Nov. 10, 2008
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Southern Illinois University Department of Athletics announced its 2009 Hall of Fame Class today. The six-person class, which will be inducted in a ceremony on Friday, January 9, 2009, features two baseball players (Jerry Hairston and Dale Kisten), two track athletes (Ron Harrer and Mike Kee), a volleyball player (Lori Simpson) and a multi-sport athlete (Clint Smothers).
Jerry Hairston (1996-1997), who is currently a member of the Cincinnati Reds, has played 11 seasons in the major leagues, including stints with the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. In two seasons with SIU, Hairston hit .360, which ranks seventh all-time in career batting average. He was named the Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year in 1996 and led the team in batting average (.380) in 1997. When he made the big leagues in 1998, Hairston became the first, third generation African-American to play a major professional sport in the United States. His grandfather, Sam, played for the Chicago White Sox (1951), his uncle John saw action in three games with the Cubs (1969), and his father Jerry played for the White Sox and Pittsburgh (1973-1989).
Twenty years after his career ended, Dale Kisten (1986-1988) still ranks as one of the best pitchers in school history. Kisten is tied for third in career wins (25), first in career complete games (24), and first in career games started (44). He also ranks fourth in career innings pitched (281.1). Kisten was named First-Team All-MVC in 1986 and 1987. He had a school-record 10 complete games in 1998.
Ron Harrer (1985-88) was a three-time All-American for the Saluki track team, capturing a sixth place in the outdoor discus in 1987, a sixth in the indoor weight in 1988 and a fourth place in the outdoor discus in 1988. Harrer was also a three-time MVC Champion, winning the discus, hammer and javelin in 1987. He was named the MVC's "Outstanding Athlete" in 1987.
Mike Kee (1976-78) was also a three-time All-American placing in the outdoor 100M three-straight years from 1976 to 78. He also won an amazing nine MVC titles in events including the outdoor 100M (1976-78), the outdoor 200M (1976-78), the indoor 55M (1976, 78) and the indoor 300M (1978). He still ranks among the school's career leaders in various categories.
Lori Simpson (1987-1991) was an outside hitter for the volleyball team, who won the Gateway Conference Player-of-the-Year award in 1991. She was a First Team All-Gateway pick that year, as well. Simpson led the team in digs in 1991 and aces in 1990 and 1991. She was fourth in digs in a single season (476) and held the record from 1991 until 2003. She still ranks sixth in career kills (449) and 10th in career digs (935).
Clint Smothers (1990-94) was a rare multi-sport athlete who excelled in football, baseball and track. He was an Second-Team All-Gateway safety in 1992 and led the team with 100 tackles in 1993. He was a three-year starter in baseball and led the 1993 team in hiting with a .315 average. In track, Smothers was a letterman who placed sixth in the pole vault at the MVC indoor meet in 1991.