Some of Jackson State University’s finest former athletes and coaches where recognized during the 2013 JSU Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
The event was held Friday, Oct. 4 in the Student Center Ballrooms A and B. Eric Stringfellow, chair of the JSU Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors and executive director of University Communications, said those honored span different sports and decades.
“These individuals each raised the standard in their field of sport. They accomplished much on the field, but then went on to have successful careers and a positive impact on their communities,” Stringfellow said.
The Hall of Fame Class of 2013 included former NBA player and coach Lindsey Hunter; former football players Rodney Phillips, Tom Rice, Sean Woodson and Stanley Blackmon; former men’s track and field coach Martin Epps, former men’s basketball coach Harrison Wilson, former women’s basketball player Mary Fuller, former baseball players, Wes Chamberlain and Darrin Wade, and former track and field athletes Alvin Jackson, Keith Lee, Ricky Miles.
The group was also recognized during pre-game activities Saturday, when JSU played the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Brief biographies of the inductees:
Stanley Blackmon: He has emerged as one of the most talented administrative officials in recent Jackson Public School (JPS) history. Blackmon has served as principal at Lanier High School, Hardy Middle School and Canton High School. Blackmon has a history of turning under-performing schools around due to a tireless work ethic and a commitment to superior service. Some of his honors include receiving the Bill Wade Unsung Hero Award (All American Football Foundation) in 2004 and being selected to the coaching staff of the Mississippi-Alabama High School All-Star Classic in 1992 and 1983. Blackmon is a 1970 JSU graduate and was a member of the Tigers football program while at JSU.
Wes Chamberlain: Prior to finishing fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year Award voting and before appearing in the 1993 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies, Wesley Polk Chamberlain was a JSU Tiger. Chamberlain roamed the JSU baseball field from 1985 to 1987. While playing baseball for head coach Robert Braddy, Sr., Chamberlain played three different positions.
As a freshman, he started at shortstop and as a sophomore he played third base. But, he found his home in the outfield as a junior. At JSU, he was an All-SWAC performer. During his final season at JSU, Chamberlain recorded 58 hits, 47 runs, 46 RBI and tied for second on the team with eight home runs. As a professional, he played six seasons in Major League Baseball from 1990 to 1995 for the Phillies and the Boston Red Sox (1995).
Martin Epps: From 1969 to 1991, Jackson State’s track and field teams were consistently ranked among the best in the world. At the helm of the Flying Tigers’ program was Martin Epps. He helped build the JSU track program from the ground up and brought a level of respectability to JSU track and field. He is arguably the most successful coach of any sport in Southwestern Athletic Conference history.
During his tenure, JSU won six NAIA indoor track and field national championships and an NAIA outdoor track and field title. From 1973 to 1979, the Tigers dominated the track and field scene. In addition to the national championships, JSU also won four straight NAIA District championships. He was named the SWAC Coach of the Year during the following years: 1972-73, 1975-76, 1977-78, 1978-79. He also claimed NAIA District 27-30 Coach of the Year honors in 1973-74, 1975-76, 1977-78 and 1978-79. JSU was a NAIA national championship runner up in 1974 and in 1980.
Mary Fuller Scott: She is the third leading scorer in JSU women’s basketball history. From 1976 to 1980, she scored 1,923 points. While a Lady Tiger, she was named a team MVP, received SWAC All-Tournament team awards and was an All-American. As a freshman, she scored 481 points and made 54% of her field goal attempts and shot 77% from the free throw line (85-110).
She also dished out 80 assists and had 30 steals. During her sophomore year, she scored 533 points, connecting on 228 of 450 shots (50.6%) from the field and went 77 of 109 from the free throw line (70.6%). She also pulled down a career high 145 rebounds. She scored another 507 points during her junior season, in addition to recording 70 assists. As a senior, she scored 402 points and had 92 rebounds, 67 assists and a career high 83 steals. Following her collegiate career, Fuller-Scott was drafted by the St. Louis Streak (Women’s Professional Basketball League), which preceded the WNBA.
Lindsey Hunter: He is arguably one of the greatest champions to come from JSU. He is also considered among the top 10 best athletes to play for the Tigers, along with such greats as Walter Payton, Jackie Slater and Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd. Following a prolific collegiate career, Hunter was selected as the 10th overall pick by the Detroit Pistons in the 1993 NBA Draft. Hunter spent most of his professional career playing with the Pistons, having two stints with the organization. Hunter remained with the Pistons until the 2008-09 season, when he signed with the Chicago Bulls. He remained with the Bulls until the end of the 2009-10 season. Hunter went on to work in the Bulls’ front office as a player development assistant. On Aug. 28, 2012, Hunter landed with the Phoenix Suns as an assistant head coach for player development. After the Suns opened the season with a 13-28 record, he was named the Suns’ interim head coach on Jan. 20, 2013. In his head coaching debut, Hunter led the Suns to a 106-96 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
Alvin Jackson: From 1977 to 1980, Jackson was a member of the JSU men’s track and field team that set the SWAC on fire. During his years of competition as a collegiate athlete, he lettered all four years.
In the sports of cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field, he competed on five National Championship teams, five SWAC championship teams and was a member of the 4×400 meter relay team that was ranked in the world. That 4×400 relay team recorded a time of 3:08.7. Individually, he was a six time All-American, as well as a six time All-SWAC performer. He also placed in every national track and field championship in which he participated.
Keith Lee: Keith Ellis Lee was a prominent member of the dominant JSU men’s track and field team. From 1973-1978, Lee and his teammates dominated the track and field landscape in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. As a freshman, he advanced to the NAIA finals in the 880 yard dash, where he lowered his personal best time to 1:50.8. As a sophomore, he started running cross country, which as it turns out helped him in track and field as he again lowered his 880 time to 1:50.2.
Lee had a banner junior year, going undefeated during the cross country regular season, before winning the conference meet. As a senior he again went undefeated during the cross country regular season. In 1979, Lee joined the Air Force and continued to race. He eventually joined the Air Force track team and participated in Armed Services track meets in Colorado and Brazil. In 1980 he won the Air Force Long Distance Championships in both the three and six mile events. Lee was a member of the Air Force from 1979-2000. While serving as the Director of Logistics for the 100th Regional Support Group in the United Kingdom, he helped to found the American Air Museum in the UK.
Rickey Myles: Rickey Myles was one of the most versatile athletes on the Jackson State Flying Tigers track and field team from 1974 to 1978. Myles was a four-year letter winner at JSU. He was also a four-year, All-SWAC performer and a six-time NAIA All-American.
As a freshman, he finished third in the 600 yard run at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field regional in Detroit. As a senior, he had become a national champion, winning the 600 yard run at the NAIA championships. He also was a member of the 4 x 400 meter relay team which won the 1977-78 NAIA National championship. By the time his collegiate career was over, Myles was a highly decorated member of the JSU track and field team.
Rodney Phillips: Rodney Phillips was the prototypical JSU football player under head coach Robert “Bob” Hill. Phillips played football from 1971 to 1974. He played with the likes of Walter and Eddie Payton, Jackie Slater and Robert Brazile. He played football all four years of college, and was a two-time letter winner. He was a two-time first team All-SWAC member as a tight end. In 1974, he led all tight ends in the SWAC in receptions.
As a junior, Phillips played in 10 games and hauled in 27 passes for 473 yards and 3 touchdowns. During his senior season, he played in 10 games and made 23 receptions for 296 yards and 6 touchdowns. From 1975-1978, he played professional football with the Los Angeles Rams. While with the Rams, he was a converted running back. In 1975, he was named the Southern California Player of the Week for his Monday Night Football game performance against the Pittsburg Steelers. Following his tenure with the Rams, Phillips was picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals from 1979-1980. As a pro football player, Phillips played in 84 games and had 595 rushing yards along with three touchdowns. He also had 14 receptions for 86 yards.
Tom Rice: Tom Rice was one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the SWAC from 1977 to 1980. Rice was a member of one of the nation’s best offensive lines on one of the nation’s best offensive teams. In 1978, he was a member of the line unit that paved the way for JSU running backs Perry Harrington and Jeffery Moore. Behind the blocking of the offensive line, Harrington and Moore became the first pair of players to each rush for more than 1,000 yards in the same season.
Harrington finished with 1,105 yards and Moore had 1,094 yards. That same season, JSU was named the NCAA Rushing Offense Champion as the Tigers averaged 314.5 rushing yards per game. In 1979, JSU was again named the NCAA Rushing Offense Champion. The team averaged 288.4 yards per game. Following a four-year drought, JSU won its sixth SWAC championship in 1980. The Tigers finished with an 8-3 overall record and had only one conference loss. Rice was recognized for his individual performances. He was named an All-SWAC member at the center position and as an offensive tackle. He received Kodak All-America recognition and was named a team captain. Rice coached football at Lanier High School in Jackson, Miss. His son Darius Rice played college basketball at Miami.
Darrin Wade: He was a four-year baseball letter winner from 1983-87 for JSU. As a Tiger, he was a three-year starter at first base. In 1987, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and played two minor league seasons. While playing in the Blue Jays farm system, Wade suffered a career ending eye injury and he returned to Jackson State to complete his degree requirements. While at Jackson State, Wade was a standout on and off the baseball diamond. In 1983, he was named the male scholar athlete and in 1987 he was named an Academic All-American.
Wade attended JSU on an academic scholarship and made the baseball team as a walk-on. Wade ended his playing career at Jackson State listed among the best of the best in Tigers history. His 30 home runs, 100-plus RBIs and .330 batting average rank in JSU’s top 10 career leaders. During his minor league career, Wade played in 166 games with 534 at bats, 132 hits, 60 runs, 10 home runs and 64 RBI.
Harrison Wilson: As Jackson State’s men’s basketball coach and later as president of Norfolk State University, Harrison B. Wilson became known for his formidable leadership. Wilson became one of the most successful coaches in JSU history. His 371-93 career record wins rank the highest for JSU basketball. He is considered by many the architect of modern men’s basketball.
In 17 seasons at the helm of the Tigers’ program, he never had a losing season and recorded 13 20-plus win seasons. His teams also posted 29 wins in a season twice (1955-56 and 1963-64). His 1963-64 team won the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship. During his tenure at JSU, Wilson coached some of the most talented players in the country, such as Cleveland Buckner (drafted by the New York Knicks in 1961), Ed Manning (former NBA player and the father Kansas Jayhawk great Danny Manning) and Paul Covington (a disciple of Wilson’s and took over as head men’s basketball coach at Jackson State).