PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Bay High School inducted two new members into their Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, Don Deaton and Kelly Landry Mehrtens.
Deaton was a longtime head coach and athletic director at the school and he left a lasting legacy there as he coaches for the only state championship football team in county history.
He also was the first girls’ track coach at Bay High, which is where he met the second inductee, Mehrtens.
“It means a lot. I’m really proud of Kelly Landry. She had done everything she could to help us win, and she’s gone far. As for me, I’m just glad the time came,” Deaton said.
Mehrtens made history at the school as well as she was a state champion in the discus in 1981. She played volleyball and basketball as well at the school and got an athletic scholarship to the University of Alabama.
She was an All-American at Alabama in 1985 and she even got 4th overall at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Mehrtens is now the Executive Director of the The Trust Powered by the National Football League’s Players Association.
She said it was special to get inducted with her former coach.
“You think back to the early 80’s, and you had Coach Deaton taking the time to take us around, predominantly African-American young women, going to different places to compete, and he took time out of his schedule to be there for us, both he and his wife and his kids, they became a part of our family,” Mehrtens said.
“I don’t have a lot of words at this moment, because I’m still taking it all in,” Mehrtens said.
Both were more than deserving to get into the Hall of Fame at the school, but being able to do so together meant so much more to Coach Deaton as well.
“It was a dream. I’m really proud of her. We did go a lot of places; California, North Carolina, Orlando especially. She did a wonderful thing with her life,” Deaton said.
Deaton spent a total of 35 years coaching in Bay County and his family is continuing to be a part of the Tornado athletic department as his two sons, Mark and David, coach the wrestling team there.