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"UT is the place I've dreamt of since I was a little girl, just being here and playing here at Tennessee," DeShields said in a university release. "God sometimes has strange ways of working, and now I just feel like I am where I am supposed to be. I will give everything I have to make sure those dreams I had as a kid are fulfilled. This is not about me. It's about we. I'm here to help this program win games and win championships."
DeShields' mother, Tisha DeShields, was an All-America heptathlete for the Tennessee women's track team in 1991, when she was known as Tisha Milligan. DeShields' father is Delino DeShields, a former second baseman who played for five major league teams from 1990 to 2002.
- Played High school soccer at Parkview from 96 - 98
- 2 time state champion 97 and 98 seasons
- All county senior year
- Played at Reinhardt College 98-2000
- National NJCAA runner-up 98
- All NJCAA region team -98-2000
- All NJCAA tournament team 98
- Finished degree at Georgia State University with a BS/education/mathematics 2004
- MS Walden University 2008
- Coached as assistant at Dacula High school 2011 season.
• Standout 6’4” forward at Buford High School
• Scored 2,174 points in high school career
• Led Wolves to State Runner-Up (1999)
• AAU National Championship GA Magic (1999)
• Miss Georgia Basketball (2000)
• Three-time UGA All-Conference (SEC)
• Under 20 USA National Team
• Wade Trophy Nominee
• SEC Freshman of the Year (2001)
• Drafted 12th overall to Los Angeles Sparks (2004-2009) Minnesota Lynz (2009) Chicago Sky (2010)
• Gold Medalist - U.S. Young Women National Team, Croatia and All-Tournament Team
• Sports Analyst – College Sports South
• Competes internationally - Italy, Spain, Israel, Turkey, Russia, Latvia
• Standout athlete at Norcross High School
• Considered one of Gwinnett’s best ever all-around athletes
• Holds Gwinnett County Championship Meet records in the 300M hurdles, 400M dash and the high jump
• Member of four relay teams that hold Norcross High records
• Three times All-County in track
• All-County in cross country
• Holds high school 400M dash
• Broke University of Tennessee program record in the decathlon as a freshman
• SEC Freshman of the Year
• Two-time captain
• Captain’s Award and Ironman Award at UT
• Davis/Zwingle Scholarship, rising senior demonstrating exceptional campus leadership
• Two NCAA team championships (2001) outdoors, (2002) indoors.
• NCAA champion in the decathlon - University of Tennessee (2003)
• Ranked No. 8 in the world, No. 4 in U.S. in decathlon while at UT
• Only four-time All-American in the decathlon for the University of Tennessee
• Active on Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and in student government
• Part of USA team that competed against Germany (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005)
• Qualified at U.S. Olympic trials (2004)
• U.S. Outdoor Track and Field National Championships – 4th decathlon (2005)
• Joined the Harvard coaching staff (2009)
Amanda Jo Weir (born March 11, 1986) is an American competition swimmer and Olympic silver medalist. She was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic Team, and won a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Born in Davenport, Iowa, Weir started swimming while the family lived in Apple Valley, Minnesota.
Weir holds many of the sprint freestyle age group records for USA Swimming, setting her first record at age 12, in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.17 seconds. She attended Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia, and led the Brookwood swim team to four consecutive Georgia Class 5A state championships.
At the 2004 Summer Olympics, Weir swam the third leg in the U.S. team for the Women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Leading after her leg of the relay, the U.S. team finished second to the Australians, setting an American Record with their finishing time. Weir earned a Silver medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay by helping her team qualify for the final.
Weir became a freshman at the University of Georgia in 2004, where her team dominated the 2005 NCAA championships, with Weir anchoring four of the unprecedented five UGA winning relays. She was recognized as the Atlanta Amateur Athlete of the Year for 2005. Weir left the University of Georgia after her freshman year and transferred to the University of Southern California in 2006. After a single semester at USC, Weir decided to end her college swimming career to begin swimming professionally.
At the 2006 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championship, Weir broke the American record in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 53.58.
At the 2012 United States Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska, the U.S. qualifying meet for the Olympics, Weir made the U.S. Olympic team for the second time by finishing fifth in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 54.41, which qualified her to swim in the 4×100-meter freestyle as a member of the U.S. relay team. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she earned a bronze medal as a member of the third-place U.S. team in the women's 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
David M. Pollack (born June 19, 1984) is a former American college and professional football linebacker who played two seasons in the National Football League (NFL), having suffered a career-ending injury in the second game of his second season. He played college football for the University of Georgia, was a three-time All-American, and was recognized as the top college defensive player in the nation. Pollack made 36 sacks during his collegiate career, third most in NCAA history. He was a first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals.
Pollack attended the University of Georgia, where he played for coach Mark Richt's Georgia Bulldogs football team from 2001 to 2004 and was a roommate of future NFL quarterback David Greene.
For three consecutive seasons, he was recognized as a first-team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) selection and a first-team All-American (2002, 2003, 2004)—twice as an NCAA consensus first-team honoree, having received the first-team selections of a majority of All-America selector organizations in 2002 and 2004. He is only the second player in Bulldogs team history to earn first-team All-American honors in three seasons, following Heisman Trophy-winner Herschel Walker.
• Standout in football, basketball and wrestling at Shiloh High School
• Gwinnett County Defensive Lineman of the Year twice at Shiloh
• Atlanta Touchdown Club Defensive Lineman of the Year as a senior
• Class 5A all-state high school selection
• UGA All-Conference (SEC) and first team All-American (2002, 2003, 2004)
• 36 sacks in collegiate career, third most in NCAA history
• SEC Player of the Year Award (2004)
• SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award (2004)
• Chuck Bednarik Award (2004)
• Ted Hendricks Award (2003, 2004)
• Lombardi Award (2004)
• Lott Trophy (2004)
• First-round NFL draft pick Cincinnati Bengals
• ESPN's College Game Day
• ESPN's Thursday Night Football
• Georgia record 7 straight youth state championships
• Two-time AAU national champion
• A three-time state champion at 171 pounds at Shiloh High School
• State champion sophomore, junior and senior year
• Compiled a four-year record in high school of 154-3
• First from Georgia to win Senior National Tournament (1999)
• Ranked No. 4 in the country at 189 by Wrestling USA magazine
• Named Georgia Wrestler of the Year (1999)
• Four-time NCAA qualifier at North Carolina State
• NC State - finished second in the ACC Tournament (1999)
• Won National Wrestling Coaches Association Tournament at 171 pounds (1999)
• Posted a 23-9 record with three pins, six major decisions, and a technical fall, leading to ACC championship (2001)
• Posted 18-4 record at 165 weight (2002 - 03)
• Two-time ACC champion NC State
• Established The Wrestling Academy in Gwinnett (2004)
• Trains approximately 500 wrestlers per year
• Standout athlete at Grayson High School
• Played basketball in Grayson’s original rock gym
• UGA letterman football
• UGA letterman baseball
• On first SEC baseball championship team at UGA (1933)
• All-Time University of Georgia Football Lettermen (1931-32-33)
• Catcher - Atlanta Crackers baseball team (1934)
• Defensive Tackle - Chicago Cardinals football team (1938)
A love of people, teaching, and sports allowed Terri Slide to bring groups of students together who might never have crossed paths.
Slide serves as the head coach of the eighth grade girls’ basketball team at Dacula Middle School. She is a product of the Gwinnett County school system, having attended Benefield Elementary, Sweetwater Middle, and Berkmar High schools before receiving a full scholarship and playing basketball for four years at Georgia Southwestern State University while earning her undergraduate and Masters degrees, both in special education.
“After I finished playing basketball in college, I never dreamed of coaching basketball. It was something that just fell into my lap,” said Slide. “Now, I have absolutely fallen in love with it. For four months out of the year my life revolves around the twelve girls that make up my team. We practice every day and I also offer additional individual shooting practices in the mornings for any players who would like to take advantage of the opportunity for shooting tips.”
Slide is also involved with the sixth and seventh grade teams, providing the opportunity to help develop the younger girls that will one day play for her. She also assists with the Dacula High School open practices for both middle and high school girls during the summer, in an effort to bridge the two programs and have cohesiveness between the two schools.
Currently in her thirteenth year of coaching, Slide also teaches students with severe and profound disabilities.
“Before I started coaching, I did not know many of the regular education students at Dacula Middle. As a special education teacher, our class is very involved and our daily schedule is very different than the rest of the school,” remembered Slide. “During my first year of coaching, I was shocked when I would walk down the hall and students would say “Hi, Coach Slide.” So many of the regular education students were recognizing me, and also began stopping by my classroom.”
Specifically, many of Slide’s players began to stop by her classroom to say hello to her and her students. Several of them began to volunteer to help with various things in her class.
“To see the interaction between my students and the players was wonderful. One year, I was even able to have one of my students help out as a team manager.”
“As much as I love coaching basketball, it has been most rewarding for me to have my players form relationships with my students.”
Alex Weekes was born on September 7, 1984 in Claremore, Oklahoma. His dream started when his mom, a single parent from Trinidad who played basketball herself, instilled a love for the game in her son. Moose still fondly remembers an AAU game as a teenager when he preserved a championship victory by running down an opponent from behind and swatting away a shot in the waning seconds of the game.
Moose became one of the top high school players in the country and went on to play at Middle Tennessee State, where he led the Blue Raiders in blocks as a freshman and broke the school record for most blocked shots in a game, with eight. He studied wellness and exercise science in college and would enjoy training other athletes following his playing days.
His pregame rituals? Listening to some country rap tunes while stretching, drinking some coconut water, and eating bee pollen. He will eat most anything on a pizza – but onions or anchovies are definitely out.
If he were a car, Moose says he would be an off-road jeep, because he can handle most anything thrown at him, and he is tough, dependable and built to last.
Alexandria Abryionna Nicole David was born June 2, 1991 in Anchorage, Alaska. She is the daughter of Alexander and Christinia David. Dria attended Presbyterian College. She graduated from college in 2013 with the prerequisites for vet school and has applied to the vet school in Auburn, Georgia. When Dria is not at basketball practice Central Gwinnett, she works at a daycare, studying for vet school and being around AAU, anything that still gets her in the basketball gym.
Shiloh grad Mitch Gill, 28, works for Gwinnett Medical Center’s sports medicine department and is the head athletic trainer at Dacula High School. He began working for GMC in Sept. 2013 after working previously with the volleyball, softball and women’s basketball teams at Austin Peay University and with the women’s basketball and tennis teams at the University of New Orleans.
#Gill, who played basketball at Shiloh, has a degree in sports medicine/athletic training from Valdosta State and a master of science in sports medicine, which he earned from Georgia State while he was a graduate assistant athletic trainer at Emory. He is married to Christa Waterman Gill, a former basketball player at North Gwinnett and Georgia Southern, and the couple has a 10-month-old daughter, Ella.
Timothy Carl Gustafson was born December 29, 1984 in Hollywood, Fla. He's the son of Carl and Jeannie Gustafson. Tim's grandfather, Carl, played semi-professional baseball as a pitcher.
In high school Tim was a four-year letterwinner as a shortstop and pitcher for coach Hugh Buchanon at Parkview High School ... Named the Gwinnett County Pitcher of the Year in 2002 and 2003 by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ... Helped Parkview win state championships in 2001 and 2002 ... Set a school record for wins when he went 12-2 with a 2.21 ERA as a junior ... Posted an 8-1 record and a 2.64 ERA as a senior, striking out 63 and issuing 11 walks in 55.2 innings ... Also lettered three years as a wide receiver and defensive back in football ... Named the Gwinnett County defensive back of the year and earned all-state honors as a senior ... Helped Parkview win football state championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002 ... Played for the East Cobb Yankees team that won the Connie Mack World Series in 2003 ... A four year member of the Parkview Honor Roll.
Kevin Christopher Minter was born on December 3, 1990 in Suwanee, Georgia, the son of Leonard Minter and Willie Mae Hollis. Minter attended Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, where he started on the football team for four years. In his junior year, he had 137 tackles. In his senior year, he had 113 tackles and was named to the Class 5A all-state first team.
Minter is an American football linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL). Minter played college football for Louisiana State University (LSU) and earned All-American honors. The Arizona Cardinals picked him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Mill Creek High graduate Alex Reed began his first year as a teacher at the school on August 5, 2014, nearly six years after he was paralyzed in a car crash after football practice. The University of Georgia graduate is teaching engineering classes with a focus on physics. Alex Reed's transformation from student, to student-teacher, to full-time teacher at Mill Creek, all in about five years, is complete.
Heather DeVan is a producer, model and actress. She started her career at the tender age of 15 modeling internationally when she was a student at Brookwood High School living in Lilburn. At 21, she moved to Los Angeles and began acting. Heather has graced the covers of countless magazines and is currently the spokesmodel for Curel body lotion. She works consistently on national television commercials and is the first recognizable face for Nutella spread.
Wendell Odom is the most respected author of Cisco networking books in the world. His past titles include books on the entry-level Cisco certifications (CCENT and CCNA), the more advanced CCNP, and the industry-renowned CCIE. His books are known for their technical depth and accuracy. Wendell has worked as a network engineer, consultant, instructor, course developer, and book author, and he has produced videos, software, and blogs related to Cisco certifications.
Born Justin Parks Roper on July 28, 1987 in Atlanta, Ga. Parents: Brad and Donna Roper. Justin, who began his high school career at Greater Atlanta Christian before transferring to Buford, played three seasons for Oregon before finishing his career at Montana.
The Valdosta State football program announced Wednesday that Justin Roper has been named quarterbacks coach. Roper was the running backs coach last season for fellow NCAA Division II member Findlay, where he coached Daiquone Ford to All-America honors while helping the sophomore to 1,789 yards and a school-record 24 rushing touchdowns.
“Being a native of Gwinnett County, Justin has a lot of connections in that area,” the VSU Blazers' Head Coach David Dean said. “We have always had a strong contingent of Gwinnett County players on our roster and his presence on our coaching staff should help us increase our ability to get players out of that area, which consistently has some of the top talent in the state.
Louis Tyrone "Lou" Williams was born October 27, 1986. Williams played at Snellville's South Gwinnett High School under Roger Fleetwood, where he was a four-time All-State selection, was named Georgia's "Mr. Basketball" during his junior and senior year and was voted as the "Most Athletic" Senior Superlative by his peers. As a junior, Williams led South Gwinnett to win the 5A Georgia State Championship. As a senior, Williams averaged 27.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game while leading South Gwinnett to a 28–3 record and fourth place finish in the state. Williams also won the 2005 Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award which identifies the nation's top high school player, and was named to the 2005 McDonald's All-American East Team. Both Williams and Mike Mercer, high school teammates at South Gwinnett High School, committed to play at the University of Georgia, but Williams declared for the 2005 NBA Draft. Williams is the second all-time leading scorer in Georgia high school basketball history.
Lou Williams Named NBA's Sixth Man of the Year - http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/news/2015/apr/20/south8217s-lou-williams-named-nba-sixth-man-of/
Michelle Christy Green was born on Aug. 29, 1982 to Paul and Lynn Green.
Michelle is Duluth High School graduate lettering in softball and basketball. She was on the 1999 AAAA State championship team in softball, a 3-time Gwinnett Daily Post Pitcher of the Year and a 2-time All-State in softball. Green attended the University of Georgia from 2001-2005. Her college career accolades include: 2003, 2005 SEC Champion, 2003, 2005 SEC Pitcher of the Year 2003, 2005 All-American, Career leader in wins, ERA, strikeouts, shutouts at UGA.
Green began her coaching career at North Carolina State University where her team was the 2006 (ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champions). Greene made the move to the University of Georgia leading the bulldogs to 2006-2009 (2009 World Series Appearance). She also coached at Oconee County High School from 2009-2011, and most recently at Gainesville High School, 2011-2014 before joining the Blue Devils at Norcross High School.
Maya April Moore was born on June 11, 1989 in Jefferson City, Missouri. She is the daughter of Kathryn Moore.  Moore had her first exposure to basketball at the age of three when her mother mounted a hoop on the back door of their apartment.
As a high school junior in 2005–06, she was named the Naismith Prep Player of the Year after leading Collins Hill High School to Georgia's Class 5A state championship. She was only the second junior to win the Naismith award Her first dunk was one-handed off an alley-oop pass in warm-ups at a dunk contest in Charlotte, NC in December 2005. She was 16 at the time.
In December 2006, she led the Collins Hill Eagles over Poly (Long Beach, California) by a score of 75–61, resulting in her being selected unanimously as the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament of Champions in Chandler, Arizona. In the title game of the "T-Mobile Invitational" in Seattle, she scored 48 points in a win over St. Elizabeth (Wilmington, Delaware).
In 2007, Moore became Collins Hill High School's all-time leader in points and rebounds. During her four seasons at Collins Hill, the school amassed a 125–3 record. Moore won 3 Georgia Class 5A State Championships. Collins Hill was ranked No. 1 and claimed the crown of National Champions in 2007 by USA Today (Ranked No. 2 in 2006 and Ranked No. 5 in 2005). Moore announced that she would play college basketball at the University of Connecticut.
After she led Collins Hill High School to a third straight Georgia Class 5A state championship she received her second Naismith Prep Female Player of the Year in 2007.
Nicholas Anthony Green...graduated from Duluth High School (GA) in 1997, earning all-county honors in both baseball and basketball; he was later inducted into the school's Hall of Fame...went on to play baseball at Georgia Perimeter College...he has a twin brother, Kevin, who previously played in the Braves' organization.
Kayla Tausche was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated from Greater Atlanta Christian School in 2004. She then attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, earning a bachelor's degree in 2008 in business journalism and international politics. She received honors for in-depth research for analyzing the way international newspapers covered the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule.
While at UNC, Tausche was a member of the cheerleading team. Tausche sits on the alumni board of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Stacy Marie Walker is a worship leader, songwriter, recording artist, and music educator. She has been performing and ministering on stages throughout America and Europe since the age of 3. She studied classical piano for many years and was the lead female role in notable musical productions. She has been in distinguished choirs such as the NARAS Grammy Jazz Choir, where she sang with world famous artists Jon Secada, Carlos Santana, Arturo Sandoval, Monica, recorded a CD at A&M Records, and was a guest of honor at the Grammy Awards. Married since 2001, Stacy is a former professional ballroom and latin dance instructor and competitor. She has been writing songs for over 20 years and has released 2 CDs thus far in her recording career. She was in the Top 5 for the Opening Act contest for Atlanta Christian radio station 104.7 The Fish. Stacy is currently leading worship, doing missions, teaching piano and voice lessons, and recording her Christian musical epic "TRANSCEND: The Trilogy".
Brian Michael McCann (born February 20, 1984) is an American professional baseball catcher for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for the Atlanta Braves from 2005 through 2013. McCann is a seven-time All-Star and a five-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
Kenneth Tyler Aurandt was born in Athens, GA on August 27, 1983. Tyler, a 2002 graduate of GAC and offensive assistant coach at Grayson since 2011, accepted the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach job for the 2014 football season at Parkview under first-year head coach Eric Godfree. As former player at Valdosta State, from 2002–2006, Aurandt was the Wide Receiver/Return Specialist. Accolades for the Blazers include: 2004 Division II National Champions, 2002 Division II National Runner-Up, 2002 & 2004 Gulf South Conference Champions, started in 18 games during career, and was a 4 Year Letterman (2003-2006). Tyler made the transition to a coaching position for wide receivers and quarterback for VSU immediately after graduating in 2006 until his move back to Gwinnett County in 2011.
The newest cast member of NBC’s Days of Our Lives based in NYC, Norcross native Chandler Massey is remembered as the lead in many Norcross HS plays. Chandler arrived in LA to begin classes at UCLA in international business and was approached by an agent to consider reading for a key part. A multi year contract soon followed. www.daysofourlives.com,
Update: Massey received the 2012 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series.
Nominated to the newly established Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame, Terry was a standout at Dacula. He finished his high school career with 7,100 total yards and 82 TDs, was among the top passers in NC State history with 5,925 yards and three bowl games to his credit, also a two sport star while at NC State, named to ACC’s 50th Anniversary baseball team.
Will Shelton, 30, is an assistant varsity football coach and head junior varsity coach at Mill Creek, where he also serves as an assistant track coach. He has worked at the Hoschton school for six years.
Shelton and his wife Bri, who live in Braselton, have a 3-year-old son, Brantley, and another boy, Landry, due in August. The 2002 South Gwinnett graduate started four seasons on the offensive line at Valdosta State, where he began as a 219-pound walk-on, and was part of the 2004 national championship team.
He is the younger brother of Matt Stinchcomb, a former offensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He attended Parkview High School in Lilburn, Georgia, where he was a USA Today and Parade All-American. On August 9, 2013, Stinchcomb began a stint as television analyst for the Saints' 2013 preseason games, together with Tim Brando.
Nominated to the newly established Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame, Matt is an All-American offensive tackle for UGA 1997-1998, 1998 William V. Campbell Winner as the top member of the NFF National Scholar-Athlete, first round pick of Oakland Raiders, 2003 Super Bowl, ESPN Studio analyst, and 2010 Nominee College Hall of Fame.
Nominated to the newly established Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame, Georgia Tech’s all-ACC first team, 1995 inductee GA Tech Hall of Fame, second in Tech history with 508 career assists averaged 19.2 points per game and 7.1 assists as a senior in 1989.
Michael Palmer (born January 18, 1988) is an American football tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Clemson.
Standout Crimson Tide defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington, #97 in photo, signed with the Dallas Cowboys in April 2010. Washington graduated high school early and is called a football “smart player” by NFL recruiting sites.
Capt. Daniel Luckett, won the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Awards program, honoring officers who demonstrate the MacArthur ideals of “duty, honor, country.”
A 2002 graduate of Norcross High, Luckett graduated from Auburn University, where he received his ROTC commission as an officer. He served a tour of duty in Iraq, where on May 11, 2008; Luckett was wounded when his patrol came under attack in Baghdad. On that day, he would become a double amputee (lower left leg and half of right foot) but his drive to lead soldiers only grew stronger. He returned to unit in March, 2009, to the 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Ky.
Since returning to the Strike Brigade in February 2009, Luckett has taken on a great deal of responsibility, where he served as the executive officer for his company and for more than a year has helped prepare his company for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. He and his unit left for Afghanistan in May.
The duo, owners of the production company Life is My Movie Entertainment, have produced a number of feature-length documentary films that offer an in-depth look at U.S. systems and history.
Born May 22, 1969, is an American character actor, best known for his roles in films such as Changeling, Dawn Of The Dead, Law Abiding Citizen, The Adjustment Bureau and Chronicle, the TV miniseries Generation Kill, and his starring role in the Criminal Minds spin-off series Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.
Clint Joseph Sammons born May 15, 1998,a graduate of Parkview, played professional baseball as a catcher for the Atlanta Braves. Sammons was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 43rd round (1295th overall) in the 2001 Major League Baseball Draft. He did not sign with them however, and instead attended the University of Georgia, where he was starting catcher in baseball. In 2004, the Braves selected him as the 191st overall pick in the 6th round in the June draft and eventually signed with the Braves.
Douglas "Clay" Cook (born April 20, 1978) is a songwriter, producer and musician who co-wrote several songs with Grammy-winner John Mayer including "No Such Thing", "Comfortable", and "Neon". Cook and Mayer's songwriting partnership was predominantly through Mayer's early career, as the songs he wrote with Mayer (with the exception of live releases) only appear on Mayer's first two releases, Inside Wants Out and Room for Squares. Cook and Mayer formed the band Lo-Fi Masters prior to Mayer recording Inside Wants Out. Cook is currently in the Zac Brown Band and was formerly in the Marshall Tucker Band and Y-O-U.
Aminu, a Norcross grad and forward for the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, was born in the U.S. but will participate in the first-ever Olympic basketball appearance of Nigeria, where his parents were born.
Amanda Jo Weir (born March 11, 1986) is an American swimmer and Olympic silver medalist. She was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic Team, and won a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Kibwe Johnson (born July 17, 1981) is an American track and field athlete who specializes in the hammer throw. He has represented his country at the World Championships in Athletics twice (2007 and 2011).
He is a two-time medalist at the Pan American Games, having taken silver in 2007 and improved to the gold in 2011 (where he broke the Games record). He set his personal best of 80.31 meters (263 ft 5.8 in) in 2011. He was the 2011 USA Outdoor Champion in the hammer throw and the 2008 USA Indoor Champion in the weight throw.
Michael Seth Marler (born March 27, 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia), is a former Arena football Placekicker. He played college football at Tulane. He was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League. In his career, Marler has also played for the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Storm.
A charter student at Georgia Gwinnett College, Andrea Ide was one of the college’s first 118 students when it opened its doors in 2006. With a bachelor’s degree in psychology from GGC and a master’s degree from Harvard University, Ide has opened her own cupcake business in Suwanee.
Having signed with IMG, one of the largest entertainment management companies in the nation, Dallas is now considered among the top male models in the world. Based out of NYC, Dallas travels the world and can be seen in countless publications.
The owners are two laidback Shiloh HS alum brothers from Snellville -- one a former prosecutor, the other a corporate data cruncher. Together they have revolutionized Atlanta's frozen treat business and helped spearhead the city's food truck movement.
Conway holds the Penn State University record for 119 consecutive extra points, bounced around the NFL, playing for six teams after being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1997.
Brad Lester is the founder of the training facility Athletes Elite Performance in Suwanee and Lilburn, but made his name in Gwinnett County as a standout running back at Parkview.
#Lester played at Auburn and has spent time in both the NFL and CFL over the past few years. In this installment of "Getting to Know...," staff writer Ben Beitzel talks with Lester about starting his training business, his days at Auburn and Parkview and the difficulties of breaking into the NFL.
Curran attended Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia, where he participated in multiple sports, including wrestling and track. However, it was on the Broncos’ football field where he became a player to watch.
Curran started for the varsity football team as a sophomore, playing both linebacker and fullback. While attending a football camp in Atlanta, he met former Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl linebacker Jessie Tuggle. Tuggle played an important role in Curran’s development as a linebacker, and continues to serve as one of his mentors.
Jeffrey Braden Francoeur was born in Atlanta, Georgia on January 8, 1984. Both of his parents, Karen and Dave, worked in the education field. Jeff attended his first Braves game in 1986. Jeff loved baseball, but it wasn't his only passion. He was one of those kids who was good at every sport he played. Blessed with the build of a linebacker, Jeff also possessed the speed of a sprinter and the quickness of a point guard. There was never much of a question about what he would end up doing for a living; it was just a matter of which sport he would choose.
Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Keppinger (born April 21, 1980 in Miami, Florida) is an American professional baseball infielder with the Tampa Bay Rays. He bats and throws right-handed. Known as a contact hitter, Keppinger has one of the lowest strikeout rates in Major League Baseball. He led the league in the "at-bats-to-strikeouts" ratio in 2008 (19.1) and 2010 (14.3). For his career (through 2011), he has only 142 strikeouts in 2,074 at-bats.
Ferrin was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia. She attended Brookwood High where she was the lead in many high school plays and was a member of the choir. Upon her graduation from high school, Ferrin attended the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina and the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drama.
Mansfield Chell Wrotto, Jr. (born October 12, 1984 in Liberia)graduated from Brookwood High School and went on to attend Georgia Tech. He is an American football guard who last played for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
One of the premier 800-meter runners to wear the purple and gold ... Wrapped up her career ranked No. 6 indoors (2:05.50) and No. 9 outdoors (2:03.68) on LSU's all-time performance list in the 800 meters ... Was an All-America performer in the 800 meters during her sophomore season in 2009 ... Earned a sixth-place finish in the 800-meter final at the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. ... Also earned two All-America honors as a member of LSU's 4x400-meter relay team outdoors in 2009 and 2010 ... A member of five SEC Championship teams with the Lady Tigers, including three SEC Outdoor titles (2008, 2010, 2011) and two SEC Indoor titles (2008, 2011) ... Also a member of LSU's national championship team in 2008 that took home the NCAA Outdoor crown in Des Moines, Iowa
Named to SEC Academic Honor Roll ... Became just the 62nd American and fifth UT athlete to eclipse the 8,000-point barrier in the decathlon while winning his fourth consecutive SEC multi-events crown (May 15-16) ... His 8,010-point performance at the SEC Outdoor Championships broke Auburn's Hutsell-Rosen Track record and included a collegiate-record run of 13.70, the second-fastest time by an American, in the decathlon 110 hurdles, in addition to school-record marks of 10.58 in the decathlon 100 and 53-6 1/2 in the decathlon shot put.
While attending Georgia Southern University, Joiner was discovered in Atlanta and became a model. He then spent the next few years steadily working in Milan, Paris and South America landing exclusive campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch, Prada, American Eagle and Levi's, just to name a few.
James Dashner is an award-winning author of books for young adult readers who is a native of Georgia now living in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. In 2010, his novel "The Maze Runner" was chosen for inclusion on the Georgia Center for the Book's list of "25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read."
Holt was born on born June 7, 1985 in Norcross, Georgia. She is the daughter of Cassandra Holt. Holt is joined by her two brothers, Cortez and DeMarkus Dennis. Holt attended Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Georgia. Holt averaged 19.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists as a senior while leading the Lady Mustangs to a 20–7 record. Holt was a first-team All-State performer as a junior when she led Meadowcreek to a 24–6 record and a runner-up finish in the 2002 Class AAAAA State Tournament.
Lance Krall (born December 9, 1970 in Monterey, California) is a Vietnamese-American comedian and actor, television writer, director, and producer. He became well known after his portrayal as "Kip" in the role in faux-reality show The Joe Schmo Show. He went on to create and star in The Lance Krall Show and Free Radio. Because his father, John Krall, was a Naval aviator, and his mother Yung Krall, was a spy for the CIA, Lance spent most of his life moving from country to country and state to state. Government and military life shuffled Lance and his family to California, Hawaii, Saigon, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Washington DC and New Mexico. Lance's family finally retired from government life in 1983 and settled in Georgia. Lance attended Shiloh High School and Georgia State University.
David M. Pollack (born June 19, 1982) is a former American college and professional football linebacker who played for just over one season in the National Football League (NFL), having suffered a career-ending injury in the second game of his second season. He played college football for the University of Georgia, was a three-time All-American, and was recognized as the top college defensive player in the nation. He was a first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. Pollack was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He attended Shiloh High School in Snellville, Georgia, and was a star in football, basketball and wrestling. In football, as a senior, he was a Class 5A all-state selection and the Atlanta Touchdown Club named him the Defensive Lineman of the Year.
Hage became the state's first Class AAAA four-time state champion in wrestling. He won countless matches and made it a point to never humiliate his opponent. He's considered one of the state's all-time great wrestlers and is the sports first member of the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame.
Charles Cobb Blackmon (born July 1, 1986) is an American professional baseball outfielder with the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball.
Blackmon grew up as a fan for the Atlanta Braves and was an outstanding baseball player at North Gwinnett High School. He transferred to Georgia Tech in the fall of 2006 after spending two years at Young Harris Junior College. He earned a baseball scholarship to Georgia Tech and graduated with a B.S. degree in business administration with a concentration in finance from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall of 2011.
Parham was born in Fitzpatrick Alabama, she also attended high school at Parkview High School. Parham attended college at the University of Evansville, graduating with a B.S. Degree in Theatre. Following college, she taught French for two years at T.L. Weston High School in Greenville, Mississippi as part of the Teach for America program. Lennon resides in LA with her husband who has become a high school principal in the area.
Jason Patrick Bulger (born December 6, 1978) is an American professional baseball pitcher. Bulger played college baseball at Valdosta State University. He is currently a free agent.
David Bruckner is an American independent film and commercial director. He’s best known for writing and directing the first Transmission of “The Signal,” a collaborative science fiction tale that premiered at Sundance and was released theatrically by Magnolia Pictures in 2008. Originally produced for under 50,000 dollars, the film was nominated for the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for achievements in Independent Film under 500,000 dollars.
Brandon Coutu, born September 29, 1984, and graduated from Parkview HS. He is an American football placekicker who is currently a member of the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. He was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Georgia. He has also been a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
Lanter was born in Massillon, Stark County, Ohio, the son of Joseph "Joe" Lanter and Jana "Jan" Burson. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1991 at age 8. Lanter graduated from Collins Hill High School in 2001. He played baseball, football, basketball, gymnastics and golf and was a batboy for the Atlanta Braves. He attended University of Georgia, majoring in sports business, but an interest in the film and television industry created a strong desire to pursue acting instead.
Jeff Backus (born September 21, 1977) and attended Norcross High School. He was a standout in football and baseball. He spent his freshman year at Marist School in Dunwoody before returning to Norcross, where he played his middle school years. In football, as a senior, he was a USA Today All-America selection, and was chosen by the Gwinnett Touchdown Club as the Gwinnett Touchdown Club's Lineman of the Year.
An all-around athlete at Brookwood, Andrew Hackney was a four-year letterwinner in track and field, a two-year letterwinner in football and earned one letter in wrestling. As a senior, he finished seventh overall in the weight throw (66-04.75) and 20th in the shot put(50-04) at the Nike Indoor Nationals, was 10th in the hammer (185-01) and 18th in the discus (157-04) at the Nike Outdoor Nationals and was 10th overall in the hammer (169-00) at the Junior Nationals ... As a prep junior, he earned ninth in the weight throw (57-04.75) at the Nike Indoor Nationals and was ninth in the hammer (164-11) at the Adidas Outdoor Nationals.
Kyle Maynard was born March 24, 1986 with a condition known as congenital amputation. His parents, Scott and Anita, had no idea their firstborn son would be born with a disability, but they made a critical decision early on to drive him to be as independent as possible — beginning what Kyle calls his “pursuit of normalcy.” And consequently, with basically two elbows he can type up to fifty words per minute on a normal keyboard, eat and write without any adaptations, drive a vehicle that has little modification, and live on his own in a three-story townhouse in Atlanta, GA.
Larry Highbaugh was born on January 14, 1950 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Larry is best remembered for his blazing speed on kick returns. Highbaugh attended the University of Indiana and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1971, and began his CFL career in 1971 as a defensive back for the B.C. Lions. He played 22 games with the Lions and signed with the Edmonton Eskimos part way through the 1972 season
Larry is currently a teacher at South Gwinnett High School.
George Rogers (born December 8, 1958) is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1980s. Rogers played college football for the University of South Carolina, earned All-American honors, and won the 1980 Heisman Trophy. He was the first overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, and he played professionally for the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins of the NFL. As a pro, Rogers rushed for over 7,000 yards. He is also known as the greatest player to ever play at the University of South Carolina.
In the late 1980's, Mary Ellen Blanchard was the American female breaststroke swimmer to watch. Between 1989 and 1991, she won 8 national championships. In 1989, she broke three American records for the 100 and 200 yard breast stroke. She still holds the American record for the 200 yard breaststroke.
Hawkins was a three-sport athlete in high school, playing softball, tennis and basketball. She scored more than 1,200 points and dished out more than 650 assists in high school, a Gwinnett County public schools record.
Al "Red" Wingo had an excellent season in 1925 with the 1925 Tigers, hitting .370, good for fifth in the league. Oddly, however, his .370 average was the lowest of the three regular outfielders on the Tigers that year, as Harry Heilmann hit .393 and Ty Cobb hit .378. Al's career major league batting average was .308, and he also regularly hit over .300 while in the minors. In addition, he showed some power in the minors: he had 20 triples in each of 1920-21 with Atlanta, and in 1922 with Toronto had 34 home runs.
A left-handed hitter, Ivey Wingo was known more as an offensive catcher. Still, he was a good handler of pitchers with a strong arm. But Wingo held records for most errors by a catcher both in a season and career post-1900. A contemporary account stated that most of his errors were on high throws that sailed over second base on stolen base attempts. (3) The strength of his arm was demonstrated in a Baseball Magazine article in May of 1914. In a chart it was shown that Wingo threw out 92 base stealers in 98 games, an average of 0.94 per game.
Sherill Baker (born December 3, 1982) is an American professional women's basketball player in the WNBA, most recently with the Detroit Shock. Baker attended Greater Atlanta Christian School, then attended college at the University of Georgia and graduated in 2006. Following her collegiate career, she was selected 12th overall in the 2006 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty and traded to the Los Angeles Sparks on June 20, 2007. She signed with the Indiana Fever on May 22, 2008 and played for Ramla in Israel during the 2007–08 WNBA off-season.
When Josh Wolff dominated on the fields of Gwinnett County as a kid, the possibility of someone from this area playing international soccer seemed more than a longshot. Even as opportunities opened up with the U.S. Youth National Teams, the speedy forward from Parkview wasn't sure when his options for climbing the levels of soccer would end.
Walker, a 2004 Buford grad, had one of the most decorated prep careers the county has ever seen. He helped Buford reach four state championship games, winning three titles. The Wolves compiled a 58-2 record during that time, including a state record 45-game winning streak.
Trimble, now the head golf coach at the University of Louisville, KY, was the 1998 state high school golf champion. She continued playing golf at Auburn University where she was a three-time All-SEC selection. In addition, she was a member of the 2002 U.S. Curtis Cup team and 2002 NCAA first-team All-American. Trimble played on the 2003 FUTURES Golf Tour and was ranked 52nd on the money list as a rookie.
Dunn's first pageant title was won in 1992 when she became Miss Georgia Teenager and she later placed fourth runner-up in the Miss National Teenager pageant. In 1999 she won the Miss Georgia USA 2000 title and went on to represent Georgia in the Miss USA 2000 pageant. During this period she made a number of appearances for charities and at schools. She has also held the titles Mrs. Georgia International 2004 and Mrs. International 2004.
A graduate of Brookwood High School, Dunn bought the "Winning Edge Model & Talent Agency" at age nineteen and coached pageant contestants and winners. She sold the business upon winning the title of Miss Georgia in 2000. Patti's current business is "The Crowning Touch".
Mill Creek graduate Roscoe Dash made a breakthrough in music scene when his non-album single "All the Way Turnt Up" was played all day back in 2009. He was only 19 years old at that time. Born as Jeffery Johnson, Jr., Dash hailed from Atlanta, Georgia. He was the baby of the family for he has an older brother, two half-sisters and two step-brothers. It was the older brother, Erik, who introduced him to Hip-Hop.
At only 23, GGC graduate Homero Gonzalez has won his second Emmy award. Gonzalez, of Lawrenceville, received the honor from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Southeast at a recent ceremony in Atlanta. He and members of a Telemundo Atlanta team were recognized for Outstanding Achievement: Television Crafts Achievement Excellence Category: 7 Team Coverage News Series “Acción Diferida.”
Middle School teacher, Ron Hickman, remembers Jonathan Massaquoi as a 5-foot-10 and 185 pound eighth-grader when he taught him 12 years ago as a Richards Middle School student.
He used to try to break my hand when he shook it,” Hickman said with a laugh.
Cherrington grew up in New York with his mother Cheryl Smith. He moved to Lawrenceville when he was a sophomore in high school and lived with his grandmother. At Central Gwinnett, he played under former head coach Ed Stokes and was a highly recruited player.
In April 2014, Amy was promoted from Good Morning America correspondent to news anchor. Amy was a co-host and national correspondent on NBC's Today Show in 2009. A former Miss Gwinnett County and 4th runner-up to Miss Georgia in 1994, Amy headed to UGA where she majored in journalism and began broadcasting in Athens. After graduation she spent four years at WCBD-TV in Charleston as a reporter and then headed for Washington, DC, where she was the early morning and noon anchor for WTTG-TV and covered stories such as the aftermath of 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Amy earned local kudos by returning to Brookwood HS 2010 to film a special segment from the halls of her alma mater.
Eric broke onto the national scene at the age of 16 when he swam at the 2000 Olympic Trials. Competing in the 200 and 400 IM against many of his heroes in swimming, Eric finished 10th and 11th respectively. Upon graduating high school two years later Eric became the first male in the history of the USA Swimming Scholastic All-American Program to graduate with a 4.0 GPA and win a national title.
Tim grew up in Gwinnett County since he was a child, attending GCPS at Lilburn Elementary, Trickum Middle and Parkview High. He stayed in Georgia and is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor of science in Industrial and Systems Engineering.
“The people behind the scenes are just as important as people in front of the camera,” Howe said. “That’s given me a deep understanding of how it works, and that’s what makes me valuable to different networks. If there’s a problem on pit lane, or if something is wrong with the truck, I have an understanding of it. Her competitive swimming career ended after a shoulder injury as a high school junior, but that’s when she focused on a broadcasting degree, and graduated from Georgia State University in 2007.
I loved my time at Georgia State,” she said. “But I really think the foundation of what I do came at Brookwood, where I developed my love of television and broadcasting.”