By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Last month he performed his typical duties as a part of the selection committee of reaching out to the 2016 Class of Brian Hall (wrestling), Tausean Holmes (2008 Tennessee Mr. Football), Marlon Barnes (Trojan Football player to reach the NFL), 1977 Millington Baseball Team with Coach Ronnie Osborn and Coach Tommy Clifton.
But it was one member of the Class 0f 2016 Healy didn’t have to call.
“It means a lot because you normally don’t sit out to become a Hall of Famer,” Healy said of his selection. “Especially when you’re not an athlete or a coach or a part of a team. You’re just doing stuff. It’s weird because I was in the room when they bought my name up.
“From that standpoint, I’m glad my daughter Ashley flew in from Florida and surprised me,” he continued. “ You’re not going into the Hall of Fame without me.’ So that made it even more special. All my girls are here which makes it work out really well.”
Healy was on hand Nov. 22 in the William Osteen Gymnasium for the dinner and induction ceremony. All the honorees were present except Marlon Barnes.
Another former Trojan great running back was in the house that night in Tausean Holmes.
“One day Mark Healy called me while I was at work and said, ‘I have some good news to tell you,” Holmes said. “He told me I would be honored. I was so shocked. It’s amazing. I just feel so honored to mention with some of the greats of Millington and those running backs who have come through. Those great athletes, coaches and community leaders to be a part of it I just fell really, really honored.”
Recently the Trojan Football program recognition Alan Cross for his achievement of reaching the NFL with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Members of the Millington Football family like Holmes and his teammate from 2007 team were discussing the news.
“I was talking to Matt Baltensperger not too long ago,” Holmes recalled. “He and I ran into each other. He was talking about Alan Cross and how he was honored recently at a football game. Alan has worked hard and he talked about how he feels honored. He said there are other people who deserve this more than me. Alan Cross is a great player.
“Matt was telling me, ‘Man I think you should be honored with your jersey retired,’” he continued. “I don’t waiver on it too much. One day my time might come.”
Whether Holmes’ No. 21 is retired or not, people like Healy can recall the special moments he had in those uniforms. Healy was there for it all as an announcer and statistician.
As “The Voice of the Trojans” Healy has been in the press box at football games, on the sideline of Trojan hoops and behind the backstop at baseball contest for several years.
“I enjoy sports to begin with,” he noted. “So I figured, since I’m going to be there, might as well be doing something. That’s how I approached it when Coach (Tommy) Harrison came back here in the early 90s. He asked, ‘Would you just come up there and announce?’ I said, ‘OK, that will be great.’ It snowball from there.
“From there I was Booster Club president for 8 years,” Healy added. “You just sort of do whatever. You have to give back. There’s no sense in just take, take, take. You have to give. And if you can make the kids feel a little bit better and make the kids the focus of everything. You don’t do it for recognition, you just do it.”
Recognition came Holmes way in 2008 when he won the school’s first Mr. Football Award. The standout two-way player led Millington to an 11-0 start that season.
“It makes me feel real, real special,” Holmes said. “I remember Coach (Stan) Gatlin was at practice one day with the girls. We were up top and he said, ‘Congratulations.’ I said, ‘Congratulations for what?’ He was like ‘Yeah for being honored… as one of the nominees for Mr. Football.’ I said, ‘What is Mr. Football?’ I had no clue what he was talking about. I didn’t know how big it was until I got to Murfreesboro and went into that banquet hall.”
Holmes’ victory that day made him one-of-a-kind in Millington Sports history. And his induction into the Hall of Fame adds him into exclusive company.
“I feel like with the Mr. Football Award, this is a school accomplishment,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the coaches, the players and everybody’s support, I wouldn’t have won that award. In the same token, I think that kind of put Millington on the map. The next year they played in one of those Classic games. That gave Millington a lot of shine and I was glad I was able to do it. The Mr. Football is an award I’ll be able to carry to my grieve.”
Healy said the Hall of Fame is a special honor that will last a lifetime.
“I’ve lived in this town for 44 of my 54 years,” he said. “Could I have gone somewhere else? Sure. Could I be doing something else? Yeah. I believe in this school. I’m a lifelong Trojan. I sort of stole I bleed Black and Gold thing after I saw it on a Vanderbilt T-shirt. I brought it here one year when I was doing the football thing. Anyway to promote these kids, this school and this city I do.
“I go on vacation, I have my Royals shirt, my Chiefs shirt and then I have all of my Millington stuff,” Healy concluded. “I wear my hat and they want to know whether that is Michigan or Missouri. I say, ‘No, it’s Millington.’”
Class of 2016 Bios
If you could pick one word to describe the 2001 season for Brian Hall, it would have to be DOMINATING as he steamrolled the competition on his way to a 45-1 record and a state championship at 119 lbs. Brian was a two-time freestyle champion, two-time Greco-Roman champion, two-time Region 8 champion, a two-time state medalist, was named Best of the Preps Wrestler of the Year and finished with a career record of 165-23.
You name it, Tommy Clifton has done it at Millington. Player…from 1963 when he started playing in seventh grade until 1968 where he was selected All-Shelby County by 2 different organizations, Coach…Starting back in 1990 with the 7th and 8th grade Metro teams, then to the Freshman and Varsity teams at MCHS. His freshman team in 2006 were undefeated Shelby County Champions. In addition to his coaching duties, Tommy has been the caretaker of Mooney Boswell Field since 1999 continuing the tradition of having the best playing surface in all of Shelby County
Millington was known as “Running Back High” for a number of years and Marlon Barnes was one of the reasons why. Marlon was the leader on a very talented 1993 squad that was the first team in school history to earn a playoff berth and finished the regular season undefeated. During the 1993 season, Barnes was an All-Shelby Metro selection, All-State selection by three different organizations, West TN Player of the Year from the Lawrenceburg QB Club, Best of the Preps Football Player of the Year, was selected to the All-Southern team by the Orlando Sentinel and received the prestigious Walter Stewart Trophy from the Memphis Quarterback Club. Marlon rushed for almost 3,600 yds & scored 46 TD’s in his career with 18-100 yd games & 5-200 yd games in his career at Millington. Marlon went on to play at the University of Colorado before heading off to the NFL with the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders.
1977 MCHS Baseball Team
The 1977 MCHS Varsity Baseball Team was the first in school history to reach the state semifinals. The Trojans finished 25-7 that year despite losing 4 of their top 5 hitters and their top 3 pitchers from the previous season. Under the direction of Head Coach Ronnie Osborne and Assistant Coaches Phil Rix and David Hughes, numerous club records were set that year and 5 Trojans were selected to the All-District team.
Tausean Holmes is the first player in school history to be awarded the prestigious TSSAA Mr. Football award for his play during the 2007 season in the state’s largest classification, 5A. Holmes was simply spectacular that season as he led the Trojans to their second straight undefeated regular season. Tausean had 132 “touches” on the year and averaged 15.3 yds every time he touched the ball while scoring 28 TD’s. For the season, Tausean scored a TD every five times he touched the ball and he did all of this while playing only 7 full games. He was an All-State selection by both the sportswriters and coaches and was chosen All-Shelby Metro as well. Tausean was selected to the Orlando Sentinel All-Southern team that season and continued his career at Arkansas State.
Good and faithful servant is an accurate description of Mark Healy. Mark has been a dedicated supporter of MCHS since his days as a student. For more than 20 years Mark has been the voice of the Trojans, giving Millington the most professional and accurate sports voice in the region. Mark was an active member and president of the Trojan Football booster club. He maintains the current and historical statistical data for the football program. He also hosted a popular Friday night high school football talk show for the Mid-South area on Sports56 WHBQ. He was essential in the establishment of the MCHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Mark is a true asset to our school and athletic community and we are grateful for his service.