HOUSTON, Texas – The Southwestern Athletic Conference paid tribute to nine of its all-time greats, honoring Emanuel Barnes, Garland D. Boyette, Jessie L. Conerly, Tommy L. Green, Sidney James, Eugene Sanders, Jocelyn Tatum-Adams, Tommie Funchess and Dante Wesley and enshrining them into the 2016 SWAC Hall of Fame.
This year’s class, which is the largest since 2002, includes a litany of All-Americans, National Champions, title-winning coaches, illustrious storytellers and professional standouts as well, as seven of the league’s 10 member institutions were enshrined during the reception gala at the Westin Galleria.
FROM THE HONOREES:
“It’s a great achievement to make the hall of fame. It is a lot of work going into it and I can sit back now and say that the work that I put in to get here is really paying off.” – Garland D. Boyette, Grambling State
“It means a lot. Arkansas Pine Bluff gave me an opportunity to be in this position. I feel like I followed behind some great players’ footsteps in Walter Payton and Jerry Rice, so it is a great opportunity for me.” – Dante Wesley, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
“It means everything. It is a blessing to receive your flowers while you are still living. To have somebody reach out and appreciate what you’ve done, even if it was a small role, it means everything.” – Jessie Conerly, Alcorn State
“I was very elated when I heard I was being inducted. I did not believe it. It is unexplainable how great I think this honor is.” – Tommie Funchess, Jackson State
“It’s a special honor … It makes you feel like the work you put in, was put in for a purpose. After all the hard work, somebody noticed the referees. I am just very excited.” – Sidney James, SWAC Official
“The SWAC has had so many great athletes come through here, to be inducted along side them is very great.” – Eugene Sanders, Mississippi Valley State
“I was excited when I got the news. It is really difficult to believe. I am still trying to digest it. It is something that you don’t really think about. I have always thought about the hall being for athlete and coaches, and I am excited that I was chosen.” – Emanuel Barnes, Alcorn State
Photo courtesy of SWAC & video courtesy Superior Video Productions, Inc.