William Carey University added eight inductees to the Sports Hall of Fame during the fifth annual induction ceremony and dinner at Southern Oaks House and Gardens in Hattiesburg on Saturday, March 28.
The inductees included Steve Knight, Bobby Halford, Dan Jennings, Forrest Stevenson, Howard Moore, Janet McNease Green, Rickey Coleman and Rick Ferrell.
Knight, director of athletics and head men's basketball coach at Carey, played baseball and basketball of the University of Southern Mississippi from 1974-1978 before playing two seasons with the Seattle Mariners. In 1981, he became a graduate assistant coach for basketball and baseball at Carey and was named head coach of the men's basketball team in 1982. In 33 seasons as head coach, he has won 610 games and multiple conference and district championships. He is the state's all-time winningest basketball coach at a four-year institution. Knight has also been selected to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015.
Halford, head baseball coach at Carey, played baseball for then-William Carey College in the early 1970s. In 1976, he was named assistant baseball coach and head coach for women's basketball. Halford led the Lady Crusaders for 10 seasons and captured a conference championship. He was named head baseball coach in 1986 and in 30 seasons has won numerous conference and district championships. In February 2015, Halford secured his 1000th career win and is currently number eight on the NAIA wins list.
Jennings played baseball at Carey and graduated in 1984. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the New York Yankees in 1985 and played Class A ball with the Greensboro Bats before becoming head coach at Davidson High School from 1985-1987. He returned to professional baseball in 1986 as an associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds. In 1988, Jennings became an area scout for the Seattle Mariners. In 1995, he was named the director of scouting for the Tampa Bay Rays before joining the Miami Marlins in 2002 as a scout. He was named assistant general manager of the Marlins in 2007 and was promoted to general manager in 2013.
Stevenson played baseball and men's basketball at Carey. On the baseball team, he served as starting catcher and started every game on the 1969 NAIA national championship team as a freshman. In 1972, he was named team captain and All-District. After graduating from Carey in 1972 with a degree in physical education, Stevenson began working with Norfolk and Western Railway. He was the first certified professional environmental auditor in West Virginia prior to his retirement in 2010.
Moore was a member of the first men's basketball team at Carey. He played on the team from 1954-1958. After graduating from Carey in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in education, Moore worked at Hattiesburg High School. He taught math and served as a coach for basketball and tennis for 34 years prior to his retirement.
Green was a star basketball player at Bassfield High School in the early 1970s, where she played for Coach Willis Lott and helped lead the Lady Yellowjackets to the 1975 Class BB state title. She played on the inaugural women's basketball team at Carey. A four-year starter, Green led the team in rebounding in 1976 and had the highest free throw percentage in both 1976 and 1977. She graduated from Carey in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in math and earned her master's degree in 1982. She taught math and computer applications at Bassfield High School for 25 years before retiring in 2005.
Coleman played baseball at Carey from 1979-1982, hitting .331 with 14 home runs, 21 doubles, nine triples, 84 RBIs and a recorded 81 stolen bases. He was named All-Conference and All-District and was an NAIA Honorable Mention All-American. After Carey, he was drafted in 1982 by the San Diego Padres and played five years in the minors reaching triple A. After leaving the minors, Coleman worked for 20 years with the Cook County Juvenile System in Illinois and currently works with the Illinois Work Well Program.
Ferrell played men's basketball at Carey from 1967-1971, averaging 18 points per game and serving as co-captain his senior year. He is 10th on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,469 points. After graduating from Carey with a degree in physical education and a minor in psychology, Ferrell returned to his home of Portsmouth, Ohio, where he coached high school basketball. He retired in 2001 but remains active in his community in activities ranging from coaching Little League to volunteering with the Special Olympics.
Prior to the inductions, Jim Smith, president of Grand Bank in Hattiesburg, a 1971 graduate of Carey and a former Crusaders baseball player, gave attendees highlights of Carey's recent athletic accomplishments along with news about the university's academic programs and growth.