boards of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Scholarship Program, the World Games 2021 Birmingham Foundation, and Founder of the Birmingham Athletic Partnership, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Football Foundation, and the President of the Crippled Children’s Foundation. He is also serving his second term as a Board Member of the Alabama Humanities Foundation; and is a member of the President’s Cabinet of the University of Alabama.
He joins an impressive list of other Distinguished American Sportsmen including former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive (2015), Ron Froehlich (2015), Don Logan (2011), Rick Woodward (2010), Nick Bollettieri (2009), Joe Gibbs (2008), Michael E. Stephens (2006), Jim Wilson Jr. (2005), Roy Kramer (2003), Bill Ireland (2000), Larry D. Striplin, Jr. (1998), Charles O. Finley (1993), Former President George H.W. Bush (1992), Hugh Culverhouse (1991), and Bob Hope (1988).
The 48th Annual Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2016, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel. For more information, call the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame at (205) 323-6665.
Video interviews by A.P. Steadham