TROY, Alabama – Troy University inducted eight former student-athletes, coaches and administrators into the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame Saturday evening in Trojan Arena. The induction class was the sixth all-time into the exclusive group of Trojan greats.
The induction class consisted of Benny Beard (supporter), DeWhitt Betterson (football), Melanie Davis (softball coach), Dr. Doug Hawkins (administrator), Jerrel Jernigan (football), Johnny Long (band director), Bubba Marriott (football) and Frank Sadler (football).
“Tonight is a time for us to celebrate those who have had a significant positive impact on Troy University,” Troy Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain told the sold out crowd in Trojan Arena. “We are thankful to all of our inductees and their families as you have helped make Troy University and Troy Athletics what it is today.”
The newly inducted eight members increase the number of the Troy University Sports Hall of Fame members to 51. The Hall of Fame is housed in the main rotunda of Trojan Arena. Information can also be found at TroyTrojans.com/HOF.
Benny Beard – Supporter
The "driving force" for the plan to move Troy University Athletics from Division II to Division I, Benny Beard provided the vision and countless hours of work towards that move. A two-term president of the Troy Alumni Association from 1983 to 1987, Beard made the first presentation to the Board of Trustees to recommend the step up on the NCAA ladder, which he dubbed "The Dream". Appointed by Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Beard served as the founding president of the Troy University Challenge Fund which was charged with raising $1 million to help fund and support the drive to Division I athletics. Beard fueled that drive as he provided the first gift of $100,000 to reach the $1 million goal. Additionally, Beard was the founding president of the Troy University Action Club that served as a conduit between the City of Troy and Troy University to promote relations between the Troy Athletics Department and local citizens. A Troy University graduate, Beard was named Troy Alumni of the Year in 1989 and has enjoyed an extremely successful business career, including terms as the director of the Alabama Oilmen's Association and Southtrust Bank. Five Sun Belt Conference championships, six bowl appearances and seven Football Championship Subdivision Playoff appearances (out of 10 years) later, Beard's "The Dream" has become one of the most successful transitions in NCAA history.
DeWhitt Betterson – Football
The all-time leading rusher in Troy history, DeWhitt Betterson was a key member of the Troy football teams that helped the Trojans make the transition from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision and the Sun Belt Conference. Betterson, who played for the Trojans from 2001-04, rushed for 3,441 yards on 653 carries over his four-year career – his career rushing total is 515 yards more than anyone else in school history. A native of Starke, Fla., Betterson earned first team All-Sun Belt honors in Troy's first year in the league after rushing for 1,286 yards, which ranks as the third most in a season in school history. He stands as the only player in Troy history with multiple of 1,000-yard rushing seasons after rushing for 1,161 yards his junior season. Additionally, Betterson was named Co-MVP of the Silicon Valley Football Classic after he rushed for 150 yards in Troy's first-ever bowl appearance. His 150 rushing yards still stands as the most in a bowl game in Troy history. Betterson is responsible for three of the top 15 single-game rushing totals in school history – he rushed for 230 yards and two scores against Utah State in 2003, which ranks as the third most rushing yards in a game in Troy history. He finished his career with 100 or more rushing yards in 14 games with seven coming in 2004 – both school records. Betterson went on to coach Pop Warner football in addition to a successful professional career as a Senior Officer for the Bureau of Prisons.
Melanie Davis – Softball
The face of the Troy softball program for 21 years, Melanie Davis accumulated a 780-509-4 record and led the Trojans to a pair of conference titles and one NCAA Regional berth. Davis built the Troy softball program from the ground up and was instrumental in the overhaul of the facility in 2014 that transformed the Troy Softball Complex into one of the finest collegiate facilities in the country. Davis' win total stands as the most by any coach in the school's history and she has been inducted into the West Alabama Softball Hall of Fame, the Wiregrass Hall of Fame, the National Fastpitch Association 900-Win Club and the Alabama Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame. A native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Davis also served as Troy's volleyball coach for three seasons in which the Trojans posted a 70-44 record, including a pair of 20-win seasons. She led the Trojans to an Atlantic Sun regular season championship in 2005 and also swept the season series with Florida State and finished the season ranked No. 27 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association/USA Today Coaches Poll. It didn't take long for Davis to lead the Trojans to the NCAA postseason as Troy won the 1996 Mid-Continent Conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA West Regional in just the third year as a Division I program. Davis, who led the Trojans to 31 or more wins in 18 of her 21 seasons, also served as Troy's Senior Woman Administrator during her tenure. Davis came to Troy following a successful coaching career at Bevill State Community College where she guided the women's basketball, softball and volleyball programs.
Dr. Doug Hawkins – Administration
A 35-year veteran of the Troy University Board of Trustees, Dr. Doug Hawkins dedicated his life to service and was a major administrative voice behind Troy's move from NCAA Division II to Division I. Dr. Hawkins served as a guiding vision to many projects at Troy University including the first doctoral programs, Division I athletics and the internationalization of the University. He served as the President Pro Tempore on the Troy University Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2011 after his appointment to the Board in 1980. A strong supporter of Troy Athletics his entire life, Dr. Hawkins was an early advocate for Troy's transition to Division I and worked closely with Benny Beard to raise the necessary funds to make the move up the NCAA ladder. His impact on Troy Athletics was so resounding that the tower at Veterans Memorial Stadium that houses the press box, luxury suites, Stadium Club and athletic training facility bears his name. Founder of the Pi Kappa Phi Chapter at Troy, he was named Greek Man of the Year in 1969 and was named Honorary Alumnus of the Year in 1996. In 2013, he wrote "Turning Points" a history of Troy University. Dr. Hawkins practiced veterinary medicine in Troy for 55 years and passed away on Sept. 5, 2015. The Troy football team wore "Dr. Doug" stickers on their helmets for the remainder of the 2015 season in his honor.
Dr. Johnny Long – Administration (Sound of the South)
The beauty of college football is that many different walks of life come together each week to put on a show for tens of thousands of people. Thanks to the life-long dedication to his craft, Dr. Johnny Long transformed the Sound of the South into one of the nation's premier marching bands and forever changing the pageantry surrounding Troy Athletic events. Hired by Troy University Sports Hall of Fame member Dr. Ralph Adams in 1965, Dr. Long not only wrote The Sound of the South's trademark piece "The Fanfare", he also named the band upon his arrival. Under Dr. Long's direction, The Sound of the South represented the state in four presidential inaugural parades and served as the official band for two presidential visits to Alabama. A native of Guntersville, Ala., Dr. Long is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society and the Kappa Kappa Psi honorary band fraternity. Dr. Long, who is the namesake of the University's John M. Long School of Music, was elected as an Honorary Life Member of the American Bandmasters Association and spent 30-plus years teaching, encouraging and inspiring students following his arrival on campus. Dr. Long's legacy will live on for some time as he produced over 1,000 high school band directors in his career at Troy. During his Troy career, Dr. Long served as the chair of the music department, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and dean of the School of Fine Arts. Additionally, he is a past president of the American Bandmasters Association and is a member of the National Band Association's Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors and the Alabama Bandmasters Hall of Fame.
Jerrel Jernigan – Football
One of the most dynamic players in Troy University and Sun Belt Conference history, Jerrel Jernigan was a player that head coaches and defensive coordinators had nightmares about and game planned against. A seven-time All-Sun Belt selection, including five first team honors, Jernigan ranks in the top five in Sun Belt history in four career categories, while holding Troy career records for 100-yard receiving games (8), receiving yards (3,218), receptions (262), receptions per game (5.24) and all-purpose yards (5,985). His versatility on the field was so defined and dramatic that Jernigan has 1,806 more all-purpose yards than the next closest Trojan on the list – Troy University Sport Hall of Fame member Perry Griggs. Jernigan won four Sun Belt Conference titles as a member of the Trojans and helped lead Troy to four bowl appearances. As a sophomore, he broke Troy's 40-year receptions record as he pulled down 77 catches despite missing the equivalent of two games to injury. His record didn't stand for long as Jernigan broke his own mark two seasons later when he caught 84 passes en route to his third straight All-Sun Belt First Team honors as a wide receiver – he was twice named first team as an all-purpose player and twice named second team as a return specialist. Jernigan's junior season was just as eventful as he caught 71 passes for 1,101 yards; totals that rank fifth and second heading into the 2017 season. His football career didn't end with Troy as Jernigan was selected in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the New York Giants where he would go to become a Super Bowl champion after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Jernigan played in 34 career games and made four postseason appearances with the Giants. Following his professional career, Jernigan continued his life in football as a coach where it all began for him, Eufaula High School.
Bubba Marriott – Football
Troy University has a history of producing top-level quarterbacks. The pioneer of that long lineage of strong signal callers is Bubba Marriott. A two-sport star for the Trojans, Marriott lettered four seasons in football and three seasons in baseball. Marriott became the fifth All-American in Troy's football history his senior year when he was tabbed to the Associated Press' Little All-American Team in addition to earning All-Alabama Collegiate Conference honors in Troy's first season in the conference. He set a Troy single-game record with 62 passes attempted against Samford during the 1960 season, a record which stood for over 50 years. Marriott took over the starting duties under center just four games into his freshman season and would go on to start 31 games in his career. On the diamond, Marriott holds the Troy single-game record as he threw 13.0 innings against Southern Union in 1958. Following his Troy career, Marriott had a successful professional football career both on and off the field. He spent two seasons with the New York Giants in the National Football League before playing one season with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. He then moved to Toronto and was a player and assistant coach within the Continental League for four years before retiring in 1967. Marriott, who was inducted into the Foley High School Hall of Fame in 1984, stayed in coaching and won a Canadian national championship in 1967 and won six Ontario championships in eight years before retiring with an 82-12 record. Following his football career, Marriott was a successful businessman as he served as vice president of industrial development for Toronto Development Company for nine years before opening his own real estate business.
Frank Sadler – Football
One of the best kick returners in school history, Frank Sadler still holds records today that he set during his tenure from 1957-59. A four-sport star for the Trojans, Sadler earned all-conference honors both on the football field and baseball diamond in addition to playing one season of basketball and competing in track & field for one season. Following his Troy career, Sadler went on to become a successful collegiate and high school coach before returning to Troy to retire. A native of Albany, Ga., Sadler returned three kickoffs for a touchdown in his career, which still ranks as the most in Troy's over 100-year history of playing football. Two of those returns came in the 1957 season and he is one of just two players in Troy's history to have returned multiple kickoffs for a touchdown in a season. Additionally, Sadler's 215 kickoff return yards against North Alabama in 1959 have stood the test of time as the Troy single-game record. After turning down a professional baseball contract, Sadler dedicated his life to coaching and spent over 40 years mentoring young athletes in both college and high school. Along the way, Sadler helped lead South Carolina to one Liberty Bowl and a pair of Gator Bowl appearances during his tenure and the Gamecocks reached as high as No. 2 in the national rankings during the 1984 season. Sadler's high school career was just as successful as he won three area and county championships at Bob Jones High School and was named Madison County Coach of the Year on four separate occasions. Sadler, who was inducted into the Albany Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, finished his high school coaching career with a 110-65-5 record.