The Tallassee High School Alumni Association will have its Hall of Pride Induction Ceremony on Thursday, March 14 at the Tallassee High School Auditorium beginning at 10:00 a.m.
The 2019 inductees are: Coach Derrick Ansley, Class of 2000; Dr. Henry Lee Taylor, Class of 1952 and Dr. G. Larry Whatley, Class of 1958. This year's service award inductee is Mrs. Marjorie Carter.
Derrick Ansley - Ansley is a 2000 graduate of Tallassee High School, where he had a stellar career as a football player for the Tallassee Tigers. He earned an Honorable Mention All State spot his junior year (1998 season) and All State honors his senior year (1999 season) from the Birmingham News and the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Derrick also played in the Alabama-Mississippi All Star game his senior year.
Derrick Ansley earned a scholarship at Troy University, where he played defensive back from 2001 to 2004. He finished third in the conference in interceptions (9) his junior year, and was named to the All-Conference team in 2004. He graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism.
Derrick joined the coaching staff at Huntingdon College in 2004 and worked with the defensive backs. He helped guide the Hawks to their first winning season and first play-off game. The Hawks had four winning seasons out of the five Coach Ansley was there (2004-2009).
Coach Ansley left Huntingdon and accepted a position as a graduate assistant with the University of Alabama football program while working on a master’s degree in sports management. The Crimson Tide won the National Championship for the 2011 season. They defeated LSU 21-0 on January 9, 2012 to claim the title. The 2011 Crimson Tide defense led the nation in scoring defense, total defense, pass defense, and pass efficiency defense.
After spending a year at the University of Tennessee, Derrick took a job at the University of Kentucky as cornerbacks coach (2013-14) and secondary coach (2015). Kentucky set a school record of 6 defensive touchdowns and forced 23 turnovers, which placed them second in turnovers in the SEC in 2015.
Coach Ansley returned to Alabama in 2016 as the defensive backs coach. The team made back-to-back appearances in the College Football Playoff and won the National Championship for the 2017 season. They defeated Georgia 26-23 on January 8, 2018. The Tide defense led the nation in scoring defense both seasons, ranked 4th nationally in passes defended (85), 7th nationally with interceptions (19), allowing just eight passing touchdowns, and were 6th lowest in allowing passing yards per game at 165.7 per game. Coach Ansley was named the #16 recruiter in the FBS in January of 2018.
In January, 2018, Derrick Ansley accepted a job with the NFL Oakland Raiders as the defensive backs coach. His boss, Oakland Raiders head coach John Gruden, says “Ansley will be a star in his profession..” The Raiders organization recognized Coach Ansley as the position coach of the year for the 2018 season.
Dr. Henry Lee Taylor - Taylor, a 1952 graduate of Tallassee High School, earned both his Bachelor of Science degree, in 1956, and Master of Science degree, in 1957, from Auburn University. In 1965, he earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Florida State University. While at Auburn University he completed the ROTC program, which allowed him to enter the U.S. Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Taylor had two highly successful careers—a 23 year career in the United States Air Force, where he retired as a full Colonel, and a 21 year civilian career as a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.
He published over 100 scientific articles and presented 125 papers at scientific conferences in the United States. In 1965-1967, while stationed at Holloman AFB, Alamogordo, New Mexico, Major Taylor conducted psychological experiments on Rhesus Monkeys who would precede the first humans flying in the U.S. Space Program.
During his Air Force career, he served 15 months in Vietnam with 720 hours of combat flying as a navigator on the C130 Transport Aircraft.
Taylor served at the Pentagon for six years in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked directly with congressional staff.
For two years he served as the Commandant and Academic Instructor at the Foreign Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala., in 1979-1980. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for combat valor in Vietnam, five Air Medals, Legion of Merit, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Defense Commendation Medal. From 1993-1997 he served on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board and reported directly to the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
Taylor retired in 2001 and built his retirement home near Camp Rockmount, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Black Mountain, NC.
He worked at Camp Rockmount for Boys in 1956, when it opened, and returned to Camp Rockmount in 1969-1987 and 1989-2001 to work pro bono as a consultant. There he established the Camp Rockmount Alumni Association in 2001 and served as its first Executive Director. During his Association with Camp Rockmount, he was one of three recipients to receive the alumni association’s lifetime membership awards.
Taylor was a member of the Rotary Clubs in Urbana-Champaign, IL and the Black Mountain Rotary Club for several years and served each as president. Some of his professional membership associations are American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, American Institute Aeronautics and Astronautics, American Aviation Psychologists, Aerospace Human Factors Association, Aerospace Medical Association, Phi Delta Kappa, and Sigma Xi.
Dr. George Larry Whatley - Whatley, a 1958 graduate of Tallassee High School and a 1962 graduate of the University of Alabama, earned a bachelor’s degree in music with a major in Music Theory and Composition in 1966. He also earned a Ph.D. from Indiana University with a major in Music Theory and minors in Composition and Music History/Literature.
While at Tallassee High School, the young musician composed a march, “Capstone Colonel.” It was premiered by the University of Alabama Summer Music Camp band in 1957 and was subsequently performed by the University of Alabama “Million Dollar Band” during half-time at an Alabama football game. In the 11th grade, one of Whatley’s compositions was chosen the winner in a contest for the Alabama Association of Student Councils and was selected to be the official song for the AASC. He also kept busy his senior year, composing “Camaraderie” and “Voice of Brass.”
As a professional composer, he composed a catalog of approximately 50 works for band, orchestra, solo voice, solo instruments, and chamber music. His works include “Britton Lane,” a 1966 concert march, “Introit and Alleluia,” (1968), commissioned by T.A. Britton, Jr., Symphony No. 1, 1988 (“The Forest and the River”), commissioned by Brevard College to be performed during the first year of the opening of the Porter Center for the Performing Arts, and “The Pride of Tallassee” (March, 2013), commissioned by the Tallassee High School Band Boosters for the Tallassee High School Band. He also composed other ceremonial music for Brevard College.
Articles and reviews by Dr. Whatley have been published in The American Music Teacher and The Transylvania Times. He also wrote a chapter on “Music Theory” for the Athlone History of British Music, edited by Nicholas Temperley, 1980.
Whatley is a member of the Southeastern Composers’ League and the Society for Music Theory. His compositions have been performed at the SCL Composers’ Forum, and four of his marches were performed by Alabama All-State bands. Much of his music has been performed at the Brevard Music Center. In 2016 the Brevard Wind Ensemble and the Brevard Collegiate Singers performed the complete band and chorus setting of the Alma Mater, the first performance of this setting.
Whatley was designated the Iva Bush Seese Distinguished Service professor of Music Theory at Brevard College and was inducted into the Brevard College Alumni Hall of Fame, after his retirement.
Marjorie Fondren Carter - Carter was born at home and raised on a farm in Bibb County, Ala. She and her twin sister, Ida Belle, weighed five pounds together!
Marjorie graduated from Bibb County High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Alabama. Her job took her to Macon County, Alabama, where she worked for the Welfare Office, riding her bicycle all over the area to call on her clients.
It was here that she met a local farmer and World War II veteran, John C. Carter, Jr. They soon married and settled down to raise a family. The Carters had five children over the course of 11 years. Through Mrs. Carter’s work with the Home Demonstration Club, they were nominated and named Alabama’s Outstanding Family by the Birmingham News in 1963.
Her new adventure in life, teaching, began in 1964 when she got her emergency teacher’s certificate and began teaching elementary school at Macon Academy Lower School in Shorter. The following year, she earned her teacher certification at Auburn University and was taught 10th grade English at Tallassee High School. She was soon drafted to sponsor the student newspaper, The Talla-Hi News, and was able to put her degree in journalism to work. Marjorie spent countless hours, including weekends, guiding her journalism students through the process of producing a newspaper from start to finish. Students wrote the articles, sold and designed the ads, took the photographs, wrote all the editorials, did the layouts, and distributed the papers at school.
The Talla-Hi News won many awards during the years that she was the adviser. Several editors were named Student Journalist of the Year by the Alabama High School Press Association. Many went on to work in journalism or broadcasting, or became educators.
In addition to her service to Tallassee High School, she was a member of the Alpha Delta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, serving as chapter secretary and president. Marjorie was a member of Alabama WIFE and National WIFE (Women in Farm Economics). She was editor of The Wifeline for 10 years and served on the Alabama Agriculture in the Classroom Steering Committee and the Rural Health Committee. She was also a member of the Alabama Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association, the Macon County Farmers Federation, and was an adult Sunday School teacher at Bradford’s Chapel United Methodist Church for 30 years.
Mrs. Jo. Venable and her late husband, Jack, published the Tallassee Tribune for years. Mrs. Venable said that Marjorie Carter “taught her students punctuation, grammar, photography, and how to write stories and headlines. She also taught them kindness, respect for others, responsibility, truth in word and deed as well as many other character traits.”