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Deserved fame came to Hunter Maddex

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Oct 2, 2020

The Athletic Hall of Fame at John Handley High School is named the Hunter Maddex Athletic Hall of Fame, after Shepherd College alumnus Hunter Maddex. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Colleges, high schools and even states have athletic halls of fame. Some have rules that read that athletes, coaches and contributors must wait 10 years after they’ve played their last game or coached for the last time before they can even be considered. All the various halls of fame bring in new members after a committee considers the credentials of any person or team they are vetting.

At John Handley High School in nearby Winchester, Va., the Athletic Hall of Fame even has a name. It’s called the Hunter Maddex Athletic Hall of Fame; not the “Judges’ Athletic Hall of Fame” or the “Handley Athletic Hall of Fame” — so well-liked and recognized was Shepherd College graduate Hunter Maddex, who coached for decades at the high school.

Maddex graduated from Shepherd in 1934, when most of the school’s alumni were leaving with a sheepskin from some part of the education department.

So well-known, even as he just graduated, was Maddex that he would later be selected to the Shepherd Athletic Hall of Fame. His name would not be affixed to his alma mater’s Hall, but his accomplishments in three sports at the school that was sending out educators were such that he was honored by the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference by placing him on that league’s all-time WVIAC football team in 1974.

He was actually Shepherd’s first All-America football player, being selected to that honor after gaining All-WVIAC recognition following the 1934 season.

It was in an era when more than just a smattering of athletes participated in more than one sport in a calendar year. Maddex also played basketball and was on Shepherd’s track team.

In a short time following his graduation from Shepherd, Maddex was hired at Handley High. He was an assistant coach in both football and boy’s basketball.

A few years later he became the head football coach just before entering the military during World War II.

His first football team recorded a 5-3-1 record and his second team was 1-6-0 before he went into the military and did not come back to Handley to coach again until 1946, when his Judges were 8-1-0. Before he relinquished the reins of the gridiron Judges, he had been in charge for 17 seasons and showed a career record of 97-57-10.

It’s doubtful the school’s athletic hall of fame would have drawn his name if Maddex’s varsity basketball record had not been considered.

After 26 seasons of leading the Judges, his overall career record was 302-190. Thus the name “Hunter Maddex Athletic Hall of Fame.”

Two athletic halls of fame. And one bearing his name.

Maddex came from an era when Shepherd proudly proclaimed the slogan “Shepherd students succeed.”