Feverís Dunn one of eight inducted into UTM athletic hall of fame
By Matt Vines, Jackson Sun
October 18, 2010
MARTIN ó Pieces of history and plenty of smiles floated around UT Martin's Student Life and Leadership Center on Saturday as eight new members were inducted into the school's athletic hall of fame.
Tears flowed during several of the inductees' speeches, but one member received two standing ovations.
Carl Summers, who served in Vietnam before and after attending UTM in three tours of duty, spoke with a drill sergeant's cadence despite battling throat cancer.
"I made life-long friends here, and I love them all," Summers told the crowd. "College was a spectacular
moment in my life, and this is the crowning moment."
Summers was part of UTM's first wrestling team in 1969, serving as a captain for two years while helping the Skyhawks to a 14-3 dual meet record.
While in Vietnam, a mortar struck Summers' vehicle while he and other soldiers were handing candy to children.
Everyone in the vehicle but Summers died in the attack.
During his time of service, Summers was awarded the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts and a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for Bravery.
Other inductees include football players Fred Thomas (1995) and Tony Champion (1981-84), basketball coaching legend Lin Dunn, volleyball teammates Lindsey Vicknair and Rachel Ahlers (1999-2002), Kelly Pendleton DeVilder (women's basketball, 1998-2002) and Clint Sturdivant (baseball, 1969-71).
Former UTM receiver Tony Champion also moved the crowd after his daughter and current UTM student Kiara Champion presented him.
Champion suffered a heart attack this past November, but said he is recovering.
"The most important thing for me was to have Kiara to do this," Champion said. "I am still seeing doctors, but I am going to get better."
Champion, a Humboldt resident, was part of three NFL teams, but his career with the Canadian Football League's Hamiton Tiger-Cats from 1985-88 and 1990-92 stood out.
Hamilton accumulated 1,216 yards in 1986 to help Hamilton win the Grey Cup.
Laughter accompanied many of the inductees' presentations, especially when long-time UTM athletic director Bettye Giles introduced Dunn.
Giles shared how Dunn always asked her for a quarter to buy a Coca-Cola, but claimed she never received any change for the 20-cent drink.
UTM didn't have a formal women's basketball team when Dunn graduated in the spring of 1969, but the
Dresden native competed in fierce sorority basketball events.
The school added a women's program in summer of 1969.
"This was my gym," Dunn said of the center. "Today is tremendously special ... and I want to thank Bettye
Giles for the courage she gave me to be so outspoken about women's athletics."
Dunn, who now coaches the WNBA's Indiana Fever, has coached basketball for 40 years and is a Hall of
Fame member at Austin Peay, University of Miami and the states of Tennessee and Indiana.
Former NFL cornerback Fred Thomas drew laughs for his professional stories.
Thomas, who played at UTM during the 1995 season, recalled his first NFL assignment as a member of the Seattle Seahawks ó cover San Francisco receiver Jerry Rice.