by Taylor Bryant
On Tuesday, November 12, 2013, the John DeVore Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by Dennis and Sally Williams to support student athletes at University of West Georgia. The scholarship, established in memory of baseball star and legend John DeVore, will award $500 annually to a student on the intercollegiate baseball team at UWG.
Back Row (L-R): Skip Fite, Dr. Bill Estes, Dennis Williams, Ronnie Burchfield, Daryl Dickey. Front Row (L-R): Sally Williams, Fayron DeVore, Dr. Karen Clevenger
“He was a great role model for me,” says Sally Williams, John’s sister-in-law. “We knew that Johnny couldn’t have come to college had he not been such a great baseball player and had he not had some financial help along the way. There are a lot of students who are very good students but just need a little extra, whether it’s for books, or meals, or whatever. We wanted to do this to keep Johnny’s memory alive to help others.”
John’s wife, Fayron DeVore, was also present for the establishment. Holding back tears, she shared the same sentiment as family, coaches and present staff as they shared memories of John.
“I’ve known John my entire coaching career, so we try to make sure we give the scholarship to someone with high character and academics,” adds Skip Fite, UWG head baseball coach. “Usually it’s a guy who doesn’t receive a lot of scholarship money. I know that’s the type of student John would want to give the funds to. We make sure it’s a good fit.”
John DeVore, from Alpharetta, Georgia, attended West Georgia College from 1962 to 1965. During his four-year playing career, John set numerous school records as one of the greatest pitchers ever at West Georgia College. During a remarkable season in 1964, he compiled a nation-leading .40 PRA, and set school records for the most consecutive wins, 8, consecutive shut-outs, 3, and most shutouts in a season, 6. He was an All-American in 1964 and 1965. He was inducted into the UWG Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988 and was inducted into the Georgia Dugout Hall of Fame in 1998.
John remains one of the winningest coaches in DeKalb County to date, with a 733-232 record. In 1996, DeKalb County honored John by naming Druid Middle School’s baseball stadium John DeVore Field. Shamrock High School later named its baseball field after John as well.
“John affected so many people’s lives through his teaching and through the game of baseball, and now he gets to continue to do so,” says Daryl Dickey, UWG director of athletics. “His legacy lives on to help student athletes and guys who love to play the game of baseball. It’s not going to go to someone who has a lot; it’s going to go to someone who needs a lot.”
John, 69, died January 12, 2013, from complications of a stroke. In addition to his wife and son, Dusty, John leaves one granddaughter, Taylor DeVore of Alpharetta, Georgia and three sisters, Juanita Matthews of Shreveport, Louisiana, Ann Austin of Alpharetta, Georgia, and Sarah Rucker of Alpharetta, Georgia.