Ole Miss To Induct Six Into 2002 M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame
Aug. 23, 2002
OXFORD, Miss. - As competitors, every athlete and coach wants to make an impact, to do what it takes to make a difference for their team. Often times that desire translates into success on the field of play and in the community.
Sometimes, that drive sparks something in a player or coach who makes such an impact that their presence on an athletic team, department and community is felt for years after they have hung up the shoes and stopped playing. Such is the case with the six individuals selected for induction into the Ole Miss M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
Selected for induction are Van Chancellor, John Lee Gainey Jr., Gerald Glass, Glenda Springfield-Scott, Ralph Smith and Jim Urbanek.
The six inductees into the 2002 Ole Miss M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame will be honored in ceremonies at the Butler Auditorium in the Triplett Alumni Center at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 31. The honorees will be recognized again in pre-game ceremonies prior to the kickoff of the Rebels' home opener against Louisiana-Monroe at 6 p.m. that night.
Van Chancellor served as the head coach of the Lady Rebel basketball team from 1979-97, during which time he helped set the standard for excellence in athletics at Ole Miss. In his 19 seasons at the helm, Chancellor posted an impressive 439-154 record and earned Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year honors three times (1986-87, 1989-90, 91-92). He was recognized as the National Coach of the Year for the 1991-92 season, a year that saw the Lady Rebels go undefeated in conference play and claim the school's first and only SEC title in women's basketball. During his tenure, Chancellor took the Lady Rebels to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances and advanced to the Elite 8 four times.
"It's an unbelievable honor that you never think of or expect to be bestowed upon you," Chancellor said of his induction into the Hall of Fame. "This is such a thrill for me and I am completely overjoyed. It is really humbling to be inducted with a former player of mine in Glenda Springfield, the husband of a former player of mine in Gerald Glass and greats like Jim Urbanek, "Catfish" Smith and John Gainey. What I group of people to be associated with in this manner."
Chancellor has since joined the professional ranks when he took over the head position with the Houston Comets organization in the WNBA. With the Comets, Chancellor won four straight WNBA Championships in the league's first five seasons.
John Lee Gainey Jr. played centerfield with the Rebel baseball team for three seasons (1955-57), helping lead the team to a College World Series appearance in 1956. Gainey jumped into the record books right off the bat at Ole Miss, finishing second on the team in batting average as a sophomore and second in the Southeastern Conference in stolen bases as a junior. It was his senior year performance that earned him All-SEC and All-District III honors. As a senior, Gainey led the SEC in base hits, and finished second in batting average and in stolen bases.
"It is awesome to be included in this group," Gainey said. "I am very humbled because I never thought of myself as a Hall of Famer, but as more of a team player type. I am looking forward to being inducted as a part of the best team I have been invited to be a part of joining."
Gerald Glass came to Ole Miss to compete in basketball for the Rebels in 1988 after transferring from Delta State, and made an immediate impact before jumping to the NBA to play with the Minnesota Timberwolves after two seasons in Oxford. Glass made his mark on the men's basketball program with performances that are still in the record books today. In his time with the Rebels, Glass scored 1,564 points which is seventh all time in the program's history, and his 26.1 points per game is the second highest scoring average. Glass hit 326 baskets in the 1988-89 season, the second highest in a single season by any Rebel player. His best performance that season came in a dramatic 113-112 overtime win against LSU. In that game, Glass scored 53 points in a shootout with LSU's Chris Jackson, who scored 55 points. Glass earned All-America honorable mention honors in the 1989-90 season.
"I am very surprised to receive this honor with the tradition of great athletes that Ole Miss has had," Glass said. "I consider it a great honor to be regarded by my peers as one of the best athletes in Ole Miss history since I was only there for two years. I can't imagine that I had that much of an impact in such a short time. It will be an emotional time for me walking out on the field with those other five great athletes."
Ralph Allen Smith, or "Catfish" Smith, suited up for the Rebels and hit the gridiron from 1959-61 as a defensive end and served as tri-captain in the 1961 season. The defensive end had a stellar career with the Ole Miss football program in three of its most glorious seasons as he helped lead the Rebels to a 29-3-1 record in that time, including the 1960 SEC and National Championship team that went 10-0-1. During the 1960 season, Smith recorded 11 hits behind the line of scrimmage for minus 97 yards and notched nine tackles against Rice in the Sugar Bowl. He also played on the offensive side of the ball as a receiver and led the team in receptions during his senior season with 14 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Smith was named All-SEC Sophomore in 1959, All-SEC second team in 1960 and third team in 1961. He played in the 1962 Senior Bowl before being selected in the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played with Philadelphia from 1962-64 before going to Cleveland for four seasons and finally ending his career in Atlanta in 1969.
"I am just totally overwhelmed to know that my university selected me to be included with the prestigious company that makes up the Ole Miss Sports Hall of Fame," Smith said. "I am so excited to be a part of this and to have my family be able to enjoy this moment with me."
Glenda Springfield-Scott played for the Rebels from 1975-79, starting under then head coach Lin Dunn and finishing out her career under Van Chancellor in his second season at the helm of the Lady Rebel program. Springfield-Scott helped lay the foundation for the women's basketball program at Ole Miss and her achievements are still standing strong today. She was a master of passing the ball and defensive pressure as she recorded 526 assists in her career, the most ever by a Lady Rebel, and she is third in steals with 296 in her career. She is also 10th in scoring all-time, as she notched 1,432 points as a Lady Rebel. In fact, Springfield-Scott is one of only two Lady Rebels to record more than 1,000 points, 500 assists and 200 steals in a career. She joins Carol Ross, who was inducted into the Ole Miss M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame last year, in that distinction. She was also named to the Kodak All-District team for the 1977-78 season. Springfield-Scott served the team as captain her senior year to close out a career that saw her set high standards for Ole Miss athletics.
"This is truly a great honor, and one I was very surprised to be awarded," Springfield-Scott said. "I think this is one of the greatest athletic honors I have ever received. Those years competing were some of the finest years of my life. It will be an emotional time for me, and I am proud that my children will get to witness it. I have always been involved in athletics since then with coaching, but I don't know that they really understand what I was a part of then."
Jim Urbanek rounds out the six inductees to the 2002 Sports Hall of Fame. Urbanek played football for the Rebels from 1965-67 as a right tackle on the defensive line. The lineman earned first team All-SEC honors all three seasons and was named and All-Southeastern Sophomore in 1965 as a defensive tackle. Urbanek went on to earn first team All-America honors from the Football News in 1967. During his time with the Rebels, Urbanek helped lead the team to three bowl games with appearances in the Liberty, Bluebonnet and Sun Bowls. Upon graduation, the tackle was drafted by the American Football League, playing the 1968 season with Miami. The Oxford native set several Rebel records in his time, tallying 114 tackles, including 80 solo stops, to set two records during his sophomore season in 1965. Urbanek also recorded 21 tackles in a game against Florida that same season to set another record. He also recorded 12 tackles and returned a pass interception 15 yards for a touchdown in a 24-0 victory over Mississippi State. He earned Associated Press Southeastern Lineman of the Week honors for a 1966 game against Memphis that saw the Rebels claim a 27-6 victory. Urbanek also earned a spot on the roster at the 1968 Hula Bowl All-Star Game for his accomplishments throughout his career.
"I'm really proud, pleased and humbled about receiving this honor," Urbanek said. "My mother will be here to see it, and she is a big part of this because she ran with me to help keep me in shape. She is elated about this, and I'm glad it's happened.
"I was fortunate to play and attend Ole Miss," Urbanek said. "I was talking with Coach (John) Vaught recently and he was thanking me for what I did and I was thanking him for the opportunity. Of course, I could not have earned this honor without my teammates and coaches and the fans who supported us. I owe a lot to the football program and the University. It was a great experience."
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