WHITMIRE — Three former athletes will be inducted into the Whitmire High School Hall of Fame in a halftime ceremony during Friday’s football game at the Whitmire High Football Stadium pitting the Wolverines against the North Central High School Knights.
The former athletes being inducted are Jennie Roche Pozzuto, Jim Hunter, and the late Christopher Ronald McKee.
Jennie Roche Pozzuto
Jennie Roche Pozzuto is a 1971 graduate of Whitmire High School and a 1981 graduate of the University of South Carolina where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education. She is the daughter of the late Johnny and Louise Roche. She was married to the late Steven D. Pozutto.
Jennie hasfour children, Ryan Elsmore, Patrick Pozzuto, Diana Pozzuto, and George Puzutto. She is currently a Whitmire resident where she is a small business owner.
While attending WHS, Jennie was in the Beta Club for four years. She was the “Football Sweetheart” in 1970 and voted “Most Athletic” by the senior class of 1971.
Jennie’s athletic career at Whitmire High School includes the following:
• Varsity Cheerleader — 1968
• Varsity Basketball — 1968-1971
• Co-Captain of the Conference Championship Basketball Teams in 1970 and 1971
• All Conference — 1969, 1970, and 1971
• Best Forward — 1969, 1970, 1971
Her basketball career began in Whitmire in the Southern Regional Textile League where she was voted “All Southern” in 1966. She also won the Whitmire Tennis Championship for ages 15-18 in 1969.
Dr. James E. (Jim) Hunter, 7 Weatherby Drive, Greenville, SC, graduated from Whitmire High School in 1977. His secondary education includes degrees from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1987, East Carolina University in 1991, and the University of Kentucky in 1993. Jim is married to Sallie and is the father of Kemper, 24 and Leah, 19.
Jim is employed at Spartanburg Regional Hospital and is an active member of the Society of GYN oncologists.
While in high school, Jim participated in football from 1972-1977 and was named All-Conference in the 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades. He was a member of the baseball team in 1974 and participated in track in 1975. He was a member of the Beta Club and was a Wofford Scholar. Other interests he had in high school included hunting.
Jim is the son of Rev. James E. (Jim) Hunter and Nancy R. Hunter of Greenville, SC and is a member of Buncombe Street United Methodist Church.
Christopher Ronald McKee
Christopher Ronald McKee, better known as Chris or Putz. Class of 2001
Chris is the son of David and Debbie McKee, the brother of Faith Johnson and the uncle of Tori, Wil, and Chrissy. He was born Aug. 24, 1983 and was of the Baptist faith.
Chris’ love of sports started at any early age. He excelled throughout Recreation and high school sports. But he was always a team player, never failing to put his teammates and team before himself. While at Whitmire, Chris excelled both on and off the field. He was a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, Boys State, an Honor Roll student 7th-12th grades. All Region Academics, All State Academics, Junior Marshall, Class President in the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 12th grade. He was also Student Body President his senior year.
On the field he played varsity baseball five years, varsity basketball three years and varsity football three years. He served as a captain in all three sports.
In baseball Chris played shortstop and pitched, but if you needed him to play right field he was ready. He received the MVP in baseball his senior year, and was awarded the Three Sport Award. He also played four years of American Legion baseball.
In basketball Chris played point guard. His senior year he was awarded the Wolverine Attitude Award.
In football Chris played quarterback. He received the Newberry County Touchdown club player of the month twice and was named to the All County team as well. His senior year he was also named to the All Region and All State Academic teams.
His desire from an early age was to become a teacher and a coach. He wanted to return to Whitmire to fulfill that dream. The following is a list of goals that were posted in his room in college from one of his classes.
April 12, 2004
My goals in life are simple, they are
1) To become a teacher and coach. To make a difference in young peoples’ lives.
2) To be as good a coach as the ones who made a difference in my life: Coach Suber, Coach Alexander, Coach Martin, and my dad.
3) To marry Gina and raise a family.
4) To be as good a parent as my mom and dad.
5) To have two kids, a son and a daughter
6) To be able to teach my niece and nephew to play ball.
7) To repay my parents and sister for putting me through college.
8) To always let my wife and kids know how much I love them.
9) To become a head coach by age 31.
10) To always be there for my family, like they have been for me.
Simple goals, but not the goals of most 20-year-olds. Thankfully, through the scholarship program set up in his memory, Chris is able to make a difference in some young athlete’s life. Not the difference he envisioned, but the one God had planned for him.
Chris was a rising senior at Coastal Carolina University where he was majoring in Physical Education at the time of his death, Aug. 1, 2004.
While at Coastal Chris made the President’s List as well as the Dean’s List by maintaining a GPA of 3.78 and above.
His love for his alma mater was always there and even after being offered jobs in three different school districts upon graduation his desire to return to Whitmire never changed. Chris was always a Wolverine.