YORK — Two former York athletes who attained greatness in their high school careers will be inducted into the York County Sports Hall of Fame Tuesday.
Basketball legend Ivory Latta and former York High football great Jimmy Mac Wallace, among others, will be recognized during ceremonies in Rock Hill.
The four other York County inductees are Rock Hill High tennis champion Ron Davis; Northwestern High all-state football and track star Marty Long; Rock Hill High all-state football and track star Hugh Mauldin; and Fort Mill High tennis coach Willie Ware.
Latta, who scored 70 points in her final home game with the York Comprehensive High School Lady Cougars, is the all-time career scoring leader in South Carolina. She led the Lady Cougars to a state championship and a state finals appearance during her star-studded career at YCHS.
Latta holds state records for career points, 4,319; points in a season, 1,248; season free throws, 273; and 3-pointers in a season, 165.
Arsonia Stroud, the York Middle School eighth-grade girls basketball coach who mentored Latta during her six-year varsity career at YCHS, talked about the price Latta paid to achieve greatness on the hardwood.
“Ivory had God-given talent but people do not know how hard she worked to reach the top – the number of hours she devoted to offseason preparations to meet the challenges of the sport and the physical demands of the game,” Stroud said. “No one outworked Ivory.”
Paula Blackwell, head coach of the Lady Cougar basketball team and assistant coach when Latta embraced the high school game like none other, also lauded her accomplishments.
“Ivory is at the stage of her career where Hall of Fame-type awards from her high school and college career start rolling in,” said Blackwell. “She has worked so hard to stay focused and stay and stay grounded.
“I am so proud of Ivory. She’s not nearly finished.”
YCHS athletic director Steve Boyd agreed.
“Ivory was a great high school basketball player,” said Boyd. “Above all, she is an outstanding person from a great family, never forgetting her community and helping kids in so many ways.”
After spending the last two years with the WNBA Tulsa Shock, Latta has signed as a free agent with the Washington Mystics.
“I am beyond excited about playing for the Washington Mystics,” she said during a recent interview with the Enquirer-Herald. “Their coach will give me the opportunity to take my game to the next level in the WNBA.”
Wallace, nicknamed “The Steer,” was a running back for the York High School Green Dragons. Wallace had blazing speed as a member of the 1957 unbeaten Green Dragon team, labeled one of the best teams in the state in any classification.
Teaming with Shrine Bowl fullback Wayne “The Horse” Hollis, Wallace and his teammates upset Lancaster in 1957, a team led by bullish All-America fullback “Mule Train” McGuirt, who would later lead the ACC in scoring.
Wallace, who is retired from coaching, earned all-state honors and was the state 100-yard dash champion.
After competing at the college level and getting a close look from Clemson University coaching legend Frank Howard, Wallace eventually worked his way back to York High School as head football coach and returned Green Dragon football to the glory years.
Wallace, a master tactician regardless of the sport, also became head boys basketball coach at YHS, guiding the Green Dragons to an appearance in the state championship game.
Wallace had an impact on the lives of many high school athletes during his coaching career, including Steve Boyd and Jimmy “Moose” Wallace.
Boyd, athletic director and former head football coach at YCHS, was acclaimed as one of the top football coaches in the Palmetto State during his high school coaching tutelage.
“Coach Wallace was a motivator and had a passion for coaching,” said Boyd, a member of the South Carolina High School League’s executive committee. “He was a great coach and a role model.”
Boyd said Wallace “inspired me to become a coach. He is the reason I do what I do today.”
Moose Wallace, who became a high school football coaching icon at Northwestern and now teaches physical education at YCHS, played football for Jimmy Mac Wallace at Rock Hill High School.
“Coach Wallace was not a good coach, he was a great,” Moose Wallace said. “He was like a daddy to me.”
“With his knowledge and passion or the game, he could’ve coached in the NFL,” he said.