Brantley#039;s Person among Hall class

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Brantley's Chuck Person was one of eight people inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday in Birmingham.

Person was part of the 37th class, which included Rudy Abbott, Billy Atkins, Robert Brazile, Jeremiah Castille, Jim Fyffe, Bob Phillips and Tracy Rocker.

Person began a basketball legacy at Brantley High, where he played from 1972-1982. He averaged 26.1 points per game for his career as a Bulldog. He set the state record for rebounds in a game with 39.

"The Rifleman," as he was nicknamed, later went on to Auburn University to play for coach Sonny Smith.

While at Auburn, Person played with eventual NBA superstar Charles Barkley for two seasons and then earned All-America honors in his junior and senior seasons.

Pearson helped lead the Tigers to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances including a trip to the Elite Eight where Auburn was edged by eventual national champion Louisville.

When Person's career was over at Auburn, he ranked as one of the all-time leading scorers for the Tigers with 2,311 points.

Following his college career, the Indiana Pacers tabbed Person as their first-round pick and fourth overall in the 1986 NBA Draft.

Person went on to earn the NBA Rookie of the Year honor, averaging 18.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Person played six seasons with the Pacers and later skipped from team to team around the league for eight more seasons.

After hanging up his playing shoes, Person jumped into coaching and now has come back full circle to the organization that took him in the first round of the 1986 draft. Person now serves as assistant to the president of the Indiana Pacers.

Another fellow Auburn product to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday was the Southeastern Conference's only football player to win both the Lombardi Award for most outstanding defensive lineman or linebacker and the Outland Trophy for the most outstanding interior lineman in 1988.

The Atlanta native helped lead the Tigers to a 10-1 season in his senior year and was part of a defense that led the nation in fewest points allowed, yards rushing and total offense given up.

Rocker was later drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, where he played three seasons before playing in the NFL's European League.

Rocker then joined the coaching fraternity, where he is now defensive line coach at Arkansas.

The man who called those games played by Rocker and Person also was honored. The man who was the voice of the Auburn Tigers, Jim Fyffe, joined the 2005 Hall of Fame class, but that voice did not fill the convention center on Sunday.

Fyffe, who unexpectedly died in the spring of 2003, was the voice of Auburn University for 22 seasons dating back to 1981.

There were many times you could hear Fyffe say "Hello Leeds, Alabama!" after a thunderous dunk by Charles Barkley or "Touchdown Auburn!" when the Tigers scored six.

In addition to his duties at Auburn, Fyffe also did play by play for the USFL's Birmingham Stallions and the Arena League Columbus (Ga.) Wardogs. He also served as press box announcer for NASCAR races at Talladega, an author and sports talk-show host in Montgomery.