LITTLE VALLEY—Former West Valley High School sports standout Jim Hebdon was Inducted into the 16th annual Cattaraugus County Sports Hall of Fame April 7.
Hebdon competed in multiple sports while at West Valley, and was one of 14 honored, serving as the lone West Valley representative. CCSHOF Chairman Mark Benton said Hebdon’s dedication to sports made him a candidate.
“James Hebdon was a four-sport athlete at West Valley Central School who competed in track and field, basketball, volleyball and football. He began his high school career as an eighth grader on the school's track team,” Benton said as opening enshrinement remarks.
Already a member of the athletics hall of fame in West Valley, Hebdon is believed to have participated in 17 varsity seasons in five sports, according to West Valley computer lab teacher and alumni Bryan Hansen, who coordinated ticket sales to the CCSHOF enshrinement on the school’s behalf.
Hansen said Hebdon competed in five years of track, four years of volleyball, three years each at football and basketball and two years of bowling during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
A 1981 West Valley graduate, Hebdon received his highest honor as the 1981 recipient of the Billy Kelly Award. The Billy Kelly awards were annually bestowed beginning in 1956, by the now-defunct Courier-Express newspaper, for recognition as a top performer in several sports in remembrance of Kelly, who was a sports reporter that began with the newspaper around 1900. Hebdon was distinguished with his Kelly Award for football.
Hansen also stated that Hebdon not only competed successfully in all five of the sports, but also achieved the level of first-team all-star at least once in every one of them.
Hebdon was one of six Class of 2012 West Valley Sports Hall of Fame inductees and was joined by current S-GI assistant football coach Rick DeKay, who coached Hebdon at West Valley at several sports.
“The thing that I remember most about [Hebdon] was that he hated to lose,” DeKay said. “He had this bushy head of hair and was extremely competitive. When he was upset, there was no hiding it ... his facial expressions were legendary.”
West Valley has had only two classes in its hall of fame. DeKay was enshrined as a coach, while Hebdon is just one of seven athletes in the WVSHOF.
Benton also acknowledged Hebdon’s active participation in the Cattaraugus County Alumni Basketball League as something he continues to be involved with in regard to athletics endeavors after high school.
This year’s other inductees to the CCSHOF included Mike Wilber (Allegany-Limestone), Todd Conley (Randolph), Steve Brundage (Salamanca), Chuck Struble (Hinsdale), Jana Landahl (Pioneer), Dave Waugh (Portville, posthumously), Dick Stitzel (Gowanda), Bob Ring (Olean), Harley Butler (Franklinville), Tim Miller (Cattaraugus-Little Valley), Joseph Delity (Ellicottville, posthumously), Adam Delity (Ellicottville) and Wally Holland (Ellicottville).