Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1-on-1 With Mizzou Associate Head Coach Andy Hill

1-on-1 With Mizzou Offensive Coordinator Josh Henson

Justin Smith, Ian Kinsler Among Five Voted to Hall of Fame

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Five outstanding former student-athletes have been selected for induction into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.  They will represent the 23rd induction class since the inception of the Hall in 1990.

The class will be formally inducted Friday, February 1st, 2013 in an evening banquet and celebration to be held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Columbia.  A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the induction dinner at 7 p.m.  Fans are welcome to attend if interested, and tickets for the event can be purchased by calling Lorraine Rodriguez of the Tiger Scholarship Fund at 573-882-0710.  The next day, when the Mizzou men’s basketball team takes on Vanderbilt, the group will be recognized at halftime of the game. 

Here is a look at this year’s inductees, with more extensive biographical information to follow:

CLASS OF 2012

Ian Kinsler – Baseball (2003) [Native of Tucson, Ariz.]

Played only one year at Mizzou, but was instrumental in helping lead the resurgence of MU’s baseball program;

Christi Myers – Volleyball/Track & Field (1999-2003) [Native of Raytown, Mo.]

Mizzou’s first-ever AVCA volleyball All-American, who also was a three-time All-Big 12 high jumper;

Justin Smith – Football (1998-2000) [Native of Holts Summit, Mo.]

Mid-Missouri native became one of the top defensive players to ever wear the Tiger uniform, and he’s since gone onto a stellar NFL career;

James Taylor – Football (1975-77) [Native of Peoria, Ill.]

One of the most feared and punishing offensive linemen of his time who was a 1st-Team All-Big Eight selection in 1977, and who was a 2nd-round NFL Draft Pick in 1978; 

Helen Wilson – Tennis (1980-82) [Native of Miami, Fla.]

The first-ever tennis inductee into MU’s Hall of Fame, she was one of the top singles and doubles players ever for the Tigers;

Here’s a more extensive look at this year’s class: 

Ian Kinsler – Baseball (2003)

Although he played only one season at Mizzou, Tiger Head Coach Tim Jamieson credits him with being a key figure in helping turn the program around, as he was instrumental in leading Mizzou back to the NCAA Tournament in 2003, after a six-year drought.  That 2003 NCAA appearance started a string of seven-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the Tiger program.  After transferring to Mizzou from Arizona State and junior college, Kinsler batted .335 for Mizzou in 2003, and was third on the team with six home runs and 45 RBI.  He also went 16-of-17 in stolen bases during the season, and was named 2nd-Team All-Big 12 for his efforts.

Of course, most people know Kinsler for his outstanding professional baseball career.  After being drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2003, Kinsler made the big league squad in 2006, and promptly won the Rangers’ Rookie of the Year award for hitting .286 with 14 homers and 55 RBI.  He has since made three American League All-Star teams (2008, 2010, 2012), and hit a career-best .319 in 2008, while he followed that with a career-high 31 homers and 86 RBI in 2009.

Christi Myers – Volleyball/Track & Field (1999-03)

Was one of the central figures in the establishment of Mizzou’s volleyball program as one of national prominence, as she became MU’s first-ever AVCA All-American, attaining 3rd-Team status in 2002.  She still stands as Mizzou’s career record holder in blocks (454) and she is third alltime at MU in hitting percentage (.322) and fourth in kills (1,476). 

But volleyball wasn’t Myers’ only athletic avocation, as she also doubled as a high jumper for the Tiger Track & Field team.  She was quite successful, too, becoming only the third female in Mizzou history to clear the six-foot mark, and she was a three-time All-Big 12 performer, highlighted by placing second in 2001 and third in 2002.

Justin Smith – Football (1998-2000)

Perhaps the most well-known name among this year’s inductees, “Smitty” wreaked havoc on opposing teams’ offenses in a three-year career under former Coach Larry Smith which saw him establish himself as one of the top defensive linemen in Mizzou history.  Smith won 1st-Team All-American honors as a junior in 2000, before bypassing his final year of eligibility and entering the 2001 NFL Draft.  He was drafted fourth overall by Cincinnati, tying him for the highest draft pick ever in Mizzou history. 

At Mizzou, Smith won Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year honors in 1998 when he totaled 86 tackles, a team-best 13 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, while making 11 starts as a true freshman.  He also received freshman All-American honors from several national outlets.  As a sophomore, Smith was a 1st-Team All-Big 12 selection in 1999 when he made 92 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and eight sacks.  He followed with a monster junior season which included 97 tackles and school-record tackles for loss (24) and sacks (11) totals.  He won 1st-Team All-American honors and was a unanimous 1st-Team all-conference selection. 

Smith has since gone on to an outstanding pro career, and he is currently playing for the San Francisco 49ers (alongside fellow Mizzou Tiger Aldon Smith), where he earned All-Pro honors in 2011.  He was selected to three-consecutive Pro Bowls (2009-11), and he came in second in balloting for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2011 after his outstanding season.  Previously, he broke the Cincinnati Bengals’ rookie sacks record in 2001, when he had 8.5 sacks.  Perhaps most impressively, Smith has not missed a single game in his NFL career, and has started 182 consecutive games, which ranks as 5th-best currently in the league. 

James Taylor – Football (1975-77)

James Taylor came to Mizzou from Peoria, Ill., and he developed into one of MU’s most feared and punishing offensive linemen of his time.  He was a major factor in helping Mizzou to some of its biggest wins in history, including a 20-7 win at 2nd-ranked Alabama in 1975, a 46-25 win at 8th-ranked USC in 1976, a 22-21 win at 2nd-ranked Ohio State in 1976 and a 34-24 win at 3rd-ranked Nebraska in 1976. 

Taylor won 1st-Team All-Big Eight Conference honors for his stellar play as a senior in 1977, and was selected to play in the prestigious Blue and Gray Classic, as well as the Senior Bowl, in 1978.  He went on to become a 2nd-round pick in the 1978 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, and he had a solid professional playing career.  Taylor was a starter for the Saints, and played in 57 games overall for the franchise, from 1978-81. 

Helen Wilson – Women’s Tennis (1980-82)

One of the top individual talents in Mizzou women’s tennis history, who played in the early days of the program, which began officially as a varsity sport for the 1974-75 season.  Wilson becomes the first women’s tennis player to be inducted into the Mizzou Athletics Hall of Fame.  She was the team’s top player for two seasons, and was the No. 2 singles player as a freshman.  Mizzou dropped women’s tennis as a varsity sport prior to her senior year, which forced her to transfer to Oklahoma, where she finished up her degree work and played for one year. 

Even with that, Wilson still considers Mizzou to be her alma mater, and she has been very involved with the Tiger tennis program.  She currently resides in the Kansas City area and is the Director of Tennis at the Kansas City Country Club.

Despite having a junior season cut short by injury, in a little more than just two full seasons, Wilson still stands fifth on the all-time career singles wins list at Mizzou, with a career record of 73-34.  She went 31-13 as a freshman, when she helped guide the Tigers to a 17-10-1 team record and a fourth-place finish at the Big Eight Championships.  Wilson placed third at the subsequent Region VI Championship tournament, and that qualified for nationals.  She followed that with a 32-13 record as a sophomore, earning All-Region honors in 1981.  Her 32 wins that year rank as the 3rd-most in MU single-season history.  Also a standout doubles player, Wilson had a doubles career mark of 51-22, and that stands as the 9th-most career doubles wins in MU history.

The Hall’s constitution and bylaws express its purpose – “…to recognize and honor those individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the achievements and prestige of the University of Missouri in the field of athletics, and who have continued to demonstrate in their lives, the values imparted by intercollegiate athletics.”

The current class will up the membership to 186 individuals and four teams in the Hall of Fame.  Inductees are honored in a display located in the main entrance at Mizzou Arena.

Nominations are accepted year-round by sending support material to: Chad Moller, Director of Athletic Media Relations, Mizzou Athletics, P.O. Box 677, Hearnes Center, Columbia, Mo. 65205.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mizzou Graduation

Josh Henson, Andy Hill Promoted on Tiger Staff

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Head Football Coach Gary Pinkel today announced promotions for a pair of staff members on the offensive side of the ball.  Josh Henson has been named offensive coordinator, and Andy Hill has been named associate head coach, and will now coach quarterbacks.

Henson, 37, has been Mizzou's co-offensive line coach since joining the MU staff from LSU prior to the 2009 season.  Six of his offensive line pupils at MU have won all-star honors nine times in his tenure, including the most recent being true freshman guard Evan Boehm, who was named a 1st-Team Freshman All-American by College Football News following the recently completed season. Mizzou's offensive line helped pave the way to a conference team rushing title in 2011 (ranking 9th nationally), and also to a final national rank of 12th in total offense (475.54 ypg).

 "I'm excited for both Josh and Andy, and for our team," said Pinkel.  "They are both deserving of these opportunities and I'm confident that they are going to do great things to move our program forward.  Josh has been a key part of our system for four years and he will bring his own style to how we will operate.  Andy is an outstanding teacher of the game. His experience and knowledge of our complex passing game, as well as his energy and drive, will translate well, and will give him a unique perspective that he'll bring to the quarterback position group."

Henson spent four years prior to MU at LSU, where he coached tight ends and was recruiting coordinator for four classes which ranked among the top 10 in the nation, from 2005-08. Prior to that, he held the same role at Oklahoma State, his alma mater, from 2001-04. A native of Tuttle, Okla., Henson was an offensive lineman for the Cowboys (1993-97), and earned his degree from OSU in 1998.

Henson was part of staffs at both Oklahoma State and LSU which produced record-setting passing offenses and included NFL first-round draft pick receivers Rashaun Woods (2004), Dwayne Bowe (2007) and Buster Davis (2007).

"I'm so grateful to Coach Pinkel for the opportunity to take this next step," Henson said. "We have a tradition at Mizzou of having a lot of success offensively, and I look forward to rolling up our sleeves as an offensive staff and getting us going. We have a lot of talented young men who are anxious to get out there and show what they can do. I'm excited to get to work," he said.

Hill, a Trenton, Mo. native, played receiver for Mizzou from 1980-84, and he earned his degree from MU in 1985.

"This is a great opportunity and I'm really eager for the chance to branch out in this new role," said Hill.  "We have a really gifted group of quarterbacks that I'll get to work with and I'm excited to dig in and get to work. Mizzou is such an important place to me and to my family.  Not many people in this business get to coach at their alma mater for as long as I have, and I'm grateful to have that chance," he said.

Details of the new contracts for Henson and Hill are being finalized, and will be available upon completion. Pinkel said that a search for a receivers coach is underway, with no timetable set for that hiring.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mizzou Football Banquet

Columbia, Mo. - The University of Missouri football program honored its 18-member senior class Sunday afternoon at its annual team banquet to wrap up the 2012 season. As is tradition, numerous team awards were handed out at the event, which was held at Mizzou Arena. Here's a look at the awards given out:

Senior TB Kendial Lawrence(Rockwall, Texas) was named the team's Most Valuable Player (voted on by teammates), as well as taking home the team's Offensive Back of the Year award. Lawrence concluded his Tiger career with an outstanding 2012 season, as he ran for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Senior LB Zaviar Gooden(Pflugerville, Texas) took home three awards on the day, as he was recognized with the Don Faurot Most Inspirational Player Award (voted on by teammates), the team's Linebacker of the Year Award, and the Tiger Performance Athlete of the Year Award. The latter goes each year to the player who stands out in the Tiger strength and conditioning program. Gooden had 61 tackles on the season, to go with 4.0 tackles for loss, two recovered fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown.

Junior LB Andrew Wilson(Peculiar, Mo.) also won a pair of awards on Sunday. The team's leading tackler for the second-straight season (with 79 in 2012), Wilson won the Rigman Outstanding Underclassman Leadership Award, as well as taking home the team's Hammer Award for the third-straight season. The Hammer Award goes annually to the player with the most big hits.

Junior OL Justin Britt(Lebanon, Mo.) also shared the Rigman Award with Wilson, for his contributions in 2012.

Junior CB E.J. Gaineswon two awards of his own at the banquet. The Independence, Mo. native led Mizzou with 11 pass break ups in 2012, and his 58 solo tackles were also most on the squad (he finished 4th overall on the team with 74 total stops). For his efforts, Gaines was named the team's Cornerback of the Year, as well as also taking home the team's Bob Jeffries Kansas City Player of the Year Award.

 

Offensive lineman Evan Boehm (Lee's Summit, Mo.) won the team's Freshman of the Year Award, for his outstanding play in the trenches for a unit which was decimated by injuries. Boehm became the first-ever true freshman to start a season-opener under Head Coach Gary Pinkel, and he made starts in all 12 games this season. Earlier last week, Boehm was named a 2nd-Team Freshman All-American by Foxsports.com and was named 1st-Team Freshman All-American by College Football News.

Winners of other position group awards included senior OL Elvis Fisher (Offensive Lineman of the Year), senior TB Jared McGriff-Culver and junior TB Marcus Murphy (they split the team's Special Teams Player of the Year Award), junior DL Sheldon Richardson (Defensive Lineman of the Year) and senior SS Kenronte Walker(Safety of the Year).

Senior CB Kip Edwards(Arlington, Texas) won the team's Curtis Jones Champion of the Year Award, given annually to the Tiger who best combines on-field results, with leadership on and off the field, and who displays exemplary growth as a young man. Edwards finished 2012 with 46 tackles, and he had a team-high five turnovers gained, with three recovered fumbles and a pair of interceptions. The award honors the memory of former Tiger player and coach, Curtis Jones.

Redshirt freshman PK Andrew Baggett(Lee's Summit, Mo.) was named the team's Walk-On Player of the Year, for his play in 2012. After winning the starting kicking job in fall camp, Baggett proceeded to make 14-of-20 field goals (including a long of 46 yards), and 33-of-37 extra points on the year. He led Mizzou with 75 points scored.

The Aaron O'Neal St. Louis Metro Player of the Year Award went to sophomore WR Jimmie Hunt. Hunt was explosive in 2012, as he accounted for four touchdowns in 14 combined touches. The St. Louis, Mo. native scored three receiving TDs on 11 receptions (199 yards), and he had one kickoff return for a score (87 yards at Tennessee) in three attempts. The award is named for former Tiger LB Aaron O'Neal, who passed away tragically in 2005 following voluntary summer workouts.

Senior LB Will Ebner(Friendswood, Texas) won the team's Missouri MO Award, given annually to the Tiger who displays the most spirit, enthusiasm, determination and desire. Ebner overcame a lot of injury problems over his career, and had a standout 2012 season in which he posted 75 tackles and led the team with 10.5 tackles for loss.

Senior DE Brad Madison(Bethany, Mo.) won the team's J. Ed "Brick" Travis Interior Lineman of the Year Award. Madison had 4.0 sacks on the season, and that gave him 16.0 for his career, which puts him 11th alltime at Mizzou.

The unsung hero award was shared by junior OL Max Copeland (Billings, Mont.) and senior DL Jimmy Burge(Houston, Texas).

Team captains for the 2012 season included seniors Will Ebner (LB), Elvis Fisher (OL), Zaviar Gooden (LB) and T.J. Moe (WR). Captains for next season will be chosen by the team during fall camp of 2013.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012