E.A. Laney High School inducted its latest Hall of Fame class this past week, spanning four decades and four sports within the Buccaneers Athletics program.
While Friday’s basketball matchup between Laney and Hoggard typically brings plenty of fanfare to Michael Jordan Gymnasium, a large portion of the crowd were in attendance to see five former outstanding Buccaneer athletes and two veteran and highly respected and loved coaches as the 2016 class was inducted to Laney Sports Hall of Fame.
Qwedia Wallace, Arnold Brown, Roxanne Mills, Marques Dickerson and Fred Allen were the five athletes enshrined, along with longtime coach Alan Sewell and veteran volunteer coach Carl “Pop” Bateman.
Known as the father of Laney Wrestling, Sewell led the wrestling Bucs from 1984-1996 and remains committed to the success of the program.
“Coach Sewell put this program on the map,” said Laney Wrestling Coach Dan Willis. “He has made every effort to make sure it remains there. I have known him since 1984, when I wrestled for New Hanover, while he coached at Laney. He’s been a lot more focused on the bigger picture of what Laney Wrestling can do for those involved.
“He sees the lives that it has changed and determined to make sure that continues.”
Sewell guided Laney to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Championship in 1992. He finished his career as head coach with eight Mideastern Conference Championships, six district championships and four regional titles.
Sewell was named North Carolina Coach of the Year in 1992, with a career record of 201 wins and 32 losses. In 2013, he had a dream realized by playing a key role in creating Laney’s new wrestling facility, attached to the athletic facilities adjacent to the football field.
“The community has adopted myself and my family over the last 32 years and treated us as their own,” Sewell said. “Northern New Hanover County is where I have spent over half of my life and my heart will always be in Buctown. Our students, teachers, administrators and community are the best.”
Wallace was a women’s basketball standout from 2003-2007. A three-time All-Conference player, she was named Mideastern Conference Player of the Year her senior season and selected to play in North Carolina East/West All-Star Game.
After Laney, Wallace received an athletic scholarship to Temple University, where she scored 1,190 career points at Temple. She currently plays professionally for Clube Uniao Sportiva Ponta Delgada in Portugal, averaging 14 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Her obligations in Europe did not allow her to be in attendance on Friday and her mom, Thomasina Wallace, received the award.
Brown was a letter winner in football from 1978-80. He received an athletic scholarship to North Carolina Central University and named First-Team All-CAA in 1984. Brown was drafted in the fifth round with the 128th overall pick by Seattle Seahawks. He played for Seahawks and Detroit Lions during his two-year NFL career.
Each year, Laney Athletics also honors a worthy member of the community for their service to the program. Bateman has volunteered at Laney from assistant coach to grounds keeper for the softball program 2002-present.
Roxanne Mills: Letter winner in softball from 1996-99. Four-Time All-Conference player. Pitched two-consecutive no-hitters in 1997. Pitched three perfect games during her high school career. Led Laney to a pair of state championships in 1997 and 1998. 1997-98 State Tournament Most Valuable Player. 1997 State Player of the Year.
Marques “Big Smooth” Dickerson: varsity basketball letter winner 1996-98. Team MVP ’97-98; Mideastern Conference Player of the Year in 1998; led Bucs to sectional runner-up in ’98. He finished his career second in school history with 1,239 points. Currently ranked fourth all-time in points scored and one of seven members of 1,000 point club.
Fred Allen: multi-sport athlete in basketball and football from 1985-87. Two-time All-Conference basketball player. Led Laney to 26-3 record and Mideastern Conference Championship in 1987. Holds conference record with 16 interceptions. Signed basketball scholarship to attend Pfeiffer College