Gilbert “Sonny” Holmes
Gilbert “Sonny” Holmes was a two-sport athlete during his time at Emory & Henry. Holmes, an alumnus of the class of 1958, was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 for his accomplishments in football.
Holmes was a four-year letterman and starting centerfielder in baseball, and was All-Smoky Mountain Conference two seasons. Holmes’ time on the Wasps baseball team was one of the best eras in E&H baseball history. During his four seasons, the team won over 66% of their games, including 1955’s 14-2 record.
He was also a three year letterman in football. As a halfback, he led the state in scoring in 1956 and earned All-State honors in both 1956 and 1957. The 1956 football team averaged the second highest rushing total in school history, averaging 284 yards per game. The team went 9-1 that year, winning the Smoky Mountain Athletic Conference and the Little Eight Championship. Holmes won All-Little Eight honors and All-Conference honors that season. In 1957, his senior season, he was a Little All-American Candidate in Sports Illustrated Magazine.
Though he attended college at a time when statistics were kept less meticulously, Holmes most likely graduated second on the list of Emory & Henry’s all-time rushers, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards in both 1955 and 1956.
Holmes retired from Philip Morris, USA with 35 years of service.