Nine selected to 2016 SWAC Hall of Fame Class
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame will welcome nine new members this December.
The honorees – Jocelyn Tatum-Adams (Prairie View A&M), Garland D. Boyette (Grambling State), Tommy L. Green (Southern), Eugene Sanders (Mississippi Valley State), Dante’ Wesley (Arkansas-Pine Bluff), Emanuel F. Barnes (Alcorn State), Jessie Conerly (Alcorn State), Tommy Funchess (Jackson State), and Sidney James (Auburn University at Montgomery) – will be enshrined on Dec. 1 at The Westin Galleria in Houston, Texas. The induction is set to begin with a reception at 6 p.m.
The newest members of the Hall of Fame were selected from a list of nominees who were submitted by his or her respective institution. The nominees were then elected for induction by the selection committee from members appointed by SWAC Presidents and Chancellors.
Adams, the current head volleyball coach of Texas Southern University, is one of the most successful names in the history of Prairie View A&M athletics. Prior to leading Texas Southern to three straight Western Division titles, Adams coached PVAMU from 1990-99. In her tenure, Adams won SWAC Coach of the Year honors in 1990 and guided the Lady Panthers to the 1992 SWAC Volleyball Championship, the first in school history. She is also one of the most accomplished track and field athletes in Panthers lore, having won numerous conference and national championships as well as garnering All-America honors eight times over.
Barnes has spent more than four decades serving Alcorn State University in various administrative positions. Additionally, he has spent more than 30 years as the “Voice of the Braves,” serving as the public address announcer for Alcorn State football and basketball contests. During this time, he coined the phrases “It’s another Braves first down” and “It’s SWAC Time Baby,” words well-recognized among Braves faithful. For his announcing efforts, he was named one of the “Great Voices of Mississippi.”
Boyette became one of the most accomplished dual-sport stars in Grambling history, twice earning All-America honors on the gridiron and garnering All-America honors three times in track and field in the early 1960s. A three-time conference champion in the shot put, Boyette was also a part of the Tigers’ first-ever SWAC football championship team (1960) and competed on the national stage in track and field events. He went on to enjoy a 16-year career in professional football, earning All-Star accolades in the American Football League in 1968 and 1969.
Green was a four-year starter for the Jaguars’ basketball program during the last 1970s. He scored over 1,000 points in his career and helped captain Southern to a share of the SWAC regular season crown en route to all-conference honors. Green went on to play professionally for three years, and later coached the Jaguars from 1996-2000, guiding the team to tournament title games in 1999 and 2000.
Sanders is one of the most illustrious athletes in Delta Devil track and field history, as he won numerous national and conference titles during the early ‘80s. Sanders earned All-SWAC and NAIA All-America recognition from 1980-1982, and was twice an All-NCAA honoree (1980-81). He helped lead MVSU to back-to-back NAIA national titles in 1980-1981 and was inducted into the Mississippi Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
Funchess was one of the more dominant offensive tackles in Jackson State history, earning All-America and All-SWAC honors during his collegiate career. He was a member of what was at the time, the largest NFL draft class ever produced by a single Mississippi school, when he was one of 11 players selected (Round 2, pick 32) before playing professionally with the Patriots, Oilers and Dolphins organizations.
A 2002 inductee in the Alcorn State Hall of Fame, Conerly is best known for his role as an assistant coach for the Braves’ basketball program in the late 1960s to early 1970s. During his tenure – much of which was spent along with Davey Whitney, who was in the initial stages of building Alcorn State into a basketball power – the Braves won two regular season SWAC titles.
Wesley established himself as one of the premier defensive backs in the SWAC as well as Golden Lion history. He earned second-team All-SWAC honors as a sophomore (1999) and junior (2000) and during his senior season of 2001, was able to garner first-team All-SWAC as well as All-America nods, as he finished his collegiate career with 10 interceptions. A fourth-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2002, Wesley played for two NFC Championship teams – Carolina in 2003, Chicago in 2005 – over an eight-year NFL career.
James spent three decades as an official for the conference, calling numerous SWAC basketball tournament contests from 1980-2010. He was also an accomplished athlete in his own right, earning all-league honors as one of the first members of Auburn University of Montgomery’s men’s basketball team during the mid 1970s.