It’s a special week at Model High as they are celebrating Homecoming, but it’s even more special for four former legends of Blue Devils Athletics.
Four new members will be inducted into the Model High Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Friday prior to the Devils hosting Coosa for their homecoming game. The group includes Sue Branton Jones Baker, Michelle Abernathy Lane, Andy Akin and Wayne Huntley.
Here is a little info on each of the new inductees and their impressive contributions to Model High sports:
SUE BRANTON JONES BAKER
Baker is a 1970 graduate, and she lettered in both basketball and tennis all four years of high school. In her senior basketball season, Baker averaged 25.1 points per game, including a 36-point game. She scored more than 600 points her senior year, including over 190 free throws and led her team to the finals in the Georgia Class A State Championship Tournament. She was named to both the All-Region and All-State Teams.
In tennis, Baker and doubles partner, Debby Camp, went undefeated in regular season play and swept the Region 3-A crown. They went on to win the 1970 Girls Class A Doubles Tennis Championship in Macon.
Baker later coached Model’s 10 and under, 12 and under and 14 and under girls basketball teams. Her coaching career highlight was winning the Girls 14 and under State Championship in Waycross. Of that championship, Baker states, “It was the most rewarding experience in my sports career. I now understand and appreciate why coaches put in the long, hard hours.”
MICHELLE ABERNATHY LANE
Lane lettered all four years in both cross country and track. She is a four-time region champion, two-time state runner-up and a two-time state champion, winning both the 1600 meter and 3200 meter State Championships in 1995.
While running on scholarship at Berry College, she was a 13-time All-American and is the most decorated runner in Berry College history. She placed fifth nationally in the 1996 NAIA Cross Country National Championships and finished second in the 5000 meter race at the 1997 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Lane topped off her career at Berry winning the national title in the women’s marathon at the 1999 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She graduated from Berry College with a degree in Biology in 1999.
Coach Akin began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the University of Alabama women’s basketball team. From 1979 until 1981, he coached at West Rome High School. He then returned to his alma mater, East Rome High School, as the head boys basketball coach from 1983-1987.
While at East Rome, he had three Sweet Sixteen, two Elite Eights and one Final Four appearance. From there Akin came to Model High School, leading the Lady Devils to five Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and two Final Four appearances, as well as one State Runner-Up.
Akin later coached the Model High boys team and led them to multiple state tournament appearances. He has been named the Georgia Tip-off Club Coach of the Year four times and is a member of the Rome-Floyd County Sports Hall of Fame.
Huntley came to Model High School in 1973 as the head basketball coach and an assistant football coach on the staff of Coach Ralph Tuggle. He was promoted to head football coach in 1975. His teams went 42-24-1 and made the state playoffs in 1978, 1979 and 1980.
The Blue Devils were ranked in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution State Top 10 Football poll for 25 consecutive weeks during those seasons. His coaching career culminated with the Model Blue Devils winning the 1979 Class AA State Football Championship, going undefeated at 15-0 for the season.
Huntley served as principal of Model High School from 1981-1990 and later as assistant superintendent of Floyd County Schools until his retirement.