Jamaal Tatum at the Saluki Hall of Fame induction dinner.
Feb. 15, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Six all-time greats were inducted into the Saluki Hall of Fame during a ceremony Friday evening in the Boydston Center, which was emceed by Saluki Hall of Famer and Voice of the Salukis Mike Reis.
Jamaal Tatum led the Salukis to the NCAA Tournament four-straight years from 2004-07, culminating in a Sweet 16 appearance in 2007, a season in which he was named MVC Player of the Year.
"Now that I've been in the real world and out of basketball, you see it's hard to get a bunch of winners on a team, whether that's in a job or whatever you do, put their agendas aside, their egos aside, and be a team," said Tatum, who currently serves as varsity head coach and teacher at Russellville High School in Missouri. "I never realized how special that was until I got out of college and looked back on it."
Arkee Whitlock was one of best running backs in school history and piled up 4,241 yards during a remarkable three-year career from 2004-06. He led SIU to playoff appearances all four years and was the College Sporting News National Player of the Year his senior season.
"I never saw myself getting here, in the Hall of Fame," said Whitlock, who currently works as a high school football coach at Rock Hill High School in South Carolina. "I'm still taking it all in. It definitely helps me walk away from the game knowing I'm a Hall of Famer, especially from the University that I love."
Cassidy Scoggins was one of the most dominating pitchers in school history and a three-time First Team All-MVC selection. She helped lead the Salukis to four NCAA Tournament appearances from 2004-07 and was a member of two MVC Championship teams.
"I haven't had a chance to look at the Hall of Fame wall yet to see everyone, but it really hasn't sunk in yet," said Scoggins, who presently works as a dietitian for Christus St. Michael Hospital in Texas. "It's just a huge honor."
Becky Lis played third base for the Salukis from 1994-97 and was a two-time First Team All-MVC pick. She still ranks first in career batting average (.362) at SIU. The Salukis recorded a winning record all four seasons that Lis played, including a 41-16 mark her senior year.
"My dad (professional baseball player Joe Lis) passed away two years ago, so this probably would be his proudest moment," said Lis, who currently works as a rehabilitation therapist and also owns the Joe Lis Baseball School. "This confirms all the hard work that I did, everything that he taught me. This just makes me feel like I accomplished everything that I started when I was seven."
Joe Wallis was the leading hitter on Southern's 1971 College World Series team, hitting an amazing .446, which is still the school's single-season record for batting average. The Salukis finished 43-9 that year, losing to USC in the finals. Wallis was named a First-Team All-American in 1973 and went on to play professionally for the Chicago Cubs (1975-78) and Oakland A's (1978-79).
"It's special and more meaningful at this point in my life being older," said Wallis, who is semi-retired. "The best part about it is seeing people that have gone ahead and perpetuated Saluki Athletics and a lot of good friends that I haven't seen in decades and family that are here."
Thom McAneney was a five-time All-American swimmer in the 100, 200, 500 and 1650 freestyle in his junior and senior years. As a team, SIU finished tied for 12th and ninth in the two years he earned All-American honors at the NCAAs.
"I personally never really felt I was very spectacular," said McAneney, lives in Hutchinson Island, Fla., where he runs Tall Thom's Swim School. "I think when you're swimming or doing any athletic program, you do it because you're enjoying it. If you get a little lucky and get to be better than a lot of other people, then it's really a wonderful thing."
The 2013 Hall of Fame class will be introduced at halftime of Saturday's men's basketball game versus Missouri State.