SPARTANBURG, S.C. In the long, distinguished history of the Southern Conference, there has never been an evening like Monday night (May 4) as the league inducted it’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in front of a crowd of over 250 at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, S.C. Eight of the ten inductees and their families were present for the event to honor their legacies and contributions to the storied 88 years of history in the league.
The night began with an hour-long reception in the foyer of the
Tom Werme “The Voice of the Southern Conference” served as the emcee for the evening.
At the conclusion of the ceremony the inductees took part in a meet and greet session with the public in the foyer of the
Student-athletes who competed for a minimum of two seasons in the Southern Conference were eligible for consideration, along with coaches and administrators who spent at least five years in the league. A pool of 254 candidates from the conference’s current and former member institutions were nominated for the inaugural class. The pool of former student-athletes, coaches and administrators was cut down to 45 individuals who comprised the final ballot. A voting panel of 20 media members and league administrators made the selection of the inaugural class in January.
ABOUT THE INDUCTEES
Megan Dunigan, Women’s Tennis (Furman, 1999-02) Megan Dunigan is one just two SoCon athletes to be named SoCon Player of the Year all four years. She earned first team all-conference honors six times for singles and doubles play. Dunigan was a 2002 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winner and was named to the Furman University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007.
Dick Groat, Men’s Basketball & Baseball (Duke, 1949-52) A two-time SoCon Male Athlete of the Year in 1951 and 1952, Groat was named the Southern Conference Basketball Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in 1951 and 1952. He also garnered all-conference honors in baseball for two seasons (1951, 1952). He went on to enjoy a 14-year career in Major League Baseball and was a part of World Series Championship teams in 1960 (Pittsburgh) and 1964 (St. Louis).
Sam Huff, Football (West Virginia, 1952-55) The 1955 All-American helped West Virginia post a combined mark of 31-7 during his four years with the Mountaineers, including a berth in the Sugar Bowl in 1954. He also was named an Academic All-American in his senior season of 1955. Huff played 13 years in the NFL with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins where he was named All-Pro eight times. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.
Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, Football (North Carolina, 1946-49) A two-time All-American, Justice was the 1948 National Player of the Year and helped the Tar Heels earn three bowl bids during his four years in
Melissa Morrison Howard, Track & Field (Appalachian State, 1989-93) Morrison Howard was twice named All-American and helped the Mountaineers earn eight SoCon championships during her four years in Boone, N.C. A three-time NCAA qualifier, she won 17 individual conference championships and was named the SoCon Indoor Track Championships Most Outstanding Performer in 1992 and 1993 and also garnered the Most Outstanding Performer honors at the Outdoor Track Championships in 1992 and 1993. Morrison Howard captured two Olympic bronze medals (2000, 2004) in the 100m hurdles.
Arnold Palmer, Golf (Wake Forest 1948-50; 1953-54) Palmer was the NCAA medalist for stroke play in 1949 and 1950. He captured the Southern Conference individual championship in 1948 and 1949. Palmer finished as the runner-up in 1950, the same season
Adrian Peterson, Football (Georgia Southern, 1998-2001) The 1999 Walter Payton Award Winner, Peterson was a four-time All-American at
Frank Selvy, Basketball (Furman, 1951-54) The 1954 United Press National Player of the Year, Frank Selvy was a three-time All-American at Furman and was named SoCon Player of the year twice. He was the NCAA Division I leader in scoring for two seasons and still ranks fourth all-time with 2,538 career points. Selvy scored a Division I record 100 points in a win over Newberry on Feb. 13, 1954. He was the number one overall draft pick by the Baltimore Bullets in the 1954 NBA Draft and spent nine seasons in the league.
Jerry West, Basketball (West Virginia, 1956-60) A three-time All-American at
Valorie Whiteside, Basketball (Appalachian State, 1984-88) Whiteside owns the Southern Conference top spot for single-season scoring (776) and career points (2,944). Her 25.4 career scoring average is the best mark in league history. Whiteside was named first-team all-conference four times and was named the 1988 Player of the Year. She was inducted into the Appalachian State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN CONFERENCE
The Southern Conference, in its 88th season of intercollegiate competition, is a national leader in emphasizing the development of the student-athlete and helping build lifelong leaders and role models. The conference has been on the forefront of innovation and originality in developing creative solutions to address issues facing intercollegiate athletics. From establishing the first conference basketball tournament (1921), tackling the issues of freshman eligibility (1922), developing women’s championships (1984) to becoming the first conference to install the three-point goal in basketball (1980), the Southern Conference has been a pioneer. The Southern Conference is the nation’s fifth-oldest NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association.
The conference currently consists of 12 members in five states throughout the southeast and sponsors 19 varsity sports and championships that produce participants for NCAA Division I Championships.