New hall of famer on Peeler’s early great team

Published 9:40 am Thursday, September 13, 2018

Before Bill Peeler unleashed Shawn Smoot, there was the Angie Browder/Naomi Minwalla tandem. Before the dynamic duo of Jill Amos and Deanna Thomas, there was Kathy Hutchens and Janice Markland.

The first great 1-2 punch in Peeler’s dynasty – Glenda Shelton and Kathy Grimes – paved the way to Davie High’s first girls basketball championship in 1961-62. That 17-5 season was the gateway to years of sustained excellence.

The late Peeler was a charter member of the Davie High Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. Glenda Shelton Carter was inducted in 2010. And Kathy Grimes Januzelli will be apart of the 2018 class on Sept. 14. The new members will be honored in the cafeteria at 5 p.m. and at midfield at halftime of the football game.

Kathy and her older brother John Grimes, who played football at Wake Forest from 1961-64 and was inducted in the Davie HOF in 2007, grew up in a sports-crazed town, on Duke Street in Cooleemee. Their father, Effie, built them a backyard goal.

“He got me started,” Januzelli said. “He’d take me out back, me and my brother. He put up a basketball goal – he made it himself – and put it on the side of the garage. We played basketball on the grass; we didn’t have a court. Back then you didn’t have stuff like that. We did a lot of basketball in the backyard. Of course, all the kids in the neighborhood came down and played. Back then people did stuff like that.”

The first organized team she played on came from the Cooleemee Rec Center. Then she played on the seventh/eighth team at Cooleemee for coach Tom Ridenhour.

“I played basketball in the fifth grade with the rec,” Januzelli said. “We did travel and went to Valdese. We’d go up there for basketball tournaments.”

Back then, schools only offered one sport for girls. Times, as maybe you’ve noticed, have changed. For you young’uns, girls in the 1950s and ‘60s played a different game of basketball. Through the first three years of Grimes’ Davie career, rules mandated that three guards played defense only and rebounded, while three forwards played offense only. The rover was introduced her senior year. The rover could take a rebound or pass on the defensive end and navigate into the frontcourt. Referees had to make sure there were no more than four players from either team on one end of the floor at any time. No one thought much about it back then. That’s just the way it was.

Another difference between today and yesteryear: There was no junior varsity team during Grimes’ career. She made Peeler’s varsity as a 1960-61 freshman, and she was special almost from the moment she arrived. She scored 25 points in a 46-43 overtime loss to Winecoff, carrying the load while Shelton was out with the flu. The Rebelettes (Davie’s nickname was changed from Rebels to War Eagles in the early ‘70s) lost 50-39 to Mooresville in the first round of the North Piedmont Conference Tournament despite Grimes’ 21 points.

Forward Callie Bailey and guard Pat Beck were named to the All-NPC team in ‘61, and Beck was chosen as team MVP.

Davie County Consolidated High School was in its fifth year of existence in 1960-61. This was Peeler’s first year as basketball coach, replacing Susan Weichman, who went 3-13 in 1959-60 in her only season. Peeler’s first squad finished 7-10, but he was on the verge of building something special. Years of unrelenting grandeur began when Grimes was a sophomore and Shelton a junior, including 13 straight winning seasons and 22 out of 23. Peeler went 445-220 from 1960-88, winning eight regular-season titles and seven tournament crowns in the NPC.

“Oh, (Peeler) was tough,” Januzelli said. “I remember he didn’t put up with anything. He definitely had us ready. He was hard-nosed, but he was a good coach. We all respected him and did what he had us to do. I remember hard practices.”

The 1961-62 season is among the most memorable in Davie history. Not only did the Rebels have a new gym on campus after playing home games at Cooleemee for five years, the boys and girls both won the NPC for the first championships in school history.

The Rebelettes’ giant leap forward saw them go 17-5 overall and 13-1 in the conference. Shelton and Grimes formed one of the most dynamic 1-2 punches ever, routinely combining for 40 points a game. Dorothy Seaford, the other forward, often cracked double figures.

In a 61-57 win over West Rowan, Grimes poured in 31 points and Shelton 21. By beating Children’s Home 53-45, the Rebelettes clinched at least a share of first place with three games to spare. Shelton (27), Grimes (14) and Seaford (12) did all the scoring in that one. They clinched the title outright when they edged North Rowan 46-45. North and Mooresville tied for second at 11-3.

Shelton, who averaged 21 points, and Grimes, who scored around 18 per game, were selected to the All-NPC team. Shelton also made All-Northwest. Jo Lewis, Jane Smith and Hilda Harpe were steady guards. The roster included Linda Schladensky, Christine Smith, Patsy Carter, Sharon Cope, Jane Seaford, Patsy Deadmon, Nancy Sheek, Patsy Davis, Angela Andrews and Mary Burchette.

Shelton and Grimes continued to light it up in 1962-63, when Davie went 14-6 overall and 11-3 to finish second in the league. Shelton, J. Smith and Grimes made All-NPC. Grimes received a bigger honor by becoming one of two juniors to crack the 18-girl Journal and Sentinel All-Northwest team. Consistency was her middle name as she averaged 15 points and “usually hit about 50 percent of her field-goal attempts,” Peeler said.

The rover was introduced in 1963-64, and Grimes was a no-brainer for that role. She scored 16 in a 29-23 win over West Rowan. Grimes was sick and missed a Piedmont Conference Tournament game against Thomasville. Think she would have flipped the outcome? Davie lost 32-30 in double overtime. Davie finished 13-8 and 10-4, again finishing second.

Grimes was named team MVP at the awards banquet. She made all-conference for the third time and All-Northwest for the second time. During Grimes’ last three years, Davie went 44-19 overall and 34-8 in the NPC.

Grimes attended East Carolina, but college basketball wasn’t an option as this was nearly a decade before the emergence of Title IX.

“They didn’t have college sports for females,” she said. “I missed out on all that. They had intramurals. It was a fun kind of thing, but it wasn’t anything organized.”


What makes Januzelli so special is she made a name for herself as a coach, too. In fact, two years into an eventual 40-year career, she climbed Georgia prep basketball’s tallest mountain.

“I was involved in a lot of sports at East Carolina because I was a health and physical education major,” she said. “When I started teaching, (coaching) was offered and so I jumped into that.”

Kathy married Jim Januzelli on Aug. 31, 1968. While they lived in Cherry Point, Kathy taught two years at Havelock High. In 1970 she took a job at Decatur High (Ga.), six miles from Atlanta, and the rest is history. She immediately became basketball and cheerleading coach.

“I had the B team in basketball and the varsity,” she said. “They had me doing a lot.”

Januzelli had a team loaded with experience in her second year as basketball coach in 1971-72, and a dream season developed as the Bulldogs won the state 3-A championship, Georgia’s largest classification at the time.

“We had such a good team,” she said. “They had been playing together since they were little. The starting five knew the moves of the next girl. They could throw a pass in a space and the girl would show up there. I mean they were just phenomenal. It wasn’t hard to coach that kind of team at all.”

Pregnant with her first child, Januzelli had to step down as basketball coach. The state championship game was the last time she coached hoops. Decatur hasn’t won a state title in girls basketball since the Januzelli days.

“My son was born in ‘72, so I gave up basketball and stayed with cheerleading,” she said.

She coached pretty much everything – cheerleading for 18 years, track & field for four years, golf for three years, volleyball for two years and girls soccer for many years.

“We had one girl on the golf team,” she said. “She was an extremely good golfer. This day and time, of course you’ve got a lot of girls that play golf. But back then you didn’t have that many. I played golf, so they knew I knew something about the sport.”

The final chapter of her 40-year career at Decatur (1970-2010) was coaching girls soccer. She built a machine.

“I had some awesome teams,” she said. “We went to the state finals a few times. We went to the Final Four a number of times. We went to the Elite 8. We were in the top 16 (regularly). We had super talent and the guy who was my assistant is still there, and they are still as strong as they were when I was there. We have a good feeder into the soccer program.

“I didn’t know anything about soccer until I started coaching my daughter when she was 4. I coached her for about three years, and then she started playing with a travel team. So I got real involved with soccer through her. I loved it. She played for 14 years, so I did a lot of soccer.”

In one soccer state championship game, Decatur came this close to winning it all. The final score was 1-0.

“It was a fluke score by the other team,” she said. “But that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes.”


If females would have had opportunities in volleyball, soccer, tennis, golf, cross country, swimming, softball, lacrosse and track like they do these days, Kathy Grimes undoubtedly would have been a multi-sport star. She took up golf and tennis in her adult years. She’s been dominant at both – winning the ladies club championship twice in golf and capturing the Atlanta City Doubles Championship in tennis, to name a few milestones – and she’s still going strong at 72.

“I play on three tennis teams,” she said. “I’m in a ladies golf group.”

Jim and Kathy live in Lawrenceville, Ga. They have eight grandchildren. They just celebrated their golden anniversary.

“We just got back from our 50th anniversary trip, which was fabulous,” she said. “We went on a cruise and then went to Italy.”