Home Local Sports Inaugural Raider Athletic Hall of Fame class inducted

Inaugural Raider Athletic Hall of Fame class inducted

Left to right: G.R. Kindley, Mike Thomas, Walter Ellerbe, George Whitfield, Whitney Wright, Len Haltiwanger, Tali Robich and Darryl Barnes. (Kyle Pillar, sports editor)

HAMLET — “Do you believe in Raider Magic?” was the question state championship-winning football coach Darryl Barnes asked that got an emphatic “yes” from a room full of Richmond Senior High School athletic supporters on Monday.

An historic night recognizing a dozen members of Richmond’s athletic community brought in the inaugural Raider Athletic Hall of Fame class.

The Cole Auditorium at Richmond Community College was transformed into memory lane, clad with green and gold decorations, state championship trophies and other memorabilia to commemorate the accomplishments of the inductees on and off the field.

A project in the making the last several years, the first of “many hopeful classes” was inducted by head principal Jim Butler, one of the members of the selection committee.

“Over 51 years, the athletic prowess, the legendary games, players and coaches, events and moments have really piled up,” Butler said in his opening comments. “It has made it long overdue that we should have a Hall of Fame.

“It was a daunting task,” he laughed of choosing the inaugural class. “It was hard to narrow down 51 years of athletics, but we think we have a great dozen. It’s an important night and I’m glad everyone is here to experience it.” 

Athletic director and head baseball coach Rob Ransom, also on the selection committee, turned the spotlight on the Hall of Fame members.

“We’d like to welcome the inductees and their families,” Ransom said. “They’re the reason we’re here. Those of you here tonight don’t need to be reminded of the strong athletic tradition at Richmond Senior High School — the numerous conference titles, regional titles and state titles.

“The folks we’re honoring tonight played a major role in establishing that tradition. We thank them so much for what they’ve done to make students realize the dream of becoming a Richmond Raider.”

Divided into three categories — coaches, players and legacy — the 2023 induction class featured two coaches, eight players and two legacy members.

Those inducted were coaches Barnes and George Whitfield, players Walter Ellerbe, Melvin Ingram, Kathy Ormsby, Mike Quick, Tali Robich, Franklin Stubbs, Mike Thomas and Whitney Wright, and legacy members Dr. Bill Haltiwanger and G.R. Kindley.

Each inductee was introduced with a biography of his or her accomplishments while at Richmond, as well as any college or professional accolades. Inductees received a commemorative plaque and a letterman jacket embroidered with their name and the class of 2023.

Below are video clips from each member’s acceptance speech, along with some of their accolades. They are in order by how they were presented.

Darryl Barnes

Barnes led the Raiders to five NCHSAA 4A state championships and compiled the highest winning percentage (.948) in school history with a record of 110-6 over eight seasons. He won eight conference championships and led the team on a 44-game winning streak from 1997-99, which was a state record at the time.

He’s been inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, was named the Associated Press’ coach of the year twice and was also a two-time principal of the year. 

Walter “Flip” Ellerbe

Called the “measuring stick” of running backs at Richmond by Butler, Ellerbe was a three-time state champion with the Richmond Raiders from 1988 to 1990. 

Still the all-time leading rusher in the school’s history, Ellerbe collected 4,345 rushing yards during his career.

Dr. Bill Haltiwanger

A name synonymous with Richmond athletics for decades, Haltiwanger was a major benefactor to the school. Known for his “Welcome Wagon,” Haltiwanger also provided custom mouthpieces for student-athletes as the local orthodontist.

Butler said, “Dr. Bill and his whole family have been such a big part of Richmond Senior… he loved the Raiders and was a huge supporter.” 

Haltiwanger passed away in 2018 and accepting the award on his behalf was his son, Dr. Len Haltiwanger.

Melvin Ingram

A three-time conference champion and three-time All-Conference selection, Ingram started his journey to the NFL at Richmond. He played in the 2006 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas and was the starting point guard on the basketball team.

Drafted in the first round by the San Diego Chargers in 2012, Ingram is a three-time Pro Bowler. He played for the Miami Dolphins last season and has given back to the community over the years through his annual football camp.

Ingram sent in a video message, and his sister Callie Ingram also spoke on his behalf.

G.R. Kindley

Another major benefactor to the Richmond athletics program over the decades, Kindley has helped with the construction and funding of several projects. A Korean War veteran and former North Carolina State trooper, Kindley owns Southern Builders and was the mayor of Rockingham for 20 years.

In 1993, he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Recently, he’s helped with the addition of indoor hitting facilities for the Richmond baseball and softball programs. Butler said Kindley has “changed the landscape of Richmond Senior High School athletics.”

Kathy Ormsby

One of three women inducted, Ormsby personified the term “student-athlete” when she earned valedictorian of her graduating class in 1983. A cross country runner and track and field athlete, Ormsby won the 1982 individual cross country state championship and ran at North Carolina State University.

At the time of her graduation from Richmond, she held the state record in the 800, 1600 and 3200-meter runs and was All-State. In 1986 at the Penn Relays, Ormsby set the NCAA record in the 10,000-meter run.

Not able to attend, Ormsby sent in an acceptance speech which was delivered by Butler. Her brother Mike Ormsby accepted her plaque and jacket.

Mike Quick

Before he made a career out of being a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles, Quick won a state championship at Richmond in 1978. That same year, he was part of the 4×100-meter relay team’s state championship and was the basketball team’s leading scorer as a senior.

Also drafted in the first round of the NFL draft, Quick started his professional career in 1982. He is a five-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and led the NFL in receiving in 1983 and 1985. Quick is currently the Eagles’ color commentator for the team’s radio network.

Quick sent in a video speech, and his brother Dennis Quick also spoke at the award ceremony.

Tali Robich

A multi-sport athlete, Robich played basketball, soccer and softball at Richmond. She was the 1997 and 1999 conference softball player of the year and the 1997-98 and 1998-99 basketball player of the year.

She also was a two-year All-Conference player in volleyball and golf. A member of the North Carolina East All-Star team in 1999, Robich went on to play basketball at East Carolina University. While there, she finished in the top 10 in three-point field goals made, assists and steals. 

A scholar athlete for four years at ECU, Robich served as an assistant basketball coach at Okaloosa Walton Community College, UNCW and East Carolina.

Franklin Stubbs

A name synonymous with the early success of Richmond baseball, Stubbs was a left-handed pitcher and power hitter for the Raiders. He was a three-time conference champion in high school and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round in 1982 after being an All-American at Virginia Tech. 

Playing nine MLB seasons, Stubbs won the World Series in 1988 as a member of the Dodgers. He also played for the Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers. He was the hitting coach for numerous MLB organizations and recently retired from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Speaking on his behalf was Whitfield, who was Stubbs’ high school coach at Richmond.

Mike Thomas

Part of the Raider football team’s dynasty under Barnes in the late 1980s, Thomas was Richmond’s quarterback during the 1988 and 1989 state title runs. He was a two-time All-Conference player and a USA Today First Team All-American. During his senior season, Thomas led the nation in punting in 1989 with an average of 43.3 yards per punt.

After graduating, Thomas signed a Division-I scholarship with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels’ starting quarterback in 1995, he threw for over 2,400 yards. Thomas was also drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 1990 MLB draft.

George Whitfield

Leading the Raider baseball team to three state championships in 1973, 1975 and 1976, Whitfield has more than secured his status in Richmond Raider coaching lore. As the coach for the Hamlet American Legion Post 49 baseball team, Whitfield won state titles in 1972, 1979, 1982 and 1983.

He was the national baseball coach of the year in 1969 and 1974, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 1980 and was inducted into his 10th hall of fame. As a head coach, Whitfield compiled a career record of 976-301 and has had 90 former players receive baseball scholarships.

Whitney Wright

Wright captained the Lady Raiders to back-to-back state golf championships in 2002 and 2003. A four-time conference champion and team MVP, Wright also finished as the state’s individual runner-up as a junior before winning the 4A crown as a senior. 

While at Richmond, Wright won three regional championships and was All-State for four years. She played college golf at Florida State University and was a contestant on the Golf Channel’s Big Break.

Having played golf all over the world, Wright credited the support of her community while growing up as a major key in her success.

The Richmond Observer will publish a photo gallery from Monday’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony later this week.