Tennessee A&I State NAIA Championship Teams Inducted into Hall Of Fame
Monday, September 9, 2019
Tennessee A&I State NAIA Championship Teams Inducted into Hall Of Fame
Top L-R: Brian "Penny" Collins, Hubert Davis, Mawuli Davis, Billy McBride; Bottom: Athletic Director Teresa Philips, Jewel Rollen, RIchard Barnett and President Glenda Glover

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The 1957-59 Tennessee A&I State NAIA Championship teams were officially inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Friday evening at the Springfield Symphony Hall.

The 1957-59 teams were the first in basketball history to win back-to-back-to-back championships in any college division. Coached by the late Hall of Fame coach John McLendon, the teams went 31-4, 31-3 and 32-1 in his final three years at the helm of the Tigers, garnering the school's first national championship. The 32-win season remains the most-winningest season for Tennessee State basketball.

Richard "Dick" Barnett the fourth pick in the 1959 draft and a member of the back-to-back-to-back championship teams represented Tennessee A&I at the induction. 

"It was a wonderful experience for them to finally acknowledge the great team Tennessee State was and the contribution that we made being a part of a team that was able to acheive such great things during the crisis of the height of segregation" said Barnett. "Now, the young people at Tennessee State can remember the history of what was accomplished." 

"Witnessing this historic moment for Tennessee State basketball is inspiring to me as the head coach of this program," said head coach Brian "Penny" Collins. "Not many know the greats that came out of TSU such as Anthony Mason, Carlos Rogers as well as members of the teams that were honored tonight - Dick Barnett and John Barnhill. This induction hopefully encourages our current student-athletes to strive for greatness and acheive more."

Members of the three NAIA championship teams:

Richard “Skull” Barnett, 1955-59
John Barnhill, 1956-59
Hillary Brown, 1959-61
Joesph Buckhalter, 1956
Charles “Henry” Carlton, 1955-56
Robert Clark, 1959-61
Albert Cook, 1956
Melvin Davis, 1959-61
George Finley, 1959-61
Lavert France, 1959-60
Ronald Hamilton, 1954-56
Ronald Heflin, 1958-61
Rossie Johnson III, 1958-61
Porter  “Mert” Merriweather, 1959-62
Remus Nesbit, 1952-56
Rueben Perry, 1955-58
Gregory Pharr, 1959
James Satterwhite, 1956-59
Nurlin Tarrant, 1955-59
Ben Warley, 1958-60
Elliott “Peco” Warley, 1959-61
Eugene Werts, 1958-61