The 23rd Delaware Afro-American Sports Hall of Fame banquet was held April 16 at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover, celebrating 11 inductees from Delaware’s three counties reaching back as far as 60 years.
Vaughn Trammell, Cape Class of 1976, was recognized for the sport of track and field. Trammell, whose nickname is Cuzzie, brought five tables of cousins of all colors to the banquet room. Cuzzie was wearing a gold jacket with matching shoes and laughed off jokes that he robbed MC Hammer's closet.
Vaughn was a beast of a cross-fit athlete in the early ’70s of Cape consolidation – three high school buildings ago – when the hallways of Cape looked like training barracks for future professional athletes. There were Henry White, Henry Brisco, John Bishop, Purnell Ayers, Emory Howell, Tyrone Gibbs, Joe Gibbs, Jimmy Allen, Carlton “Snoop” Allen, Ronson Burton, Johnny Allen, Randy Johnson, Wayne Warren, Jay Reed, Jon Doney, Dennis Robinson and Lance White, just to mention a few Cape contemporaries of Vaughn.
Other inductees with downstate pedigrees include Emma Trammell, William West and Andrew Matthews from Seaford; Jeffery Fleming of Delmarva Football Officials Association; and Charles Adams of Milford. Inductees from other areas are Steven Timothy Davis, Charles H. Holley, Michael Irby, Latisha R. Moulds and David Snow.
Emma Trammell (no relation to Vaughn) played all sports, but excelled in basketball as a Blue Jay, where she led her team in rebounds. In later years, she found her calling as a coach and mentor, and she continues to work with kids in the Seaford School District.
West, 1968-72, played football and basketball at Seaford, earning first-team all-state honors in football in 1971. He later starred in basketball at Delaware Tech, leading the team in scoring, assists and rebounding in the 1972-73 and 1974-75 seasons.
Matthews starred in both football and basketball from 1996-99. He was a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and helped lead Seaford to its first state championship. He went on to a storied career at Delaware State for basketball and is currently head basketball coach at Seaford Middle School.
Fleming, rated No. 1 official/referee by the Delmarva Football Officials’ Association, retired after officiating high school and college football for 31 years.
Adams, a Milford athlete, was the leading scorer on the first downstate team to win a state basketball championship in 1971 for coach Dan McGinnis.
Davis was a standout running back at Delaware State College 1967-70, then played in the NFL with the Steelers and Jets. He was a member of the 1975 Super Bowl champion Steelers team.
Holley, inducted posthumously, was starting center on coach Gene Thompson’s 1978 Wilmington High School state championship team and threw the shot put for Spencer Henry’s state championship track teams in 1977 and 1978.
Irby, also inducted posthumously, played basketball for DeLaWarr 1969-70, and later at Del Tech and Maryland State College.
Moulds ran track for Delaware State University and later the U.S. Air Force; she is currently in her 26th year of active duty.
Snow was a first-team all-state player in football and basketball at Wilmington High School and state champ in the discus 1977 and 1978. He went on to play football at Duke University.
Each inductee was represented by several tables in the big banquet room. The stories circled and moved from table to table. In the small state of Delaware, conversations flowed like traffic through intersections and roundabouts, as everyone seemed to know half the people in the room.
After the induction ceremony and final prayer, the blending and mingling began. The Cape crowd lingered the longest; no surprise for the muppets from Sesame Street by the Sea.