Athletics News

Eight Former Tigers to Join M Club Hall of Fame

Eight Tigers will join the M Club Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 23rd, including Eric Fairs, pictured above.
Eight Tigers will join the M Club Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 23rd, including Eric Fairs, pictured above.

Sept. 8, 2011

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - Eight former Tiger student-athletes will comprise the M Club Hall of Fame Class of 2011 that will be inducted on Friday, Sept. 23rd. The class will include: Kitty Allen (women's basketball), Isaac Bruce (football), Rodney Carney (men's basketball), Eric Fairs (football), Craig House (baseball), Rhonda Kottke (volleyball), Dayton O'Brien (men's soccer) and William Singleton (men's track & field). The welcome reception will be held from 7:00-7:30 and the banquet will begin at 7:45 p.m.

Four special honors will also be presented on that Friday night. Tom Watson will receive the Dr. C.C. Humphreys Golden Tiger Award and Kay Kelly will receive the Ralph Hatley Silver M Award. Dave Butler will receive the Murray Armstrong Award and Elliot Perry will receive the Billy J. Murphy Award.

Tickets are available for the Friday night dinner that will be held at the Botanic Gardens. Tickets cost $50 (or $500 for a table of 10) and are available for purchase either by calling the Tiger ticket office at 901-678-2331 or can be purchased online here.

Bios of the eight inductees are below:

Kitty Allen (women's basketball): Kitty Allen (Paris, Tenn./Henry County HS) was a four-year letterwinner for the women's basketball team from 1993 to 1997 and capped her career with her name all over the Tiger record books. She still ranks ninth in school history in career scoring with 1,823 points and is fifth with 152 career three-point field goals made. Allen played in 119 career games, with 115 starts, was a Conference USA second team all-conference honoree as a senior in 1997 and a two-time Great Midwest Conference second team award winner in both her freshman and sophomore seasons (1994, 1995). She was also named to the Great Midwest All-Tournament Teams in 1994 and 1995 and was the league's Newcomer of the Year in 1994, also earning All-Newcomer team honors. Heading in to her sophomore campaign, Allen was named a Street & Smith's pre-season All-America honoree, and she responded with a second straight season with a 16.1 ppg scoring average, adding 4.6 rebounds per game. She helped the 1994-95 Tigers to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1986-87, a feat Memphis would accomplish in each of the next two seasons with Allen an integral part of the Memphis offense. Allen's 56 three-point field goals made in her sophomore season remains tied for sixth in the Tiger record book and with her in the line-up, Memphis posted an 81-38 overall record and appeared in three straight NCAA tournaments, upending No. 21 USC in 1995 to advance to the second round.

Isaac Bruce (football): Isaac Bruce came to the Memphis football team as a wide receiver in 1992 after two stellar seasons in junior college. The speedy Bruce made an immediate impact on the Tiger football squad, earning a starting position before the opening game of 1992. Coupled with junior college quarterback Steve Matthews, Bruce helped give Memphis one of the nation's top passing attacks. He started all 11 games as a junior and was the team's second-leading receiver with 39 receptions for 532 yards and five touchdowns. However, it was the 1993 campaign that caught the attention of professional scouts. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native opened the 1993 season with seven catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers' road win at Mississippi State. He added 147 yards against East Carolina, 109 in a contest against Arkansas State and 108 in the Tulsa game. Bruce finished the 1993 season with a school-record 74 catches for 1,054 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 74 catches and 1,054 yards remain Memphis football records and his 10 touchdown receptions ranks fourth. His two touchdown catches against Miami earned him the ESPN Player of the Game Award. Bruce was drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Rams in 1994. He ended his career, some 16 seasons later, in 2010, as the NFL's second all-time leading receiver with 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards and 91 touchdowns. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers for two years. In October of 2003, the University of Memphis officially retired Bruce's jersey in a ceremony held at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Rodney Carney (men's basketball): Whether he shot a graceful three-pointer or threw down a rim-rattling dunk, Rodney Carney electrified Tigers fans every time he touched the ball during his career from 2002-06. The Indianapolis, Ind., native helped the Tigers to a 100-35 record and four-straight postseason appearances (3 NCAA, 1 NIT), including a magical run to the 2006 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. The first consensus All-America pick since Anfernee Hardaway in 1993, Carney earned All-America distinction from Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), Rivals.com, collegehoopsnet.com and collegeinsider.com in 2006. That same season, the 6-foot-7 forward was a finalist for three National Player of the Year awards (Naismith Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Adolph F. Rupp Trophy). Carney, the 2005-06 Conference USA Player of the Year, is the No. 3 all-time scorer in school history with 1,901 points and also holds school marks for three-pointers made (287 career/102 season) and three-point attempts (792 career/261 season). He still ranks on the Conference USA career scoring (No. 8) and three-pointers made (No. 4) charts. A 2006 NBA Draft first-round selection, Carney has had playing stints with the Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors.

Eric Fairs (football): Eric Fairs joined the Tiger football team in the fall of 1982 as one of the most highly-regarded linebackers ever signed. The Northside High School graduate immediately saw action as a reserve and finished his first season as the team's fifth-leading tackler with 76 total tackles, including a single game high of eight tackles against Southern Mississippi. Working as a middle linebacker, Fairs became the squad's leading tackler as a sophomore with 122 hits and added two fumble recoveries and two pass interceptions. He was moved to defensive end during his junior campaign, and responded with 94 tackles, six and a half quarterback sacks and 17 tackles for loss yardage to finish the season ranked third in defensive statistics. Fairs moved back to middle linebacker and to the team lead in tackles in his final season. With 143 total tackles, the native Memphian completed his career with 435 tackles which still ranks third among all defensive players. Fairs was named honorable mention on the Associated Press All-America Team in 1985 and was a two-time All-South Independent, All-Metro Conference and Highland Hundred MVP award winner. He signed with the Houston Oilers in 1986 and played seven seasons in Texas before finishing his career with the Atlanta Falcons. Following his retirement from professional football, Fairs makes his home in Fulshear, Texas.

Craig House (baseball): Memphis product Craig House, a graduate of Christian Brothers High School, was a four-year letterwinner at the University of Memphis from 1996-1999. The multi-position athlete played first base, outfield and was a mainstay on the mound. He was a two-time Collegiate Baseball Pitcher of the Week, Conference USA Hitter of the Week in 1998, a two-time C-USA Pitcher of the Week and a two-time All-C-USA First Team selection. With a quirky delivery on the mound, House raced through the record books to the top spot with 303 career strikeouts. He finished with 285 1/3 innings pitched, the third-most in program history. The right-handed pitcher for coach Jeff Hopkins had seven complete games in his career and also notched six saves early in his career. House was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 12th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft in 1999 and quickly progressed to the major league club, making his debut on August 6, 2000. House spent six seasons with various teams in Major League Baseball, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers. House now makes his home in the Dallas, Texas metropolis.

Rhonda Kottke (volleyball): Rhonda Kottke was a four-year letterwinner from New Hope, Minn. for the women's volleyball team and also a three-time All-Metro Conference selection. She left the U of M as the all-time leader in block assists (446) and total blocks (575)--records that still stand today. She also ranks fourth in solo blocks (129) and holds the single-season record for block assists (160). Averaging 339 kills per season her last three seasons, Kottke's 1,134 total kills rank 14th on the all-time list. During her senior season, Kottke led the Tigers to a 30-9 overall record, including a 10-0 mark at home, downing 509 kills and 197 total blocks. The 30-win season ranks as the second-most wins in a single season in Tiger Volleyball history. She also earned Women's Invitational Volleyball Championship all-tournament honors. During that tournament she had six service aces, 61 digs, and 22 total blocks.

Dayton O'Brien (men's soccer): Dayton O'Brien is one of the most decorated players in Memphis soccer annals. The Memphis, Tenn., native was named to the 2004 NSCAA and College Soccer News All-America Second Teams, making him the only player in Memphis' soccer history to be named an All-American. Throughout his tenure as a Tiger, O'Brien was named to three All-Region Teams and four All-Conference USA teams, earning Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2004. O'Brien's 2004 season ranks as one of the greatest in school history. The national, regional and conference accolades came pouring in after his eight-goal, 14-assist and 30-point campaign, a season in which Memphis won its first Conference USA Championship. During O'Brien's career, he played in 75 games, scored 24 goals and recorded 82 career points. His 34 career assists shattered the record book by an astonishing 12 assists. O'Brien also holds the season record for assists with 14 and is one of only three Memphis soccer players in the 20 goal/20 assist club.

William Singleton (men's track & field): William Singleton came to the University of Memphis during the tenure of head coach Glenn Hays and from 1983-85 placed in the Metro Conference and NCAA Championships. The Kingsbury High School graduate specialized in the 800 and 1000 meters as a Tiger, as well as working as a 400 and 1600-meter runner in several events. In 1983, Singleton won the 800 meters in the Dogwood Relays, hosted by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. One year later, he qualified for and ran in the NCAA Indoor 1000- meter championships placing seventh in the finals. During the spring of 1984 Singleton qualified for the NCAA Outdoor 800-meter championships and was invited to the 1984 USA Olympic Trials a few months later. During his career, the distance runner placed second three consecutive years in the Metro Conference 800-meter championship and turned in a personal best of 1:47.4 in the event. Even though the 1000 meter run is no longer a competitive event, Singleton remains the Tiger record holder with a time of 2:22.29. Additionally, he posted times of 48.0 in the 400-meters and 4:12.14 in the 1600-meters.

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