By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
Missouri Western Athletics and the Griffon Hall of Fame announced one of their largest ever Hall of Fame induction classes Wednesday.
This 2022 Hall of Fame class includes six former standout student-athletes, two conference championship teams and a meritorious service inductee. Rogers Pharmacy Hall of Fame Weekend begins Friday, October 28 at 5 p.m. with a private reception for the inductees followed by dinner and induction at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Oct. 29, all inductees will be recognized during halftime of the Griffon Football game, where they are hosting Missouri Southern at Spratt Stadium. The halftime ceremony will feature the individual inductees receiving their rings.
1979 Griffon Volleyball
The 1979 Lady Griffons CSIC championship team will be the first ever volleyball team inducted into the MWSU Hall of Fame and joins the six previous volleyball individual inductees. This team rattled off consecutive winning streaks of 17 and 18 matches separated by only a single loss to Kearney State. That lone conference loss was the only blemish on their 13-1 CSIC record. The 13-1 conference record contributed to their 48-11-2 overall record on the season.
In only the fifth year of the program headed up by legendary Hall of Fame coach, Rhesa Sumrell, the Lady Griffons competed in the Kansas State Invitational winning or tying matches against larger schools Oklahoma State, Drake and Kansas State. In 1979, Missouri Western also hosted and won the first ever Missouri Western Invitational going 5-0.
The team was well represented in post season awards including All-CSIC first team selections Kay Keller and Jean Haffner, All-CSIC second team selections Chris Sumrell and Sara Nolte and All-CSIC Honorable Mention selection Cathy Cox. After winning the first ever Missouri Western CSIC volleyball championship, these Lady Griffons went on to be runner-up in the Region VI Tournament, posting a 6-2 record and qualified for their second-consecutive AIAW National tournament — played in Orlando, Florida — in the program's five-year existence.
- Coached by Rhesa Sumrell (494-167)
- 48-11-2 overall record, 13-1 in CSIC
- CSIC Champions
- Made Region VI Tournament
- 17-match winning streak (Sep. 22 - Oct. 13) | 18-match winning streak (Oct. 16 - Nov. 3)
- Leaders: Kills - Chris Sumrell (382); assists - Robyn Areno (753); blocks - Sara Nolte (109)
2012 Griffon Football
The 2012 Griffon Football team joins the 1975 and 1977 teams as the third football team to enter the MWSU Hall of Fame, thus honoring the greatest season in program history. Jerry Partridge, the winningest football coach in MWSU history and the third winningest coach in MIAA history guided the 2012 team to many program firsts. Some of the many 2012 Griffons' team records include the following: most wins in a season with 12; first outright MIAA championship; first home NCAA playoff game; first NCAA playoff win; first NCAA road playoff win; and six wins over top-25 teams. For this, Partridge was named the MIAA Coach of the Year.
This historic season saw many players establish records and record their own firsts. Quarterback Travis Partridge's 18 rushing touchdown set and remains a program record. Teammate Michael Hill also set the record for the most overall touchdowns at 19. To add the cherry on top of Hill's climatic season, his 114 points scored broke 2011 kicker Greg Zuerlein's record of 107. Not to be outdone by the skills players, kicker Taylor Anderson went 74-for-74 and also scored 110 points. Hill was a finalist and runner up for the Harlon Hill award, and David Bass was a finalist for the Gene Upshaw award – both program firsts. Hill was named the MIAA Player of the Year, and defensive back Michael Jordan was named Freshman of the Year, portending his distinguished career to come. The Griffons finished the year ranked No. 5 in the final AFCA poll, their highest finish ever.
- Coached by Jerry Partridge (149-83, 117-68 MIAA)
- 12-2 overall, 9-1 in the MIAA
- Most wins in MWSU history
- Six wins over top-25 teams (6-1)
- First playoff win in program history. Defeated No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth 57-55 in triple overtime
- Defeated No. 6 Henderson State 45-21 in the NCAA Quarterfinals
- Fell to No. 5 Minnesota State-Mankato, 17-10
- Two six-game winning streaks
- Team season records: rushing yards & attempts (597-3,702); rushing TDs (44); yards per rush (6.20); rushing yards per game (264.4); total offensive yards (6,420) total offense per game (458.6); total offense per play (6.9); all-purpose yards (7,796); total points scored (582); total TDs scored (78 - 44 rushing, 31 receiving, 3 returns); PATs (74-74); total tackles (812); unassisted tackles (589);
- Team game record - highest passing efficiency rating (286.4)
Damon Bailey - Forward, Griffon Men's Basketball - 2001-2003
Missouri Western Men's Basketball saw much success with Damon Bailey on the court, going 46-15 overall and 22-8 in conference games during his two seasons as a Griffon. That includes a regular season MIAA co-championship in 2002 and an MIAA Tournament Championship in 2003 with two NCAA South Central Regional appearances during his time. That 2003 MIAA Tournament was also the first time the tourney was held in Kansas City, Missouri. Bailey led the charge in that 2003 run, receiving MIAA Postseason Tournament MVP honors. Bailey was an effective scorer for the Griffons as his 590 points in the 2002-03 season ranks second all-time and his 496 points in the 2001-2002 season puts him at fourth all-time in the single season records. Over his two seasons as a Griffon, Bailey logged 1,086 points, billing him 12th all-time in career scoring. Bailey earned Second Team All-MIAA following the 2001-02 season and was a First Team All-MIAA pick following his 2002-03 season.
- 58.6% field goal shooter on 274-for-638 shooting (fourth all-time)
- Free throws made: 306 on 389 attempts (fifth all-time) - fifth all-time in attempts as well
- Free throws: 78.7% (fifth all-time)
- 12th all-time leading scorer: 17.8 PPG (1,086 points) in 61 games
- 31 games started in 2002-03 (first all-time)
- Led 2002-03 team in scoring with 590 points (second-highest scoring season in program history) and in 2001-02 with 496 (fourth all-time)
- Led 2002-03 team with 19 PPG (third all-time) - 16.5 PPG in 2001-02 (ninth most)
- 212 made field goals in 2002-03 led team (second all-time) - 162 in 2001-02 (eighth all-time)
- Led 2002-03 in FG% - 60.4 (fifth all-time)
- Free throws made in 2002-03 - 156 (second all-time) - 150 made in 2001-02 (third all-time)
Eldra Paixao - Guard, Griffon Women's Basketball - 2003-05
Heading into this year's selection process, it seemed like Griffon Women's Basketball's second all-time leader in steals was a lock for the Missouri Western Hall of Fame. Eldra Paixao began her basketball career as a youth player in Brazil. She then took her skills to South Plains College in Texas helping her team to a 30-2 record and the WJCAC championship. With that pedigree, Hall of Fame Coach Dave Slifer was happy to see Paixao join the Griffons. No sooner did Paixao get on campus was her presence on the court felt. In her first season as a Griffon in 2003-04, she established herself as a premier player being named not only First Team All-MIAA but also as the MIAA Defensive Player of Year award. She followed up that performance with another First Team All-MIAA performance in 2004-05. Her quick hands and basketball acumen produced team-leading steals totals in both seasons she played, posting 107 and 81 for a career total of 188 steals. Those totals are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 all-time for a season. Paixao capped off her career earning the Missouri Western 2004-05 Female Student Athlete of the Year award.
- Steals: 2nd (188)
- Steals average: 1st (3.2)
- Points: 10th (843)
- Scoring average: 8th (14.3 PPG)
- Field goals made: 6th (347)
- Field goals attempted: 7th (753)
- Assists: 4th (334)
- Assists average: 3rd (5.7)
- Minutes average: 1st (33.7 in 59 games)
- Field goals made: 8th (17 in 2003-04); T-10th (170 in 2004-05)
- Field goals attempted: 3rd (397 in 2003-04); T-7th (356 in 2004-05)
- Assists: 4th (169 in 2003-04); 5th (165 in 2004-05)
- Assists Average: 5th (5.7 in 2004-05); 6th (5.6 in 2003-04)
- Steals: 1st (107 in 2003-04); 2nd (81 in 2004-05)
- Steals average: 1st (3.6 per game in 2003-04); 4th (2.8 per game in 2004-05)
- Games started: T-7th (30 in 2003-04)
- Minutes: T-1st (1,050 in 2003-04); 10th (940 in 2004-05)
- Minutes average: 3rd (35 in 2003-04)
- Field goals made: T-10th (12 three separate times)
- Field goals attempted: 4th (25 vs. UCM in 2004 & vs. Pitt State in 2004); T-10th (21 vs. Pitt State in 2005 & @ Pitt State in 2004)
- Field goal percentage: T-10th (81.8% on 9-for-11 shooting vs. Missouri-Rolla in 2004)
- Free throw percentage: T-1st (100% on 6-for-6 vs. Washburn on 2005 and vs. Emporia State in 2004)
- Most rebounds: T-9th (14 @ NWMSU in 2004)
- Most assists: T-5th (11 @ Missouri-Rolla in 2005)
- Most steals: 1st (9 vs Lincoln in 2003); T-2nd (8 vs. UNK and Newman in 2004); T-6th (7 vs Pitt State in 2004 & vs. Ferris State in 2003)
Drew Newhart - Quarterback, Griffon Football - 2007-2010
There are prolific passers, and then there's Drew Newhart. The Griffon gunslinger used his arm to lead each of the four teams he quarterbacked to postseason play. Newhart threw 1,348 passes, completing 817 for 10,691 yards, all tops among any MWSU quarterback's all-time career. Newhart only trails fellow Hall of Famer Kasey Waterman's 98 touchdown passes with 95 touchdowns of his own, ranking second-all time. Newhart threw for 412 yards in 2010 against Truman State, establishing the school record for passing yards in a game. He was a recipient of the prestigious Chris Faros Scholarship award as well as named the Missouri Western 2010-11 Male Student Athlete of the year. Newhart was named an All-MIAA Honorable Mention and Freshman of the Year in 2007 while earning All-MIAA team mentions in each of his four years. Because of his career performance, Newhart was named to the 2000's Missouri Western All-Decade team. With his induction, Drew joins his father, Robert, as the only father-son Missouri Western Hall of Fame inductees.
- First in passes attempted - 1,348
- First in passes completed - 817
- First in passing yards - 10,691
- Second in passing TDs - 95
- Second in completion percentage - 60.6%
- Second in passer efficiency - 143.4
- Second in passing yards per game - 222.7 in 48 games
- Third in average yards per pass - 7.9
- First and second in passes completed - 225 in 2008 - 222 in 2010
- Second and sixth in pass attempts - 376 in 2008 - 346 in 2009
- First, fourth and fifth in passing yards - 3,034 in 2009 - 2,799 in 2010 - 2,769 in 2008
- Second, T-fifth and T-10th in passing TDs - 31 in 2009 - 25 in 2010 - 18 in 2008
- Pass completion percentage: 2nd (62.7 in 2009); 3rd (61.5 in 2010); 6th (59.8 in 2008)
- Passer efficiency: 2nd (159.6 in 2009); 5th (144.5 in 2010); 6th (142.6 in 2007)
- Average yards per pass: 2nd (8.8 in 2009); 7th (7.9 in 2007); 10th (7.8 in 2010)
- Average yards per completion: 9th (14 in 2009)
- Passing yards per game: 2nd (252.8 in 2009); 5th (233.2 in 2010); 6th (230.8) in 2008
- Most passes attempted: 5th (47 @ Washburn in 2008); 6th (47 vs. MSSU in 2009)
- Most passes completed: 1st (31 @ Washburn in 2008); 3rd (27 vs. NWMSU in 2009); T-5th (25 three separate times); T-10th (24 twice)
- Most passing yards: 2nd (412 vs. Truman State in 2010); 4th (383 vs. MSSU in 2009); 5th (373 vs. Mesa State in 2009); 6th (363 vs. Pitt State in 2010); 7th (349 @ Washburn in 2008)
- Most passing yards gained per attempt: 3rd (16.9 @ Emporia State in 2007); 10th (13.8 @ Northern State in 2008) *
- Most passing yards gained per completion: 3rd (26.8 @ Emporia State in 2007). *
- Most touchdown passes: 1st (5 vs. Northern State in 2009); T-3rd (4 - four different times)
- Highest passing efficiency: 9th (247.4 @ Northern State in 2008) *
- Longest pass completion: 2nd (98 @ Mesa State in 2009); 4th (94 @ Fort Hays in 2007); 5th (91 vs. MSSU in 2009); 9th (82 @ NWMSU in 2008)
Grant Fink - Third Baseman, Griffon Baseball - 2012-13
Grant Fink starred for Buzz Verduzco's Griffons for two years. Grant's biggest impact was at the plate where he hit at a .355 clip through his career, ranking him tied for ninth all-time. His offensive contributions helped the Griffons to a 40-12 overall record and MIAA-best 28-5 in 2013, winning the conference for the first time in Verduzco's career. Fink and the Griffons made their way to the NCAA Central Regional for the second time in Verduzco's career. Grant hit 22 home runs during his time as a Griffon, tying him for fourth on the all-time list. For nine years, Fink's season record 14 home runs in 2013 was the gold standard for Griffon hitters. Almost even more impressive, his .397 batting average and 51 RBI in 2013 are what likely cemented his Hall of Fame selection. Fink, playing third base for the Griffons, was named Second Team All-MIAA in 2012 and First Team All-MIAA in that memorable 2013 season. Fink went to get drafted in the 23rd round of the MLB Draft by Cleveland in the summer of 2013.
- 10th-best batting average all-time - .355 (130-366)
- Second-highest slugging percentage all-time - .637 (366 AB)
- T-fourth most home runs all-time - 22
- Eighth most total bases - 233
- T-sixth most intentional walks - three
- Holds program best for highest slugging percentage: .706 in 2013 (194 AB)
- 10th-best batting average in a season - .397 (77-194) in 2013
- Seventh most hits in a season - 77 in 2013
- second most home runs in a season - 14 in 2013 (broken by Alex Crouch's 16 in 2021)
- 10th most RBI in a season - 51 in 2013
- Second most bases in a season - 137 in 2013
- T-second most intentional walks - three in 2013
Everet Hoffman – Griffon Men's Tennis - 1972-74
Everet Hoffman, a St Joseph native, first became interested in tennis while in high school. The 1971 Benton graduate showed real promise in high school winning the MEC singles tennis championship when he was a junior. Everet was also the district runner up in both his junior and senior years. After attending Northwest Missouri State his freshman year, he came back to St. Joseph and picked up tennis once again playing for Missouri Western. During his playing career, Hoffman was the No. 1 singles player for the Griffons. He was also the top men's tennis player on the NAIA All-District 16 Tennis six-man tennis team as a junior and overall named to the District 16 First Team three times. Hoffman was the first Missouri Western Tennis athlete to qualify for the National Tournament and had a career singles record of 43-10. Everet also served as the St Joseph Central High School tennis coach from 2014-2018.
Chris Ball - Defensive Back, Griffon Football - 1983-85
Chris Ball was one of the defensive stars of early Griffon Football teams playing three seasons from 1983-1985 and recognized as such when he was named to the 1980's All-Decade Team. A defensive back, Chris recorded a team-leading five interceptions in 1984. His 12 career picks are tied for sixth all-time at Missouri Western in that category. Following the 1984 season, he was named Second Team All-CSIC and for his efforts during the 1985 season, Chris was named to the First Team All-CSIC as well as being named an Honorable Mention All-American. Chris has remained close to the game of football honing his coaching skills at the likes of Alabama, Pittsburg, Arizona State and Memphis before being named the head coach at Division I Northern Arizona University in 2018.
- Two All-CSIC selectionsSecond Team in 1984 - First Team in 1985
- Second Team in 1984 - First Team in 1985
- All-American Honorable Mention in 198595 total tackles with two sacks, seven tackles for a loss, three interceptions and five pass break ups
- 95 total tackles with two sacks, seven tackles for a loss, three interceptions and five pass break ups
- 12 career interceptions
- Originally selected for HOF in 2017
Lyle Smith - Meritorious Service
Lyle Smith started attending Missouri Western athletic events in 1993. He was especially a fan of Hall of Fame coach Jeff Mittie's Women's Basketball teams of that era. A fan of all sports though, Smith liked what he saw in the still young Griffon Athletics programs, prompting him to join the Missouri Western Gold Coat club in 1995. He later became a hard-working Gold Coat Board member in 1999. Smith is a top supporter of Griffon athletics as a donor, fundraiser and fan in the stands both home and away. Arguably, no Griffon fan has traveled more miles or seen more games than Lyle Smith. Remarkably, Smith's allegiance is not a result of being a former athlete or alumnus. Smith gives from the heart as he always has. He has supported Doniphan County American Legion youth baseball as a coach for decades only recently retiring.