April 3, 2012
OXFORD, Miss. -- The Ole Miss M-Club Athletics Hall of Fame will increase to 186 members this weekend, as five more former Rebel stars will be added to the prestigious group.
Pat Ball, Rod Barnes, Billy Brewer, Fran Chandler and Skipper Jernigan are the five memorable individuals who will become the newest members of the M-Club Hall of Fame Friday evening in a ceremony which will be held at the Inn at Ole Miss. They, along with M-Club Service Award recipient Mike Robbins, will also be honored during halftime ceremonies at Saturday's football game against Georgia.
The late Pat Ball, a native of Gadsden, Ala., lettered for the diamond Rebels from 1974-77 under the legendary Jake Gibbs. He was named to the All-SEC Western Division Team in 1974 as a freshman. Ball was the All-SEC centerfielder in 1975 and finished with All-Western Division laurels in 1977.
During his rookie season, Ball took the SEC by storm, hitting .337, eighth best in the league. He followed that up his sophomore campaign with a .307 clip, and ended the year second in the league with 10 home runs and sixth in RBI with 35. His 10 home runs that season were the most ever by an Ole Miss player in one season at the time.
In 1977 as a senior, he helped the Rebels capture their sixth SEC title, their 10th Western Division trophy and earn a trip to the NCAA South Regional in Miami, Fla. During that same season, Ball pounded out nine home runs on a team that finished with 66 round trippers.
Gibbs talked fondly of his former pupil, who passed away in June of 2010.
"Pat had all the tools of a great player. He motivated himself, always came to play, and played the game the way it was meant to be played. He got a good education, was a fine young man, and is deserving of this honor. We hated to see him go so early."
Rod Barnes, a native of Satartia, Miss., was a four-year letterwinner at Ole Miss, playing for head coaches Lee Hunt and Ed Murphy. One of just two players in school history to score more than 1,000 points and have more than 400 assists, he was also the first Ole Miss player to collect 500 points, 100 rebounds and 100 assists in a season. As a senior in 1988, he was an honorable mention All-American by The Sporting News while earning first-team all-SEC honors from the coaches as well as second-team accolades from the Associated Press and third-team mention from United Press International. Barnes was honored with his selection to the Ole Miss basketball All-Century team.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach for three seasons (1990-93) at Livingston University, now known as the University of West Alabama, before returning to his alma mater in 1993. Barnes also spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Ole Miss under Rob Evans before being elevated to head coach on April 9, 1998.
Barnes compiled a 141-109 record in eight seasons at Ole Miss (1998-2006), guiding the Rebels to four postseason bids, including three appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Barnes made an immediate impact at the helm as his first Ole Miss squad recorded the first NCAA Tournament win in school history with a 1999 first-round victory over Villanova. Two years later, the Rebels picked up NCAA Tournament wins over Iona and Notre Dame to reach the Sweet 16 for the first and only time in Ole Miss history.
He was named the 2001 Naismith College Coach of the Year and the 2001 SEC Coach of the Year after leading Ole Miss to a school-record 27-win season in 2000-01 which included the trip to the Sweet Sixteen.
The Rebels captured the SEC West division title three times during Barnes' 13 seasons in Oxford.
His accomplishments were also evident in his selection as an assistant coach for the 2001 USA Basketball team that competed in the World University Games in Beijing, China.
Barnes is currently serving as the head men's basketball coach at Cal State Bakersfield.
Billy Brewer is a former head football coach for Southeastern Louisiana University, Louisiana Tech University and Ole Miss.
A native of Columbus, Miss., Brewer first came to Ole Miss as a player for the legendary Rebel teams of Johnny Vaught. He played quarterback, defensive back, punted and held for placekickers from 1957 to 1960, and Ole Miss named him to its "Team of the Century" in 1993.
In his first in year as head coach of the Rebels in 1983, Brewer put the Ole Miss program on the road back to national prominence. Brewer guided the Rebels to their first winning regular season since 1977 with a 7-4 mark. The Rebels also received their first bowl game invitation since 1971 and met Air Force in the Independence Bowl. Ole Miss dropped a 9-3 decision to the Falcons and finished with a 7-5 record.
Brewer followed his first year with 10 more at the helm of the Rebel program. During his tenure, he led the Rebels to five more winning seasons and four additional bowls, including Ole Miss' 1990 New Year's Day Gator Bowl appearance. The Jan. 1 bowl game was the programs first since 1969. Brewer was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1986 (8-3-1 record), and 1990 (9-3 record), and the 1986 season saw the Rebels return to the national rankings for the first time in over a decade. In his 11 seasons, Brewer also led Ole Miss to eight Egg Bowl victories over in-state rival, Mississippi State.
Brewer coached 11 years (1983-93) and compiled a 67-56-3 record, making him the second winningest Ole Miss football coach behind Vaught.
"I'm very humbled and very appreciative of the honor of being inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame," Brewer said. "To have the opportunity to have played here and played with some great players, coming back to be the head coach was something that was a lifelong dream. And now to have your son come back and that's his dream, and have your oldest son play here...there has been a long tradition of Brewers connected with Ole Miss. We are Ole Miss through and through-through thick and thin. This is a wonderful group of recipients that I'm going to be a part of and I congratulate them. This is one of the highlights of my career."
Fran (Spencer) Chandler
Fran (Spencer) Chandler played for the Ole Miss women's tennis team from 1982-84 and helped the Rebels to the SEC Finals in 1982 and 1984, the AIAW Nationals and the program's first top 20 national ranking.
The Jackson, Tenn., native attended Jackson Central Merry High School where she was runner-up in the TSSAA State Singles tournament in 1980; the beginnings of a great amateur career.
She began her college career at Murray State University in the fall of 1980 and played both No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. Chandler compiled a 52-6 singles record her first year and was named the Tennessee Female Athlete of the Year.
In 1981, Chandler transferred to Ole Miss where she was named to the All-SEC first team in 1983 and 1984. She was also named Ole Miss Female Athlete of the Year in 1984.
"I'm very humbled. I know I'm in a very elite group with all of the other inductees. I'm overwhelmed by the thought of getting in. I love Ole Miss and always have, even growing up, before I went there. It's a very special place. I made some of the best memories of my life there."
Chandler has a long history as an outstanding tennis player, as indicated by her 2007 induction into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
She has won numerous national titles, including the 2007 45 and over national clay court singles and doubles, and in 2008, the 45 and over national clay court singles and doubles titles and the 45 and over national indoor singles title. In 2007 these results led Chandler to a year end national ranking of number two in 45 and over singles.
Most recently, Chandler won the 50 and over division at the National Senior Women's Hard Court Tennis Championships for her 13th career national title.
When not competing, the University of Mississippi graduate serves as a pharmacist in Jackson, Tenn.
Skipper Jernigan was a three-year letterwinner (1968-70) as an offensive lineman on the Ole Miss football team under legendary head coach Johnny Vaught and offensive line coach Frank M. (Bruiser) Kinard.
Jernigan helped lead the Rebels to three bowl games and a 22-10-1 record over his career.
During his sophomore season, Jernigan helped the Rebels to a 34-17 win over Virginia Tech in the 1969 Liberty Bowl on his way to earning All-SEC Sophomore honors.
Jernigan was named to the All-SEC second team in 1969 and helped lead the Rebels to a 27-22 victory against Arkansas in the 1970 Sugar Bowl.
His senior year, Jernigan helped block for All-America quarterback Archie Manning and earned All-SEC first team honors. The Rebels played in the 1971 Gator Bowl. At the conclusion of his senior season, Jernigan was selected to play in the 1971 Hula Bowl.
A Mississippi native, Jernigan was an All-American, All-Southern, All-Big Eight and All-State honoree on Murrah's Big Eight Championship club in 1966.
"I'm overwhelmed," said Jernigan of his induction. "I consider it a tremendous honor and am humbled by this award. It is amazing that something like this could happen. There are so many tremendous athletes associated with Ole Miss."
The 2011 M-Club Service Award is being presented to Dr. Mike Robbins for his outstanding dedication and service to the M-Club, as well as to the University of Mississippi.
Robbins lettered in football from 1966-67 as a running back for the Ole Miss Rebels. He received his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees from Ole Miss and was selected to the Ole Miss Student Hall of Fame.
Robbins served as President of the M-Club from 1997 to 1999 and is also a life member of the M-Club. In addition to his service with the M-Club, he served as President and District Governor for Rotary International, President of the Jackson Touchdown Club, and was a member of the National Ole Miss Alumni Board.
"I'm speechless," said Robbins of receiving the M-Club Service Award. "Ole Miss and the M-Club have impacted my life in almost every regard and I feel so unworthy."
After an outstanding career in higher education, Robbins is currently a business executive in Jackson, Miss.