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Collier and Denson Set for Induction into Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

July 11, 2008

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Two former Southern Miss greats, Reggie Collier and Hill Denson, will be inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame at the 46th annual BancorpSouth induction banquet, Friday, Aug. 1, being held at the Jackson Hilton Convention Center.

Collier, a native of D'Iberville, Miss., was a four-year letterwinner for the Golden Eagles from 1979-82. He was the first quarterback in NCAA Division I-A history to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season, a feat he accomplished in 1981.

The dual-threat remains prominent in the Southern Miss record books where he is fourth in total offensive plays (1,020), fourth in total offensive yards (5,966), fourth in total offensive yards per game (152.27), fifth in touchdowns responsible for (42), tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns (26), eighth in pass completions (288), eighth in pass attempts (574), eighth in passing yardage (3,662), eighth in rushing yards gained (2,304), 11th in touchdown passes (16), 12th in rushing attempts (446) and 25th in all-purpose running (2,304).

Collier, the lone football inductee this year, was drafted by the Birmingham Stallions of the USFL in the first round in 1983 and also played with the Washington Federals and the Orlando Renegades. He spent several seasons in the NFL as a member of the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.

He currently serves at his alma mater as the Coordinator of Athletic Development and Community Relations.

Denson took the reins of the baseball program from his mentor C.J. "Pete" Taylor in 1984 and took the Golden Eagles to unprecedented heights.

In his 14 seasons as the head coach at Southern Miss, Denson compiled a 468-386-2 record, guiding the program to 10 30-win seasons, two 40-win seasons and two trips to the NCAA Regional Tournament, the school's first in all three categories.

Denson currently serves as the head baseball coach at Belhaven College.

Collier and Denson are joined in this prestigious honor my Coolidge Ball, the first African-American athlete at Ole Miss; Paul Covington, the winningest basketball coach in Jackson State University history; Jennifer Gillom, a former Olympic gold medal-winner and SEC female athlete of the year; and Will Clark, Mississippi State's former national college player of the year and six-time MLB All-Star.

The honorees were selected by two separate thirteen-person committees comprised of representatives from all the state's college and university athletic departments plus representatives from Mississippi sports associations and clubs as well as the media. Tickets are now on sale with the proceeds benefiting the private non-profit Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.

"A trademark of Museum events over the years has been to provide opportunities for the public to meet and talk with the people it honors," said Museum Executive Director Michael Rubenstein. "The induction banquet will be no different. Everyone will be accessible," he said.

For ticket information, contact the Museum at 800-280-FAME (3263) or 601-982-8264. A reception starting at 5:30 pm will precede the banquet at 7 pm.

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