NCAA recognizes former Franklin basketball player

Published 10:55 am Thursday, January 10, 2013

Peggy Davis, right, athletic director at Virginia State University, presents an award to Franklin High School graduate Sheila Baxter during the Saturday's VSU women's game. FRANK A. DAVIS/TIDEWATER NEWS



ETTRICK—Former Franklin High School basketball player Shelia Baxter will be honored as part of the 40th anniversary of the NCAA.

A 1973 graduate of Franklin who had a standout basketball career at Virginia State University, Baker was chosen by the NCAA staff and is the first to be recognized as an at-large member.

“I am honored and see this as a blessing,” she said Saturday during a VSU women’s basketball game. “I want people to see my story as a little country girl from Franklin, Va., (who) is being used by God to do his work.”

Mona Sumblin, athletic director and girls’ basketball coach at Franklin High School, played with Baxter at Franklin.

“She was the best lefthander that I have ever seen, and she could shoot the lights out,” Sumblin said.

Baxter went on to study health and physical education at VSU and enrolled in the ROTC program there. She annually was named to the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association All-Conference team between 1973 and 1977.

In 1976, Baxter was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She was the first at Virginia State to accumulate 1,000 points in four years and was voted to the Muhammad Ali Women’s Collegiate All-American Team.

Baxter in 2007 was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Charlotte, N.C.,

The daughter of the late John Henry and Mary Baxter, she was Franklin’s first black homecoming queen in 1972, and the first woman to hold the rank of brigadier general in the Army’s Public Health Corp Administrative Field.

Josh Looney, assistant director for the NCAA, said Baxter is being recognized for her work on and off the court, service to her country and community, and the exemplary example she has set for others.

“I am truly grateful for the support of my immediate family as well as the encouragement and support I have always received from Franklin as a community,” she said.

Baxter is a chaplain at the Atlanta Veterans Medical Center where she heads up the Program for Homeless Veterans.

A story on Baxter’s recognition will air later this month during NCAA televised games and the Central Intra-Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament in Charlotte, N.C., in February.