By Shannon McFarlin News Director
Paris, Tenn.—Two legendary sports figures in Henry County history were honored Friday night at Patriot Stadium—former Head Football Coach James M. Counce and former professional football player and local coach Bill Hudson.
With Henry County School officials making the presentations to their families, the fieldhouse was officially named “James M. Counce Fieldhouse” and the field was dedicated “Bill Hudson Field”.
Dedication ceremonies were held at half-time of the Patriots’ playoff game against Ridgeway.
Family members for both Counce and Hudson were on hand on the field for the ceremonies.
Public Address Announcer Jim Farmer told the audience about the careers of both men. He noted Coach Counce died in 2017, “leaving behind a reputation and legacy which extended far beyond the borders of Henry County. He is the Patriots’ all-time winningest coach and his record includes one undefeated regular season (the school’s first) and two perfect state championship seasons. He was the founder of the ‘Big Red Nation’ and created the ‘Go Big Red’ cheer so familiar to all Patriot fans.
Farmer noted that Counce “was an outstanding football coach who cared deeply for every young man who played for him. He was a man of character and personal integrity who was extremely loyal to his school and community.”
Hudson, Farmer said, “was one of the most decorated and celebrated athletes in Henry County sports history, was a true sports legend. He was a giant sports icon not just in Henry County, but to the sports world at large. He has been enshrined in three different Halls of Fame: University of Memphis, Henry County and the state of Tennessee.”
Hudson played professionally for the San Diego Chargers and the Buffalo Bills.
Farmer said, “Hudson’s life had an enormous impact on our county and community. He gave generously of himself to thousands of young people, teaching them academically, coaching them athletically, discipling them socially and modeling for them the life lessons needed for life after school.”
School Board President Jill Coker made presentations of plaques to the families, with Director of Schools Dr. Leah Watkins, High School Principal Dr. Michele Webb and board members also on the field.
Top photo: Head Football Coach James Counce III raises the plaque honoring his father; bottom photo: Bill Hudson’s widow Glenda holds the plaque honoring her husband with other family members. (Shannon McFarlin photos).