MEAC Announces Hall of Fame Class of ’08

By MEAC Media Relations
Updated: January 30, 2008

MEACVIRGINIA BEACH, Va.-The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) will enshrine five members into its’ 2008 Hall of Fame Class during a reception on Thursday, March 13, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Marriott Crabtree Valley Hotel in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The 2008 MEAC Hall of Fame Class will be honored by presenters of their choice during a reception that occurs in conjunction with the 2008 MEAC Basketball Tournament, March 10-15 at the RBCCenter in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Enshrinees were selected by an 11-person committee made up of administrators from each member institution. The MEAC Hall of Fame includes former student-athletes, coaches, and university and/or conference administrators, who have enriched the legacy of the conference since its inception in 1969.

The MEAC Hall of Fame inducted its first class on May 29, 1981, during a 10-year anniversary banquet in Greensboro, North Carolina. Willie Jeffries (retired South Carolina State Head Coach) was the keynote speaker and New York sportscaster, Ron Pinkney, served as the Master of Ceremonies. Since its establishment in 1981, the Hall of Fame has honored 93 people, including the Class of 2008.

“The 2008 MEAC Hall of Fame Inductees are a tremendous class of individuals who have demonstrated achievements not only as student-athletes but also as leaders in their professions and communities,” said Dr. Dennis E. Thomas, MEAC Commissioner. “Congratulations to the Class of 2008 and their families. I know this will be a memorable occasion.”

The 2008 MEAC Hall of Fame Inductees are:

Inducted as a Student-Athlete:

Twana Allen, CoppinState: ranks as one of the top track and field performers in CoppinState history. Allen holds indoor school records in the 800 meters, the 4×800-meter relay, and the distance medley relay and is the outdoor record holder in the 4×800-meter relay. She became the school’s first-ever indoor All-American when she finished fifth in the 800 meter race at the 1996 NCAA Championships. Her 1996 season ranks as one of the greatest in school history.

Edwin Bailey, South CarolinaState: started every game during his four-year football career at South CarolinaState. Bailey helped the Bulldogs to a 35-7-2 mark, including three MEAC football championships and three post-season appearances. He earned All-MEAC first-team accolades three times and was named an American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) I-AA All-American in 1980. As a fifth-round draft choice in the National Football League (NFL), Bailey enjoyed an 11-year career with the Seattle Seahawks.

Inducted as a Conference Administrator:

Larry Barber, MEAC Office: served as the Director of Media Relations for over two decades (1978-1998). Barber was instrumental in generating national attention for the conference and its member institutions through his expertise in public relations. Barber was also a talented writer who wrote feature articles and games stories for various newspapers and magazines. A member of College Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA), Barber was also a founding member of the Black College Sports Information Directors Association (BCSIDA).

Inducted as a Head Coach:

William “Billy” Joe, Florida A&M: is the second winningest coach in Black College Football history with 237 wins. Joe compiled an impressive 86-46 record while serving as the head football coach at Florida A&M from 1994-2004. Under his tutelage, the Rattlers won three MEAC titles (1995, 1996, and 2001), were runner-ups four times (1997, 1998, 1999, 2002), and reached the postseason seven straight times (1995-2001). His 1999 team advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA national semifinals. Joe earned MEAC Coach of the Year Honors three times (1995, 1996, 2001). His was honored by the Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C. as their National Coach of the Year 12 times, including 10 consecutive years (1983-1992) and garnered 100 Percent Wrong Club of Atlanta National Coach of the Year honors five consecutive times (1988-1992). In July of 2007, Joe was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame by the National Football Foundation.

Jack “Cy” McClairen, Bethune-Cookman: earned 12 varsity letters in football, basketball, and track at Bethune-Cookman. He was the first Wildcat to be drafted into the professional ranks and after a successful NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he returned to his alma mater to become the winningest basketball coach in school history. McClarien coached football, basketball and golf. He also served as the Director of Athletics from 1961 until 1972. During his storied coaching career, he coached in over 900 football and basketball games. McClairen earned MEAC Coach of the Year accolades in basketball in 1989 and in football in 1994.