Tuscaloosa police officer Lillie Leatherwood among newest inductees of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A longtime officer with the Tuscaloosa Police Department is one of eight Alabama natives who will be part of the incoming class of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inductees next year.

Lillie Leatherwood, who has been with the TPD since 1993, was a track and field star for the University of Alabama and an Olympic gold medalist in 1984 during the Los Angeles games as part of the United States’ 4X400-meter relay team. In 1988, Leatherwood won a silver medal as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team at the Summer Olympics in Seoul.

“I am truly honored to receive this award along with the other inductees,” Leatherwood said in a statement.

The other members of the 2021 class include:

  • Willie Anderson– former offensive tackle who played at Auburn from 1993-95 and was named an All-American once and All-SEC twice. He was selected 10th overall in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals where he earned four Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro selections. He only allowed 16 sacks in his 13-year career.
  • Hal Baird– former head coach of the Auburn baseball team from 1985-2000. The Tigers finished 634-328 during his time as coach. He also led the team to three NCAA Regional titles, an SEC Tournament Championship and two College World Series appearances. He also coached 10 All-Americans and 51 future draft picks including Bo Jackson, Tim Hudson and Frank Thomas.
  • Cliff Ellis– former head coach of both the South Alabama and Auburn men’s basketball teams. From 1975-84, Ellis led the Jaguars to three Sun Belt titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances and two NIT appearances. He then coached at Clemson for 10 years, becoming the school’s all-time winningest coach. In 1994 he returned to Alabama to coach the Auburn Tigers, winning 186 games, second-most all-time. His 780 career wins rank him 15th all-time in D-1 history. He now coaches the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team.
  • Steve Hudson– former University of Alabama golfer who was part of the school’s first SEC Championship-winning team in 1979. He played professionally from 1981-1987 and was named the Alabama Golf Association Player of the Year three times and the AGA Senior Player of the Year twice. He won the Senior Amateur Masters Championship three times, most recently in 2017, and has been ranked in the top 10 of Golf Week’s National Rankings in four different years.
  • George Teague– former safety for the University of Alabama football team that recorded 14 interceptions in his four years. He will most likely be remembered for his forced fumble that gave the Crimson Tide the momentum in the 1992 Sugar Bowl against No. 1 Miami. Teague was named first-team All-SEC and was a second-team All-American in 1992. He was taken 29th overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 1993 NFL Draft. He made the All-Rookie team his first year and played nine seasons in the league with the Packers, Cowboys and Dolphins.
  • Ben Wallace– the White Hall, Ala. native went from playing at a small community college in Ohio to winning an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. Wallace attended Cuyahoga Community College before heading to Virginia Union University. After going undrafted, he signed a contract with the Washington Bullets in 1996. He found his way to the Pistons for their NBA Finals run and earned plenty of accolades during his 16-year career. Wallace was named an all-star four times, won four Defensive Player of the Year awards and was on five All-NBA defensive teams. He is the Pistons all-time leader in blocks and has his No. 3 jersey retired by the team as well.
  • Demarcus Ware– former Troy University standout who currently has the ninth most sacks in NFL history. Ware began his career at Troy where he played a key role in the team’s transition to FBS play in 2001. He finished his time at Troy with the most tackles for loss (55.5) second-most sacks (27) in team history. He is a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection and the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year in 2003. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys 11th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. He played 12 seasons, nine with Dallas and three with the Denver Broncos. He helped a great Broncos defense win Super Bowl 50. Ware was named to nine Pro Bowls in his career and was a member of four All-Pro teams. In 2012, he was inducted into Troy’s Sports Hall of Fame.

This is the 53rd class to be inducted, bringing the total number of honorees to 377. This year’s class was selected by ballot through a statewide selection committee with votes counted by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

A special ceremony will be held for the inductees May 8 at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel.


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