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Johnson, Walls Are Among SWAC’s 2006 Hall Of Fame Inductees
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — This year’s class of inductees to the 2006 SWAC Hall of Fame has a distinctive Texas flavor. Dallas Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson (Southern University) and former Dallas Cowboy Pro Bowler Everson Walls (Grambling State University) are a part of this year’s seven member group.
The other inductees include: tennis standout Clifton Johnson of Prairie View A&M University; basketball standouts Harry “Machine Gun” Kelly of Texas Southern University and James Allen of University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff; head coach Lafayette Stribling of Mississippi Valley State University; and former SWAC Commissioner James Frank.
Here are some brief bios on the inductees:
In two seasons at Southern, Johnson led the NCAA in assists. He was named SWAC Player of the Year and Tournament Most Valuable Player as a junior and a senior. He still owns several Division I records including most assists in a single game, the highest single season assist average and the highest career assist average.
As a coach in the NBA, he was also named Western Conference Coach of the Month in November of 2005, becoming the first coach in league history to win the award in his first two full months of coaching. Johnson picked up the award again in January 2006 and was later named NBA Coach of the Year for 2005-06.
During his career at PVAMU, Clifton Johnson won three SWAC Tennis Championships in 1958, ‘60 and ’61. Johnson also won three SWAC doubles championships in 1958, ’59 and ’60 and A.T.A. National Intercollegiate Singles Championship in 1960. Mr. Johnson was a member of the All-SWAC team from 1957-1960, and was voted Most Outstanding Athlete in Prairie View A&M in 1961. He hold records for Most Consecutive Singles Won with 20 (1957), Most SWAC double and single titles won (four each). In addition to these honors, Mr. Johnson was an honor student and a member of PVAMU men’s basketball team as a guard.
After some time away, Johnson became the Head Tennis Coach and Golf Coach of the Jaguars. Under Johnson’s leadership, Southern University Jaguars were SWAC Tennis Champions in 1979, 1980, 1985, 1986 and 1987. The Jaguars also were the SWAC Singles Champions in 1977, 1986 and 1995. The Lady Jaguars were crowned champions in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1997. The golf team was SWAC champs in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1988. Clifton Johnson was named SWAC Tennis Coach of the Year in 1972, 1974, 1979, 1980, 1974, 1985-1993 and again in 1997. He was also named SWAC Golf Coach of the Year in from 1984-86, 1988, and 1993-95.
Everson Walls was an outstanding and accomplished defensive back for four years at Grambling State. Walls racked up a list of accomplishments while at Grambling State. He was selected for the Kodak I-AA All-American team; the Black College All-America team; and in his senior year in college, he led the nation in interceptions.
At the end of his college career, Walls made the Dallas Cowboys squad in 1981 and donned the blue-starred jersey No. 24. His eight years with the Cowboys is littered with accolades and accomplishments. In his rookie season, he broke the single-season record with 11 interceptions. He was named to the Pro Bowl team from 1981 to 1983 and again in 1985 while leading the league in interceptions 1981, 1982 and 1985. In 1986, he was the youngest player named to the Cowboy 25th Year Anniversary Team and was named Cowboys Man of the Year in 1987.
Walls continued his career with the New York Giants in 1990 and was the leading pass defender with six interceptions on the Giants’ Super Bowl team that year. After his retirement in 1993, he was named to the All-time Cowboy Team. He was appointed to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1980s and in 1998, he was elected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Harry “Machine Gun” Kelly
Harry Kelly, the first player in NCAA Division I history to score over 3,000 points and grab over 1,000 rebounds during a four-year collegiate career. Raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Harry led the NCAA in scoring for two consecutive years: 1981-82 and 1982-83. Harry was the Black College Player of the Year for 1982 and 1983. He was inducted into the Texas Southern Hall of Fame in 1996. His jersey was retired during the 1983 regular season by then-President Leonard H.O. Spearman.
Kelly was an all-conference performer for the four years he played at Texas Southern. He was named SWAC Player of the Year and the NCAA Division I scoring leader in 1982 and again in 1983. He holds the Texas Southern all-time single-game scoring record with a 63-point effort. He was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks as the 11th pick of the fourth round in the 1983 draft.
He finished his collegiate career with 3,066 points and 1,085 rebounds; for his career, he averaged 27.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists while shooting 48.5 from the field and 75.5 from the free throw line.
James Allen, arguably the most prolific scorer in University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff history, possessed exceptional shooting skills and a flair for defense that combined, made him one of the finest prep basketball players in Florida.
Known as “Red” by his teammates, the West Pal Beach, Florida, native led the Golden Lions in scoring four straight years (1960-64). Allen also was a four-time All-SWAC selection and All-American in NCAA Division II and NAIA Division I.
Allen had a phenomenal junior campaign as he established a SWAC free-throw shooting record after making 19-of-19 charity tosses against Southern University. The 5-foot-10 guard set a school record that still stands today with a stunning 56-point effort in the Lions 129-124 victory over Willis Reed and the Grambling State Tigers before an overflow crowd in Hazzard Gymnasium at UAPB.
In his junior year, Allen scored 40 or more points in six games and finished as one the nation’s top scorers in NCAA Division II and NAIA Division I. He teamed with guard Harold Blevins (a 2005 SWAC Hall of Fame inductee) to score more points than any other backcourt duo in SWAC history.
Stribling spent over 20 years as the coach of the Mississippi Valley Delta Devils in Itta Bena, Mississippi. During Stribling’s tenure, the Delta Devils captured four SWAC regular-season titles and earned 3 SWAC tournament titles which lead to three trips to the NCAA Tournament (1986, 1992, 1996). Stribling was the winningest coach in MVSU history, with a record of 315-307.
His accomplishments at Mississippi Valley including taking a squad that was down in the early 1980s and turning them into conference champions. In 1985, his Delta Devil team played on national television against the number one team in the nation, Duke University. The game, televised on ESPN, saw Mississippi Valley fight a tough contest against the Blue Devils. In 1992, his team found national prominence as they faced more stiff competition, this time national televised on CBS. He is currently the head basketball coach and assistant director of athletics of Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS.
James Frank, E.D., is one of few individuals who have risen through the collegiate ranks as a student-athlete, coach, educator, college president, and conference commissioner. While serving as Lincoln University’s president, he also held the secretary-treasury and Presidential offices of the NCAA becoming the first African-American and the first college president to hold these positions. Frank served as president of the NCAA from 1981-82 and as its secretary-treasurer in 1979-80.
In 1983, Frank left Lincoln to become Commissioner of the SWAC, where under his guidance the conference evolved to rank among the elite in the nation. From 1983-1998, the men and women’s sports in the SWAC benefited from his leadership – gaining greater national recognition and publicity. The conference is still near the top of Division I-AA football in average home attendance.