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WEIS Radio personality Bill Mobbs to receive Baker-Dean Media Award; Kirk Day, John and Opal Starr recognized as Cherokee Stars

WEIS Radio morning personality Bill Mobbs will be honored Thursday evening as this year’s Baker-Dean Award recipient at the Cherokee County Museum. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Terry Dean, Cherokee Post Herald Editor and Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

If you’ve got a question about a past area football or basketball player, or the score of a game, chances are Bill Mobbs knows the answer.

That’s because he’s witnessed and called many of them through the years, with the majority of those coming at WEIS radio in Centre.

Mobbs is this year’s recipient of the Baker-Dean Media Award. The award is presented to a member of Cherokee County’s local media who has demonstrated outstanding coverage to the community as well as having a minimum of five years of service. It is named in honor of WEIS radio station manager Jerry Baker and Cherokee Post Herald editor Terry Dean.

Mobbs, along with Cherokee Star Award honorees the late Kirk Day and John and Opal Starr, will be formally recognized at the Cherokee County Historical Museum on June 23 at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public.

Members of the selection committee have referenced no greater county sports information source exists than Mobbs.

“Having been associated with numerous radio stations, his knowledge for high school sports and its athletes is tremendous,” the committee noted.

Mobbs and his wife Kathy both graduated from Gaylesville. He got into radio in 1972 at WAGC in Centre. He was the program director and worked the morning drive from 1974-79 and 1980-82. Mobbs worked on Saturdays in 1983 and 1984, and he did play-by-play for football and basketball.

Mobbs moved on to WLAQ in Rome in 1979 and worked there until 1988. He did the station’s afternoon drive. He also worked play-by-play for Floyd County football and basketball as well as some Berry College games.

Mobbs was also a broadcaster at WSAF in Trion from 1985-88, where he did the morning drive. He worked at both WLAQ and WSAF at the same time.

Following his double duty at WLAQ and WSAF, Mobbs moved on to WFPA in Fort Payne, where he worked the midday air shift in 1988. He moved over to WZOB in Fort Payne from 1989-2002, where he broadcast Fort Payne’s football and basketball games. He was also the station’s music director.

Mobbs left WZOB in 2002 to work for Jerry Baker at WEIS in Centre. He continued broadcasting football and basketball games as well as being the station’s music director. Mobbs retired from broadcasting football and basketball games in 2011, but continues to work the mid-morning air shift for WEIS.

Among Mobbs’ sports broadcasting highlights at WEIS are Cherokee County High School’s 1984 Class 4A state championship game against T.R. Miller in Centre. T.R. Miller scored two touchdowns in the last four minutes to win 20-18.

Mobbs also did play-by-play of the 1997 Class 2A football state title game at Legion Field between Sand Rock and Luverne, and Cherokee County High School’s thrilling 31-27 Class 4A state championship victory over Jackson, which was played at the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. It was the Warriors’ first football state title.

“It’s been an honor to broadcast not only football games but basketball games too,” Mobbs said in a feature for WEIS radio’s 60th anniversary last summer. “I played baseball, football, and basketball, so I knew the terminology and stuff like that for broadcasting. It’s been great.”

The Cherokee Star award honors citizens of Cherokee County with an emphasis on community service, citizenship and appreciation for local sports.

Regarding Day, who unexpectedly passed away in 2017, the committee said they’re honoring his memory with this year’s Star award and are pleased to have his parents, Wayne and Barbara, as well as his brother Keith accepting on his behalf.

Jeffery Kirk Day was Cherokee County Probate Judge and County Commission Chairman at the time of his death in October of 2017.

“Kirk was an outstanding athlete at Cherokee County High School. After high school he received commission to West Point Military Academy. Upon completing his military duties, he returned to Cherokee County and served as a Cherokee County probate judge. Obviously, Kirk was known for his outstanding character, community service and appreciation of sports,” the committee noted.

As an elected representative of the people, he sought to serve them with excellence. Kirk was known to be a tireless advocate for Cherokee County and treated all people with dignity and respect. Having graduated from the United States Military Academy, he sought to live his life and serve his county based on the Academy’s motto of “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Graduating from Cherokee County High School in 1989, Kirk received a Congressional nomination from Representative Tom Bevill to attend the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. At the Academy, Kirk was a member of the fencing team, become team captain his “Firstie” or senior year. While a member of the fencing team Kirk competed internationally against other nations military schools.

Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1993, Kirk became a part of “the long gray line” as he received an infantry officers commission in the Army. His stateside duties were primarily served in Georgia at Fort’s Benning and Stewart. Kirk served overseas in the Republic of Korea and Bosnia and Herzegovinia.

Upon leaving the Army, Kirk returned to Centre working for a brief time in his family’s business. His heart’s desire was to serve his community in government. His opportunity to do so came Aug. 6, 2004, when Alabama governor Bob Riley appointed Kirk to fill the vacated position of Cherokee County Probate Judge.

As Probate Judge and County Commission Chairman, Kirk worked hard to restore public trust to these positions. He sought to ensure an open government in which discussions, decisions and voting was done publicly. Kirk was known to attend most every community event to talk with and listen to the residents of Cherokee County. He sought to support and encourage Cherokee County’s unique communities, their celebrations, their schools and sports teams. Kirk also served on economic development boards to ensure Cherokee County had every opportunity to gain and develop new industry.

Kirk’s love for the United States Military Academy led him to become a designated representative for the Academy’s admissions office. In this position, Kirk helped potential cadets from north Alabama to work their way through the admission process and assisted them in securing the required nomination from their congressman or senator.

Kirk’s life was an embodiment of the motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”

The Starrs live in the Alexis community. John was born Nov. 25, 1936 and Opal on Feb. 19, 1940 in Cherokee County. They’ve raised four children: Greta, Charlie, John and Neal. They also have five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Sports have always been a large part of the Starrs’ lives. During a period for over 10 years there was a starting tailback in football at the county schools who originated from the Alexis community who have ties with the Starrs, including Sam Fife, Danny Stubbs, Martin Houston, and Charlie and Neal Starr.

In speaking with members of the Star award selection committee regarding the Starrs, they stated:

“When you look at the history of Cherokee County high school sports, you will find the Starr name associated with numerous athletes, with so many of them related to John and Opal Starr. They’ve been married for 65 years, are devoted members of St. Mark United Methodist Church, and are noted for their longstanding community service.”

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