James River High School will induct six new members in its Athletic Hall of Fame during ceremonies this Friday, Oct. 6 at the school.
This year’s inductees are Sheila Proffit, coach and athletic director at JRHS for 45 years; Johnny Burrell, Class of 1996; Greer Sullivan, Class of 2008; Andrew Tucker, Class of 2010; Ethan Humphries, Class of 2010, and John Mays. Class of 1968.
A dinner and induction ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. with the football game against Giles County kicking off at 7 p.m.
The inductees will be honored during halftime of the football game.
John William Mays
John Mays is a 1968 graduate. Mays was a four-year letterman for the track and field team, and a two-year letterman for the football team. “Big John,” as he was called, was an All-District lineman his senior year. In track, he held the school discus record for 25 years.
After graduating from James River, Mays went to work as a machinist, from which he has since retired. He continued with his sports career, playing amateur baseball for several years, and he played slow-pitch softball for 25 years, winning several MVP awards. He has also been nominated for softball’s USSSA Hall of Fame.
Johnny Allen Burrell
Johnny Burrell is a 1996 graduate. Throughout his career as a Knight, Burrell lettered in football, wrestling, and track. He was on the All-Pioneer District football team as both a junior and a senior.
After high school, as the youngest player on the roster, he played one year for the Roanoke Rush minor league football team.
It was in track and field where Burrell made his greatest mark. He won the Pioneer District and Region C in both shot and discus from his sophomore year through his senior year. He placed at the state meet as a junior and a senior, finishing as high as fourth.
Burrell has been a certified welder since 1998 and has been married to his wife for 7 years. They have three children.
Kathleen “Greer” Sullivan
Greer Sullivan is a 2008 graduate. She lettered in bolleyball, basketball and softball for three years. She was the Pioneer District Volleyball Player of the Year her senior year in 2007, and was All State Honorable Mention as well.
Sullivan helped lead the team to its first Pioneer District volleyball championship in years.
She also earned All District and Region C awards in basketball and softball, and she was a member of the 2006 state champion softball team.
As a senior, Sullivan won the Arte Levin Lifetime Achievement Award, the James River Athletics Sportsmanship Award (which is awarded by the James River Coaching staff) and she earned the Scarlet Knight Distinguished Athlete Award.
Sullivan went on to receive her Bachelor’s from Virginia Tech in 2012, and earned her master’s in Health Administration from George Mason University in 2014. Currently she is the Executive Assistant to the Chief Nursing Officer at the Salem VA Medical Center.
Andrew Paul Tucker
Andrew Tucker is a 2010 graduate of James River High School. He was a four-year letterman in baseball, and a three-year letterman in basketball.
Tucker started for three years in basketball and all four years for the varsity baseball team. He earned Honorable Mention All-State recognition in baseball as a sophomore, and was Second Team All State as a senior.
Also as a senior, Tucker helped lead the varsity basketball team to the Division II state championship and then played in the baseball all-star game.
After high school, he went on to play baseball for Hampden Sydney College where he was the starting centerfielder for three years. Upon graduation in 2014, Tucker finished his career in the top 10 in school history for hits.
Presently, he is married to his wife Ashley and is an active duty infantryman in the United States Marine Corps.
Ethan Tanner Humphries
Ethan Humphries is also a 2010 graduate of James River. Humphries spearheaded the 2010 boys basketball championship team and was unquestionably the team leader.
He was a four-year starter for Coach Mike Goad, earning numerous awards along the way.
Humphries was a three-time member of the All Pioneer District First Team and the All Region C First Team. He was Honorable Mention All State in 2008, and Second Team in 2009. He was also the Roanoke Times Sizzlin Sophomore of the Year in 2008.
In 2010, he was the Region C Player of the Year and the Division 2 Player of the Year.
As the team’s point guard, Humphries helped lead the team to a 48-0 district mark during those four years, was a member of four Pioneer District championship teams and three Region championship teams. He finished his high school career with a team record of 100-12 under the direction of Coach Goad. Humphries also played in the VHSCA All Star Game after his senior year.
Humphries went on to play basketball at Roanoke College, starting as a freshman and finishing his career 12th all-time in assists. He was a co-captain his senior year.
He graduated Magnum Cum Laude in 2014 and went on to earn his master’s from Liberty this year in School Counseling. Currently, he is a school counselor at Cave Spring High School and coaches JV boys basketball.
Sheila Johnson Proffit
Sheila Proffit was a teacher, mentor, coach and athletic director here at James River for 45 years
Proffit came to Botetourt County as a student-teacher from Radford College in 1971, and essentially never left, retiring this past May.
While at James River, she coached girls basketball and track, and started the volleyball program in 1974. In 1980, she accepted a Fulbright Scholarship for a teacher exchange to Wulfrun College in Wolverhampton, England, where she both taught and coached boys volleyball.
In 2003, Proffit took over the Athletic department at James River, and was instrumental in helping to oversee the construction and upgrades to the athletic facilities at the school.
In 2012, she was named the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Athletic Director of the Year. S
Proffit is known all over the Roanoke Valley and much of the state for representing James River Athletics and having helped establish a wonderful reputation for interscholastic sports for JRHS.
She married husband Doug in 1984. They have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The two live in Roanoke and are avid Hokies fans.