Thirty-four student-athletes named to Athletics Hall of Fame
SPSU - Wed, Sep. 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM
MARIETTA, Ga. – A total of 34 former Southern Polytechnic State University student-athletes have been named to the institution's Athletics Hall of Fame. In April, former athletic director Matt Griffin announced that Southern Polytechnic would establish its first-ever Athletics Hall of Fame to celebrate the accomplishments of its greatest student-athletes, coaches, special contributors and teams over the past six-plus decades of intercollegiate competition.
In anticipation of Southern Poly's consolidation with Kennesaw State University in January 2015, it was decided in February that the SPSU athletic programs would be discontinued at the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year.
Student-athletes were chosen in one of two subcategories. They could be elected for either their athletic achievement while attending Southern Poly, or professional achievement while in school or after they left the university. Twenty-seven student-athletes from the past were selected for their athletic accomplishments and seven for their professional experience.
Former student-athletes chosen to the SPSU Athletics Hall of Fame for their athletic prowess include John Barrett (baseball), Jake Barrow (baseball), Jeff Battles (baseball), Randy Black (baseball), David Carroll (baseball), Duriel Coleman (men's basketball), Scott Creel (baseball), Crystal Davis (women's basketball), Keith Davis (baseball), Mark Doll (baseball), Daniel Griffin (baseball), Matt Griffin (baseball), Sean Grisham (men's soccer), Josh Grooms (baseball), Roger Hackett (baseball), Mickey Harper (baseball), Chris Jackson (men's basketball), Chris Jones (baseball), Mike Jones (men's basketball), Sinclair Keith (men's basketball), Lamar Knight (baseball), Emeka Maduka (men's soccer), D'Juan Neal (men's basketball), Diego Nicholson (men's soccer), Dione Parks (women's basketball), Jas Rogers (men's basketball) and Gabe Warner (men's soccer).
To be chosen for athletic achievement, a student-athlete must have participated in athletics for at least two seasons at Southern Poly, graduated and made a significant impact or earned special recognition while competing.
The individuals picked to the Hall of Fame for their professional feats are Mamadou "Futty" Danso (men's soccer), Mickey Dunn (baseball), David English (baseball), Brent Jennings (men's basketball), Marc Reece (men's basketball), Mike Samples (baseball/men's tennis) and Sean Teague (baseball).
To be considered under professional achievement, a student-athlete must have brought recognition to the university by distinguishing himself/herself in a professional field other than and/or including professional sports and finished athletic eligibility at SPSU in good academic standing.
In a breakdown by sport, there are 18 baseball, eight men's basketball, five men's soccer and two women's basketball players on the list of student-athletes. Additionally, one multi-sport performer, who participated in both baseball and men's tennis, earned a spot in the Hall-of-Fame class.
Below is information on each of the student-athletes who was voted into the Hall.
- John Barrett (1981-84): Pitcher who led the 1984 team that finished 37-17 overall in appearances (18) and strikeouts (58), going 6-1 with a 2.81 ERA; pitched a no-hitter in March 1982; Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering technology.
- Jake Barrow (2008-10): Second baseman who had a career batting average of .397 with 168 runs, 53 stolen bases, 69 walks and just 53 strikeouts in 539 at-bats for three NAIA national tournament teams; first team all-conference when leading the 2009 World Series squad in batting (.430 average); B.S. in business administration.
- Jeff Battles (1990-93): Pitcher who went 12-3 with 90 strikeouts and a 2.04 ERA in 1993; posted 20 wins and struck out 159 with a 2.23 ERA over his final two seasons; drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and played professionally for two years; B.S. in industrial engineering technology.
- Randy Black (1995-98): Pitcher who is the Hornets' all-time leader in strikeouts (230) and among the top in victories (24) and innings pitched (228.1); two-time all-conference who ended his career with a 2.21 ERA; paced the 1997 NAIA national tournament club in wins (8-3 record), innings (74), strikeouts (86) and ERA (3.04); B.S. in apparel textile technology.
- David Carroll (1994-97): Outfielder who was an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American in 1997 when hitting .395 with 15 doubles and 32 walks, striking out only 11 times in 157 at-bats; among the university's career leaders in runs (154), at-bats (550), hits (179), stolen bases (37), walks (63) and doubles (31); twice named all-conference; B.S. in management.
- Duriel Coleman (1999-2002): Guard who was a part of two teams that advanced to the Sweet 16 of NAIA Division I national events and won conference tournament championships; school's all-time leader in three-point field goals made (205) and near the top in assists (354), steals (169) and scoring (1128 points); shot 78.5 percent (241-of-307) from the free throw line during his career; B.S. in management.
- Scott Creel (2002-04): Second baseman who is Southern Poly's all-time leader in doubles (48) and among the best in batting average (.359), hits (188), home runs (26), RBIs (144), runs (132), at-bats (624) and bases on balls (82); NAIA First Team All-Region in 1994 and all-conference three times; led the 1994 NAIA nationals squad that claimed the conference tournament title in hits (78), doubles (22), homers (nine), RBIs (53), total bases (127) and slugging percentage (.608) while batting .373; B.S. in management and an M.S. in construction management.
- Crystal Davis (2007-11): Four-year starting guard who tops SPSU's career lists for games (132), rebounds (1008) and steals (333); institution's second all-time leading scorer (1217 points) who started all 69 games over her last two seasons (team was 59-10); NAIA Honorable Mention All-American and Southern States Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2011; three-time academic all-conference and NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 2010 for the NAIA Division I Sweet 16 squad; B.S. in accounting.
- Keith Davis (1990-93): Third baseman who was an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American in 1993 after batting .353 with team highs of 33 RBIs and five home runs; three-time NAIA All-District; career batting average of .360; hit .367 in 1992, pacing the club in doubles (nine), RBIs (34) and walks (31) while tying for the team lead in homers (three); B.S. in industrial engineering technology.
- Mark Doll (2008-09): Pitcher who went 21-3 with eight complete games and a 2.85 ERA in 30 career appearances (28 starts); member of two teams that advanced to NAIA national events, including the 2009 World Series club that registered a school-record 53 victories; SSAC Pitcher of the Year and NAIA All-Region in 2008 when winning 11 contests; Philadelphia Phillies draftee who played professionally for one year; B.S. in business administration.
- Daniel Griffin (2006-08): Shortstop who was a part of NAIA national tournament teams in 2007 and 2008; started all 176 games during his career and is the Hornets' all-time leader in runs (178) while ranking among the best in at-bats (601), batting average (.373), hits (223), doubles (41) and walks (81); paced the squad in runs three straight seasons; led the 2008 club that went 39-17 overall in hits (85) and total bases (116) while batting .443 with a .604 slugging percentage; B.S. in management and a Master of Business Administration.
- Matt Griffin (1996-98): Three-year starting shortstop who starred on the 1997 NAIA national tournament team; twice all-conference and is among the school's all-time leaders in home runs with 22; career batting average of .353 with 91 runs, 89 RBIs, 54 walks and 29 stolen bases; drafted by the Chicago Cubs and played professionally for two years before returning to Southern Poly as the head baseball coach and then athletic director; B.S. in management.
- Sean Grisham (2008-11): Four-year starter as a midfielder and a member of three NAIA nationals squads (Sweet 16 in 2009 and 2010, Elite Eight in 2011); First Team All-SSAC on two occasions and three-time academic all-conference; recorded 26 goals and 14 assists for 66 career points; B.S. in business administration.
- Josh Grooms (2007-10): Four-year starter as a center fielder who was on four NAIA national tournament teams (World Series in 2009); SPSU's all-time leader in hits (265), at-bats (778) and RBIs (205); career batting average of .341 with 41 doubles, 14 home runs and 166 runs; started all 63 games for the 2009 club; First Team All-SSAC and NAIA All-Region in 2008; twice named to the SSAC Gold Glove Team; B.S. in industrial engineering technology.
- Roger Hackett (1984-85): Left-handed pitcher who went 6-3 with two saves, a 2.32 ERA, eight complete games, 43 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 62 innings for the 1984 team; also in 1984, he batted .323 with 15 runs, 15 RBIs and two home runs; drafted by the Atlanta Braves and played professionally for two campaigns; B.S. in mechanical engineering technology.
- Mickey Harper (1992-95): Second baseman with a career batting average of .389 with 107 runs; university's career leader in walks (95); all-conference in 1995 when hitting .419; batted .440 in 1994, leading NAIA District 25; hit .347 as a sophomore and .319 during his freshman season; two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete; B.S. in mathematics.
- Chris Jackson (2003-05): Two-year starter at point guard for a pair of NAIA Division I national tournament squads; member of two conference regular-season championship teams; NAIA First Team All-American in 2005 and honorable mention in 2004; among Southern Poly's all-time leaders in assists (313); led the 2004-05 team that finished with single-season school records for wins (32) and winning percentage (.889) in free throws made (126) and assists (174); B.S. in management.
- Chris Jones (1986-88): First baseman who was a part of the 1986 NAIA World Series team that won the conference regular-season, conference tournament, NAIA Area V and District 25 titles; drafted by the Atlanta Braves and played four seasons of professional baseball, one in the Braves organization and three in independent leagues; B.S. in industrial engineering technology.
- Mike Jones (1978-82): Point guard who participated for four teams that qualified for NAIA national events (Sweet 16 in 1979, 1981 and 1982); member of four NAIA District 25 championship squads and three that also captured conference regular-season crowns; on top of SPSU's career list for assists (573); dished out a school-record 181 assists in 1981-82; Associate of Science in industrial engineering.
- Sinclair Keith (1975-79): Key contributor on the Hornets' first NAIA national tournament teams in 1978 and 1979 (Sweet 16 in 1979) that also won conference regular-season, conference tournament and NAIA District 25 titles; university's all-time leader in scoring (1418 points), rebounds (849) and field goals made (592); averaged a team-best 9.7 rebounds per game in 1978-79; grabbed 20 rebounds in a single contest in January 1979; A.S. and a B.S. in industrial engineering technology.
- Lamar Knight (1981-84): Part of the NAIA Academic All-America Team in 1984 (listed with a 3.64 grade-point average); led the 1984 club in at-bats (209) while hitting .302 with 42 runs, 41 RBIs, five doubles, three triples, three home runs, 10 stolen bases, 22 walks and just eight strikeouts; B.S. in mechanical engineering technology.
- Emeka Maduka (2009-12): Four-year starting forward and first team all-conference all four seasons; member of four NAIA nationals teams (Sweet 16 in 2009 and 2010, Elite Eight in 2011 and 2012); program's all-time leader in goals (53) and points (121); twice earned NAIA All-America recognition (third team in 2012, honorable mention in 2009); SSAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 and Newcomer of the Year in 2009; B.S. in business administration.
- D'Juan Neal (1999-02): Point guard who played on the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 teams that advanced to the Sweet 16 of NAIA Division I national events and won SSAC Tournament championships; among the school's all-time leaders in assists (298) and steals (183); posted 217 assists and 117 steals with only 116 turnovers during his final two campaigns; B.S. in industrial engineering technology.
- Diego Nicholson (2008-11): Four-year starting defender who was a part of three NAIA national tournament squads; member of the 2009 team that won the conference regular-season championship and finished ranked No. 4 nationally in the NAIA; all-conference in 2011 for a team that picked up the SSAC Tournament crown and ended rated sixth in the nation; B.S. in information technology.
- Dione Parks (2008-10): Guard who played on the program's first NAIA Division I national tournament team (Sweet 16 in 2010); Southern Poly's career leader in three-point field goals made with 164; first team all-conference and SSAC 6th Man Award winner in 2010; led the 2009-10 squad in three-pointers made (85) and three-point field goal percentage (43.8), along with being the second-leading scorer (9.6 points per game); appeared in all 32 games with 29 starts in 2008-09, averaging 10.6 points a contest; B.S. in business administration.
- Jas Rogers (2008-10): Guard who paced the 2009-10 NAIA Division I Final Four squad in scoring (16.8 points per outing), three-point field goals made (59), free throws made (206), assists (164) and steals (93) while tying for the team lead in games played (35) and field goals made (162); NAIA Second Team All-American and SSAC Player of the Year in 2010; member of the all-tournament team and winner of Charles Stevenson Hustle Award at the 2010 NAIA Division I national event; first team all-conference in 2009; B.S. in business administration.
- Gabe Warner (2010-13): Started all 82 matches of his career as a defender, leading the squad in minutes from 2011-13; part of three NAIA national tournament teams; NAIA Scholar-Athlete and team captain in 2012 and 2013; member of the SSAC All-Academic Team on three occasions; named to the SSAC All-Tournament Team as a senior; B.S. in biology.
- Mamadou "Futty" Danso (2007-08): Led SPSU's first team in goals (16) and points (35) when honored as the 2007 SSAC Newcomer of the Year; holds single-season school records for goals (19), points (44) and shots on goal (55), all set in 2008; NAIA Honorable Mention All-American in 2008 and two-time first team all-conference; SSAC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year in 2008; professional player since 2009 who is currently a member of Major League Soccer's Montreal Impact; since 2011, he has played in 62 MLS matches with 58 starts as a center back; played with the Gambian National Team during the 2014 World Cup qualifier.
- Mickey Dunn (1978-81): Center fielder who one season when the team went 20-14 overall, he registered a .303 batting average while leading the club in games (34), at-bats (132) and runs scored (38); tied for the team lead in total bases with 48 that same year; president/CEO of ML Industries Inc. in McAllen, Texas, since 1990; MLI manufacturers 250,000-plus automotive airbags per week as well as seat covers, wind energy covers, marine covers, military covers and seat inserts for major players in the automotive business; MLI's automotive business continues to evolve with successful manufacturing in both the United States and Mexico.
- David English (1965-67, 1972-74): Spent four years in the United States Air Force in between two different stints at Southern Poly; owner and principal of the architectural and related services firm Pucciano & English Inc. (with offices in Atlanta and Denver) since 1982; registered architect in 15 states; member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB); A.S. and a B.S. in architectural engineering technology.
- Brent Jennings (2009-11): Played for two NAIA Division I national tournament teams (Final Four in 2010); led the 2009-10 squad that won SSAC regular-season and tournament championships in rebounds (217, 8.7 per game) and defensive rebounds (134) while tying for the team lead in field goals made (162) and averaging 15.1 points a contest; two-time first team all-conference; Most Valuable Player of the 2010 SSAC Tournament; averaged 14.4 points and 8.1 boards an outing as a junior; second overall pick in the 2013 National Basketball League of Canada Draft and played in 2013-14 for the Brampton A's; helped lead Tokyo to the 2013 Houston Eurobasket Summer League championship; competed in the American Basketball League after spending time with two NBA Development League teams.
- Marc Reece (2003-06): Part of three NAIA Division I national tournament teams (Sweet 16 in 2005 and 2006); saw action in 98 games over his career, improving his scoring and rebounding averages each season; shot 52.3 percent from the field in 2003-04 and 53.3 percent the following year; worked in SPSU's admissions office from 2007-12; appeared in the reality competition television program Pros vs. Joes on Spike TV in 2009 (vs. former NBA stars Shawn Kemp, Eddie Jones and Ron Harper) and BET's College Hill Interns in 2007; former secretary/treasurer of the Southern Poly Athletic Association; B.S. in business administration.
- Mike Samples (baseball from 1962-64, tennis in 1964): Current and longtime college football official who has been with the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1980; officiated more than 30 college football bowl contests since 1983, including national title matchups and Southeastern Conference championship games; served as president of the Georgia Football Officials Association in 1984 and 10 years later, he established Samples Construction company in Kennesaw; A.S. in building construction technology.
- Sean Teague (2008-09): Pitcher on two NAIA national tournament clubs (World Series in 2009); went 13-4 with five saves and a 2.85 ERA in 35 career appearances (16 starts); SSAC Pitcher of the Year and once chosen as the NAIA National Pitcher of the Week in 2009; pitched a nine-inning perfect game in conference play on the road in April 2009; Florida Marlins draftee who played three seasons of professional baseball (one in the Marlins organization and two in independent leagues).
All nominations for the Hall were reviewed by an Athletics Hall of Fame Committee. The next category of the inaugural Hall-of-Fame class, scheduled to be unveiled on Sept. 22, is coaches and administrators. On Oct. 13, individuals for distinguished service and teams are slated to be announced.
Once the consolidation process is finalized, the SPSU Athletics Hall of Fame will be housed as a wing of the KSU Athletic Association Hall of Fame, which was established in 2003.
A Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is planned for Friday, March 27, 2015 on the Southern Poly campus. Inductees will also be honored the following day at halftime of Kennesaw State's spring football game as the Owls prepare for their inaugural season of intercollegiate competition that begins in September 2014.