Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hudson becomes first inductee into Darlington Hall of Fame

Orlando Hudson spends a lot of time giving back to the Darlington community through youth programs and his non-profit C.A.T.C.H. foundation.

On Saturday the community took the opportunity to honor Hudson as the former Falcon three-sport standout was the first person inducted into the Darlington High School Hall of Fame during halftime of the Hartsville-Darlington boys basketball game.

“It feels great,” Hudson said after the ceremony, where he received wild applause from both Darlington and Hartsville fans. “It wasn’t all me. I had some great teammates surrounding me and to be the first one inducted, it means a lot.”

Hudson, who is going into his 10th season in the major leagues and first with the San Diego Padres, was an all-state selection in baseball and was a member of St. John’s High School 1995 Class 3A state championship team. He also was the quarterback and punter on the school’s first football team when Mayo and St. John’s consolidated back in the mid-1990s.

Hudson also played basketball at the school.

“Winning the state championship my junior year, being in the playoffs my senior year, the combining of the schools – I could go down the line. For me this school has so much history behind it. I just had a blast playing here,” he said.

His mother, wife Keisa and two children joined Hudson at the ceremony.

“He truly deserves it,” Keisa said during the game. “He’s really done a lot for this city. He wants the kids for this city to get the best.”

Hudson received a plaque for the induction and his No. 1 Padres jersey will hang in the main lobby of the high school.

Darlington principal Greg Harrison and athletic director Rick Drawdy created the hall of fame as a way to recognize athletes, who played at the school.

“The first person that comes to mind from Darlington High School to be the first inductee was Orlando Hudson,” Harrison said.

A new member will be inducted to the hall yearly, based on votes and discussion by a committee made up of community members, inductees, Harrison and Drawdy.

Hudson took in both basketball games, a 58-43 win by the Hartsville girls and an 81-70 win by the Darlington boys.

“I’m enjoying the games,” Hudson said. “I’m a little disheartened by the girls game, but the boys are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. We’ll get our redemption when we go out to Hartsville.”

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