Thursday, August 2, 2018

New Hillcrest principal was sports standout in high school and Ole Miss

James Louis Gordon at Ole Miss.

Like many of you in the reading audience I read with great interest last week that Hillcrest High School’s new principal, James Louis Gordon, was a highly decorated high school and college athlete.

During his high school days, Gordon attended Brooks High School, which is located in Killen, a town of about 1,110 in Lauderdale County, just south of the Tennessee state line. During Gordon’s heyday, Brooks was a Class 4A school, and he was a standout in football, basketball, baseball and track.

After the 1985 football season, as a junior, Gordon was named as a first-team punter on the All-State teams compiled by the Alabama Sports Writers Association and The Birmingham News. He was also named to the All-Area Team for Class 4A-6A by The Times Daily newspaper in Florence.

As a senior, Gordon, who was eventually named to the Lauderdale County Sports Hall of Fame, was named as a first-team linebacker on the ASWA and Birmingham News All-State teams. He was also named the Lauderdale County Defensive Player of the Year after the 1986 season.

Gordon also excelled in baseball, basketball and track. In 1986 and 1987, Gordon played on Brooks teams that made back-to-back trips to the Final Four in basketball, and he received All-Area basketball honors as a senior. Also as a senior, he received All-Area honors in track for his dominance in the high hurdles event.

After high school, Gordon received a full athletic scholarship to play football at the University of Mississippi, under head coach Billy Brewer. According to lettermen records at Ole Miss, Gordon lettered as a sophomore in 1988 as a linebacker, in 1989 as an outside linebacker and in 1990 as a tight end. By receiving a letter as a sophomore in 1988, Gordon became an official member of the prestigious Ole Miss M-Club.

One of Gordon’s early career highlights at Ole Miss came on Oct. 8, 1988 when he was named Special Teams Player of the Week after Ole Miss beat No. 14-ranked Alabama, 22-12, at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. That game was played before a crowd of over 70,000 and was televised by TBS.

The following season, Gordon also received Special Teams Player of the Week honors after the Ole Miss-Arkansas game on Sept. 23. Arkansas entered that game ranked No. 8 and went on to win, 24-17, at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss. A crowd of 55,000 was on hand for that game.

As a testament to his versatility, Gordon switched from defense to offense and went on to start at tight end as a senior in 1990. Gordon was named the Ole Miss Special Teams Player of the Year as the Rebels went on to post a 9-3 overall record. Ole Miss finished third in the SEC that season and went on to face No. 12 Michigan in the Gator Bowl. Many sports fans in the reading audience will remember that the 1990 team at Michigan feature Desmond Howard, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy in 1991.

In the end, let me be among the first to welcome Mr. Gordon to Conecuh County, and I would like to encourage everyone reading this to extend him a warm welcome to the community. The principalship at Hillcrest High School is one of the most important leadership positions in the entire county and the more support he gets from the community, the better.

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