Middleton, Hendrix part of latest Spartan Athletic Hall of Fame class

Retired Richmond teacher and coach Jerry Cole (center) displays his Miss Ethel Kirkpatrick Spartan Award plaque. Cole received the award Saturday during the Spartan Athletic Hall of Fame banquet and induction ceremony at Richmond High School. Also pictured are (left) Jason Berning, Richmond R-XVI Board of Education president; and Russ Green, Richmond High School Alumni Association president. Green recently retired from The Richmond News as sports editor. (Photo by Shawn Roney/For The Richmond News)

By Shawn Roney/For The Richmond News

Richmond High School has bestowed a trifecta of tributes on Robert “Hoot” Middleton.

The school has named a track meet, the Hoot Middleton Invitational, and its running track at Spartan Stadium after the late athlete turned coach and teacher. And as of last Saturday night, he’s in the Spartan Athletic Hall of Fame.

Middleton, who died 19 years ago, was inducted posthumously on Saturday into the Richmond Spartan Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame during a ceremony and banquet at the high school. Middleton’s son Hal accepted the honor on his behalf.

“All these years later, to have him remembered is just a … (really) big honor,” Hal Middleton said during a short speech.

Rick Hendrix, a 1972 graduate whose play as linebacker and wide receiver helped Richmond win the 1971 Class AAA state football title, remembered Middleton during his own induction speech that night.

Hendrix, a three-sport athlete in high school, recalled a time during his freshman track season when he and teammate Lenvil Elliott were denied service in a restaurant because Elliott was black. Hendrix and Elliott told Middleton about it, and the two boys and the coach returned to the restaurant. Middleton spoke to the manager and, “We got to eat,” Hendrix remembered.

Middleton stood up for his players, Hendrix said.

The complete version of this story appears in the Tuesday, June 5, 2018, edition of


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