Johnny Orr
Class of 2015

Johnny Orr
Some of the best years in Athens High School’s athletic history occurred in the early 1950s, when its football and basketball teams both competed for state championships.

Look no further than the six former AHS players in the Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame for proof of Athens’ golden age of athletics.

better basketball player.”

Another former Athens High player from that time period, Johnny Orr, will join his teammates in the hall of fame as part of the 2015 Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame class.

Orr was a three-year letterman in basketball and football for the Golden Eagles from 1952-54.

“It was a good time to be an Athens fan,” said Martha Jo Leonard, who was editor at the school paper in 1954. “There was excitement all week and even more every Friday afternoon at the pep rally. The whole town would show up. It was just a fun, fun time. The night of the game, you could feel the excitement in the air. It was standing room only.”

Playing alongside Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame members such as J.C. Arban, Baxter Booth, Carrel and Jerry Daniels, Paul Hargrove and David Martin, Orr was part an Athens football team that won the Tennessee Valley Conference in 1953 and 1954.

“When Johnny and I were seniors, we lost one game during our last two years,” said Booth. “Johnny played (defensive) end and I played the other one. He blocked good and was a good receiver, but he was an even

After graduating from Athens in 1955, Orr had an opportunity to sign a football scholarship with the University of Tennessee, but opted to play basketball at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

At Athens, Orr scored more than 1,200 points, leading Athens to the state basketball tournament his senior season.

“He played center and was about 6-foot-4, which was pretty tall in those days,” said Booth. “Johnny Orr was our best player. Without Johnny, we wouldn’t have made it to the state, that’s for sure.”

Orr made an immediate impact at Union, playing in every game but two during his career from 1955-59. He finished his collegiate career with 976 points and 833 rebounds in 101 games.

Leonard, a Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame board member, remembers Orr most for what he was like off the court.

“He was our funny man. He would tell all the jokes,” remembered Leonard. “He was a comedian. He was tallest and skinniest one of all the guys. We were all really close and Johnny was everybody’s favorite.”