Joseph B. Heldreth

Class of 1950 / Inducted 1976 / Football

Joseph B. Heldreth, who graduated from Emory & Henry College in 1950, was a four-year gridiron letterman. He was was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 for his accomplishments while on the Wasps’ football team.

Heldreth, a tackle, was captain of the 1949 team that went undefeated and played in both the Burley and Tangerine Bowls. That year, he was selected to the All-Conference team.

After graduating from E&H, Heldreth earned a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky and then embarked on a high school coaching career.   The legendary Bear Bryant was the football coach at Kentucky at the time and Heldreth was able to attend practices and absorbed a great a deal of coaching knowledge from Coach Bryant.  Following three years as an assistant coach, he served 18 years as head coach of the Martinsville Bulldogs, winning a number of district championships.

Heldreth’s civic activities have included the Boards of Directors of the local YMCA, membership in the local Touchdown Club and the Bulldog Boosters Club, the United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees), United Fund Chairman for city schools and a member of local, state, and national education associations.

Heldreth was recognized for his civic engagement and excellence as an educator with the 1971 American Educators Medal, lifetime membership into the Congress of Parents and Teachers, and honorary membership in Jaycees.

Heldreth, a Tazewell, Virginia native, was a veteran of World War II, having served two years in the 8th Air Force European theatre.  Heldreth passed away on October 19, 2015.