Tuesday, February 17, 2004
MACON, Ga. --- The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame's Honors Court chose its Class of 2004 that includes former Tennessee State standout football player Claude Humphrey. The new group of inductees also includes Dominique Wilkins, George Rogers, Pat Swilling, Tim Simpson, John "Blue Moon" Odom, Pepper Rodgers, Wade Mitchell and James K. Harper, Jr. The GSHF's 2004 Induction Ceremony is set for Saturday night, April 3 at the Macon City Auditorium. Dominique Wilkins: Wilkins starred with the Atlanta Hawks from 1983-1994 during his 15-year NBA career. A nine-time NBA All-Star, he is the Atlanta Hawks' all-time leading scorer with 23,292 points and posted a career mark of 26,668 points. During his career, Wilkins averaged 24.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He was the NBA's leading scorer in 1985-86 (30.3 points per game) and was selected to the All-NBA first team for the only time in his career. Known as "The Human Highlight Film", Wilkins won the 1985 and 1990 NBA Slam Dunk titles. At the University of Georgia, he averaged 21.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. He was All-SEC three times, and a first team All-American in 1982. He scored 1,688 points at Georgia averaging 23.6 points per game in 1981 and 21.3 in 1982. George Rogers: The Duluth, Georgia native won the 1980 Heisman Trophy while playing for the University of South Carolina. From 1977-1980, he was twice selected as a first team All-American, rushed for a school-record 5,204 yards and rushed for over 100 yards in 27 of 46 career collegiate games. Named NCAA Back of the Year in 1980, Rogers was the first player chosen in the 1981 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. He led the league in rushing his rookie season (1,674) and in rushing TDs (18) in 1986. As a professional, Rogers rushed for 7,176 yards and 54 TDs. He finished his career with the Washington Redskins (1985-97) winning a Super Bowl in 1987. Claude Humphrey: The Atlanta Falcons number one draft pick in 1968, Humphrey was also chosen as the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year. He appeared in six Pro Bowls, including five consecutive from 1970-74. His sixth Pro Bowl came in 1977. He was a first team All-NFL choice in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1977. Humphrey played in 127 games for the Falcons earning a starting spot in each. He still ranks as the Falcon's career sack leader with 62.5 for 510 yards. The Tennessee State All-American registered 15 sacks in 1976 and 12.5 in 1974. Pat Swilling: The Toccoa, Georgia native was a defensive stalwart in college and as a professional. A four-year letter winner at Georgia Tech, he was a first team All-Amercian and Atlantic Coast Conference pick in 1985. That season, he set a Tech single-season record with 15 quarterback sacks for 119 yards. He set Tech career marks in sacks (23) and tackles for loss (37). He registered 265 career tackles. He was a third round selection by the New Orleans Saints in the 1986 NFL Draft. Swilling played 185 games in his 12-year career earning five Pro-Bowl selections and accounting for 107.5 career sacks - 14th best in NFL history. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1989 by setting a then Saints club record of 16.5 sacks. Tim Simpson: The Atlanta, Georgia native won four times on the PGA Tour from 1977 - 1991 before Lymes Disease shortened his career. His first pro win came in his home state at the 1985 Southern Open. In 1989, he produced 11 top ten finishes and the first of his two Walt Disney Championships. Simpson beat Greg Norman in a sudden death playoff to capture the 1990 Doral Open. He also won the Georgia Open Championships three times - 1981, 1984 and 1987. He had an incredible amateur career winning the 1976 Southern Amateur and being voted first team All-SEC and Honorable Mention All-American at the University of Georgia. John "Blue Moon" Odom: The Macon, Georgia native played in major league baseball from 1964-1976 and was a three-time world champion with the Oakland A's. He posted a career pitching record of 84-85 with a 3.70 ERA. His best seasons came in 1968 (16-10), 1969 (15-6) and 1972 (15-6) with Oakland. Odom was the A's catalyst in the 1972 ALCS winning two games and not allowing a run in 14 innings. He helped clinch Oakland's third-straight World Series title by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh and deciding game. He posted an astounding 0.40 ERA in four career playoff games and a 2.08 ERA six World Series appearances. Pepper Rodgers: The Atlanta, Georgia native will be inducted as a coach. His head football coaching career took him to the college and professional levels. Collegiately, he guided programs at Kansas (1967-1970), UCLA (1971-1973), Georgia Tech (1974-1979) posting a career mark of 73-65-2. He led Kansas to the 1968 Big Eight Conference title and was twice named big Eight Coach of the Year. Rodgers turned UCLA's offense into one of the nation's best while guiding them to records of 8-3 (1972) and 9-2 (1973) in his final two seasons. He returned to his alma mater in 1974 where he compiled a six-season record of 34-31-2. At Tech, he coached five All-Americans and 24 players selected in the NFL draft. Wade Mitchell: The Atlanta, Georgia native was chosen from the Senior's category. Mitchell quarterbacked Georgia Tech and was named third-team All-SEC in 1956 and Academic All-American in 1955. He passed for 1,002 career yards eight TDs, 17 interceptions and also rushed for 1,352 yards and 15 TDs. Mitchell helped lead Tech to three consecutive bowl victories that included the Cotton (1955), Sugar (1956) and Gator (1956). He served as team co-captain his senior season (1956) as Tech went 10-1. James K. Harper, Jr.: The Thomasville, Georgia native is one of the country's most decorated collegiate football officials. He was a member of the SEC Football Officials Association from 1963-1996. During that time, he officiated 44 bowl games including three to decide the national championship: 1984 Miami-Nebraska; 1987 Penn State-Miami; 1992 Washington-Michigan. In 1981, he was on the field when Alabama defeated Auburn for Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's record-setting 315th win. The Class of 2004 brings the total number of members in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame to 325. Wilkins and Odom were scheduled for induction last year but were unable to attend. A provision in the GSHF's Selection Criteria allows a one-year grace period to appear for induction. "We are honored to have these individuals become members of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame," said GSHF Interim Executive Director Jacquelyn S. Decell. "The GSHF is thrilled to have a class that includes a Heisman Trophy winner, one of the NBAs all-time best and a three-time World Series winner. Each of these inductees brings something special and unique to our Hall from their incredible careers." For more information on the Class of 2004 and the Induction Ceremony next April, please call the GSHF at (478) 752-1585, ext. 101 or 102.