Former C-N basketball player and coach Chris Jones to join Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

Former C-N basketball player and coach Chris Jones to join Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame announced that former Carson-Newman basketball coach and player Chris Jones will be enshrined at its annual Induction Banquet on Saturday, May 4, 2013, at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.

Jones was an All-American for the Eagles in 1962 and led Carson-Newman to its first two NAIA National Tournament appearances. He led the Eagles to a 54-11 record in his final two seasons at C-N, and led the Volunteer State Athletic Conference and the NAIA District 24 in scoring in each of his last three years.

Jones returned to Carson-Newman as the head basketball coach in 1981 and quickly put the Eagles back on the national map. He guided the Eagles to a 171-74 record over seven seasons. In his first season at Carson-Newman, he turned an Eagle program that was 5-23 the season prior into a 24-13 team that made an appearance at the NAIA National Tournament.

In his second season, Jones and the Eagles turned in one of the most memorable seasons in school history. C-N would capture a berth in the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City and make a run to the nation quarterfinals, but the win over Trevecca Nazarene (Tenn.) in the NAIA District Championship to go to Kansas City is one of Jones' fondest memories during as the Eagles' head coach.

"The win over Trevecca in 1983 was a big moment," Jones said. "It was spring break and there was not any students around, so I went to the high school and got on the loudspeaker and brought over their students, their cheerleaders. We had the game in hand late, and with about four minutes left to play, Kansas City Lights started playing on the loudspeaker during the game."

The Newport, Tenn. native, a hometown which he shares with third-year Eagle head coach Chuck Benson, was impacting the distant future of Carson-Newman basketball with his wild style, on the court and on the sidelines, whether he knew it or not.

"Chris Jones left a big impression on me growing up," Benson said. "I can remember coming to a packed Holt Fieldhouse in the 1980's when he was the coach and falling in love with the atmosphere. Next thing you know, I'm at all of his basketball camps, then a student at Carson-Newman, and the rest, I guess, is history."

In all, Jones led the Eagles to five VSAC titles and averaged 27 wins per year in his seven seasons. His resume as a player is even more impressive. He is a member of the C-N Hall of Fame and the C-N Team of the Century.

Jones earned the same honors at the NAIA level, joining the likes of Scottie Pippen on the NAIA All- Century Team and the NAIA Hall of Fame. He was drafted in the 1960's by the eight-team American Basketball Association's Cincinnati Royals, a team which included Oscar Robertson.

Despite all his national accolades and recognition, Jones will always remember his east Tennessee roots and Carson-Newman's tradition.

"(Frosty Holt) was also from Newport, and he got it all started," Jones said. "Dick Campbell and Gene Mehaffey kept it going. I just tried to continue it. At Carson-Newman it was all about the students, the fans, the college, and the community. There was always a strong sense of camaraderie."

This year's inductees also include Rick Byrd, basketball coach at Belmont University; Penny Hardaway, University of Memphis and NBA basketball star; Leonard Hamilton, former UT-Martin athlete and current basketball coach at Florida State University, Kelly Holcomb, NFL football player and  Middle Tennessee State University star; Larry Seivers, All-America wide receiver at the University of Tennessee; Trey Teague, outstanding center at the University of Tennessee and Denver Broncos and Frank Wychek, All-pro tight end for the Tennessee Titans.  In addition, former Vanderbilt basketball star and Nashville community leader John Ed Miller will be the Hall's Lifetime Achievement inductee.  Also to be inducted posthumous will be longtime radio and TV announcer Bob Bell and standout Morristown athlete and later coach Ermal Allen.

The Sports Hall of Fame, which held its first induction banquet in 1966, has as its goal to enshrine successful teams and individuals who display sportsmanship, good character and success, creating a legacy for others to follow. The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Museum is housed the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Tennessee's sports heritage while honoring the contributions of legendary individuals and teams that have significant ties to the state.  Through this mission we recognize the positive attributes of our inductees such as hard work, team work, dedication, focus and how these attributes are needed to achieve success in life.

2013 Inductees

Rick Byrd 

Coach Rick Byrd is one of the most successful and respected coaches in the country.   Widely-regarded for his offensive philosophies and half court execution, Byrd continues to rewrite the coaching record books. With 637 career victories, Byrd ranks eighth among all active NCAA Division-I head coaches in wins. Coach Byrd has overseen a program characterized by unparalleled academic achievement. A graduate of Knoxville's Doyle High School, Byrd was an honors student at the University of Tennessee.

Penny Hardaway

Penny Hardaway, former University of Memphis basketball star, was drafted third overall in the 1993 NBA Draft and went on to make the first of four straight All-Star Game appearances. In 1995 and 1996, Hardaway was named first team All-NBA. Giving back to a community that once pushed him to become a better basketball player has been a priority. He is an inspiring entrepreneur that continues to shine, whether on or off the court and contributes much to his Memphis childhood neighborhood.

Leonard Hamilton

Leonard Hamilton, current Florida State Head Basketball Coach, had a brilliant college career at UT- Martin.  As a senior, Hamilton averaged 11.7 points a game and was named the team's most valuable and best defensive player. Hamilton has established himself as one of the top basketball minds in the coaching profession during his 23 seasons as a head coach on the collegiate level. Hamilton was the first coach to be named coach of the year in both the Big East and ACC. He is known as an outstanding educator of young men. 

Kelly Holcomb 

Kelly Holcomb played football at Middle Tennessee State University. MTSU went a 31-16 during his career as the Blue Raiders won an OVC Championship and three NCAA Playoff appearances. Following a brilliant career at Middle Tennessee Holcomb was picked up as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and went on to play with numerous teams before ending his 13-year NFL career in 2008.

Larry Seivers 

Seivers, a University of Tennessee two-time All-America, became one of UT's greatest receiving threats during his college career and finished as the best of his era after leading Vols in pass-catching yardage all three years on the varsity squad.  A native of Clinton, Seivers totaled 347 yards as a sophomore, but exploded in 1975 for 840 yards on 41 receptions. It was the first time any Tennessee receiver topped the 800-yard mark in a season, earning him All-America honors. The following year, Seivers caught 51 passes for 737 yards and was again named All-America. He was selected in 4th round of 1977 NFL Draft by Seahawks

Trey Teague

Trey Teague, a native of Jackson, is best known for his playing years at the University of Tennessee.  While at Tennessee centering the ball to Peyton Manning, Trey capped Associated Press All-SEC honors in 1997. Trey and his offensive line mates helped Tennessee lead the nation in total offense averaging 482 yards per game in winning the 1997 SEC Championship. The Vols compiled a 40-9 career record during his playing days. In 1998 he was drafted by the Denver Broncos where he played four seasons, and was part of the 1998 Super Bowl Championship team.

Frank Wycheck 

Since pro football arrived in Tennessee in 1997, Frank Wycheck has been at the center of it all.   Staring as a tight end for the Tennessee Titans, Frank caught 505 career passes for 5126 yards and 28 touchdowns. He led the franchise in receptions for five straight seasons (1996-2000), was selected to three Pro Bowls (1998-2000) and was only the fourth NFL tight end in history to eclipse 500 catches.   On the field and off the field, Frank Wycheck was a huge part of laying the foundation of the Titans' amazing success. Currently Wycheck is at the center of the Titans Radio team as the network's color analyst and also serves as co-host of "The Wakeup Zone" on 104.5 the Zone (WGFX).

Lifetime Achievement Inductee

 John Ed Miller

John Ed  Miller played basketball  at Union City High School and had multiple scholarship offers from Division I schools before selecting Vanderbilt University to attend college where he was the Captain of  the 1965 SEC Championship team making him part of the first Vanderbilt team to win a regular season SEC title.  After graduating from Vanderbilt he served in the US Navy before starting his 35 year career at Bell South.  John Ed has served on the Board of Directors on over 15 community organizations, earning him the reputation of selfless service to his community.

Posthumous Inductees:

Long time radio and television broadcaster Bob Bell

Bob Bell is best known for over 50 years in broadcasting, starting in the business as a 19-year old. Bell broke ground at Nashville's WLAC-AM as a popular evening sports talk show host, and is also treasured as the longtime play-by-play host for University of Tennessee Volunteer football TV game replays, along with 25 years on TV in the Middle-Tennessee area.

Football great Ermal Allen

Ermal Allen was a standout high school athlete in Morristown, Tenn. and former star athlete at the University of Kentucky who made sports his career.    Allen played or coached under some of the most successful football and basketball coaches in history. In addition to Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys, Allen worked with and for General Robert R. Neyland, Paul "Bear" Bryant, Adolph Rupp, Paul Brown and Blanton Collier.


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