Big South Conference Announces 2012 Hall of Fame Class
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (www.BigSouthSports.com) - Former Winthrop baseball player Jason Colson, former Liberty radio broadcaster Jerry Edwards, former Winthrop men's basketball coach Gregg Marshall, former UNC Greensboro women's golfer Becky Morgan and former Coastal Carolina cross country/track athlete Jolene Williams have been elected for enshrinement in the Big South Conference Hall of Fame, it was announced today by the League.
The five individuals will be officially inducted on Thursday evening, May 31, 2012, during a special ceremony as part of the Conference's annual spring meetings in Hilton Head, S.C. The Hall of Fame was created in 2003 as part of the League's 20th Anniversary celebration, and now totals 49 former Big South Conference student-athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors. Below is a look at the 2012 class:
Jason Colson, Winthrop, Baseball Player, 1998-01
Colson finished his career in 2001 as the Big South's and Winthrop's all-time leader in career games played (247), home runs (53), RBI (216) and total bases (517). He remains the Conference's home run king and is the only player in League history with 50 career home runs and 50 career doubles, as well as the lone player in the record books to hit 10+ home runs in all four seasons. Colson also graduated as the Big South's all-time record holder in at-bats (now 4th with 914), hits (now 6th with 292), as well as third in runs scored (now 8th with 196) and fourth in doubles (now tied for 9th with 58). The first player in Big South history to lead the League in home runs in back-to-back seasons, Colson finished his career with a .319 batting average, .566 slugging percentage and .413 on-base average. He also pitched and posted an 11-8 career mark and a 3.82 ERA. Colson helped Winthrop win the 1999 Big South Tournament Championship and 2001 regular-season title, leading the Eagles to the NCAA Tournament both seasons. He helped Winthrop to a then-Big South record 48 overall wins in 2001, while its 18 Big South victories that season tied the League mark. Colson was a three-time All-Conference honoree (1999, 2000, 2001), was the 2001 Big South Baseball Player of the Year, and the Big South's Male Athlete of the Year for the 2000-01 campaign. He also earned All-Tournament Team honors in 1999 and was named Honorable Mention Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball in 1998. Colson was drafted in the seventh round (366 overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2001 MLB Draft and played professionally until 2009.
Jerry Edwards, Liberty, Radio Broadcaster, 1981-10
Elected as a significant contributor, Edwards served as the radio "Voice of the Flames" for 29 years and was behind the microphone when Liberty joined the Big South in 1991-92, witnessing several key moments in Conference history. He broadcast football, men's basketball and baseball, and called more than 300 football games and 800 men's basketball contests, having traveled as far as Alaska, Hawai'i and Puerto Rico to cover Liberty's athletic programs. Edwards was on the call for some of the most memorable athletics events in program history, including football's first FBS victory over Eastern Michigan, 25-24, in Ypsilanti, Mich., on Oct. 14, 1989 and Liberty's two men's basketball NCAA Tournament appearances in 1994 (vs. No. 1 seed North Carolina) and 2004 (vs. No. 1 seed St. Joseph's). His first game in the radio booth on the Flames Sports Network was in Salisbury, N.C., for Liberty's football game against Catawba on Sept. 12, 1981, and he missed only one football game and just a handful of men's basketball games during the next three decades of broadcasting. Edwards began his broadcasting career in 1968 at WNYN Radio and WJAN-TV in Canton, Ohio, broadcasting high school and college football, basketball and baseball. In 1979, he moved to Lynchburg, Va., to attend the Liberty Bible Institute and was hired to broadcast his first Flames football game just after the opening of the 1981 season. Inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 17, 2011, Edwards still serves as the station manager for WRVL and the host of "The Morning Full of Music," which runs from 6:00-8:15 Monday-Friday. The radio broadcasting booth in the Williams Stadium Tower is named in Edwards' honor.
Gregg Marshall, Winthrop, Men's Basketball Coach, 1998-07
In nine seasons as Winthrop's head men's basketball coach, Marshall won seven Big South Tournament crowns (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007); six Regular-Season championships (1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007) and finished 194-83 overall ( =70.0 percent) -- becoming the League's all-time record-holder at the time for overall victories. He remains the record holder for highest winning percentage in Conference history. Marshall was 104-24 ( =81.3 percent) in Big South games, the highest winning percentage in League history and the second-most Conference wins at the time, and he went 19-2 ( =90.5 percent) in the Big South Tournament with an all-time record seven championships. Marshall took over the Winthrop men's basketball program in April 1998 after the squad finished 7-20 the previous season. In his first season at the helm, he led the Eagles to a 21-8 overall record and the Big South regular-season championship -- culminating with the Big South Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth. He directed Winthrop to four-straight Big South Tournament championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in his first four seasons (1999-02), the first coach and men's basketball program in League history to accomplish the achievement. Marshall won an additional three-straight Conference titles from 2005-07. A four-time Big South Coach of the Year honoree, Marshall led Winthrop to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including a 2007 First Round win over Notre Dame -- the Big South's first-ever First Round victory. He posted five 20-win seasons at Winthrop (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007), guided Winthrop to a Big South single-season record 29 wins in 2006-07 and 14-0 Big South record -- the first team to go undefeated in Conference play, and defeated high profile programs Missouri, Clemson, Georgia, Providence, Marquette, Mississippi State, Missouri State and Notre Dame during his time in Rock Hill. Marshall directed Winthrop to a Top 25 ranking in 2007, becoming the first and only Big South men's basketball team to be nationally-ranked, and the Eagles reached as high as No. 21 and finished the season at No. 22 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls. In addition, he was voted the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year in 2007 and Winthrop's No. 11 seed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament remains the best in Big South history. Marshall has been head coach at Wichita State since 2007-08 and has led the Shockers to the 2011 NIT Championship and 2012 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship.
Becky Morgan, UNC Greensboro, Women's Golfer, 1994-97
Morgan was a four-time All-Big South honoree (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997), the third Big South women's golfer at the time to earn All-Conference honors all four seasons, and won the Big South Championship three-straight years from 1995, 1996 and 1997 - still the only three-time individual champion in Conference history. The Big South Player of the Year in 1995, 1996 and 1997, Morgan was named a Second-Team All-American each of those seasons as well, becoming the first Big South women's golfer to earn All-America distinction. Morgan was the first golfer in Big South history to qualify for the NCAA Championship in 1995, and she qualified for the NCAA Championship three times (1995, 1996, 1997) and the NCAA Regionals all four years (1994, 1995, 1996, 1997). She finished 14th in the NCAAs in 1995, 18th in 1996 and 10th in 1997, and helped lead UNC Greensboro to a 12th-place team finish at the 1996 NCAA East Regional. Morgan finished her collegiate career with 10 individual victories, including five medalist honors during the 1996-97 season. The Abergavenny, Wales native was also the runner-up at the 1996 British Amateur Championship. The school record-holder when she graduated for lowest scores in 18, 36 and 54 holes, Morgan was voted Big South Women's Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year three times (1995, 1996, 1997) and was a CoSIDA Academic All-America Third-Team selection in her senior season. Following her time at UNC Greensboro, Morgan was a member of the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup teams in 1998 and 2000 and has been a member of the LPGA Tour since 2001. She has competed in more than 230 career Tour events with career earnings of more than $2.1 million, and owns 18 top 10 finishes, including two runner-up placings.
Jolene Williams, Coastal Carolina, Women's Cross Country/Track Athlete, 1996-00
Williams compiled one of Coastal Carolina's most decorated athletic careers that included All-American status and numerous Big South Conference honors. She was an 11-time Big South individual champion while competing in cross country, indoor and outdoor track. Williams was a three-time Big South women's cross country champion (1997, 1998, 1999); was a six-time Big South women's indoor track champion (Mile: 1998-99; 3,000 meters: 1998-00; 5,000 meters: 2000); and a two-time Big South women's outdoor track champion (1,500 meters: 1998-99). Williams earned All-Conference honors a total of 15 times (Cross Country: 4; Indoor Track: 8, Outdoor Track: 3) and was voted the Big South's Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year in 1998 and 1999. She led Coastal Carolina to the 1997 Big South Women's Cross Country title and qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championship in 1997 and 1998, becoming the Conference's first two-time NCAA qualifier. She was also named USTFCCCA All-Region in cross country three times (1997, 1998, 1999). Williams earned All-America honors in 1998 in both indoor track (3,000 meters) and outdoor track (5,000 meters). She was the national runner-up in the 3,000 meter run at the 1998 NCAA Indoor Track National Championships and finished seventh in the 3,000 meter run at the 1998 NCAA Outdoor Track National Championships. Williams still holds the Big South record for fastest indoor track 3,000 meter run (9:25.29), and also holds the Conference Championship record in that event as well. She ranks among the Big South's all-time Top 10 performers in three events in indoor and outdoor track (ITF: 3,000 meter run - 1st; 5,000 meter run - 5th; Mile Run - 8th), (OTF: 3,000 meter run - 2nd; 1,500 meter run - 5th; 5,000 meter run - 6th). In addition, Williams was the silver medalist in the 3,000-meter run at the 1998 Penn Relays. In the classroom, Williams was a seven-time Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year in Cross Country (1998-99), Indoor Track (1998-00) and Outdoor Track (1998-99) and was voted the Big South's Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year three times (1998, 1999, 2000) -- the only three-time winner in Conference history. She earned CoSIDA Academic All-America Third-Team accolades in 1999 and USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors in 1997.