Oct. 18, 2012
MEMPHIS - - Six former University of Memphis student-athletes will become the newest members of the University of Memphis M Club Hall of Fame in festivities scheduled for Oct. 19-20th as part of Homecoming. In addition to the six Hall of Fame inductees, the M Club will honor five special members of the Tigers' family by presenting the Golden Tiger, the Ralph Hatley Silver M, the Billy J. Murphy and the Murray Armstrong awards.
The six honorees include Wanda Dillard (women's basketball), Danny Parks (baseball), Jay McCoy (Football), Keith Simpson (Football), Beth Tidmore (rifle) and Heather Watts (volleyball). The four special award winners will be Jarvis Greer (Billy J. Murphy Award), Glenn Hays (Murray Armstrong Award), Dr. Ed Stevens (Ralph Hatley Silver M Award) and Jim and Gigi Wiertelak (Golden Tiger Award).
Tickets for the event are $50 per person or are $500 for a table of 10. Tickets can be purchased through the University of Memphis Ticket Office at 901-678-2331. Tickets can also be purchased online through the Buy Tickets option in the top right corner of the University of Memphis Athletics website at www.GoTigersGo.com.
Questions about the event can be directed the M Club Director Dwight Boyd at 901-678-4878 or emailed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wanda Dillard came to then Memphis State University in the fall of 1984 to play basketball for head coach Mary Lou Johns and before her career ended in 1988, she had helped rewrite the women's basketball record book. A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Dillard played forward for the Tigers and started 19 games during her inaugural season. She averaged 8.4 points per game and totaled 116 rebounds in helping her team to a 23-7 record. The Tigers won the 1985 Metro Conference Tournament Championship and received a bid to the NCAA Mideast Regional. During the 1985-86 campaign, Dillard upped her scoring average to 14.3 points per contest and amassed 174 rebounds as the Tiger team finished the season with a 16-12 mark. Dillard's junior season was legendary. She scored 552 points, including a career-high 44 points against Florida State University. Her 19.0 points per game average led the basketball squad during the 86-87 season and helped propel the team to a 28-9 record and an NCAA Tournament bid. For her play, Dillard was named to the All-Metro Conference Team and was voted the Metro Conference Player of the Year. In her final campaign at Memphis State, Dillard scored 361 points and grabbed 147 rebounds. She led the team in free throw percentage as a junior and senior and remains ranked 6th in career free throw percentage. Her 22 field goals made against Florida State in 1987 is still a Tigers' women's record and her 96 games started over her career has her ranked sixth in Memphis history.
Regardless of what the Tiger football team required from Miami (Fla.) native Jay McCoy, he always delivered. In his three years as a member of the Memphis football program, McCoy played tailback and fullback and also threw passes and kicked field goals and extra points. As a sophomore, McCoy led the Tigers with 10 rushing touchdowns, after transferring from Mississippi State University following his freshman season. During his second year with Memphis, McCoy was moved to fullback to fill-in for the injured Ray Jamieson. He became the squad's second-leading rusher with 558 yards on 103 carries and tallied eight touchdowns. Against Florida State University, McCoy rushed for a season-high 121 yards. He amassed 1,012 yards rushing during his first two years as a Tiger and entered his final campaign as the University's third all-time leading ground gainer. In his senior year, McCoy kicked the game-winning extra point in a 21-20 victory at Virginia Tech and scored 15 of Memphis's 21 points in the win. He led the team in scoring with 63 points in 1970 and received All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a member of the offensive unit. McCoy totaled 27 career rushing touchdowns, which still ranks third in the Tiger record book and his 171 career points scored remains as the eighth highest total in school history.
Huntsville, Alabama, native Danny Parks came to Memphis State University in the fall of 1972 and set out on a journey that would virtually rewrite every Tiger pitching record. Parks and his Tiger teammates would amass 111 victories between 1973-76, setting and breaking the season win record three times. As a freshman, Parks helped the Tigers set a new record for wins in a season as the team posted a 25-15 mark. The right-hander was 3-3 during his first campaign. Returning to the starting rotation in 1974, Parks led the squad in wins with seven and posted five shutouts in nine decisions. It was during the 1975 season that Parks began his domination as a pitcher. He posted a perfect 6-0 mark in helping the Tigers to a record 30 victories and was second on the staff in strikeouts with 53. His season-long earned run average was an amazing 1.22 and has remained the University of Memphis record for the past 37 years. As a senior, Parks continue his mastery of opposing teams. He led the Tigers in appearances as a pitcher with 13. He pitched eight complete games and totaled a school record 83 strikeouts, a mark that would stand for 15 years. Parks threw a one-hitter against Ole Miss and added a one-hitter against Louisiana Tech several weeks later. The Tigers won a record 32 games in 1976 and received the team's first-ever bid to the NCAA Baseball Tournament, where Parks tossed a two hit shutout against Paul Molitor and his Minnesota teammates. Parks' 23 career wins ranks fifth among all Tiger pitchers and his career ERA of 2.27 and 189 career strikeouts are ranked among the best in school history. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 10th round of the 1976 Major League Draft.
A Prep Magazine Football All-American and two-time all-state football selection, Keith Simpson was one of the finest athletes ever from Shelby County. The Hamilton High School graduate signed with the Tigers and lettered as a true freshman in the secondary. During the 1975 season, Simpson was credited with 34 tackles and two pass interceptions, while helping the Tiger defense to a 10th-place national ranking in pass defense. As a junior, Simpson started at corner and compiled 43 tackles and two interceptions which he returned for 29 yards. The 29-yard return came in the Tigers' win over Florida State. The Memphis defense allowed less than 100 yards passing per game in 1976. The 1977 campaign served as a showcase for the senior as he recorded 45 tackles, 11 pass break-ups and four pass interceptions, three in a single game. Simpson tied the Tiger record for interceptions in a single game with three against North Texas State. Following the conclusion of the 1977 season, Simpson was invited to play in the Blue-Gray All-Star game in Montgomery, Alabama and in the annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. He was taken in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft as the ninth overall pick of the Seattle Seahawks and remains the highest Tiger player ever taken in the combined draft.
Beth Tidmore arrived on the University of Memphis campus in the fall of 2002 and immediately made her name known on a national level. The Decatur, Georgia, native became one of the Tigers' top shooters and by the end of her freshman season, was named to the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association All-America team, one of just four freshmen nationwide to be so honored. In April of 2003, Tidmore traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and won the National Junior Olympics Championship Women's Air Rifle competition to vault her Tiger team into the national spotlight. The Tigers would finish the 2002-03 season ranked 25th in the nation. During the summer of 2003, the decorated shooter added the Bronze Medal at the USA Shooting National Championship at Ft. Benning, Georgia, and was promoted to the USA National Team which was training for the World Cup. During the 2003-04 season, Tidmore continued to receive national and worldwide attention. She was invited to participate in the Bavarian Air Games in Munich, Germany. She placed 16th in the worldwide event and with her scores became the top female junior shooter in the United States. One month later, Tidmore led her team to a fifth-place finish in the NCAA Regionals and was named to the NRA All-America Team. Tidmore opened the fall of 2004 winning four consecutive event titles and in March of 2005 she added the Great American Rifle Conference championship to her list of individual honors. Her solid shooting results throughout the 2004-05 season earned her an individual invitation to the 26th Annual NCAA National Collegiate Rifle Championships. Tidmore set an NCAA record with a score of 694.2 to win the NCAA National Championship and for the third consecutive season received All-America honors. An injury ended Tidmore's shooting career at Memphis. She received her nursing degree in 2006 and received an NCAA postgraduate scholarship in 2007. She is currently working as an RN in Savannah, Ga.
The most decorated volleyball player in Memphis history, Heather Watts came to the Tigers in the fall of 2001 and became a starter during her first collegiate season. Watts appeared in all 116 games as a freshman and was credited with 224 digs while playing primarily as a defensive specialist. As a sophomore, she took over as the team's starting setter and was credited with 1,575 assists, the second-best single season total in school history. Watts received Verizon Academic All-District honors following the 2002 season and was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team. Appearing in all 136 games as a junior, Watts received All-Conference USA honors, as well as being named to the AVCA All-Midwest Regional Team. A Conference USA Commissioner's Academic Medalist, Watts set a school record with 1,792 assists and led the team in service aces with 63. The Sandy, Utah, native became the most decorated player in school as a senior. She was named the C-USA Volleyball Scholar Athlete of the Year, the C-USA Setter of the Year, a first team All-Conference selection and for the third consecutive year, a member of the CoSIDA Academic All-America Team. Following graduation, Watts received the NCAA Post Graduate Scholarship and continued her academic career at the University of Utah in physical therapy.
Billy J. Murphy Award
Jarvis Greer, a former Tiger football letterman, is this year's recipient of the Billy J. Murphy Award. Greer played for the Tigers during the tenure of head coach Richard Williamson and served as a defensive back and special teams member. A native of Memphis, the Christian Brothers High School graduate came to Memphis in the fall of 1976 and by his sophomore season had earned a scholarship. Working as a strong safety, Greer was credited with 13 tackles and one blocked punt in 1977, while appearing in all 11 games. The two-year letter winner received his degree from then-Memphis State University in Communications/Fine Arts and immediately began his 30-year career with WMC-TV. Greer has served the local NBC affiliate as a reporter, photographer, editor, assignment editor and sports anchor. During his television career, he has received a Regional Emmy and is a three-time Best of Memphis award winner for his Friday Football Fever Show covering prep football in the Mid-South. Greer and his wife Emily, have two children, daughter McKenzie, a graduate of Memphis, and a son, J.J. who is a senior member of the current Memphis Tigers soccer team.
Murray Armstrong Award
Glenn Hays, who coached the Memphis men's track and cross country teams for 36 years, is this year's recipient of the Murray Armstrong Award. During his tenure, Hays coached 10 All-Americans, 19 Conference USA Indoor Champions, 24 C-USA Outdoor Champions and had 52 student athletes participate in the NCAA Championships. He established the University's national reputation in track and field early in his career as the 1973 Tiger team won NCAA national championships in the 440-relay (39.6) and in the 100-yard dash (Ed Hammonds, 9.4). In 1976, Hays' cross country team won the Metro Conference title and runner David Topham earned the individual championship. In 1981, Terron Wright won the NCAA National Championship in the 60-meter high hurdles and later set the world record in the 300-yard dash. During the same year, Nick Brooks captured second place in the NCAA indoor 880-yard run. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Hays graduated from Central High School and Rhodes College before receiving his master's degree from the University of Memphis. Prior to becoming the Tiger head coach in 1970, Hays coach track at Valparaiso for five years and at Virginia Tech for one year.
DR. EDWARD STEVENS
Ralph Hatley Silver M Award
Dr. Edward "Ed" Stevens, who has served the University of Memphis athletic department as the faculty representative for the past five years, is the 2012 Ralph Hatley Silver M Award recipient. A 1966 graduate of the University of Texas, Stevens also received his Master's degree in Microbiology and his Ph.D. in Botany from Texas. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Texas from 1971-75, served as a visiting staff member at the Los Alamos Science Laboratory before taking a position at Penn State University for 13 years. During his tenure as a professor at PSU, Stevens was a founding affiliate of DNA Programing and helped take the Life Sciences program from $15,000 in industrial funding to a budget of more than $2 million. In 1989, he accepted a Chair of Excellence in Biology & Microbiology and Molecular Biology at then-Memphis State University and has served the institution a professor, the Chair of the MMCS department, the Chair of Biology and the Director of the Fienstone Institute of Molecular Biology. In addition to his duties in the field of science and research, the native of Ringgold, Texas, served a one-year position with the Tennessee Board of Regents and continues to offer his time and service to the athletic department as the athletics department faculty representative.
JIM & GIGI WIERTELAK
Golden Tiger Award
Tigers Ambassadors Jim & Gigi Wiertelak are this year's recipients of the Golden Tiger Award. Jim Wiertelak recently retired after 35 years as Chief Operator and Director from Sedgwick Claims Management. He is currently the chairman of the board of the Orpheum Theatre. Gina is retired from a career in commercial insurance and is the current president of the Fast Break Club, the official booster club of the University of Memphis women's basketball program. Earlier this summer, the couple established the Carolyn L. Wiertelak Chair of Teaching and Learning in the University of Memphis Department of Education in honor of Jim's late mother. That gift will enable the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences to recruit a nationally-recognized scholar who has a reputation for producing innovative research in the field of early childhood and elementary education. The couple has also been a big part of the renovations to the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, where the Memphis women's basketball and volleyball teams play. In 2012, they assisted in the addition of a video scoreboard to the facility.
Schedule of Events
Friday, October 19
4:00 p.m. - Honoree Reception (Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame)5:00 p.m. - Parade Check-in
5:30 p.m. - Homecoming Parade
6:30 p.m. - 7:15 p.m. - Cocktail Reception (Memphis Botanic Gardens)
7:15 p.m. - 8:45 p.m. - M Club Hall of Fame Banquet
Saturday, October 20
5:30 p.m. - M Club Hospitality Tent Open
7:00 p.m. - Football game vs. UCF (honorees recognized at halftime on the field)