Gary Pinkel, Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former Chiefs lineman Tim Grunhard highlight the 15 honorees who will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield in late January. University of Central Missouri athletic director Jerry Hughes will be honored as a Missouri Sports Legend.
The Enshrinement Class of 2016 also features former big-league pitcher Jerry Reuss, Springfield native and retired PBR bull rider L.J. Jenkins, St. Joseph native and Olympic gymnastics silver medalist Terin Humphrey, Kansas City native and St. Louis Cardinals linebacker Eric Williams, longtime Kansas City Royals scouting director Art Stewart, Evangel University men’s basketball coach Steve Jenkins, West Plains native and former Texas Christian University baseball coach Lance Brown, former University of Missouri and Olympic track and field standout Natasha (Kaiser) Brown, Missouri Southern men’s basketball coach Robert Corn, St. Louis University High School racquetball coach Joe Koestner, Missouri State University sports information director Mark Stillwell, John Burroughs High School football coach Jim Lemen, the John Burroughs High School football program and the Mizzou Tigers’ 1966 Sugar Bowl team.
The Enshrinement is 5 p.m. Sunday, January 31 at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield. For tickets, call (417) 889-3100.
Bios for the 2016 Class
Jerry Hughes – Missouri Sports Legend
Longtime University of Central Missouri athletic director Jerry Hughes will be honored as a Missouri Sports Legend. A specially commissioned bust, cast in bronze, will soon be on display at the Hall’s Legends Walkway, which also honors Stan Musial, Norm Stewart, George Brett, Len Dawson and more. Under Hughes’ leadership since January 1983, UCM’s athletics program has enjoyed unprecedented success, highlighted by the dual NCAA Division II basketball championships in 1984 by the Mules and Jennies and the men’s basketball national title in 2014. UCM also won the 1994 and 2003 NCAA D-II baseball championships, the 2003 women’s Intercollegiate Bowling Association national title and the 2014 men’s basketball national crown and the 2015 Indoor & Outdoor national titles for Jennies Track and Field. Entering the 2015 fall semester, the Mules and Jennies had won 151 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association championships, eight national championships, had 45 other top four NCAA finishes and made more than 260 NCAA postseason appearances during Hughes’ tenure. Hughes, who is the first three-time winner of the Central Region Athletics Director of the Year award at any NCAA level, has been a Division II member of the NCAA Executive Committee and chairman of the D-II Championships Committee. He also served a term as NCAA Vice President for Division II and has been a member of the NCAA Council, making him the only person to twice hold the highest-ranking office available to athletics administrators in D-II. Hughes, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees on the Warrensburg campus, was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Gary Pinkel, Mizzou Tigers football coach
Longtime Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel
In 15 seasons at the University of Missouri, coach Gary Pinkel became the winningest coach in Mizzou history. He was 118-73 overall at Mizzou, and the Tigers enjoyed five 10-win seasons since 2007. His teams also played in 10 bowl games (6-4 record) beginning in 2003 and won conference division titles five times in an eight-year period between 2007 and 2014. That stretch is tied with Alabama and Florida – the only other schools that can boast of such similar success. Pinkel’s teams played for the Big 12 Championship in 2007, when the Tigers were ranked No. 1, and won Southeastern Conference East Division titles in 2013 and 2014. Overall, Pinkel is 186-103-3 in 24 years, including 10 seasons at the University of Toledo. Pinkel retired after the team’s final game of 2015 following an announcement that he is battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.
Jerry Reuss, MLB left-handed pitcher
A graduate of Ritenour High School in St. Louis, Jerry Reuss pitched 22 seasons in the big leagues from 1969 to 1990, compiling a 220-191 record in 547 starts, including a no-hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1980. Along the way, the left-hander helped the Dodgers win the 1981 World Series against the New York Yankees, starting in Games 1 and 5. Reuss won the pivotal Game 5 by throwing a complete-game five-hitter to outduel Ron Guidry in a 2-1 victory. Reuss was a second-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1967 and debuted with the Cardinals on Sept. 27, 1969. He went on to pitch for the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, California Angels, Chicago White Sox and Milwaukee Brewers. He won at least 14 games in 10 seasons between 1971 and 1985.
Gregg Williams, NFL coach
An Excelsior Springs native who later quarterbacked Truman State University, Gregg Williams is in his 25th season as a coach in the National Football League. He is currently in his second season as defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, and his time in the NFL includes three years as a head coach and now 14 seasons as a defensive coordinator. He has presided over five separate top five total defenses during his career: the Tennessee Titans (No. 1 in total defense in 2000); Buffalo Bills (No. 3 in 2011, No. 2 in 2003), Washington Redskins (No. 3 in 2005); and the New Orleans Saints (No. 4 in 2010). Williams coached in New Orleans from 2009-2011. He helped the Saints win the Super Bowl in January 2010 and captured two division titles (2009, 2011). He was a coach on the Titans that narrowly lost to the Rams in the Super Bowl in January 2000. Williams has never forgotten his roots, as The Gregg Williams Foundation has raised millions of dollars for youths in his hometown, Excelsior Springs.
L.J. Jenkins, professional bull rider
Springfield native L.J. Jenkins retired from bull riding in 2015, at which time he ranked 12th on the all-time money list with more than $1.8 million earned over the past 11 years (2005-2015). He also was the 24th-ranked bull rider in the world standings. Jenkins won the World Finals on the Professional Bull Riders circuit in 2006, three months after his first winning ride. The distinction is the sport’s second-highest after winning the World Championships in overall season points. Overall, Jenkins qualified for the finals 10 times. He also collected 42 top five finishes and 19 90-point rides during his career, picking up seven Built Ford Tough Series events as well. According to probullstats.com, Jenkins boasts a 44.26 career riding percentage, covering 320 of the 723 bulls he has faced over 243 events on the BFTS.
Tim Grunhard, Kansas City Chiefs center
Tim Grunhard played 11 seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs (1990-2000). The Chiefs selected him 40th overall in the 1990 draft and moved Grunhard to center, a position he had never played before. The move proved to be successful as he was voted to the All-Rookie team in 1990. He went on to play 169 games in the NFL, all as a member of the Chiefs, and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2000. In the Chiefs record book, his 169 games played rank 13th all-time in team history, and his 164 games started and his 120 consecutive starts both rank fourth in Chiefs history. His 10 postseason career games played are tied for first in team history as well. Grunhard was a key part of the Chiefs during one of the franchise’s strongest decades. The team reached the playoffs seven times in the 1990s, including the AFC Championship game in January 1994. Previously, Grunhard starred at Notre Dame, where the team was 24-1 in his final two seasons, including the 1988 national championship.
Terin Humphrey, U.S. Olympic silver medalist
A St. Joseph native who later graduated from Odessa High School, Terin Humphrey is a two-time Olympic silver medalist in Athens, Greece and a two-time NCAA uneven bars champion. She was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team that won a silver medal, as Terin competed on bars and beam in the team finals and contributed solid scores of 9.587 and 9.487, respectively. She also won silver individually in the uneven bars. She competed a new skill on the balance beam (triple turn in squat position), and it is now named after her, called “the Humphrey.” She was a member of the U.S. National Gymnastics Team for six seasons beginning in 1999 and has represented the U.S. in nine international meets. In NCAA competition, Humphrey is an 11-time NCAA All-American, including winning the 2005 and 2007 NCAA uneven bars championships for the University of Alabama. In 2015, Humphrey was inducted individually into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame, which also inducted her in 2008 as part of the first U.S. gold medal team from the 2002 and 2003 World Championships.
Humphrey began her gymnastics career at age 2 at the Arising Stars Gym in St. Joseph and, in 1996, continued her training in Blue Springs with Al Fong, owner of the GAGE Gym. She graduated from Odessa High School in 2004. In 2008, the U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame inducted her as a member of the U.S’ first gold medal team. In 2015, she was inducted individually into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame. In 2009, she was elected to work on the U.S. Olympic committee being named as the Athlete Representative for USA Gymnastics and is currently. In 2010, she worked at the Raymore Police Department as a police officer for 4.5 years. Presently, she went back to her gymnastic roots and is coaching at X-treme gymnastics in Lee’s Summit, mo and back at her first gym in Arising Stars in St. Joseph. She also does gymnastic camps around the nation and choreography. She is also enrolled in Massage therapy school and is scheduled to graduate September of 2016. Terin has also competed in the reality TV series American Ninja Warrior season 7 and 8.
Eric Williams, St. Louis Cardinals football
A Kansas City native, Eric Williams graduated from Central High School and later went on to play in the National Football League for eight seasons, including five with the St. Louis Cardinals. The linebacker played for renowned Southern Cal coach John Robinson and, as a senior, helped the Trojans win the 1977 Rose Bowl by stopping Michigan on a key drive late in the game. Williams’ 126 tackles led the team that season. An eighth-round draft pick in 1977, Williams played 70 games overall for St. Louis on teams that included Dan Dierdorf, Jim Hart, Mel Gray and Roger Wehrli. He reunited with Robinson by joining the Los Angeles Rams in 1982 and 1983 and played his final season with the San Diego Chargers in 1984.
Art Stewart, Kansas City Royals
Art Stewart has been part of the Kansas City Royals since their inception in 1969, working primarily in the scouting department, and has been a part of baseball for more than 60 years. As a Special Assistant to the General Manager, Stewart has been a key figure in the Royals’ resurgence, which led to Kansas City winning the 2015 World Series and American League pennants in 2014 and 2015. Stewart served as the Royals scouting director from 1984 to 1997. He drafted more than 70 players who reached the big leagues, including Bo Jackson, Kevin Appier, Mike Macfarlane, Brian McRae, Mike Sweeney, Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran. Before joining the front office, he spent 16 years covering the Midwest as a Royals scout. He also played a major role in the Royals’ presence in the Dominican Republic. Stewart was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame and the Professional Scouts Hall of Fame in 2008. He recently authored a book about his career, titled, “The Art of Scouting: Seven Decades of Chasing Hopes and Dreams in Major League Baseball.”
Steve Jenkins, Evangel University basketball coach
A 1974 graduate of Evangel University, Steve Jenkins is in his 34th year as the Evangel University men’s basketball coach. Jenkins is Evangel’s all-time leader in coaching wins and entered the 2015-2016 season at No. 5 among NAIA coaches in wins. Before this season, he was 631-428 (.596) overall and 340-158 (.683) within the Heart of America Athletic Conference. His program has won seven Heart of America Athletic Conference championships and last season enjoyed its 10th consecutive 20-win season and its 13thNAIA Tournament appearance. His 2001-2002 team won the NAIA Division II national championship, and he was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2014.
Lance Brown, Texas Christian baseball coach
A 1960 graduate of West Plains High School, Brown coached the Texas Christian Horned Frogs baseball program for 17 seasons before retiring after the 2003 season. He remains the winningest coach in TCU baseball history, with a 517-471 record. Brown has played a large role in the success of TCU baseball, first as an All-American pitcher who led the Horned Frogs to the 1963 Southwest Conference championship, then later as a coach. Brown is among the top five players in TCU history, as he was the 1963 Southwest Conference Player of the Year after posting an 11-1 record (8-1 in the SWC). He later guided the Frogs to the 1994 SWC title as the head coach, making him one of only two men to win both the SWC Player and Coach of the Year honors. Brown was twice the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year (1991, 1994) and is an inductee of the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.
Natasha (Kaiser) Brown, Mizzou track and field
Natasha (Kaiser) Brown was a star in track and field in the late 1980s while at the University of Missouri, dominating in the 400 meters in both NCAA and eventually in Olympic competition. She was a six-time NCAA All-American, setting a national collegiate record of 51.92 seconds in the 400 at the 1989 NCAA Indoor Championships. She was a five-time Big 8 Conference champion and was named the 1989 Big 8 Female Athlete of the Year. Brown holds five individual records at Mizzou and also ran on eight record-setting relay teams. She represented the United States on 16 national teams, highlighted by running a leg on the U.S. silver medal women’s 4×400 relay at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Robert Corn, Missouri Southern men’s basketball coach
Robert Corn coached the Missouri Southern men’s basketball program for 25 seasons, compiling a 413-305 record before retiring in March 2014. His 413 wins are the most in school history. He also has the fourth-most wins among coaches in the history of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. He has led the Lions to 16 consecutive trips to the MIAA Tournament, 21 overall, and in 2014 earned his fourth MIAA Coach of the Year award. That award followed his ninth 20-win season. Overall, Corn has guided five teams to the NCAA Division II Tournament. One of his best seasons was 1999-2000, when the Lions reached the national semifinals and finished 30-3. That team cut down the nets three times – after the MIAA regular-season championship, the MIAA Tournament championship and the NCAA Division II South Central Regional Tournament title.
Joe Koestner, St. Louis University High School racquetball coach
Joe Koestner has served as the coach of the St. Louis University High School racquetball program since 1985 and turned it into one of the best programs in the state. The Junior Billikens have not had a losing season since 1990 and have won nine national championships since 1998, including its fifth consecutive in 2015 – which is significant because no other team has more than five national titles. Additionally, Koestner’s program has won 15 state titles in school history. The most recent national and state titles showed its dominance in the sport – the Junior Bills won the national title by 40 points over the second-place finisher and the state title by 210 points. Koestner was a first-year choir teacher when the school sought a coach in 1985, and is still coaching after retiring from teaching.
Mark Stillwell, MSU sports information director
A native of Springfield and a 1967 Drury University graduate, Mark Stillwell was Drury sports information director from 1970 to 1972 and was the SID at Missouri State University from 1972 through 2008. Stillwell guided the information, publications and electronic media effort for MSU athletics through the Bears’ days in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, Mid-Continent, Gateway and Missouri Valley Conferences and as the program moved from NCAA Division II to Division I status. He guided information for MSU as it hosted NCAA competition in eight different sports. His primary Bears’ sports coverage responsibilities were football and men’s basketball, and he provided color commentary on basketball radio broadcasts for 20 years. Stillwell was honored with more than 60 publications and writing awards from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. In his last 10 years at MSU, he was also assistant director of athletics for public relations. In 2008, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from CoSIDA and was an inductee into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame as winner of the Paul Morrison Award.
Jim Lemen, John Burroughs High School football coach
Jim Lemen spent 44 years at John Burroughs High School, including 35 seasons as the head football coach (1970-2004) and 20 years as athletic director. As a football coach, Lemen compiled a 238-123-4 record (.658), winning eight state championships and placing second twice. His wins are 16th all-time in Missouri high school football history. He also was the head baseball coach on two different occasions, first from 1974-1975 and then from 1987-1999. He reached the baseball state semifinals four times and won a state championship in 1991. He also coached the girls and boys basketball teams, the softball team and seventh- and eighth-grade athletics.
John Burroughs High School football program
John Burroughs High School football is one of the most respected programs in the state. The Bombers have had only three head coaches dating back to the 1970 season – Jim Lemen, Todd Small (2005-2010), Gus Frerotte (2011, 2012) and John Merritt (2013-current). Overall, they have won seven state championships outright and tied for two more. Its most recent state championship was in November 2015. John Burroughs also placed second in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. Since the start of the playoff format in 1968, the Bombers are 61-11-2 in the postseason.
Mizzou Tigers football, 1966 Sugar Bowl team
The Mizzou Tigers football program will always celebrate coach Dan Devine’s team that won the 1966 New Year’s Day Sugar Bowl, beating the Florida Gators and their junior quarterback, Steve Spurrier. The Tigers finished 8-2-1 and No. 6 in the national rankings after winning 20-18. The team weathered Florida’s late rally after building a 20-0 advantage thanks to Charlie Brown’s 10-yard touchdown run, Earl Denny’s 11-yard TD catch from halfback Johnny Roland and two Bill Bates field goals. Each time the Gators scored, they went for two points. However, Mizzou’s defense, which ranked eighth nationally that season in fewest points allowed, stopped Florida to hold off the comeback attempt. Future Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inductee Skip Grossnickle had the game-sealing interception.
John Q. Hammons Founder’s Award – Med-Pay, Inc.
The 2016 John Q. Hammons Founder’s Award will be presented to Med-Pay, Inc., owned by Gordon and Marshall Kinne of Springfield. The Founder’s Award is given to a business that plays a significant role in the advancement of sports in the state of Missouri and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. The Kinne family has done just that through its support of Hall of Fame events and the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper. Gordon has served on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for almost 20 years. Med-Pay, which Gordon launched in 1984, is the state’s longest-running, independently owned third-party administrator and full-service employee benefits brokerage company. Med-Pay handles both self-insured and fully-insured group benefit plans and is a key part of the Ozarks, as it is a member of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Marshall, Gordon’s son who joined Med-Pay in 2009, serves as the company’s Director of Compliance.
President’s Award – Ken Meyer
The 2016 recipient of the Hall of Fame’s President’s Award is Ken Meyer of Meyer Communications. Ken has owned Meyer Communications since 1959, and the company includes six radio stations and, at one time, featured two TV stations and two other radio stations. Meyer’s stations have served sports fans throughout the Ozarks. The stations have carried the St. Louis Cardinals for more than 35 years in addition to Missouri State University football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball; the Kansas City Royals; the Springfield Cardinals; as well as local colleges and high school sporting events. Mr. Meyer is a Mount Vernon native who graduated from Missouri State University in 1950 with a degree in business education and later received an honorary doctorate in business administration from Southwest Baptist University. He and his late wife, Jane, ran the stations for decades as the Ozarks came to know as “The Gentle Giant.” Mr. Meyer has continuously supported the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in addition to the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, among numerous other charities in the Ozarks. The Meyer family received the John Q. Hammons Founder’s Award in 2005.