The Missouri Valley Conference will honor its past on Friday, March 2, 2012, when the league conducts its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony in St. Louis.
Coaching legend/television analyst Charlie Spoonhour of Missouri State, basketball standout Paul Silas of Creighton, men’s soccer coach Fred Schmalz of Evansville, track and field Olympian Connie Price-Smith of Southern Illinois, basketball icon Denny Crum of Louisville and track star Joey Woody of Northern Iowa comprise the 15th MVC Hall of Fame class.
For the ninth time in 10 years, the league will conduct its annual Hall of Fame ceremony as part the State Farm MVC Men’s Basketball Championship weekend next March 1-4.
The March 2 festivities will begin with an 8 a.m. breakfast, followed by the induction ceremony at 8:45 a.m.
Tickets to the 2012 Hall of Fame event – which is scheduled to be held in the newly-renovated Peabody Opera House which is adjacent to Scottrade Center – can be obtained by calling the league office at (314) 444-4300. Seating is limited and tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The 2012 Hall of Fame class includes a national basketball coach of the year selection, a three-time All-America men’s basketball choice, the architect of two Final Four men’s soccer teams, a 25-time national champion in the shot put and discus, a three-time national basketball coach of the year choice and a nationally recognized track and field hurdler.
The 1994 U.S. Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year, Spoonhour guided MSU to five NCAA Tournament appearances.
A first-team Academic All-American in 1964, Silas still holds the NCAA record for rebounds (1,751) for a three-year career.
The 1985 national coach of the year by Soccer America, Schmalz is a member of five soccer halls of fame.
Price-Smith became the most dominant track thrower in the United States and represented the USA in four Olympics.
The 1973 MVC Coach of the Year, Crum won over 85 percent of his league games and took Louisville to two Final Fours in his four seasons in The Valley.
Woody became the first UNI track athlete to win a Division I title in 1997.
“Each of our Hall of Fame induction classes is unique in its own way, but this group of individuals definitely has a men’s basketball feel to it,” said MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin, who is in his 24th year with The Valley. “Paul Silas and Denny Crum are clearly identifiable with basketball success and their schools, while Charlie Spoonhour is in a class all by himself.”
“Fred Schmalz took the UE men’s soccer program to unequaled heights, Connie Price-Smith’s story is one of which dreams are made, and Joey Woody becomes our first UNI athlete selected for the Hall of Fame,” said Elgin.
“We appreciate the opportunity to salute their contributions to the Missouri Valley Conference and collegiate athletics as a whole,” said Elgin.
CHARLIE SPOONHOUR, MISSOURI STATE
A native of Rogers, Arkansas, Charlie Spoonhour served as head men’s basketball coach at Missouri State from 1983 to 1992, taking over the program the Bears’ second year in Division I and guiding MSU through its first two seasons in The Valley.
An MSU assistant coach from 1969 to 1972, he was head coach at Moberly (Missouri) and Southeastern (Iowa) Community Colleges and also worked as an assistant at Oklahoma and Nebraska, before returning to Missouri State in 1983.
Spoonhour took MSU to its first Division I postseason basketball tournament appearance in 1986, when the 24-8 Bears played in the National Invitation Tournament and upset Pittsburgh and Marquette before losing at Florida in the NIT quarterfinals.
That season started a string of eight-straight years of 20-win MSU teams which advanced to postseason play.
The 1987 Bears set a school record for victories in a 28-6 campaign in which they won the Mid-Continent Conference regular-season and tournament titles and earned an NCAA Tournament bid. In the NCAA Tournament, Missouri State upset Clemson and sustained a four-point loss to Kansas in the second round.
In 1988, MSU repeated its league title but lost in the NCAA first round to UNLV, and in 1989, MSU won the Mid-Con regular-season and tournament crowns and lost in the NCAA first round to eventual national runner-up Seton Hall.
In 1990, Missouri State again snagged a regular-season title and took an at-large NCAA bid on the way to a first-round loss to North Carolina.
MSU was the MVC runner-up in its first year in the league in 1990-91 and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
In 1991-92, Missouri State was again the MVC runner-up, but the Bears won the State Farm MVC Tournament -- the only MSU squad to do so -- to advance to the NCAA Tournament but dropped a first-round game to Michigan State.
At MSU, he finished with a 197-81 record and five trips to the NCAA Tournament for nine seasons.
He went on to seven seasons as head coach at Saint Louis University, posting a 122-90 record and three trips to the NCAA Tournament, and a two-plus season run as head coach at UNLV.
After leading Saint Louis to a 23-6 overall record and at-large bid to the 1994 NCAA Tournament, Spoonhour was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Coach of the Year.
Spoonhour also has served two stints as analyst on the MVC TV Network.
PAUL SILAS, CREIGHTON
One of five players in NCAA history to average at least 20 points and 20 rebounds per game along with Bill Russell, Julius Erving, Kermit Washington and Artis Gilmore, Paul Silas played a lot bigger than his 6-foot-7, 225-pound frame would indicate.
A native of Prescott, Arizona, Silas is one of four Creighton men’s basketball student-athletes to have their jersey number retired.
The holders of the CU school mark for most rebounds in a career (1,751) -- most in NCAA history for a three-year career -- Silas lists sixth in NCAA history for career boards -- more than any player in the last 55 years.
During his Bluejay career, he averaged an amazing 21.6 rebounds per game. In fact, he once collected 38 rebounds in a college contest versus Centenary on Feb. 19, 1962.
He had nine tilts in his college career where he grabbed 30 or more boards and is the only player in NCAA history with two games of 36 or more rebounds.
He finished his collegiate career as the Bluejays’ third-leading scorer (1,661) in CU history and is currently eighth.
Silas still ranks fifth on the NCAA single-season rebound list with 631 in 1964 -- only man in NCAA history with three seasons of 557 or more boards.
He was an All-American in each of his three years on the CU varsity and was named a CoSIDA first-team Academic All-American in 1964.
The 10th overall pick -- by the St. Louis Hawks -- in the 1964 NBA Draft, he collected more than 11,000 points and 11,000 rebounds during his distinguished 16-year career.
An NBA All-Star selection in 1972 and 1975, he earned All-NBA Defensive First-Team honors twice and All-NBA Defensive Second-Team laurels three times.
A member of three NBA Championship teams (1974, 1976 and 1979), he ranks 19th in NBA history with 12,357 rebounds.
He has served four different stints as an NBA head coach, with the San Diego Clippers (1980-83), Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets (1998-2003), Cleveland Cavaliers (2003-05) and currently the Charlotte Bobcats (2010-present).
In 2001 and 2002, Silas, who has a 380-429 record in 10-plus NBA seasons, guided Charlotte to the conference semifinals of the NBA playoffs.
FRED SCHMALZ, EVANSVILLE
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Fred Schmalz retired as Evansville men’s soccer coach with an overall collegiate career record of 403-196-56 in 33 seasons and a 24-year mark of 302-165-49 with the Purple Aces.
He ranked third in victories among the nation’s active Division I coaches at the time of his retirement.
Schmalz also stood fifth in all-time Division I victories at the time of his retirement.
He led UE to 11 NCAA Soccer Tournament appearances, including Division I Final Fours in 1985 and 1990. In all, Schmalz coached 13 All-Americans and 17 Academic All-Americans.
The 1985 National Coach of the Year by Soccer America, he mentored 31 players who went on to play professionally, including Rob Paterson -- the 1989 Adi Dassler National Player of the Year -- and David Weir -- the first American collegiate player to compete for a European team (Scotland) in the World Cup.
Schmalz guided Davis & Elkins College (West Virginia) to a 91-21-5 record and six trips to the NAIA Final Four before coming to Evansville in 1979.
The recipient of the first Ron Wigg Award -- the highest honor presented by the Olympic Development Program – and the Bill Jeffrey Award -- the highest honor presented by the Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America -- Schmalz was selected as a charter member of the Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame.
Schmalz was inducted into the St. Louis Soccer Hall of Fame in October of 2009, marking his fifth Hall of Fame induction -- Davis & Elkins University, Indiana Soccer Hall of Fame, Quincy University and the University of Evansville.
The first person to coach gold medal-winning soccer teams from separate regions in the U.S. Olympic Sports Festival (West in 1990 and North in 1991), he has served as the director at the Goebel Soccer Park in Evansville and currently coaches club soccer.
CONNIE PRICE-SMITH, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
A native of St. Charles, Missouri, Connie Price-Smith is a four-time Olympian and one of the most decorated women’s track and field athletes in Southern Illinois history.
A collegiate basketball player, she became the most dominant track thrower in the United States and represented the USA at four Olympic Games (Seoul in 1988, Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000).
Although Price-Smith did not medal at the Olympics, she had the highest finish by a U.S. woman shot putter since 1960, missing the bronze medal by just four inches at the 1996 Games.
She became the initial U.S. woman to be world-ranked five consecutive years in the shot put with world rankings in 1995 (sixth), 1996 (fifth), 1997 (sixth), 1998 (third) and 1999 (seventh).
In fact, she claimed first place in the shot put in five-straight U.S. Olympic Trials and became the first woman in 32 years to win both the shot put and the discus at an U.S. Olympic Trial in 1992.
Throughout her career, she had been on 34 international squads, four Pan American Games teams (1987 bronze in the discus, 1991 silver in the shot put, 1995 gold in the shot put and 1999 gold in the shot put), and six outdoor and seven indoor World Championship teams.
A 25-time national champion in the shot put and discus, she collected 18 outdoor national championship titles and six indoor national championship crowns.
Before track and field, Price-Smith was best known as a powerful 6-foot-3 center on the SIU women’s basketball team. She set a school record and led the nation in field goal percentage (.650) in 1982-83.
Price-Smith threw the shot put for the first time as a senior in college at the urging of former SIU track and field standout John Smith -- whom she married in 1990 -- and won the 1985 State Farm MVC Indoor and Outdoor Championship titles in the shot put.
She retired from a 14-year plus professional career and currently serves as the head track and field coach at SIU.
From 1999 to 2001, she was a volunteer assistant track and field coach at The Ohio State University.
In 2002, her first year as head coach at SIU, she led the Saluki women’s squad to a fifth-place finish at the State Farm MVC Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
She led the 2010 women’s outdoor track program to an MVC championship and a ninth-place finish at Nationals, the highest in school history. All told, SIU athletes have won a combined 117 MVC track and field titles and earned 35 All-America honors under Price-Smith.
A four-time MVC Coach of the Year, she was inducted into the SIU Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and received an SIU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001. Additionally, she was honored as the Administrative/Professional Woman of Distinction at SIU in 2007.
Price-Smith has also been involved in coaching at the international level for USA Track and Field, including serving as the women’s throws coach at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She will serve as the head coach of Team USA’s women’s squad at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea (Aug. 27-Sept. 4), and the women’s throws coach at the 2012 London Olympics.
DENNY CRUM, LOUISVILLE
A native of San Fernando, California, Denny Crum compiled a 98-22 overall record (.817 winning percentage), a 46-8 league slate (.852), two Final Four trips, a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a trip to the NIT in just four Missouri Valley Conference seasons.
His overall and league-only winning percentages rank first on the all-time Missouri Valley Conference coaching list.
In the NCAA Tournament, Crum guided the Cardinals to the Final Four in 1972 and 1975.
Crum joins one of his greatest players Junior Bridgeman -- two-time MVC Player of the Year and a key member of the 1975 Final Four team -- in the MVC Hall of Fame. Bridgeman was inducted in 2009.
His teams posted at least 21 victories in each season in The Valley -- 26 (1971-72), 23 (1972-73), 21 (1973-74) and 28 (1974-75).
Crum was selected Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 1973.
Enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, as a coach, in 1994, he
began his collegiate playing career at Pierce Junior College (1954-56) and earned All-Southern California Junior College honors twice and league player of the year laurels in 1955.
Crum transferred to UCLA (1956-58) and received the Bruins’ Irv Pohlmeyer Trophy as UCLA’s best first-year player (1956-57) and Bruin Bench Award as the team’s most improved player (1957-58).
He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant/freshman coach at UCLA (1958-60), returned to Pierce as an assistant coach (1962-64) and served a four-year stint as head coach at Pierce before becoming a full-time assistant coach at UCLA (1968-71).
Crum served as head coach at the University of Louisville from 1971 to 2001, collecting two national championships (1980 and 1986), six Final Four trips (1972, 1975, 1980, 1982, 1983 and 1986) and national coach of the year honors three times (1980, 1983 and 1986).
As an international coach, Crum guided the United States to a gold medal at the 1977 World University Games and a silver medal at the 1987 Pan-American Games.
JOEY WOODY, NORTHERN IOWA
A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Joey Woody became the Panthers’ first Division I track athlete to win a national title, winning the 400-meter hurdles at the 1997 NCAA Outdoor Championship.
With his selection, he becomes the first UNI student-athlete to be tabbed for the MVC Hall of Fame and joins former UNI volleyball coach Iradge Ahrabi-Fard as Panthers in the league’s elite group.
A four-time All-American at UNI, Woody placed at the national meet three times in the 400-meter hurdles and once in the indoor 800 meters.
In 1998, he garnered a gold medal at the World Cup of Track as part of the U.S. 4 x 400-meter relay team.
In 1999, Woody received a gold medal at the World Track Championships as a member of the U.S. 4 x 400-meter relay team.
In 2000, he was a member of the USA’s 4x800 meter relay team that set the indoor world record.
In 2003, Woody received a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the World Track Championships.
Named Missouri Valley Conference Track Athlete of the Year on three occasions, Woody was a nine-time Drake Relays champion.
He was inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 2002. He is the only athlete in Drake Relays history to win the Athlete of the Meet award in high school (1992) and college (1994).
Named to the MVC All-Centennial Team in 2007, Woody holds UNI school records in the 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, indoor 600 meters and indoor 800 meters.
He has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach at Iowa after serving five seasons (1997-2002) as an assistant at UNI.
Woody was twice named USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 2011. He earned the honor following the indoor and outdoor seasons. Woody led Iowa to three Big Ten titles and saw the Hawkeyes break eight school records in 2011.