Jackson State University inducted 11 former athletes during its 28th Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, Oct. 2, in the Student Center on the main campus.
President Carolyn W. Meyers and former interim athletic director Robert Walker presented honorees with medallions commending their exemplary athletic achievements and for being notable ambassadors for the university.
The 2015 inductees are:
- Willie “Doc” Barnes, supporter
- Radious Y. Guess, track and field
- James “Big Cat” Harvey Jr., football
- Tameika Hill-Brown, basketball
- Michelle Houston, basketball
- Anna Eatmon-Johnson, basketball
- James Carl Marshall, baseball and football
- Louis Antonio McRae Sr., football (posthumously honored)
- Aubery Stewart, track and field
- Charles “Red Rooster” Williams, football
- Deatrich Wendell Wise Sr., football
Honorees engaged in a heartfelt exchange with master of of ceremonies Rob Jay, executive producer of JSU Sports Media, discussing the glory days of their
athleticism and paid homage to coaches, administrators, faculty and staff who impacted their future.
As they regaled the audience about their competitive exploits, each inductee labeled their enshrinement as one of the most memorable moments of their lives.
Among reflections included remarks by Guess, who recounted her JSU experience. A native of Denver, Guess said, “We were students first, but we were disciplined and committed athletes. In the beginning, I did not know anything about Jackson State. I
had offers to go to any college. But once I did my research
and got here, I realized I was supposed to attend a historically
Guess – a student, family and community engagement coordinator for a high school in Denver – described the induction celebration as “full of glitz and glamour with some of the most accomplished athletes in JSU history.”
Since leaving JSU, she has served on committees for the U.S. Olympics and USA Track and Field.
Another former athlete told how his plans for music were interrupted when Coach W.C. Gorden saw him playing intramural football. “After watching me, Coach Gorden confiscated my trumpet and said I was going to play football for him. He took the instrument back to the store and returned my mother’s money. He also decided my academic major,” Marshall said. “The rest was history.”
Marshall played professionally in the Canadian Football League from 1975-1976 with Saskatchewan. He later played for Toronto in 1977, 1978 and part of 1979. Then, he joined the NFL’s New Orleans Saints from 1980-1981. Today, although retired, Marshall operates his own business.
Holding back tears while thanking her alma mater, former basketball standout Michelle Houston said one of her most memorable experiences was playing in the SWAC tournament during the 1989-90 season as an underdog against Alcorn State University. Down by 10 points with less than 1½ minutes left in regulation, the Lady Tigers pulled out an upset victory.
“My teammates gave me the privilege of leading them to the championship,” said Houston, an instructor in JSU’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.
Meanwhile, Wise, a former professional player in the Canadian Football and Arena Football leagues, said the JSU induction marks a cornerstone of accomplishment in his life.
“It’s about being among legends. Words can’t explain my exuberance. It’s breathtaking.” Quoting one of his favorite Scriptures: “In all things, give thanks,” said Wise, a native of Evergreen, Ala., joining the chorus of athletes giving praise to JSU for shaping their lives. He now coaches at a middle school in Coppell, Texas.
From track and field to football to baseball, each of the athletes gave moving accounts about the “JSU Experience.”
Claudia Ulmer McRae, the widow of Louis McRae, who died in June, commented on inductees’ adoration of the institution.
“Listening to all the honorees talk about their great experiences at Jackson State shows just how much pride they have for their alma mater.”