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Joe Messer to be inducted into Belmont Sports Hall of Fame

Feb 13, 2020 10:56AM

Joe Messer

By Stan Cromlish

This week’s Belmont Sports Hall of Fame induction spotlight shines on Joe Messer who will join Pam Smith, Shelley Frye Keen, and Don Davis as part of the 2019 Inductee class. The banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 7:00 pm in the Family Life Center of Park Street United Methodist Church.

Every kid growing up in Belmont in the 1960s, 1970s, and the 1980s knew and loved Joe Messer because of his dedication to supporting the community and community athletics. If you were lucky enough, you could have had Joe as your Little League coach. In 1973, his Little League team went to the state championship but did not win it. 

For many years, he was the president of Belmont Little League and presided over teams fielded by the Belmont Rotary Club, Belmont Kiwanis Club, Belmont Optimist Club, and the Belmont Jaycees. Those service organizations over the years have recognized Joe for his volunteerism, excellent coaching, and for building character in young athletes. In 2012, a Belmont Little League field was named in his honor.

Joe was the voice of Belmont High School, South Point High School, and the American Legion baseball on WCGC for thirty plus years. From the 50s to the 80s, Joe handled the public address color commentary for football and baseball games at Davis Park and South Point High School. Roscoe Helton and Joe were responsible for moving the PA equipment between Davis Park and Lineberger Stadium weekly between games. Junior high kids and the midget football teams were also recipients of his great commentary during their Wednesday and Saturday games. His voice was broadcast on WLOS during basketball season in Asheville.

From its inception in 1988 until 2001, Joe Messer was the master of ceremonies for the Belmont Sports Hall of Fame Banquet, and he was also sought after as a banquet speaker for Belmont organizations, American Legion and South Point High School sports banquets.

What can you say about Joe Messer that has not been said? Joe willingly poked fun at himself with the 1980s Donkey Basketball games that were played in the Belmont Junior High School gym to raise money for the Belmont Jaycees. Or, the time that the Good Guys from Big WAYS Radio came to Belmont for a charity basketball against the South Point cheerleaders, and Joe dressed like a woman to play in the game. That picture made the Clarion which is the South Point High School annual and his appearance raised a ton of money for the Booster Club. His fundraising prowess for the Big Red Booster club is well known and his willingness to go the extra mile to help the youth of Belmont is irreplaceable.

Like the men who came before him, Joe Messer is of that generation that worked hard and willingly helped their neighbor. The author fondly remembers several occasions when Joe made a quarter, dime, nickel, or penny appear from behind his ear, and the author still has no idea how it got there. Many Belmont youth can look back fondly at being coached, supported, or just loved by Joe Messer. He truly is a Belmont icon and his induction into the 2019 Class of the Belmont Sports Hall of Fame is a fitting tribute to a life well lived.

Join Belmont sports fans on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 7:00 pm as we celebrate local sports heroes like Joe and the rest of the inductees. Tickets are $20.00 and available at Belmont Drug in East Belmont and State Farm at 140 North Main Street, Belmont. Tickets will not be available at the door on the night of the event, and this event is quickly selling out so do not wait to pick up tickets.