Huntingdon College to induct six into Athletic Hall of Fame

Huntingdon College to induct six into Athletic Hall of Fame

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Huntingdon College will induct six new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend. The ceremony will be held in Ligon Chapel at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

The six inductees represent four sports and two different decades of Huntingdon athletics. This year's inductees are Keith Anthony (football, Class of 2013), Alyssa Eason (volleyball, Class of 2012), Bobby Eskew (baseball, Class of 1969), Mike Jones, Aleah Payne (softball, Class of 2012) and Abby Carter Stanton (volleyball, Class of 2012).

 

Huntingdon College Athletic Hall of Fame

Class of 2018

 

Keith Anthony ('13) is a native of Montgomery and is the son of the late Darren Anthony and Rosie Richardson. He spent the latter part of high school in Eclectic, Ala., where he attended Elmore County High, lettering in football, basketball and track. Although Keith enjoyed competing in all three sports, he quickly became passionate about the game of football. Keith was recruited by coach Derrick Ansley and offered the opportunity to join the Hawks.

He appeared in 10 games as a freshman and became a key contributor on the defensive side of the ball and special teams. He was named preseason All-American as a sophomore and emerged as a leader for his team. During his career, he was also named second- and third-team All-Region and Strength and Conditioning All-American. He was a team captain as a junior and senior. Following his senior year, Keith received an invitation to play in two All-Star games, earning the Defensive MVP award in the All-American Bowl.

After earning his bachelor's degree in sport management at Huntingdon, Anthony joined the Army National Guard. By the second year of his contract, he was promoted to Sgt. and moved to an infantry support unit in Anniston. Keith found a new passion in training and developing soldiers.

He founded a logistics company while working in a full-time management position in Auburn, and is earning his MBA at Auburn-Montgomery.

 

Alyssa Eason ('12), a native of Auburn, is the daughter of Kevin and Kim Eason. She graduated from Lee-Scott Academy, where she lettered in volleyball, basketball and softball. Although she received scholarship offers from other institutions in basketball and softball, volleyball was her passion.

In Alyssa's four seasons at Huntingdon, she started in 456 sets for the Lady Hawks as a setter/right side hitter. In 2008, Alyssa earned a spot on the Great South Athletic Conference's All-Freshman Team. In 2009, she received All-Academic honors. In 2010 and 2011 she was named to the GSAC All-Conference Team as well as receiving the GSAC's Sportsmanship Award in 2011. She ended her Huntingdon Career with 321 kills, 2,485 assists, 1,032 digs, 136 blocks and 136 aces.

Alyssa was a founding mother of Phi Mu women's fraternity and served as the ritual chair, intramural chair, and Panhellenic delegate. Alyssa majored in biology and was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society and Freshman Forum. She also served as a Diamond Doll for the Huntingdon Hawks baseball team.

After graduating in 2012, Alyssa taught high school science and coached volleyball, softball and basketball at Edgewood Academy for two years. She then decided to return to school, earning a degree in nursing in May 2017. She works as a Registered Nurse at Montgomery Neurosurgical Associates, serves as the chapter adviser for Huntingdon Phi Mu, and is an active member of the Huntingdon National Alumni Association.\ 

 

Bobby Eskew ('69) was born in McDonough, Ga., to Evelyn and Woody Eskew. 

He attended school in Henry County, Ga., where he played tailback for the football team. He was a guard on the basketball court and a pitcher on the diamond, winning 18 games to set an all-time Henry County High School record. He was named to All-State teams in football and baseball.

He graduated from Henry County High in 1965 and attended Huntingdon College his freshman year, having received a partial grant in baseball. He played in every game, either pitching or playing in right field. During his first year, he led the team in RBIs and tied for the most home runs during the season, which earned him a full scholarship to Huntingdon his sophomore, junior and senior years.

His first college victory came within one mark of being a no-hitter against Alabama College. During his time at Huntingdon, he led the Hawks to many victories with his pitching and hitting. Bobby graduated from Huntingdon in May 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. During his junior year at Huntingdon, Bobby married Carol Kittle, also from McDonough, Ga.

After graduation, Bobby spent 11 years at Cloverdale Junior High School, where he served as head coach and athletic director. During this time, he achieved a record 84 wins and 23 losses, highlighted by three city championships and five second-place finishes. He also coached the Cloverdale track team for 11 years and the wrestling team for three years.

During this time Bobby earned a master's degree in history from Troy State University while also officiating at the collegiate level. He and Carol had three daughters: Suzanne Eskew Chapman (Larry), Lisa Eskew Grande (Michael), and Alison Eskew Driskel (Shannon).

In 1980, he left Cloverdale for Jefferson Davis High School to teach history and coach the offensive line and the wrestling team. During the 1981 football season, he suffered a massive stroke while attending a coaches meeting at the high school. After being in a coma for six days, he passed away at the age of 34, September 20, 1981.

 

Mike Jones has become synonymous with Huntingdon baseball during the past 15 years. As the parent of Huntingdon Hall of Famer Tyler "Top" Jones, Mike became a member of the Huntingdon family as a loyal fan and booster of Hawks Baseball. What sets Mike apart from other loyal Huntingdon parents is the devotion that he has continued to demonstrate to Hawks Baseball during the 10 years following his son's graduation.

Regardless of where the Hawks are playing in the spring, chances are Mike is there, situated along the first- or third-base sideline. He's a quiet spectator, but vocal behind the scenes in providing financial support and leadership for the baseball program. Through his generosity, enhancements to the baseball complex have included the covered batting cages and the renovated stadium seating.

He is a lifelong resident of Morgan County. Jones graduated from Decatur High School and has been playing sports in Morgan County for more than half a century. As a youth and teenager, Mike participated in many summer programs and he credits many great people and coaches throughout his life who paved the way for his success. While attending Decatur High School, Mike lettered in track and basketball for three years and in baseball for four years.

Mike's stellar career in baseball at Decatur High School earned him a spot on the University of Alabama's baseball team. Mike had such an exceptional collegiate career that in August 1966, Mike signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates to continue playing baseball. In September of that same year, Mike was drafted into the Army and never got a chance to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. 

Mike is a respected family, church and business man in Morgan County.  He is a member of First Baptist Church and he has worked in the financial field with his business partner and father since 1970. He is married to Carol Smith Jones and they have two sons, Bradley and Tyler "Top" Jones '08.

 

Aleah Payne ('12), grew up in the small community of Beauregard on the outskirts of the city of Opelika, Ala., where her parents still reside. She attended Beauregard High School, where she excelled both academically and athletically in multiple sports. After graduating high school in 2008, she attended Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton, Alabama, where she played softball for two years and received an Associate in Applied Science degree in 2010. Upon graduation from JDCC, she transferred to Huntingdon College to continue her academic and athletic career.

While at Huntingdon, she served as team captain and played a major role in helping the Lady Hawks reach the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament for the first time. Aleah was a two-time All-Conference selection, a second-team All-Region selection as a junior, and the Great South Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a senior. She was also selected as the 2012 Huntingdon Female Athlete of the Year and received the Megan Cook Award.

Aleah set a record for stolen bases at Huntingdon in just a two-year career with 71 stolen bases in 79 attempts. She led the team in doubles, triples and home runs batted over .450. Aleah also accumulated academic awards in 2012, being named to the Dean's List of High Honors and to the Great South Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.

After graduating, career doors began opening at Huntingdon. She took a job with the Business Office, was soon offered a job with Dr. Lisa Olenik-Dorman as her assistant in the Sport Science and Physical Education Department and soon after was offered the assistant coaching job for the softball team. Aleah coached for three seasons with the Lady Hawks before deciding to move home to Opelika to work with her father and his business (Mark L. Payne Enterprises, LLC.), where she creates 3-D Computer-Aided Designs of cabinetry in homes, apartments, offices and businesses.

 

Abby Carter Stanton ('12), attended Huntingdon College from 2009-2012. Abby began her college career at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Desiring the community found in a smaller school, Abby transferred to Huntingdon, where she thrived academically and athletically.

At Huntingdon, Abby was a two-time Great South Athletic Conference Academic selection and a two-time All-Conference selection. As a junior, she helped lead her volleyball team to the GSAC regular season championship. She also joined the first year of the track and field program.

Off the court, Abby's academic achievement was recognized on the Dean's List of Honors and the Dean's List of High Honors. She served as a Huntingdon Ambassador, a member of Psi Chi and as president of Gamma Sigma Alpha. She was recognized for her leadership with membership in Omicron Delta Kappa and Order of Omega honoraries. She was also a committed founding member of the Theta Kappa Chapter of Phi Mu at Huntingdon College.

After graduating with a major in psychology and a minor in political science, Abby attended Duke Divinity School, graduating with her Master of Divinity degree in 2016. At Duke Divinity, she served as the Student Council co-president, overhauling student common spaces and initiating new student support systems.

After graduating from Duke, Abby spent three years as the director of family ministries at Soapstone UMC in Raleigh, N.C. She currently lives with her husband and one-year old daughter in Pulaski, Tenn., where she serves Martin Methodist College as an admission counselor and coordinates the vocational discernment program. She says she hopes that the students with whom she works will have the same life-giving experience she had at Huntingdon College.

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