Carthage High School held their annual Athletic Hall of Fame this past week, and four new members were newly enshrined as the Class of 2022.

Dennis McLaughlin, Brad Thompson, Judy Butler Kelly and Mitch Norton were the four inductees that were honored this year.

The late Dennis McLaughlin was a coach at Carthage for 37 years. He coached football, basketball, baseball, track and golf. He coached football for 37 years and was an assistant on Scott Surratt’s staff on six state championship football teams.

“Coach Mac,” as he was often referred to, was the wide receivers coach during most of his time at Carthage — where he brought experience in playing the position well enough to earn scholarships to Texas A&M, Wyoming, North Texas, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Texas Lutheran among others.

In 2019 and two months after McLaughlin’s death, the Bulldogs would win their seventh state football title.

In a postgame interview, Surratt said McLaughlin was his “offensive coordinator, my eyes in the sky, a great motivational coach and our guy. This whole thing has been for him.”

McLaughlin was also an assistant coach on one of Carthage’s three state championship baseball teams.

Accepting the key to the city on behalf of McLaughlin was his wife Ginger and son Mark.

Brad Thompson is a 1993 graduate of Carthage, where he was part of the Bulldogs’ 15-1 team that finished runner-up at state.

He was a two-time first-team all-district selection before moving onto Oregon State, where he was a starter for two years.

Thompson signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.

Currently Thompson is married to Destree Lynn Thompson, and they have three children, Olivia, Devin and Crew. Thompson now lives in Salem, Oregon and works for Williamette Financial Group.

Judy Butler Kelly is a 1969 graduate of Carthage, where she was a three-year varsity letterman and an all-state defensive guard in 1968.

Kelly was all-district in both ’68 and ’69 when the Lady Bulldogs went 29-6 and 33-4 those two years.

Mitch Norton is a 1984 graduate of Carthage and has provided security for the school for many years and was honored for his many years of service.

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Sports Editor

Ryan Silapan joined the Panola Watchman in May of 2021 after previous stints with the Sequoyah County Times, and the Santa Cruz Sentinel. He's in his 11th year as a sports writer and in his free time enjoys golf and watching pro wrestling.