Hall of Fame Class to Be Inducted Friday

MUTIGERS.COM Mizzou's Hall of Fame
Mizzou's Hall of Fame

Jan. 10, 2007

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Six former standout student-athletes have been selected for induction into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. They will represent the 17th induction class since the inception of the Hall in 1990.

As called for in the Hall of Fame bylaws, former student-athletes are not eligible for consideration until five years after they complete their competitive career at Missouri. Coaches and staff members must have spent at least five years working at Mizzou, and also have a five-year waiting period. Here is a look at this year's inductees, with more extensive biographical information to follow:


Julie Effinger - Women's Swimming (1978-81) [Native of Belleville, Ill.]

A five-time All-American who won 10 Big Eight Conference championships and was slated to be on the USA Olympic team that eventually boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games;

Wes Roper - Wrestling (1979-82 / 1986-98) [Native of Kansas City, Mo.]

Was Mizzou's alltime winningest wrestler with 131 wins as an athlete, and later served as head coach, producing nine All-Americans and seven top-25 teams;

Craig Ruby - Men's Basketball (1918-20 / 1920-22) [Native of Kansas City, Mo.]

Won four conference championships in his five-year association with the program, winning two each as a player and coach. Was the first-ever two-time All-American in MU history;

Jerome Sally - Football (1979-81) [Native of Maywood, Ill.]

An All-Big Eight defensive tackle who was a key part of Tiger defenses that helped MU to 23 wins in three seasons and to three straight bowl appearances;

Nikki Thole - Soccer (1997-2000) [Native of St. Louis, Mo.]

The most decorated player in MU soccer history was a three-time 1st-Team All-Big 12 honoree and was a 2nd-Team All-American in 1999;

Morris Towns - Football (1974-76) [Native of St. Louis, Mo.]

Was a 1st-Team All-American as an offensive tackle in 1976 and went on to a solid nine-year playing career in the National Football League.


The induction dinner will be held Fri., Jan. 12th, at the Courtyard by Marriott. A reception will begin at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by contacting Amy Carroll in the Tiger Development Office, at (573) 884-6475. The class will be further honored during halftime ceremonies at the next day's men's basketball game, Jan. 13th, against Kansas State.

The Hall's constitution and bylaws express its purpose - "...to recognize and honor those individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the achievements and prestige of the University of Missouri in the field of athletics, and who have continued to demonstrate in their lives, the values imparted by intercollegiate athletics."

The current class will up the membership to 154 individuals and two national championship teams in the Hall of Fame. Inductees are honored in a display located in the main entrance at Mizzou Arena.

Nominations are accepted year-round by sending support material to: Chad Moller, Director of Athletic Media Relations, Mizzou Athletics, P.O. Box 677, Hearnes Center, Columbia, Mo. 65205.

Following are biographical sketches of each inductee...

Julie Effinger

Women's Swimming, 1978-81
A butterfly specialist who is one of the most accomplished swimmers in Mizzou women's history ... Won five All-American honors in individual events (still an MU record to this day) and was an Olympic hopeful prior to the USA boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics ... Claimed All-American honors in the 100 butterfly (1978, 1979) and the 200 butterfly (1978, 1979, 1981) events ... Won 10 Big Eight Conference championships, including six individual events and four relay titles ... Set numerous MU and Big Eight records during her time in the pool, including MU records in 1979 in both the 100 butterfly (56.83) and 200 butterfly (2:01.65) - records that stood at Mizzou until 2000 and 2003, respectively ... Was part of MU's 800 medley relay team that ranked 4th in the world during the 1979 season ... Became the first MU swimmer ever to win All-American honors in two events when she took 4th in the 200 butterfly and 14th in the 100 butterfly in the 1979 championships, helping MU place 19th as a team at nationals that year ... Earned a degree from MU's esteemed School of Journalism ... Native of Belleville, Ill., who now lives in St. Louis with her husband Paul Merrill, who is a Mizzou graduate, and their children, Paul, Ben, Joe and Annie ... Is the president/owner of Incentive Headquarters, a consulting company.

Wes Roper

Wrestling, 1979-82; Wrestling Coach, 1986-98
Longtime figure in Tiger wrestling program history who made lasting contributions as both an athlete and later as a coach ... On the mat, left in 1982 holding the MU career record for wins, with an overall record of 131-37, and he capped his career with an All-American 4th-place finish at 150 pounds at the 1982 NCAA Championships - the highest individual finish for a Tiger wrestler until he coached Shaon Fry to a 2nd-place finish in 1993 ... Helped the Tiger team to a 12th-place finish in 1982, which was the highest in school history at the time, and still ranks 3rd-best overall ... Led Mizzou in victories three straight seasons, winning 34 matches in 1980, 40 in 1981 and 35 in 1982 ... Later served as MU's coach for 13 seasons (1986-98) that saw him develop nine Tigers who won 11 All-American honors ... As a coach, his Tiger teams turned in seven top-25 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including bests of 16th (1992), 18th (1994) and 19th (1988 and 1993) ... Native of Kansas City, Mo., who now lives in Kirksville, Mo. with his wife Becky ... Sons include Derek and Austin ... Is a financial consultant for A.G. Edwards.

Craig Ruby

Men's Basketball 1918-20; Men's Basketball Coach, 1921-22
Arguably one of the winningest figures in Mizzou Basketball history, as he won four conference championships in his five-year association with the program as a player and coach ... In those five years as a player (1917-18 through 1919-20) and coach (1920-21 through 1921-22), his combined record at MU was a stellar 81-7 (92.1%) ... As a player, lettered three years for the Tigers (1918-20) and became the first two-time All-American in MU history, being named to the prestigious teams in both 1918 and 1919 ... Was part of the 1917-18 MU squad that went 17-1 and won the school's first-ever basketball conference championship ... Later took over as head coach for the 1920-21 season, becoming the first former Tiger player to serve as coach, and in his two seasons at the helm, led MU to records of 17-1 (1920-21) and 16-1 (1921-22) and consecutive Missouri Valley Conference titles ... His coaching winning percentage of 94.3% is 2nd-best in school history, trailing only national hall of fame coach Walter Meanwell (94.4%) ... Later coached for 14 years at the University of Illinois, where he won two Big Ten Conference titles and was never below .500 in a season ... Retired from coaching in 1936 and was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1975 ... Was a member of the MU Basketball All-Century Team in 2006.

Jerome Sally

Football, 1979-81
A standout defensive lineman who helped anchor perennially tough Tiger defenses that keyed Mizzou to four consecutive bowl games from 1978-81 ... Lettered three years (1979-81), as MU had a combined record of 23-13, including two bowl game victories ... Had a career-high 78 tackles as a senior in 1981, and earned the Associated Press' National Lineman of the Week Award against 9th-ranked Mississippi State, as he registered a career-high 15 tackles (12 solo), and forced one fumble in Starkville, Miss. as MU upset the Bulldogs ... Went on to a solid professional football career with the New York Giants (1982-86), as he had 7 1/2 QB sacks in 1985 and eventually won a Super Bowl ring as part of the 1987 World Championship team ... Also played in the NFL for Indianapolis and Kansas City before his retirement in 1988 ... Has been a valuable member of the Columbia, Mo. community, serving in the education industry and staying involved in various civic causes ... Was the defensive coordinator at Hickman High School from 1991-96, and also served as the school's strength and fitness coach from 1991-2006 ... Native of Maywood, Ill., who now lives in Columbia with his wife Debbie, who is also an MU graduate ... Children include Micah and Raysha ... Is currently an assistant principal at West Junior High School, and has served as a member of the MU Radio Network for Tiger Football games since 2001.

Nicole Thole

Nikki Thole
Soccer, 1997-2000
The premier soccer player in Mizzou history who becomes the first inductee into MU's Intercollegiate Hall of Fame for the sport that began in 1996 ... Came to Mizzou in only the second year of the program's existence, and quickly became the key player who helped establish the sport at MU ... Was the first Tiger to earn All-American recognition, when she was named a 2nd team awardee by multiple outlets as a junior in 1999 when she scored a school-record 23 goals and helped lead MU to a 14-8-1 record and an NCAA Tournament berth for the 1st time ... Was a three-time 1st-Team All-Big 12 honoree (1998-2000), and was a 2nd-Team All-Big 12 selection as a freshman ... Was a three-time selection to the Big 12 All-Tournament team (1998-2000), as she led the Tigers to three consecutive appearances in the Big 12 Championship Game ... Holds virtually every MU single-season and career scoring record to this day, just a few of which include career points (151) and goals (61) ... Native of St. Louis, Mo. who resides in her hometown and serves as a recreation supervisor for a local parks and recreation department.

Morris Towns

Football, 1974-76
One of the most accomplished offensive linemen on both the collegiate and professional level in Tiger Football history ... Was a 1st-Team All-American as a senior offensive tackle in 1976, as he helped pave the way for a potent offense that helped the Tigers claim monumental road wins at 8th-ranked USC (46-25), at 2nd-ranked Ohio State (22-21) and at 3rd-ranked Nebraska (34-24) that season ... Won his first letter as a sophomore, but really came into his own during his junior season, and capped the year by more than holding his own against Oklahoma's Leroy Selmon, who won the 1975 Outland and Lombardi awards and went on to become the No. 1 selection in the 1976 NFL Draft ... Selected to play in the prestigious Blue-Gray Classic, as well as the Hula Bowl and Japan Bowl ... Was a 1st-round NFL Draft pick in 1977 by the Houston Oilers as the 11th-overall selection, and went on to a solid nine-year career in the NFL, playing from 1978-83 with Houston, and from 1984-86 for the Washington Redskins ... Was a standout student who majored in engineering at Mizzou ... Native of St. Louis, Mo., who now resides in Richmond, Texas with his wife Bridgette ... Children include Raven and Brittany ... Is a civil design engineer.

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