Lincoln Announces 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame Class

7 years 2 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, July 18 2012 Jul 18, 2012 Wednesday, July 18, 2012 6:23:00 AM CDT July 18, 2012 in Sports
By: KOMU Staff

JEFFERSON CITY - A multiple NFL Pro Bowler, the winningest basketball coach in school history, three prominent interception leaders, a record-setting wide receiver, a bowl-winning offensive and defensive lineman and one of the best offensive basketball teams to ever play in the NCAA highlight the eight inductee 2012 Lincoln Athletic Hall of Fame Class. Joining Lincoln's hall are Lemar Parrish (football), Don Corbett (men's basketball), the 1966-67 Lincoln men's basketball team, Bruce Johnson (football), Willie Burkes (football), Johnny McDaniel (football), George L. Buckner (football) and Jim Tolbert (football).

The eight members of the 2012 Lincoln Athletic Hall of Fame class will be inducted in a ceremony in the ballroom of Scruggs Hall on Lincoln's campus on Friday, Oct. 12 at 6:00 p.m. CT. The class will also be recognized during the Homecoming football game against Nebraska-Kearney at 2:00 p.m. CT on Saturday, Oct. 13.

"The 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame induction class includes some of the top student-athletes and coaches in the history of the Blue Tigers," Lincoln Athletic Director Betty Kemna said. "Becoming a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame is the top honor a student-athlete or coach could receive. Their stories will forever be passed on to generations of future Blue Tigers.

"Congratulations to each student-athletes being honored and also to Coach Corbett on your induction into the Lincoln University Athletic Hall of Fame."

One of the best-known athletes to ever lace up for the Blue Tigers, Lemar Parrish enjoyed a multiple Pro Bowl in the National Football League. A four-year letter-winner with the Lincoln football team from 1966-69, Parrish helped Lincoln win 23 games as both a defensive back and kick returner. In 1969, Parrish recorded the longest punt return in Lincoln history, taking one back 95 yards. That same season he set the Lincoln record for most punt return yards in a single game, compiling 129 (both records came against Southwest Missouri State). Parrish also own Lincoln's single game (43.0), season (16.8) and career (15.5) records for punt return average.

Parrish is perhaps best known for his 13-year NFL career, in which he was voted to eight Pro Bowls as a defensive back. A seventh-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1970, Parrish also played for the Washington Redskins and Buffalo Bills, finishing with 47 interceptions returned for 462 yards and 13 fumble recoveries. He also returned 131 punts for 1,205 yards and 61 kickoffs for 1,504 yards and scored a combined 13 touchdowns. In 1974, Parrish set a still-standing record with an NFL-best 18.8 punt return average.

Few head coaches have been able to equal the level of success enjoyed by Donald Corbett during his eight seasons (1971-79) at the helm of Lincoln's men's basketball team. The all-time winningest coach in Blue Tiger history, Corbett led LU to 159 victories compared to 59 losses for a .729 winning percentage. Included in that total is a 71-25 record in the MIAA (.739), with both marks standing as the best by any coach in the program's history. Corbett guided the Blue Tigers to NCAA tournament appearances in five of his eight seasons, including the 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978 campaigns.

Corbett led LU to three MIAA regular season titles (1972, 1975 and 1977) as well as the 1977 MIAA tournament championship. During his eight years at Lincoln, the Blue Tigers never won fewer than 17 games and never lost more than nine. Three times Corbett's squads finished with 22-6 records, with the 22 wins standing as the second-most by any team in program history. In both the 1971-72 and 1976-77 campaigns, Corbett coached Lincoln to 11-1 records in MIAA play, with the 11 conference wins remaining to this day a program record. Corbett joins the legendary Dwight T. Reed (1955-59) as the only two multiyear LU coaches to never have a losing season.

Following his career at Lincoln, Corbett moved up to coach at North Carolina A&T, where he won seven consecutive conference championships (1982-88), tying only Kentucky for the most consecutive conference tournament championships.

The 1966-67 men's basketball team was, on many levels, the greatest in Lincoln history. That season's Blue Tiger squad was one of the best offensive squads in the country, scoring 100 points or more in 20 of its 28 contests. The Blue Tigers averaged 108.3 points per game which, at the time, was the second-highest PPG average in NCAA history. It was also a record-setting squad, making 46.9 field goals per game, which still stands as the milestone in the Division II record book. Lincoln led the country in scoring margin, holding opponents to 82.2 PPG to win by an average of 26.1 PPG. The Blue Tigers were also the Division II scoring leader in 1966-67, finishing with 2,925 points.

That season, the Blue Tigers went 24-2 in the regular season, ultimately finishing with a 25-3 overall record. That team still holds the school record for regular season and total victories. Lincoln went undefeated at home and ranked in the NCAA Division II Top 10 in eight of the 11 weeks of the season, including holding the No. 3 ranking in the country during the poll's final three weeks. The Blue Tigers' season ended in the NCAA tournament, as Lincoln advanced to the regional finals before falling to Southwest Missouri State College, the eventual national runner-up that year.

The 1966-67 men's basketball team was coached by Jonathan L. Staggers. Making up the roster of that team were Howard "Buzz" Anglin, William Benford, James Jervey Brown, Nathaniel Byrd, Homer Cavitte, Marshall Evans, Ed Franklin, Steve Hannett, Larry "Snake" Howard, Arvesta Kelly, Clinton Smith, James Vick, Willie Watts and Milton Williams. Ed Hamilton and Robert Newton were both student trainers and statisticians for that squad while John Kelly was the third student trainer. Wayne O'Reilly was the squad's bus driver.

One of the top defensive backs in Lincoln history, Bruce Johnson intercepted more passes in his career than any other LU football player in program history. Johnson, a four-year letter-winner at Lincoln 1972-75), finished his playing career with 22 interceptions, five more than Horace Fredrick, who is second with 17. That total also ranks third on the MIAA's career interception chart. Not surprisingly, Johnson is one of four players tied for the most interceptions in a single season for Lincoln, as he had seven during the 1973 campaign.

Johnson made a splash from the start. As a freshman, he averaged 27 yards per interception return, including setting both the Lincoln and MIAA mark with a 100-yard return against Rolla. In 1973, Johnson set a Lincoln and an MIAA record with four interceptions in a single game, accomplishing the feat against Northeast Missouri State. That proved to be just the start, as the following season, against Kentucky State, Johnson intercepted five passes, which still stands as the MIAA's single game record.

A three-time all-conference honoree during his Lincoln playing career, Johnson was voted as a first team All-MIAA selection in 1973. He was also Lincoln's Athlete of the Year in 1974. Following his LU career, Johnson signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, becoming one of 14 Lincoln players to play professional football.

Another all-time great defensive back for the Blue Tigers, Willie Burkes ranks third on Lincoln's career interception list, having snared 15 opposing passes during his four-year career. Along with Johnson, Burkes is also tied for the season interception record with seven, having set the mark in 1970, his sophomore year. Burkes had the proud distinction of being one of the team captains of the 1972 Blue Tiger football team, which went 9-1 (the best mark in Lincoln history) and won the MIAA. Burkes was voted first team All-MIAA as a cornerback that year. Also a talented return man, Burkes owns the school records for most punt returns in a season (34) and career (69).

Following the end of his Lincoln career, Burkes signed with the Houston Oilers of the NFL. Though he was eventually waived by the Oilers, Burkes later signed with and played for both the Birmingham Vulcans of the World Football League and the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, making Burkes one of 14 Blue Tigers to play professional football.

Another Lincoln football great, Johnny McDaniel is still in the LU record books as being one of the best receivers to ever play for the Blue Tigers. In 1973, as a senior, McDaniel scored nine receiving touchdowns and gained 724 yards receiving, both of which are Lincoln single season records. Those marks simply highlighted an outstanding Lincoln career that featured career records in both receiving yards (2,030, making McDaniel the only LU receiver to ever crack the 2,000 mark) and receiving touchdowns (22). McDaniel also ranks fourth on Lincoln's single season reception list, having caught 44 passes during the 1972 season, in which LU finished with a school best 9-1 record and tied with Northwest Missouri for the MIAA championship.

A team captain as a senior in 1973, McDaniel was a three-year starter for the Blue Tigers, earning All-MIAA recognition following each season. In 1971, McDaniel was voted to the all-conference second team. In 1972 and 1973, he was a unanimous All-MIAA first team selection. His impact on the Blue Tigers could best be summarized by legendary LU coach Dwight T. Reed, who, after the 1972 season, stated that, "Without a doubt, [McDaniel] is the best receiver we've ever had at Lincoln University."

In 1974, McDaniel was drafted in the ninth round by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he teamed with Parrish. His most notable performance came in 1976 against the defending Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders when, in a December game, he caught nine passes for 201 yards and a touchdown. In 1978 he was traded to the Washington Redskins, finishing that year with over 600 receiving yards to become the team leader in that category. The next year, he was a part of a Redskin receiving corps that helped Joe Theismann finish second in the league in passing yards. In total, McDaniel spent seven years in the NFL.

An offensive and defensive lineman at Lincoln, George L. Buckner helped the Blue Tiger football team win the 1958 Mid-Western Athletic Association championship. As a freshman, Buckner was a key contributor on the squad, which ultimately defeated Emporia State in the Mineral Water Bowl, 21-0. Following a three-year stint in the army, including serving in Okinawa, Japan, Buckner returned to Lincoln in 1962 and once again helped the Blue Tigers win the MWAA title. Buckner helped guide LU to winning records in both the 1963 and 1964 campaigns, and was a co-captain on '64 squad that, finished 8-2 and was ranked No. 5 in the nation by the Pittsburgh Courier. He was also named the team's "Outstanding Senior" that season.

Rounding out the 2012 inductees is Jim Tolbert, another great Lincoln defender who spent time in the NFL. Tolbert, along with fellow inductees Burkes and Johnson, is one of four players to hold the school single season record in interceptions. Tolbert set the mark first, accomplishing the feat with seven interceptions during the 1963 campaign. A four-year letter-winner from 1963-66, Tolbert was a two-way player for the Blue Tigers, splitting time as both a wide receiver and defensive back. Following his sophomore, junior and senior seasons Tolbert was voted All-MWAA. Lincoln posted a winning record in three of his four seasons, including finishing the 1965 campaign with an 8-2 record that led to the Pittsburgh Courier voting the Blue Tigers No. 5 in the nation. Tolbert was also the team co-captain of the 1966 squad that finished 7-2.

Tolbert was drafted in the seventh round of the American Football League draft by the San Diego Chargers. He played as both a defensive back and a kick returner for the Chargers and, in 1967, averaged 24.5 yards per return, the fifth-best in the league. Tolbert, who is one of 14 Lincoln players to play professional football, ended up spending 11 years as a pro, including seven with the Chargers, three with the St. Louis Cardinals and one with the Houston Oilers.

The Lincoln Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 2008 and currently is comprised of 30 members. Inductees are nominated by their peers and voted upon by a select panel of Lincoln administrators. A minimum of five years must pass before any athlete, coach or administrator is eligible for the Hall of Fame. Athletes must have earned a minimum of two varsity letters at Lincoln while coaches and administrators must have been on the LU staff for a minimum of five years. Qualifications are based upon both the nominees' performance at Lincoln and after leaving the university.

The complete list of Hall of Fame inductees, sorted by year of induction, can be found below.

Jack Bush (Football & Men's Track & Field)
Herman Gant, Jr. (Men's Track & Field)
Jesse James (Football & Men's Track & Field)
Leo Lewis (Football)
Dwight T. Reed (Football, Men's Basketball, Men's Track & Field & Women's Track & Field)

Frederick Cason (Men's Track & Field)
Dr. James Frank (Men's Basketball)
Raymond Hooper (Football)
James Jones, Jr. (Football & Men's Track & Field)
Olenda "Len" Knowles (Men's Basketball & Men's Track & Field)
Dr. Leonard "Big Dog" Mershon (Football)
Joe Outlaw (Football)

Earl C. Beeks, Sr. (Football & Men's Basketball)
Archie L. Brown (Football)
1972 Football Team
Lewis R. Heffner (Football)
Dr. Larry Terry (Football)
James A. Young (Football)

Kevin L. Burgess (Wrestling & Football)
Zeke Moore (Football)
Harold Robertson (Men's Basketball)
Bertran Wallace (Football & Men's Basketball)

Lemar Parrish (Football)
Donald Corbett (Men's Basketball)
1966-67 Men's Basketball Team
Bruce Johnson (Football)
Willie Burkes (Football)
Johnny McDaniel (Football)
George L. Buckner (Football)
Jim Talbort (Football)

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