The Western Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame class for 2013 includes five former student-athletes representing three sports – pictured above from left, Christy Attebery Kennelly ’02 (volleyball, 1998-2001), Al “Mutt” DeGraffenreid ’77 MAEd ’80 (football, 1974-76; coach, 1977-96), Frankie King (men’s basketball, 1993-95), David L. Jones ’60 MAEd ’65 (men’s basketball, 1957-60), George “Ronnie” Scott ’67 (football, 1964-66). Honored Oct. 18-19 during Hall of Fame Weekend, the 24th induction class in WCU history also includes the 11th Patron Award recipient, Alden McCracken ’58.
Attebery Kennelly becomes just the sixth former Catamount volleyball player to be enshrined in the WCU Athletic Hall of Fame. One of just two WCU players to ever earn All-Southern Conference accolades in three seasons, she holds the distinction as both WCU’s and the Southern Conference’s all-time leader in kills, breaking the old school record in her junior season. The Las Vegas, Nev., native ranks as the only Catamount to ever eclipse the 2,000-career kill barrier, amassing 2,109 kills to hold both records. She averaged an astonishing 4.50 kills per set and continues to hold three of WCU’s top 10 records for kills in a single-season. Finishing her four-year career atop the school’s all-time digs leader board, she concluded her career in first– and currently ranks second –all-time in program history for career digs.
Despite his small stature, DeGraffenreid has been a huge part of WCU’s football program for 40 years. A three-year letter-winner from 1974-76 and a two-year starter in the defensive secondary, the undersized DeGraffenreid, who converted from wide receiver to defensive back, epitomized the fighting spirit of legendary coach Bob Waters. DeGraffenreid was a member of the 1974 defensive unit that finished the season ranked fourth nationally, and helped the Catamounts conclude the 1976 season ranked second in pass defense. Following his playing days, he joined WCU’s coaching staff in 1977 as a graduate assistant and embarked on a coaching career spanning 20 years. In 1980, “Coach Mutt” became a full-time assistant and spent the next 16 seasons under three head coaches –the late Waters, Dale Strahm and Steve Hodgin MAEd ’83. DeGraffenreid holds the distinction of being WCU’s first women’s track and field head coach. DeGraffenreid also served as a coach and administrator at Smoky Mountain and Cherokee high schools, retiring in 2006.
Although King played just two basketball seasons for WCU in the mid-1990s, his name factors predominantly among the all-time Catamount greats. A transfer from Brunswick Community College, where he twice earned Georgia Junior College Player of the Year honors, King was a unanimous two-time, first-team All-Southern Conference performer who twice claimed the SoCon scoring title. King is the only Catamount men’s basketball player ever named SoCon Player of the Year more than once, garnering the media’s top spot in 1994 and the coaches’ top player designation in 1995. In 1995, King was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers to embark on a 12-year career, first playing in the NBA with the Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers from 1995 through 1997. King later played professionally in Spain, Greece, Germany, France, Turkey, Israel and Venezuela. He returned stateside for a season with the CBA’s Gary (Ind.) Steelheads before retiring in 2007.
A fellow basketball standout, Jones enjoyed a solid career as a Catamount, averaging double-digit scoring and rebounding for three seasons while starting 90 games for teams that posted a 77-38 overall record. A four-year letter-winner, he was named three times to post-season all-tournament teams. He helped lead the 1958-59 Catamounts to a then-school record 24 victories as a part of a 24-4 overall record, claiming the North State Conference championship. Jones paced the Catamounts in scoring for back-to-back seasons in 1958-59, averaging 13.5 points per game, following it up with by scoring at a 17-points-per-game clip in 1959-60. He led the team–and the North State Conference–in rebounding in those two seasons. Jones spent 40 years teaching, coaching and in administration in Indiana and North Carolina. He moved into secondary school administration in Chesterfield County, Va., before retiring in 2000.
On the gridiron, Scott was a three-year letter-winner and three-time MVP for football teams that posted winning records in 1964, 1965 and 1966. He recorded more than 100 tackles in each of his three seasons as a linebacker, earning All-Carolinas Conference plaudits in 1965 and 1966. Beginning his career as a walk-on, Scott played both offense and defense as captain of the 1966 squad that recorded consecutive shutout victories over Elon, Mars Hill and Newberry, and led the Carolinas Conference in total defense. In 1965, Scott and the Catamounts finished 7-2, with the losses coming by a combined six points. His defensive unit held two opponents–Elon and Appalachian State–to negative yardage and paced the nation in rushing defense at 50.4 yards allowed per game. Scott went on to have a successful 35-year career at DuPont chemical company based as a leader in management and logistics.
“This is an outstanding class,” said Randy Eaton, director of athletics. “These people epitomize what it means to be a Catamount, and we are proud to acknowledge their contributions as competitors, as students, as alums and as members of society making a difference in our world.”
The Patron Award is given periodically to individuals making significant contributions that enrich WCU’s athletics program. This year’s recipient, Waynesville native Alden McCracken ’58, served four years in the U.S. Air Force before returning to the mountains. A two-year letter-winner on WCU’s football team, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. McCracken’s career included stints in the space-and-missile division of Chrysler Corp. and at Clemson University as associate vice president for business affairs and secretary/treasurer for the research foundation. McCracken was chief financial officer for the South Carolina Universities Research Education Foundations and director of the contracts and grants administration for Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. McCracken has been a member of the Catamount Club Board of Directors and was president of the WCU Alumni Association in 1985. In 2013, McCracken became a Trophy Club member in the Catamount Club, which represents a full out-of-state scholarship. He recently established the Linda and Alden McCracken Endowed Scholarship Fund to benefit student-athletes.