Three new members of the Smith-Cotton Athletics Hall of Fame will be honored during a basketball doubleheader against Warrensburg today.
Smith-Cotton will honor the Hall of Famers following the Lady Tigers’ game against Warrensburg and before the boys game. The girls game tips off at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a meet-and-greet reception in the cafeteria beginning at 5 p.m.
Former girls basketball player Donease Smith scored 1,468 points and grabbed 901 rebounds for Brad Pollitt’s Lady Tigers, both marks still stand as school records.
Smith was named first-team all-state in Class 5 twice and as a junior led the team to a 20-7 record and the district final. As a senior, she scored 36 points in the district semifinal against Hickman.
She played at Central Missouri before going into the coaching ranks as an assistant coach with the Kansas City Legacy of the National Womens Basketball League. She is now director of basketball operations at the University of Memphis.
A basketball player at Smith-Cotton, Bud Thomas made his mark on the baseball field. At a time when the school did not have a baseball team, Thomas played legion ball, earning a selection to the 1945 Junior Legion All-American team. In the All-American game at the Polo Grounds in New York, Thomas and the western team managed by Ty Cobb faced the eastern team managed by Babe Ruth.
Thomas later played several years of minor league baseball before being called up to the St. Louis Browns in 1951. He made his Major League debut on Sept. 2 of that year as a late-inning defensive replacement in a game against Cleveland. On Sept. 16 he hit his one and only Major League home run off of Alex Kellner of the A’s at Shibe Park in Philadelphia.
He played 14 games with the Browns, starting four and had four at bats.
In 1952 he played for several minor league teams and later left baseball for teaching.
He was on the Smith-Cotton football team in the 1930’s, but Stub Dow is better remembered as the man who coached the team in the 1940s and 50s.
Dow’s Tigers won the conference title in 1946, 1948 and 1949. In 1953, Smith-Cotton’s first season in Jennie Jaynes Stadium, the Tigers added another conference championship. Smith-Cotton won another in 1955, going unbeaten in conference play and 8-1 overall.