HOUSTON, Texas – The Southwestern Athletic Conference formally inducted seven of its most significant athletes, coaches and administrators into the SWAC Hall of Fame Thursday night at the J.W. Marriott in Houston. The annual reception served as the catalyst for championship weekend in leading up to the 2015 SWAC Football Championship game.
The newest hall of fame class consisted of Selma, Ala. Mayor and former coordinator of SWAC officials George Patrick Evans, Tommy Gibbs, Sr. (Alcorn State), Kevin Granger (Texas Southern), Perry Harrington (Jackson State), Maurice “Mo” Hurst (Southern), Alicia Pete (Prairie View A&M) and Steven Rogers, Sr. (Alabama State)
Each inductee had the chance to share past stories and show gratitude to those that helped them during their playing and coaching days.
George Patrick Evans (SWAC Official)
Prior to a career in politics, Evans served the SWAC for three decades (1979-2009) in an officiating capacity. In addition to becoming one of the conference’s most seasoned officials, Evans also spent more than a decade coordinating officials for SWAC men’s and women’s basketball.
Evans was floored by his induction.
“It’s an honor. It’s certainly a privilege for me to have worked for the SWAC for 30 years,” Evans said. To have this honor – to be asked to be an inductee, I’m just honored to be here …. I’m just appreciative, honored, and I feel blessed.”
Tommy Anthony Gibbs Sr. (Alcorn State University)
Gibbs earned his place in conference lore as one of the great defenders in Alcorn State history. In his collegiate career, Gibbs racked up 300 tackles, 27 sacks, six picks and three fumble recoveries. He was a first-team All-SWAC selection and was a member of the Braves’ 1979 conference championship team
The evening was an emotional one for Gibbs, who dedicated his college career to his mother. Gibbs described his induction as one of the most meaningful accolades he’s ever received.
“It’s a blessing, man. It’s like a dream come true. It was a surprise to me, and it just blew me away. It means everything to me,” he said. “I wish my mom was here to witness this, because she wanted me to do this … but it really means a lot to me. It means a great deal.”
Kevin Granger (Texas Southern University)
As one of the most dominant scorers of his era, Texas Southern alum Kevin Granger went down as one of the greatest basketball players in conference history, leading the Tigers to the SWAC Tournament Championship in 1994 and 1995 – he won tournament MVP honors in 1994 – and in 1996, he led the nation in scoring at 27 points per game.
Granger, who was a two-time all-SWAC and Black College All-American selection, said the best part of the night was sharing the merit with his closest loved ones.
“It’s a big honor. It’s an opportunity to say, ‘Hey, job well done.’ I normally don’t get too excited about individual awards because I was always team player and believed in the team concept of the game,” Granger said. “But, to get recognized for this, it means a lot to me. Not just for me, but I’m moreso for my family that they’re getting the opportunity to enjoy this moment with me.”
Currently, Granger serves his alma mater as its athletics operations manager.
Perry Harrington (Jackson State University)
Harrington was one of the most electric running backs in the nation as part of the Wishbone offense of SWAC coaching legend W.C. Gorden. He earned two All-SWAC selections for the Tigers in 1978 and 1979 as well.
“It’s one of the better honors of my life. It’s the first opportunity I’ve had to enjoy an award with my children. I’m very enthused,” Harrington said of his enshrinement.
Maurice “Mo” Hurst (Southern University)
Hurst parlayed a stunning athletic career at Southern, into an equally impressive seven-year career in the NFL as a member of the New England Patriots. Hurst was named to the NFL All-Rookie honors and was eventually selected to the Patriots’ all-decade team in the 1990s, earning the distinction of All-Pro during the 1995 season.
Hurst said he never thought that his playing career would lead him to the annals of the SWAC Hall of Fame, calling the induction a humbling occasion.
“It means a lot. It’s not something you think about when you’re playing, but ultimately being honored like this – it was somewhat a surprise,” Hurst said. “I’m very, very honored and it means quite a bit to me that they think of me in the same class as some of the great names who have been chosen in the past.”
Alicia Lynn Pete (Prairie View A&M University)
As one of the great athletes and coaching pioneers in Panthers history, Pete has experienced success in nearly every athletic venue one could imagine. Even with the multiple all-conference and all-tournament selections as well as the litany of division and conference championships won as volleyball coach, Pete considered her most recent distinction one of the most meaningful.
“This means a lot to me – not only to me, but to my family and to my university,” Pete said. “I really worked hard to get to where I am today, and I just appreciate being inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
Pete currently serves as the Senior Woman Administrator at Prairie View A&M.
Steve Rogers Sr. (Alabama State University)
Rogers was SWAC Player of the Year twice en route to earning All-American distinction in his junior and senior seasons. He went on to transition from that to coaching and athletic administration, where he has been a part of three separate SWAC championship teams in basketball and football.
For the former Hornet basketball star, Rogers said it was an award to share with his family, supporters and his fellow Hornet alums.
“Tonight’s a great honor for me. I’m truly blessed to have this honor. It means a lot to me, my family and all the people that supported me over the years,” Rogers said. “Most of all, my ASU – Alabama State University; I am so honored and grateful to be a part of that family. It’s because of the Alabama State University family that I’m here today.”
Rogers is currently an assistant coach for the Alabama State men’s basketball team.