Athletics News

M Club Hall Of Fame To Add New Stars In 2004


Aug. 19, 2004

Record setting Tiger guard Bobby Parks and football stars Greg Montgomery and John Griffin are but three of the eight former University of Memphis athletes who will be inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame on September 10 at The Holiday Inn University of Memphis. This year's group of honorees includes four football players, two basketball standouts, a Lady Tiger basketball great and an athletic trainer. The annual Billy J. Murphy Award, The Ralph Hatley Silver M Award and the Dr. C.C. Humphreys Golden Tiger Award will also be presented. Linda Arnold, who was one of the first 50 women in the country to become a nationally certified athletic trainer, joined the staff at the University of Memphis in 1976. A graduate of Murray State University, Arnold completed her Master's Degree at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. She arrived on the Memphis campus in 1976 and was immediately charged with developing the first women's training program for Lady Tiger athletics and taught First Aid and Athletic Injuries classes. While at the U of M, Arnold and her staff of student trainers, five of whom became nationally certified trainers, hosted many state, regional and national athletic events, including the USVB volleyball tournament. Arnold received her Real Estate license and began selling real estate during the summer months. She left the University in 1990 to sell property at the TPC at Southwind golf course. She became affiliated with Germantown Properties in 1992. She was voted the "Favorite Realtor in Germantown" in 1999. Arnold has served as a board member of the Multi Million Dollar Club, President of the Education Committee and President of the Education Foundation. Bill Crumby, who is being inducted posthumously, came to the University of Memphis in 1976 after graduating from Christian Brothers High School in Memphis. He tried out for the Tiger football team in 1976 and through his determination and desire, quickly earned a position as a member of the special teams. In 1977, Crumby suffered an on field neck injury that left him a quadriplegic. After a year of hospitalization and recuperation, Crumby continued with his education and graduated from Memphis with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1983. He and his brother-in-law, Fred Webb, also a Tiger football letterman, opened Tiger Cleaners in 1984 and ran their successful business until 1998 when Crumby decided to devote his full attention to athletics and give of himself to the youth of Shelby County. He continued in his role as a volunteer coach for the Germantown Youth Athletic Association and compiled over 20 years of work with boy's football and girl's softball. In addition, he served on the board of directors and as President of the GYAA. A devoted Tiger fan, Crumby was a fixture at Memphis football and basketball games until his untimely death in 2000. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, John Griffin came to Memphis in 1959 and served as a running back and defensive back for former coach Billy J. Murphy's football team for four years. During his junior season, Griffin tallied 35 rushes for 160 yards and caught 10 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Tigers to an 8-2 record. One of the fastest Tiger players, he led the team in receiving as a senior catching 14 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns. His 34-yard touchdown reception against North Texas led Memphis to a 14-6 victory as did scoring receptions against Louisville and Detroit. The Tigers finished the 1962 season with an 8-1 mark. Griffin was selected to play in the Senior Bowl in 1963 and also played for the College All-Star Team that took on the world champion Green Bay Packers that same year. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and also played for the Denver Broncos and the B.C. Lions of the CFL. In 1969, Griffin entered the sales profession and remained in sales until his retirement in 2000. In addition, he worked as a professional football scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys of the NFL and with Montreal of the CFL. Wanda Simpson-Jones came to the University of Memphis in 1982 after a successful playing career at Southwest Tennessee Community College. She played in 28 games during her junior season, averaging 9.3 points per game and 7.2 rebounds. Simpson-Jones had a 23 point, 16 rebound effort against Tulane as a junior, as well as a 21 point, 12 rebound performance against Indiana. She started 28 games as a senior and upped her scoring average to 12.2 points per contest while grabbing 9.9 rebounds. Following graduation from the University in 1986, Simpson-Jones was hired as an assistant coach by Mary Lou Johns in 1987 and remained on the Lady Tiger staff until 1992. She was hired as the head women's basketball coach at East High School in the fall of 1992 and has directed the Lady Mustang program for the past 13 years. The Mustangs captured back-to-back city, district and regional championships in 2001-02 and 2002-03, while reaching the state semifinals in 2002 and the state quarterfinals in 2003. Simpson-Jones was named the District 16AAA Coach of the Year in 2003. She was inducted into the Southwest Tennessee Community College Hall of Fame in 2003. Larry McGhee played offensive line for Memphis from 1967 through 1970. After a season for the Tiger freshman team, McGhee became a starter at offensive tackle in 1968. The 1969 campaign again found the Kennett, Missouri, native working at tackle and in 1970, he moved to an offensive guard slot for his final season of eligibility. The move to guard paid dividends for McGhee as he was named first team All-Missouri Valley Conference and honorable mention All-America in 1970. He was also selected that same year to play in the annual Blue-Gray All-Star Classic in Montgomery, Alabama. In addition to lettering in football, McGhee earned two letters in track after placing third in the MVC shot-put championship in 1968 and first in 1969. Following graduation, McGhee began a career in education that has lasted 33-years. After teaching assignments in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, he became an assistant principal at Germantown High School in 1970 and held the same role at Houston and Cordova High Schools before being named the principal at Cordova High in June of this year. McGhee received his Bachelor of Science in Education from Memphis in 1971, his Master's of Education in 1975 and his Doctor of Education in 1991. After a stellar prep career at Escambia County High in Atmore, Alabama, Greg Montgomery arrived in Memphis in the fall of 1979. He immediately earned a spot on the Tiger depth chart and registered 18 tackles as a freshman and had his first fumble recovery in the Tigers' 22-0 win over North Texas. The nose tackle was redshirted in 1980 after a heat related illness but returned to a starting role in 1981 and was the team's third leading tackler with 72 tackles and four quarterback sacks, which led the Memphis defense. He had a season high 15 tackles and a pass breakup in the Tennessee contest and also registered double digit tackles against Virginia Tech. In 1982, Montgomery registered 82 total tackles, including a career high 13 stops, and a quarterback sack in the Cincinnati contest and produced 10 tackles against the Louisville Cardinals. Montgomery tacked on 67 tackles as a senior starter, including 12 against Southern Miss, bringing his career total to 237 total tackles. He was named to the All-Metro Conference team for three consecutive years and was voted team captain in 1983. Montgomery received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in 1984 and began a career with Ryder Integrated Logistics, where he currently serves as a Senior Operations Manager. Bobby Parks, a smooth shooting guard from Grand Junction, TN, came to the U of M in the fall of 1980 under head coach Dana Kirk and over the next four seasons, helped the Tigers to an 86-34 record, two Metro Conference Championships and three appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The Middleton High graduate appeared in 27 games as a freshman and totaled 238 points. During his second season with the Tigers, 1981-82, Parks upped his scoring average to 11.4 points per game in leading the team to a 24-5 record. As a junior, Parks received All-America honors from The Sporting News after scoring 488 points and helping his team to an NCAA Midwest Region invitation. He capped his Memphis career by again averaging in double figures in scoring and finished his senior season with a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Parks, who is currently ranked 15th in career scoring with 1,266 points, was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks. He began a career overseas in France in 1986 and in 1987, played in the Philippines where he would become a legend. He was the league MVP seven times and led his team to five championships. In addition to his basketball, Parks has appeared in several Filipino movies. Mackie Don Smith played forward for the Tigers during the 1960s but was forced to battle injuries throughout his career. The Booneville, Mississippi, native arrived in Memphis in the fall of 1965 and during his first season, played in 25 games. Smith tallied 170 points and had 133 rebounds as a freshman but just seven games into his sophomore year, he suffered a knee injury that brought his 1966-67 season to an end. After rehabilitating his knee, Smith returned to action in 1967-68 and appeared in 25 games as a Tiger forward. He averaged 12.7 points per game for the season and amassed 193 rebounds. However, just seven games into his senior year, Smith again suffered a knee injury, this time bringing his collegiate career to an end. He scored 606 points and had 408 rebounds in his abbreviated career at Memphis. Smith was drafted by the Denver Rockets but elected to return to the U of M and completed his degree in Secondary Education. He taught in the Memphis City School System for four years before returning to Booneville to become the boy's basketball coach at New Site High School. Smith received his master's degree in School Guidance and Counseling from Memphis in 1976. Dr. Steve Ballard, a former basketball teammate of Elliot Perry on the 1987-89 Tiger basketball squads, is the recipient of the 2004 Billy J. Murphy Award. Ballard helped the Tigers to back-to-back NCAA appearances during his two seasons at Memphis. A graduate of Sheffield High in Memphis, Ballard attended Southwest Tennessee Community College for two seasons and graduated with honors prior to enrolling at Memphis. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology in 1989 from the University of Memphis, graduating again with honors and was accepted at the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry. Ballard received his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in June of 1993 and completed his Professional Residency A.E.G.D. from UT in 1994. A member of the National Dental Association, Ballard serves his country as a Captain in the 380th Medical Company and is a veteran of the Iraqi Freedom War. He is a member of the Admissions Committee for the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, the Adult and Commuter Student Services Advisory Board for the University of Memphis and is a Trustee for the Southwest Tennessee Community College Foundation Board. Willard Sparks, a partner in Sparco Management, a private financial services management company, Cattlco, Inc., one of the nation's largest cattle feeding operations and Vining-Sparks, a NASD-registered general securities firm, is this year's recipient of the Dr. Cecil C. Humphrey Golden Tiger Award. A respected community leader, Sparks has received the Distinguished Friends Award from the University of Memphis Alumni Association and has co-chaired the Campaign for Memphis, the U of M's major fund raising venture. He has been a member of the Board of Visitor's for several years and is its immediate past chairman. He established the Sparks Family Chair of Excellence in International Business, as well as the Sparks Family Marketing Center in the Fogelman College of Business and Economics. In April of 2003, the Bureau of Business and Economic Research was renamed for Sparks to honor the time, expertise, leadership and financial resources that he has contributed to the university. He is also a strong supporter of Athletics and, as such, is a member of the Ambassadors Club and the board of directors of the Tiger Club. Sparks has his bachelor's and master's degrees from Oklahoma State University and his doctorate from Michigan State University. Bettie McGan King, a who along with her late husband, Tom King, began attending University of Memphis athletics events in 1946, is this year's recipient of the Ralph Hatley Silver M Award. A native Memphian, Mrs. King and her husband attended their first Tiger basketball game in the Elma Roane Field House in the fall of 1946-47 and their first Memphis football game at Crump Stadium when the sport was reinstated after World War II. She has been a season ticket holder since that time. In addition to her duties as chairman of the board of King Kitchens, Inc. for four years after her husband's death, Ms. King could be found at virtually every Tiger football, basketball and women's basketball game, both at home and on the road. The Kings sponsored the King Kitchens Lady Tiger Basketball Classic for many years, an event that was always considered one of the top women's basketball tournaments in the nation. An active member of the University of Memphis Tiger Clubs since its inception, Ms. King has donated to athletics since 1982. In addition to devoting her time and energy to the U of M, she is an avid golfer and always participates in University of Memphis Tiger Club golf outings. In fact, Ms. King has participated in every Lady Tiger golf team fund raiser since the inception of the program in the 1970's and can always be counted on to give of her time for her Tigers.

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