A member of the 1986 World Champion New York Mets, two married couples, a pitching phenom from 50 years ago and a former sports editor of The Sun Herald are among the latest inductees into the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame.
A total of 29 former players, coaches and volunteers who contributed to sports excellence in Biloxi were selected to join the 104 members previously enshrined in the sports Hall of Fame. They will be honored Sunday, Aug. 19, in a special ceremony at the Biloxi Civic Center beginning at 5 p.m.
Sixteen Biloxi High School graduates are among the inductees.
"We were overwhelmed with so many deserving nominees this year," said Cheryl Bell, Director of Parks and Recreation for the city. "It's been 23 years since the last time anyone was added to the Hall of Fame, and this year's class will easily bridge that gap in talent and accomplishments."
Leading the 2012 Class of inductees is Barry Lyons, who starred at Biloxi High and Delta State before carving out an impressive seven-year career in the major leagues with the Mets and three other teams. He is also one of four new inductees who will be joining immediate family members previously enshrined in the Hall.
This year's other inductees include William and Shirley Windham, the husband and wife coaching duo who helped train Biloxi athletes for the past 35 years; and Bruce and Annette Strong, two longtime Biloxi High athletics boosters. Another new Hall member is former pitching dynamo Chris Taranto of Notre Dame High School, who brought nationwide attention to Biloxi while pitching six straight, and nine total no-hitters in 1961 – national records that still stand today.
Another of three Notre Dame graduates being inducted is F. Cliff Kirkland, who was a standout baseball player at Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College and the University of Southern Mississippi. He also was an award-winning sportswriter and editor at the Mississippi Press, the South Mississippi Sun and The Sun Herald.
"The 2012 Class is quite impressive," said Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway, who was a 1985 Hall of Fame selection. "It covers a wide spectrum of outstanding athletes and also some of the city's most dedicated sports boosters whose support and contributions are the backbone of local athletics."
A total of 16 Biloxi High graduates will be inducted Sunday, along two from Nichols High School.
The rest of the 2012 Class of the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame are: Joe Balius, Mickey Bradley, Harold Breal, Floyd Franks, Arthur Gill, Randy Jenkins, Rodney Mattina Jr., Melvin Moncrief, Mike Sekul, Lloyd Seymour Jr., Mark Seymour Sr., Doug Thompson, Elbert Trone, Jimmy Wallis Jr. and Mike Wallis Sr. of Biloxi High School; Steve Broussard of Notre Dame High School; James Franklin and Marion Henley of Nichols High School; Ralph Lechner and Bernard St. Amant of Sacred Heart Academy; and James Smith Jr., T.J. Smith, Bruce and Annette Strong, and Sal Taranto.
Visit the online hall: To learn more about this year's class and to see a listing of all members of the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame,