Nov. 9, 2004
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 15th induction class since the inception of the Hall in 1990.
The induction dinner will be held Fri., Jan. 21st, at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. A reception will begin at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner and induction ceremonies at 7:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by contacting Brenda Baker in the Tiger Development Office, at (573) 884-0742. The class will be further honored during halftime ceremonies at the next day's men's basketball game, Jan. 22nd, against Nebraska.
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:
CLASS OF 2004
Al Abram - Men's Basketball, 1958-60
An accomplished basketball player who was also a trailblazer in MU athletics, as he was the first African-American athlete to receive a scholarship at Mizzou;
Rebecca Davis (Wilmes) - Women's Track & Cross Country, 1993-97
One of the top distance runners in school history who helped establish Mizzou as one of the premier distance programs in the nation during the middle 1990s;
Charlie McMullen - Men's Track & Cross Country, 1970-74
A three-time NCAA All-American whose versatility and leadership helped bring national recognition to the MU distance teams;
Sonny Siebert - Baseball & Men's Basketball, 1956-58
Was an All-American on the diamond, leading MU to the College Word Series runner-up spot in 1958, the same year that he led the MU basketball team in scoring;
Ray Thorpe - Football & Baseball, 1963-67
A two-sport standout who earned All-American honors in baseball (1967) and was also a key player on the Tiger football team that won the 1966 Sugar Bowl;
Devin West - Football, 1995-98
Mizzou's career leader in all-purpose yardage who was a first-team All-American (1998) and helped lead MU to its first bowl win (1998 Insight.com Bowl) since 1981.
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 144 individuals and two national championship teams in the Hall of Fame.
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.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE BIOS
A standout basketball player for the University from 1958-60 who was also a trailblazer, as he became the first African-American athlete to accept a scholarship at MU, when he did so from basketball coach Sparky Stalcup in 1956 ... Led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding during the 1958-59 season, at 16.1 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per contest ... Totaled 404 points that season, and became only the 4th Tiger in history to reach 400 points at the time ... Had a brilliant 28-point outing at Kansas that season ... Was a very unassuming man who by all accounts dealt with the unfortunate situations that would arise with class and dignity ... One situation occurred as a junior in December 1958, when the team traveled to Houston, Texas to play Rice ... As the team checked into the hotel the night before the game, the hotel refused to let Abram stay there ... Unable to make last-minute accommodations for the entire team, Stalcup made arrangements for Abram to stay in a dorm room at nearby Texas Southern University ... The next night, Abram scored 23 points to lead MU to a 68-62 victory ... Played professionally briefly with Seattle of the old National Industrial Basketball League, before the league folded ... He later worked for the City of St. Louis, as well as the Internal Revenue Service ... Passed away in his hometown of St. Louis, Mo., in 1982 at the age of 44.
REBECCA DAVIS (WILMES)
A native of Manchester, Mo. who became one of Mizzou's top distance runners in school history, and along the way, helped establish MU as one of the premier distance programs in the nation ... Was a two-time All-American in track, at 800 meters (12th in 1995 NCAA Indoor Championships) and at 1,500 meters (11th in 1997 NCAA Outdoor Championships) ... Was the 1996 NCAA Midwest Regional cross country individual champion, and twice led the Tiger harriers to team appearances in the NCAA Championships ... Was named NCAA All-District in cross country three times (1994-96) ... Won two Big Eight championships (1995 Indoor 800 meters; 1995 Indoor distance medley relay) ... Also won championships at the Drake Relays and the Kansas Relays, and was an Olympic Trials qualifier at 1,500 meters in 2000 ... Named Big Eight Newcomer of the Year in both cross country and track during the 1993-94 season ... An outstanding student-athlete who was a three-time academic All-American in cross country, and was a first-team Academic All-Conference honoree eight times ... Graduated magna cum laude in 1997 with a bachelor's in secondary education, and is now in her 7th year as an assistant coach for the Mizzou track and cross country programs ... Is married to former MU track and cross country standout Jared Wilmes, who is the head cross country and assistant track coach at Mizzou.
A versatile runner and inspirational figure who helped bring national recognition to the MU distance teams ... Excelled at any distance, ranging from the half-mile all the way to the marathon ... Was a three-time NCAA All-American, earning the award once each in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track ... Placed 13th at the 1972 NCAA Cross Country Championships, despite losing a shoe early on in the rain-soaked race ... In the spring of 1973, became the first MU athlete to break four minutes in the mile, which he accomplished twice that year ... Anchored the men's distance medley relay team, which won a national championship at the 1974 NCAA Indoor Championships ... Still holds the MU school record in the outdoor 1,500-meter run, with his 3:41.90 time at the 1973 NCAA Outdoor Championships - which stands as one of the oldest records still on the books ... That run placed him 4th in the race ... Helped mentor his younger brother, Tim, who eventually won the Big Eight cross country individual title in 1975 ... After his collegiate career, got into running marathons, and after a two-year layoff, he got back into shape and won the 1978 Drake Relays marathon, with a time of 2:15:19. According to an archivist at Runners' World magazine, he was the first of only 15 Americans who have broken both four minutes in the mile and 2:16 in the marathon ... Made his home in Rochester, N.Y., where he and his wife, Nancy, worked as special education teachers ... Earned a lifetime achievement award from his local Special Olympics program due to his efforts with the program ... Until being stricken with cancer, he remained active in running, and consistently remained near the top of the national Masters rankings for his age group ... At 41, he set a world record for the 40-44 age group with a time of 9:12.5 in the 2-mile run ... Lost his battle with cancer, passing away in August of 2003.
An impact player in two sports for Mizzou, the St. Louis, Mo. native lettered in basketball three years (1956-58) and one year in baseball (1958) ... Earned third-team All-American honors in baseball, as a first baseman in 1958 ... Was also an All-District V and All-Big Eight selection that season, as he helped lead MU to the championship game of the College World Series, where MU lost in 12 innings to Southern Cal, 8-7 ... Was named to the all-time College World Series team for the decade of the 1950s ... Tied for the team lead in home runs, with eight in 1958 ... Signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1958, and played at the major league level with several teams as a pitcher ... In basketball, led Missouri in scoring in 1958 (16.7 points per game), and in free throw shooting in 1957 (78.5%).
A two-sport standout who was recruited to play football at Mizzou, but also later excelled in baseball, while also running indoor track for one season ... The St. Louis, Mo. native was also the first African-American to play baseball for Mizzou ... Earned All-American honors in 1967 in baseball, after leading the Tigers in hits, triples, home runs, stolen bases and walks ... Was named to the Missouri College Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967, and played on the USA's Pan-American baseball squad in 1966 ... Was a game-breaker on the gridiron for Coach Dan Devine, playing a big role on the 1965 MU squad that eventually won the 1966 Sugar Bowl ... Proved instrumental to the team during the year, as he provided numerous big plays, scoring touchdowns that won a game against Oklahoma State and forced a tie against UCLA ... His TD against Oklahoma State was a 42-yard run on a lateral from Gary Kombrink, and accounted for the only score in a 7-0 MU win ... His TD against UCLA was a scintillating 79-yard kick return that got MU back into the game after the Bruins had taken a 14-0 lead - the game ended in a 14-14 tie ... After graduating from Mizzou in 1967, coached high school football in the St. Louis area, and during his teaching and coaching tenure, he was influential in the decision of many students and athletes to attend Mizzou ... Went on to earn two masters degrees from Washington University ... He entered the corporate world as a manager for AT&T and is currently employed with SBC.
A silky-smooth and deceptively fast tailback who became one of Mizzou's alltime bests in the backfield, and helped lead MU football back to the winners circle ... A native of Moberly, Mo. who ended his career ranking No. 2 on the alltime school career rushing chart, with 2,954 yards (ranked No. 3 at the beginning of the 2004 season) ... If bowl stats were counted in career totals when he played, he would have left as MU's career leader in the category (had 229 yards in two bowl games combined) ... Ranks as MU's alltime leader for all-purpose yards in a career (2,824), season (1,621 in 1998) and game (333 vs. Kansas in 1998) ... His 108 points scored in 1998 ranks 3rd on the MU single-season scoring list, and his career total of 174 points ranks as 8th-best in school history ... Was named a 1st-Team All-American at tailback (Football News, The Sporting News) as a senior in 1998, and helped lead Mizzou to an 8-4 season and a win over West Virginia in the Insight.com Bowl - MU's first bowl win since 1981 ... Rushed for 125 yards in the bowl victory ... Ended MU's 12-year All-American drought, as he became the first All-American since John Clay in 1986 ... He was also the first Tiger running back to be named All-American since Bob Steuber in 1942 ... Ranked 5th in the nation in rushing in 1998, with an MU single-season record 1,578 yards and 17 TDs ... His 18 total TDs stood as the single-season record until 2003 ... Holds two of the top three single-game rushing marks in school history ... Shattered the record with a 319-yard, 2-TD outing against Kansas in 1998, and later added a 252-yard game at Iowa State, which is currently the No. 3 mark ... Was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Doak Walker Award in 1998, and played in the Senior Bowl following his senior season.