Barto Inducted into Memphis Hall of Fame
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Two former football players, a former baseball coach, a current Memphis head coach who excelled as a Tiger student-athlete, a member of a men's tennis roster that won multiple conference championships and the program's first-ever rifle inductee make up a six-member class for the 2006 M-Club Hall of Fame it was announced by M-Club Director Rodney Mason, Sr., Wednesday. The 2006 ceremonies will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 8th at the Botanic Gardens in Memphis.
Three individuals will also receive special awards from the M-Club with Cato Johnson and Dr. Eugene Smith each receiving the Dr. C.C. Humphreys Golden Tiger Award while Barbara Whitaker will receive the Billy J. Murphy Award.
Registration forms for the banquet are available by calling Rodney Mason, Sr., at 901-678-4878. Admission prices are $40 for a single seat or $35 for two or more reserved seats. A table of 10 seats can be purchased for $350. Payment is due at the door the night of the dinner and is payable by check or cash only. Seats must be reserved by Wednesday, Sept. 6th.
The weekend's events will also include a Golf Tournament at Quail Ridge Golf Course beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9th. The tournament will conclude so members can attend the Tigers' 7 p.m. football game against Chattanooga. The six inductees will also be announced at that game.
Danton Barto, Football
A letterwinner with the Tiger football team from 1990-1993, Danton Barto is one of two football honorees for the M-Club Hall of Fame Class of 2006. He still holds the school record for career solo tackles (273) and career total tackles (473) and ranks second all-time with 200 assisted career tackles. An All-South Independent first team honoree in 1991, 1992 and 1993, Barto was named the All-South Independent Defensive Player of the Year in 1992 after leading Memphis with four interceptions. In 1993, Barto recorded 63 assisted tackles, which still ranks as the fourth-best single season mark in school history. His 144 total tackles that same season was good enough to remain 5th in Tiger history. Barto earned All-IFA Conference first-team honors in both 1992 and 1993 and was the All-IFA Defensive Player of the Year in 1992. A two-time Southern Living All-South Team honoree (1992, 1993), Barto was presented the Highland Hundred MVP award in both 1991 and 1993.
Following his Tiger career, Barto spent five years playing professional football in the CFL and AFL leagues. The Niceville, Fla., native recently completed his fifth year at the helm of the AFL2 Memphis Xplorers, a team he guided to its first-ever league championship in 2005, earning Coach of the Year honors. He will take over as the head coach of the AFL's Las Vegas Gladiators for their 2007 season, which begins in January.
Russell Copeland, Football
Russell Copeland is one of just five Tigers in school history to haul in three touchdown receptions in a game (vs. Tennessee, 1992). Copeland currently ranks third in all-time receiving yards (1,753), fifth in all-time receiving touchdowns (12) and third in total catches (116). In his Tiger career, Copeland totaled five career games with 100 or more receiving yards. His 80-yard reception vs. East Carolina still ranks 10th longest all-time and he also holds the school record for consecutive games with a reception (27). In his final season as a Tiger receiver, Copeland caught 61 passes, which ranks as the second-best receiving total in single season in Tiger history. That same year, he scored 18 points by catching three touchdown passes against Tennessee, a feat that remains tied for the second-most points scored in a game.
Also a threat in the return game, Copeland returned a punt 86 yards against Cincinnati in 1992 and he remains tied for third in punt returns in a game with six against Cincinnati. He ranks 8th all-time in punt returns with 38 for 354 yards for an average of 9.5 yards per return. His 37 returns in 1992 is tied for second in Memphis single season history. A first-team All-South Independent honoree in 1992, Copeland was also an IFA first-team honoree in 1992. He was named the Highland Hundred MVP that same season and went on to play in the 1992 Senior Bowl.
He was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the fourth round of the 1993 draft and played four seasons in Buffalo and spent three games of the 1998 season with the Green Bay Packers, finishing that year with the Philadelphia Eagles. He caught 103 passes for 1,460 career yards in the NFL.
Bobby Kilpatrick, Baseball
The most successful coach in Memphis baseball history, Coach Bobby Kilpatrick served the University of Memphis as the head baseball coach for 21 years. Under his tutelage Memphis won 653 games, including a pair of Metro Conference titles in 1976 and 1978. He led Memphis to NCAA Regional appearances in 1976, 1978 and 1981. Both the `78 and `81 teams advanced to the Regional Championship game.
Kilpatrick took a struggling Memphis program and turned it into a national power as 33 former Tigers were drafted in the Coach K Era. He was the first Tiger coach to post consecutive 30-win seasons in 1975 and 76 and then became the first to guide Memphis to a 40-win season when his 1978 squad went 40-9. In his tenure as Memphis' skipper, Kilpatrick led the Tigers to 14 30-win campaigns and 20 winning seasons.
Coach Kilpatrick stepped down from his head coaching post after the 1992 season. His legacy continued as the Tigers went on to advance to the Great Midwest Conference tournament championship in each of the next three seasons. Memphis claimed the GMC crown in 1993 and 1995. At the conclusion of his coaching career Coach K remained heavily involved in the baseball program, as well as eight other Olympic sports as the University's spring sports coordinator.
Kilpatrick also served as the Special Events Coordinator for Memphis, serving as the tournament director for three different NCAA Basketball First and Second Round tournaments and one NCAA Women's Regional Final.
Jim Ladyman, Men's Tennis
Jim Ladyman was a four-year letterman at Memphis from 1974-78. Memphis won three Metro Conference Championships with Ladyman on the roster.
As a freshman, he was 20-8 in singles and teamed with fellow M-Club Hall of Fame member Phil Chamberlain in doubles. He missed a majority of his sophomore year due to injury, but came back to post a 15-7 mark in singles and a 7-5 mark in doubles during the spring dual season of his junior year. That year, the team posted a 22-2 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. As a senior, Ladyman was 16-7 in singles and 9-6 in doubles, winning the No. 5 singles championship in 1978 at the Metro Conference Championships. In 1978, Ladyman was named the Metro Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player.
Ladyman is married to the former Libby Murphy. Their son, Bo, is a sophomore tennis player at Furman University in South Carolina, and their daughter, Emily, played tennis at Ole Miss. Jim works in the Bond Division at Morgan Keegan in Memphis.
He joins his brother, Henry, and his niece, Christina, in the M-Club Hall of Fame. Christina, a member of the Lady Tiger tennis program, was inducted into the Hall last year.
Kevin Robinson, Men's Track and Field
Still the holder of two University of Memphis school records, Kevin Robinson was a four-year letterwinner with the Tiger Track and Field team (1994-1998). As a sophomore, Robinson was named the C-USA Athlete of the year at the indoor championships after winning the weight throw and finishing second in the shot put and provisionally-qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Championships in both events.
A four-time C-USA Athlete of the Week award winner, Robinson qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 1997 and 1998 in seven combined events, including the weight throw, hammer throw, shot put and discus, competing in the shot both years. As a senior, he won C-USA indoor titles in the weight throw and the hammer. Following his senior year, he was named a National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Athlete of the Year and was named an NSCA All-American. That same season, he also finished 13th in the shot put at the NCAA Championships with an effort of 57-4.25". He also qualified for the Olympic trials in 2000 in both the shot put and weightlifting.
After spending four years as an assistant coach to Glenn Hays after returning to Memphis from SIU-Carbondale, Robinson is in his first season as the head coach of both the Tiger and Lady Tiger track and field programs.
Annie Svolto, Rifle
A four-year letterwinner with the Tiger Rifle team from 1996-2000, Annie Svolto came to the University of Memphis having never competed in rifle before. She accompanied her roommate to visit Head Coach Butch Woolbright and Woolbright talked Svolto into trying out the sport. Her first night on the range, she shot a 22 out of 100. By the time sectionals arrived in the spring of her freshman year, Svolto was already the team's No. 2 shooter.
In her sophomore season, Svolto was named the team captain and led the squad to a national ranking of 17 in the NCAA in air rifle. She was named first team All-Conference USA and was named the league's Most Valuable Shooter. She fired a 374 out of 400 at the conference championship, earning the individual bronze and helping the team to a gold. Again in her junior season, Svolto served as team captain, guiding Memphis to a No. 18 ranking in the country. In her final season, Svolto averaged a 374.3 score while competing despite taking 18 credits in the fall and working part-time. She was named the U of M Female Scholar Athlete of the Year for having the highest GPA out of all the female student-athletes and was also named a 1999 and 2000 Collegiate Rifle Association Coaches All-Academic Rifle Scholar.
After her graduation, she went on to spend two years in Russia as a member of the Peace Corps. She recently graduated from the University of Memphis Law School, where she served as a member of the Law Review and as an Executive Board Office of the Moot Court Board.
Cato Johnson, The Dr. C.C. Humphreys Golden Tiger Award
Cato Johnson has been a senior vice president of corporate affairs at Methodist Healthcare since 1985. He had previously been the vice president of corporate affairs at the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
A graduate of then-Memphis State, Johnson has been active in legislative affairs for more than 20 years. He is a former member of the Governor's TennCare Roundtable and was vice chair of the State Health Planning and Advisory Board. He is currently the chair of the TennCare Medical Care Advisory Committee and is a member of the Tennessee Hospital Association Bylaws Committee and the Tennessee Hospital Association Council Council on Diversity. He has served as a member of the University of Memphis Tiger Club Board of Directors and chaired the University of Memphis Athletic Department Community Advisory Committee. Also a past president of the University of Memphis Alumni Association, Johnson has served as part of the executive committee of the Memphis and Shelby County Sports Authority. He currently serves as chair of the Sports, Recreation and Entertainment Revenue Committee for the Pyramid and Fairgrounds and as vice chair of the Needs Assessment Committee and serves on the executive committee of the Senior Services Board of Directors.
Dr. Eugene Smith, The C.C. Humphreys Golden Tiger Award
Dr. Eugene Smith, who served at the University of Memphis in various roles for 39 years, retired from Middle Tennessee State University as its Interim President in 2001.
In 1963, Smith came to Memphis from the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury for the State of Tennessee. He served as an Adjunct Professor in the College of Education and as a Business Manager and Internal Auditor. In 1971, he was named the Vice President for Business and Finance, a position he held until 2000 when he left for Middle Tennessee State University. At MTSU, Smith served as the interim president for one year at his alma mater.
Smith is currently the President of the Mid-South Fair Board of Directors and served as a member of the Mid-South Public Communications Foundation (WKNO) from 1994 until 2003. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Memphis Urban League and the Mid-South Minority Business Council. He has also served as a member of the Stadium Expansion Committee for Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and for the Public Building Authority of Memphis and Shelby County.
He is married to the former Anne Clement of Paris, Tennessee. The couple has three children, Danny, Davis and Genie Anne.
Barbara Whitaker, The Billy J. Murphy Award
Former Tiger volleyball player Barbara Whitaker is the recipient of the 2006 Billy J. Murphy Award. Whitaker is currently the head volleyball and girls' tennis coach at Germantown High School in Memphis and has helped Germantown to six state volleyball championships, including a 3-1 victory in the 2005 TSSAA Class AAA championship game. Whitaker-led Germantown volleyball teams have appeared in 21 straight TSSAA state tournaments, claiming state crowns in 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2003 and 2005. Whitaker coached Germantown to six of the program's TSSAA-record seven volleyball titles, earning six TSSAA Coach of the Year honors, five Best of Preps Coach of the Year awards and helping her team to 18 District Championships and 17 Regional Championships. Overall, her teams have gone 880-223 in her 22 seasons at the helm.
Whitaker coached Lauren Thompson, now a freshman on the Tiger volleyball team, to the 2005 Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year Award, the first-time any Memphis-based prep player has won the award.
Whitaker, a letterwinner with the Tiger volleyball program from 1977-1980, has spent 22 of her 24 years coaching prep volleyball at Germantown, but she also serves as a club volleyball coach and as a youth basketball coach for Highland Heights Presbyterian Church. She has also served as a youth advisor on summer mission trips and has volunteered in the First Presbyterian soup kitchen and clothes closet.
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