D.H. Conley High School inducted eight people into its Athletics Hall of Fame during an inaugural ceremony at halftime of last week’s football game against J.H. Rose.

The eight inducted were Darlene Cannon, Pearl Frizzell, James Johnson, Keith Gatlin, Milt Sherman, Shelly Marsh, Cobby Deans and Bronswell Patrick.

Cannon was the first female basketball player from Conley to receive a Division I scholarship (she played at the University of North Carolina).

In 1983, she became the first female basketball player from Pitt County to play in the North Carolina Coaches Association’s East-West All-Star Game, and was selected as the 1983 Female Prep Athlete of the Year by The Daily Reflector.

Cannon also was selected all-conference in basketball, softball and volleyball and excelled in the classroom, where she finished in the top 5 percent of her class and earned the honor of being a Morehead Scholarship Nominee.

Frizzell moved to Conley in 1970 during the school merger after stints at G.R. Whitfield School and W.H. Robinson as a secretary. Over the years, she served as Conley’s bookkeeper, treasurer and secretary.

Possessing a tough love about her, she was always quick to help students, was a mentor to many staff members and connected with everyone.

Johnson was the first wrestler at Conley to win a state title in 1976. He became the first athlete to be an All-American at the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals.

He went on to wrestle at the University of Kentucky, where he compiled a 65-21 record and was a three-time first-place winner in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Johnson also won gold medals in the Pan American Championships and silver in the 1981 Pan American Games, won three U.S. national titles in Greco-Roman during his career, and finished second in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials.

He served as coach for several wrestling organizations and was an assistant coach at Kentucky, Arizona State and N.C. State.

Johnson was the first Kentucky wrestler inducted into the Wildcat Hall of Fame in 2016, and was inducted in the N.C. Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007.

Gatlin is considered to be one of the most talented basketball players ever to wear a Conley uniform. He was named the N.C. Prep Player of the Year in 1983, was selected to the Parade Magazine All-American Second Team and to the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Boys Game.

Gatlin averaged 25.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists, two blocks and 2.5 steals his senior year for the Vikings. He totaled 1,612 career points, shot 56 percent from the floor and 92 percent from the free throw line.

He then played for Lefty Drissell at the University of Maryland and professionally in the CBA, World Basketball League, United States Basketball League and Global Basketball Association.

After retiring from professional basketball, Gatlin started his coaching career at Greensboro Day School and since then has served as head coach at Veritas Academy and Wesleyan Christian Academy.

He was chosen by Tubby Smith in July 2018 to serve as an assistant coach at High Point University.

Sherman served as an outstanding coach in the Greenville area and D.H. Conley for 30 years.

He compiled a 470-114-5 record during his tenure as wrestling coach, placing him second in all-time wins in North Carolina.

Sherman led his team to the 3A state championship in 1995 and was named the state coach of the year. He produced 14 individual state champions, 43 all-state wrestlers and five high school All-Americans.

During his tenure, Conley claimed 16 conference championships and 10 regional titles.

Sherman has authored more than two dozen articles for coaching and other athletic magazines and penned the young adult novel, “Wrestling Spoken Here.”

He has numerous Hall of Fame honors including from East Carolina University, National Wrestling and the NCHSAA Class of 2020.

Marsh served as Conley’s first boys’ basketball coach and was athletic director from 1973-1984. During that time, he was also an assistant baseball coach and head girls’ track coach.

Marsh established the Conley athletics program following consolidation of G.R. Whitfield, W.H. Robinson, Winterville and Chicod schools.


He was 219-102 while at Conley and finished with more than 500 wins in basketball during his coaching career.

His teams won nine conference championships, the 1975 district title and was third in the state in 1975. He earned state coach of the year honors in 1974 and 1975.

Marsh led the East team to a win in the 1980 North Carolina Coaches Association East-West All-Star Game.

He has earned countless honors throughout his career that include the 1993 NCHSAA Proclamation of Achievement Award, 2004 Order of the Longleaf Pine, 2007 NCHSAA Regional Merit Award, 2008 Johnston County Athletic Hall of Fame, 2009 N.C. Athletic Director’s Hall of Fame and the NCHSAA Hall of Fame (2013).

Deans was the boys’ basketball coach at Conley from 1989-1997, where he led the Vikings to numerous Coastal Conference championships. His 1990 team won the state 3A title over Kings Mountain.

Deans posted a career coaching record of 444-214 in boys’ basketball and also served as an athletic director at North Pitt and athletic trainer at Conley during his career as a Pitt County Schools educator.

Previously, Deans served as girls’ and boys’ basketball coach at Bethel High School and North Pitt High School, and while at North Pitt, he led the Panthers to the 1971-1972 State Open Classification State Championship.

He was 96-3 at Bethel and 44-0 as girls coach at North Pitt.

Deans was a 2019 inductee to the NCHSAA Hall of Fame.

Patrick proved to be a legendary athlete in Pitt County during the 1980s. While at Conley, he excelled as football, baseball and basketball.

In baseball, he earned 1986 Pitt County Invitational MVP/All Tournament Team, All-Coastal Conference (1986, 1987 and 1988) and All-State First Team (1988).

In 1988, he became the first Conley athlete to be drafted professional out of high school when the Oakland Athletics selected him in the 23rd round of the Major League Draft.

He played with the A’s, Astros, Brewers and Giants organizations and made his debut in 1998, picking up four wins and striking out 4 batters in 78.1 innings.

His greatest impact on baseball came after his playing career was over, as he has helped numerous players from around the world realize their dream of playing in the big leagues. He has served as a pitching coach in the San Diego Padres organization, working with young prospects as well as coaching in the Mexican Pacific League.

TENNIS J.H. Rose 9, Havelock 0

The Rampants wrapped up a perfect 12-0 regular season and their third straight conference crown on Tuesday in a shutout.

Rose opens play the conference tournament at 10 a.m. on Thursday at River Birch Tennis Center.

Rose got singles wins on Tuesday from Edie Yount, Dabney Osborne, Emily Mitchum, Britton Seymour, Cecelia Batton and Carson Radcliff. The doubles sweep was carried out by the teams of Seymour/Radcliff, Christine Carter/Ginny Blount and Olivia Perry/Bergan Osborne.

D.H. Conley 8-8 South Central 1-1

Conley completed its regular season on Tuesday by sweeping a double header at South Central by identical scores of 8-1.

The Vikings finished their regular season with a record of 9-2 and will try to win individual honors at the conference tournament on Thursday.

SOCCER D.H. Conley 3, Northside 0

The Vikings shut out the Monarchs on Tuesday night with a pair of goals in the first half and an insurance tally in the second.

Two goals were scored by Ryan Davis and the other by Griffin Purvis, with assists from Henry Conway and Steven Cocolas.

The Vikings travel to Jacksonville on Thursday.

Contact Jim Green at jgreen@ncweeklies.com.