Southern Miss M-Club to induct six members for its 2017 class
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The University of Southern Mississippi's M-Club Letterwinner’s Association has announced that six new members will be inducted its Hall of Fame ceremony in September.
The esteemed group includes Sidney Coleman (football), Art Gill (football), Tosha Barnicoat Firestone (volleyball), Renee Magee (women's basketball), Brad Willcutt (baseball) and Joe Bryant (honorary member).
"This is such a tremendous class," M-Club president Corky Palmer said. "These five former student-athletes put forth their strongest efforts day in and day out for their teams, and there is no better way to honor their devotion to Southern Miss. Joe has also been such an ambassador for our athletic efforts, from serving as an M-Club president to his invaluable support in any other facet possible."
Coleman was a four-year letterman for the Golden Eagles from 1984 to 1987. He saw considerable action as a freshman finishing the season with 57 tackles and two deflected passes. He moved into the starting lineup as a sophomore finishing second on the team in tackles with 105 and caused two fumbles, while also leading the team in tackles as a junior with 132 tackles and had five tackles for losses, and caused a fumble. As a senior, he had a career high 144 tackles and had three tackles for losses, a quarterback sack, and two interceptions. He finished his career with 438 tackles (tied for third-most in school history) and played professionally with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1988-1990) and one season with the Phoenix Cardinals (1991) of the NFL.
Gill was a three-year letterman at tackle from 1964-1966 and a key part to some of the school's best defenses during that period. Gill had an uncanny ability to get to the quarterback and disrupt an opponent's offensive flow and was always ranked among the team leaders in tackles for losses during those 1965 and 1966 seasons. The 1965 defense that he was a part of ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense allowing just 161 yards per game, while the 1966 squad also ranked among the nation's leaders allowing just 163.7 yards per game. The 1966 defense that he was a part of allowed just 10.3 points per game, while the 1965 defense allowed only an unbelievable 60 points all season. Gill will be honored posthumously by his brother, Russell Gill.
Magee was a four-year letter winner and starter at point guard for the Lady Eagles. She helped lead Southern Miss to three NCAA appearances and ranks second on the all-time assist list with 564 assists. Magee scored 1,077 career points to go with 454 rebounds and 227 steals. She earned multiple All-Metro Conference honors and was named the Most Valuable Player in the Metro Tournament in 1990. She is one of only four players in Lady Eagle history to record a triple double in a game and led the team in assists for four consecutive seasons. Magee ranks in the program's top-20 in all-time scoring, free throws made, free throws attempted, assists, assists average, steals, games played, starts and minutes played.
Firestone is one of the most-celebrated figures in the volleyball program's history. Not only was she a three time All-Conference USA selection and named to numerous all-tournament teams, she also became the first Southern Miss player to earn AVCA All-District honors. The two-time C-USA Player of the Week honoree led the team in kills and digs three of the four seasons she played with the exception of a shortened senior campaign due to an injury. She is the all-time leader in kills with 1,566 while ranking third in the all-time digs.
Willcutt remains one of the greatest hitters in Southern Miss history, all while serving as a catcher as well (2002-05). He ranks atop the all-time Golden Eagle leaderboard in career doubles (72), walks (139) and RBI (236), and his 46 homers and 203 runs scored also rank third in program history. The Golden Eagles also made the regionals each of his final three seasons, including a spot as the host in 2003. Willcutt's four doubles against Houston on May 21, 2005 still stand as a program record. One month later, he was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 27th round.
Bryant has been bestowed with his Hall of Fame honor for his dedication and support of Southern Miss Athletics. The former M-Club president (1998-1999 & 2007-2008) continues to serve the department as a member of the M-Club Board of Directors while a member of the Southern Miss IMG Sports Network radio broadcast crew as a spotter and statistician. Bryant, a 2016 Alumni Association Hall of Fame inductee, was also a member of the football team from 1971-1975.