After a fine career with Benjamin Russell’s boys basketball team, Mike Goggans continued his success at the next level. After playing at then-Alexander City Junior College, Goggans transferred to Birmingham Southern where he played for two seasons.
This week in 2007, Goggans’ hard work paid off as he was inducted into Birmingham Southern’s Hall of Fame. During his first year there, Goggans was already making a name for himself as Panther, leading the team with 13.7 points per game. He kept that going when he was named team captain for his senior season and earned a spot on the All-Conference and All-District teams both years there.
“He was really a grown-up among young people in every sense — mentally, physically and emotionally,” said Greg Walcavich, Goggans’ head coach at Southern. “His biggest asset was his determination and his willingness to do whatever it took to win.”
That same year this week, another local earned a big recognition as Horseshoe Bend’s Hagen Vickers, now Hagen Whiteard, was named to the AHSAA North-South softball team. At the time, Vickers was coached by her mom, Kim Vickers, who is now the assistant director of publications at the AHSAA.
“As her coach, it’s very exciting,” Kim said when Hagen earned the nod. “It’s not very often a player from a small school gets this kind of recognition. It really is a big compliment to a small school.”
Whiteard’s journey has come full circle as she is now the Generals softball coach, following in her mother’s footsteps.
Just a few years later, it was a chance at new beginning. In 2016, Reeltown graduate Rodney O’Neal also saw his journey come full circle as he returned to the area to start a new business.
After graduating from Troy, where he was a cheerleader, O’Neal took his talents back to Reeltown and opened PrimeTime Athletics.
“We have a lot of dance studios and baton and things like that, but I was a cheerleader and I realized that in our area we don’t have that for kid who want it,” said O’Neal on May 26, 2016 at Prime Time’s ribbon cutting ceremony. “So I came back and got the training through Troy University and implemented that here.”
Since then, PrimeTime has grown exponentially and now has locations in Tallassee and Jacksons Gap.
Another local finding a new beginning was longtime Benjamin Russell tennis coach Tony Franklin, who was hired to resurge the tennis program at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. Franklin was the coach at BRHS for 26 seasons before announcing his retirement this week in 2016. He was also the tennis pro at Willow Point Country Club for eight years.
“I’m honored, excited and very fortunate to have this opportunity,” Franklin said at the time. “I’ve wanted to coach at this level for a long time.”
State — May 24, 2006
After the 2005 season, the Troy baseball team felt like it got snubbed by the NCAA Tournament selection committee. The Trojans made sure to leave no doubt the next season as they breezed through the regular season, winning the Sun Belt in their first season and earning the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.
Troy still did not want to leave anything up to chance so it pushed for the automatic bid and were not denied. The Trojans reeled off four wins in four days including a 10-6 victory over Middle Tennessee in the championship.
Josh Dew hit two home runs in the victory, knocking in five runs. Blake Green, who was named the MVP of the tournament, knocked in two runs and finished with two hits in the title game.
National — May 25, 1965
Cassius Clay had already pulled off one of the best upsets in sports history by defeating Sonny Liston in 1963 and the two met again two years later but with a different name on the poster. Clay had since changed his name to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam but it did not affect his power in the ring.
Early in the first round, Ali knocked down Liston and stood over him which turned into one of the most iconic sports photos of the last decade. The count did not start right away as Ali refused to return to his corner but Liston stayed down for nearly 20 seconds and the match was called in Ali’s favor as he recorded a knockout in less than two minutes.
The match came with plenty of controversy as the press referred to the knockout as “the phantom punch” and there are still theories Liston threw the match for a variety of reasons.
International — May 25, 2005
AC Milan could not have asked for a better start to the 2005 Champions League Final against Liverpool. Legendary defender Paolo Maldini became the oldest goal scorer in the history of the competition when he volleyed home a shot within the first minute of the match to give Milan the lead.
Milan added to their lead with a brace from Hernan Crespo before halftime, seemingly burying Liverpool heading into the break. Liverpool just need a little bit of magic and it got it shortly after the second half began.
Steven Gerrard got the comeback started with a goal in the 54th minute and it was quickly followed by a goal from Vladimir Šmicer two minutes later. Liverpool found the equalizer in the 60th minute when Xabi Alonso scored off the rebound from a saved penalty.
The match stayed level for the final 60 minutes of regular time and extra time as the two teams entered the penalty shootout to determine a champion. Liverpool came out on top, scoring three of four penalty attempts, after Jerzy Dudek saved an attempt from Andriy Shevchenko.
— Sports writer Caleb Turrentine contributed to this report.