Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame inducts Enquirer writer
Long–time Hartselle Enquirer writer Clif Knight will be inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame when the banquet is held May 1.
Joe Bailey, who sits on the board that decides who is inducted into the Hall of Fame, said it is rare for a person who is not an athlete or coach to be inducted.
“It’s extremely rare for support personnel to be inducted,” Bailey said. “So, it’s quite an accomplishment for Mr. Knight.”
In addition to Knight, the new class includes Danville All-State basketball player Lori Breedlove Bailey, Cotaco star basketball and baseball player Howard Jenkins, Calhoun athletic director and former coach Nancy Keenum, Austin All-State basketball and baseball player Charles Lee Martin and Austin All-State basketball player Andrea Watkins-Orr.
Two others selected for induction in 2020 have asked to have their induction moved to 2022. They are Decatur All-State and Alabama football player Mario Morris and Brewer All-State and Tulane basketball player Christy Thomaskutty.
Knight, who is originally from Lineville, moved to Hartselle in the early 1960s. He covered high school and junior high school sports in Hartselle and Morgan County for more than 60 years, save the four-year term he served as the mayor of Hartselle, 2000-04.
Through the years, Knight was also editor and part-owner of the Hartselle Enquirer, as well as a ghostwriter in the late sixties for the Decatur Daily, where he covered Alabama and Auburn games – a job he calls a “highlight” of his career as a community journalist.
“I got to be in the press box with the big guys,” Knight said with a laugh.
The love of the game and his desire to give recognition to student-athletes are what Knight said were the driving forces behind his decades-long career.
“I was sports-oriented in high school and participated in football, baseball and basketball sparingly, but I spent more time on the bench than I did on the field or the court simply because I wasn’t fast enough and big enough to handle some of positions,” he said. “I was probably tough enough to be a lineman, but I was never big enough.”
When he went into writing, he chose community journalism “with a desire to be a part of a small community that enjoyed sports because I wanted to be involved in the coverage of those sports,” Knight explained.
“When I began my career, you were the editor, the reporter, the sportswriter, the photographer … It was a whole basket of things that you did,” Knight added.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever be nominated for something like this … I still feel a little bit embarrassed because I wasn’t the one out there on the field running the football or making a tackle, but it is certainly an honor and very appreciated.”
Knight has many memories of his years providing local sports coverage.
“When time came for the game, I grabbed my camera and my clipboard and took off,” he said. “The beauty of it was being able to walk the sidelines and watch the touchdown being run, plotting it on the notepad and writing the game and being able to report what happened as a means of giving that kid their recognition.
“I consider it to be an honor,” he added. “My family and I will have some satisfaction in knowing I was recognized in this way. I appreciate the thoughts of the nominating committee.”
Knight continues to write a weekly column for the newspaper and covers stories in Hartselle and Falkville.
He has been married to Geanell for 65 years, and together they have three children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
David Elwell contributed to this report.