Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., recently inducted Hancock County native Gregory Presnell into its Athletics Hall of Fame.
"It was just an amazing evening," Presnell said.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame along with the school's entire 1971 football team, which posted a 9-1 record that year, tying for the most single-season wins in school history. The '71 Bulldogs won the NCAA College Division II West Region Championship with a 20-10 victory over Ohio Wesleyan at Phenix Municipal Stadium in Phenix City, Alabama.
Presnell is a 1968 graduate of St. Stanislaus College. He is the son of Crandle Presnell and Estelle Finhold Presnell Depreo.
He played on the SSC varsity football team from 9th-12th grades.
"In 1967 we went undefeated and we won the Independent state championship that year, under Coach Billy Murphy," Presnell said. "Wendell Frommeyer was Offensive Player and I was Defensive Player of the Year that year."
After graduating St. Stanislaus, Presnell earned a football scholarship and played at Pearl River junior college during the '68-'69 season.
"During '69, went undefeated at Pear River and were state champs," he said. "I was selected to be an All-State player. Also during that time in '69, there was a proclamation by the city of Bay St. Louis -- Warren Carver was the mayor at the time -- naming -- Steve Worrell and myself as Outstanding Athletes of America. We were named the Best Athletes in Bay St. Louis in 1970."
Presnell went to Samford University on scholarship in the fall of 1969. He graduated in 1973.
"I was a coach and teacher for 34 years," Presnell said. "I was first hired by Harrison Central, but I left in 1974 and came to Florida, where I became an assistant football coach."
Over the years, he served as head coach, then principal, then in school district administration before finally retiring in 2005.
He now lives in Seagrove Beach, Fla., between Panama City and Destin, with his wife, Linda Elkins Presnell. He has three grown sons, Joshua, Jacob and Joseph. Together, he and his wife have 15 grandchildren.
My family -- three sons, Joshua, Jacob and Joseph, all grown
"Life is good," he said.