M-Club Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Inducted
This weekend, the Ole Miss M-Club Alumni Hall of Fame gains six more members to its collection of all-time Rebel greats. Enshrined in the hall of fame this year are Clarence Daniel (track & field), Stephen Head (baseball), Brad Henderson (baseball), Danielle Johnson (soccer), Bill Smith (football) and Joe Walker (track & field coach).
Below are brief bios on the newest additions to the M-Club Hall of Fame as well as comments from a few of them:
Clarence Daniel (1981-84): One of the best quarter-milers in school history, Clarence Daniel was a three-time SEC champion and two-time All-American during his Rebel career in the early 1980s. The Alexander City, Alabama, native won conference titles at 400 meters/440 yards in both the indoor and outdoor season as a senior in 1984. He helped lead the Rebels to their best team finishes in program history, a runner-up SEC outdoor finish in 1984 and third-place SEC indoor finishes in 1983 and 1984. The first African-American member of the Ole Miss track & field team, he still holds the school record for the indoor 400 meters (45.71). He continued to race after his college days, winning silver medals in the 400 and 4×400 relay at the 1986 Goodwill Games, a gold medal in the 4×400 relay at the 1990 Goodwill Games, silver in the 400 at the 1988 USA Championships and bronze at the 1990 USA Championships.
“My time at Ole Miss was among some of the best times in my life. I was blessed to receive a scholarship, continue my education and under the tutelage of Coach Joe Walker, become not only the best athlete but the best person I could be in life!! People ask me all the time what was it like at Ole Miss expecting me to give them negative experiences. But on the contrary I explain to them how much fun I had and how much I learned while there. Being inducted into the Ole Miss M-Club Hall of Fame is certainly and honor and I am humbled by the whole experience. It’s even a double blessing for me to be inducted at the exact same time my coach Joe Walker is being inducted!! What a Blessing.”
Stephen Head (2003-05): As a utility player spending time on the mound and at first base as a Rebel, Stephen Head is the only three-time All-American in Ole Miss baseball history. The Jackson, Mississippi, native helped put Ole Miss Baseball on the map as the Rebels advanced to three straight NCAA Regionals, including hosting the program’s first NCAA Regional in 2004 and advancing to the program’s first NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2005. In 2003, he was named the Louisville Slugger National Freshman of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year before being selected to compete internationally with USA Baseball following the season. He followed that up with SEC Player of the Year honors in 2004. Head hit .338 while recording 239 hits, 165 RBI, 137 runs scored and 37 home runs in 188 career games. On the mound, the southpaw went a combined 17-7 with a 2.32 ERA, logging 176 strikeouts over 213.0 innings. He finished his Ole Miss career ranked second in program history with 26 career saves. He was drafted in the second round by the Cleveland Indians in 2005, playing five years in the Indians organization before signing with the Colorado Rockies in 2011. Head returned to Ole Miss in 2013, serving as the team’s director of operations for one year before transitioning to an assistant coach (2014-15).
“I’m honored to be inducted into the M-Club Hall of Fame. Ole Miss is a place I love and to be associated with all the other great athletes is special.”
Brad Henderson (1996-99): A four-year baseball letterman who was a threat at the plate throughout his career, Brad Henderson can still be found throughout the Ole Miss record book. With 298 career hits, he is the program’s hit king and also holds all-time school records for doubles (60), runs scored (198) and total bases (494). Hitting .371 during his career (sixth all-time), the Tupelo, Mississippi, native also cracks the top 10 with 40 home runs (fourth) and 160 RBI (seventh). As a senior, Henderson earned All-America honorable mention accolades from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and was a first team All-SEC second baseman. He ripped a program-record 24 doubles that season. Following his college baseball days, Henderson was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 1999 MLB Draft.
“I am humbled and honored to be a part of that group. Being a local guy from Tupelo, it was special to be able to play in front of friends and family every weekend. Being a student-athlete at Ole Miss was unreal. Some of the best years of my life and even past that, after I finished my career there, the friendships I had made I wouldn’t trade for anything.”
Danielle Johnson (2006-09): The only four-time All-SEC selection in Ole Miss soccer history, Danielle Johnson was a consistent force in the midfield and defense throughout her career. Equally as adept at dribbling through traffic as she was at stopping opponents’ attacks, Johnson was a second team all-league selection as a freshman and a first teamer the next three years. The Rebels finished no worse than third in the SEC West during her four-year tenure. As a senior team captain in 2009, she guided the team to the NCAA Tournament and a 13-6-2 overall record. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Johnson was the 35th overall pick (fourth round) by the New Jersey Sky Blue FC in the 2010 Women’s Pro Soccer Draft.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to even be considered for the Hall of Fame. I don’t think words will ever describe what this means to me. To be recognized with such an outstanding group of athletes is truly unbelievable. I am just so thankful that I was given the opportunity to compete at such an amazing institution and my heart is full of gratitude toward all those who helped me on my four-year journey.”
Bill Smith (1983-86): One of the top punters of the modern era, Bill Smith still holds several NCAA records thanks to his exceptionally strong leg. He earned All-America honors in 1985 and 1986 and was chosen to All-SEC teams in 1984, 1985 and 1986. The Little Rock, Arkansas, native averaged 44.3 yards on 254 career punts. His 92-yard punt against Southern Miss in 1984 is the longest in Ole Miss history. He owns the second-highest season punting average in school history with a 47.7 mark in 1984, while he leads the Rebel record section with the most consecutive games having one or more 50-yard punts (32, 1983-86). He participated in the 1986 Senior Bowl and the 1986 Blue-Gray Game and was named to the 1980s All-SEC team.
“I am glad to have attended Ole Miss and receive a degree from there and am honored to be recognized by the M-Club after all these years have passed from my playing days.”
Joe Walker (coach, 1979-85, 1988-2012): One of the most respected coaches in college track & field, Joe Walker spent 30 seasons as the head man at Ole Miss. During that time, which spanned two stints, he guided the Rebels to 11 top-20 national finishes and was a six-time SEC Coach of the Year honoree. His pupils earned All-America recognition 124 times, including 12 NCAA individual championships, as well as 60 individual SEC titles. The Utica, Mississippi, native was the 2002 USOC National Coach of the Year. At least one of his athletes or former athletes has participated in every Olympic Games but one (2004) since 1976. Perhaps his most notable mentee is Brittney Reese, who won a pair of NCAA long jump titles at Ole Miss and has gone on to be a three-time Olympian, 2012 Olympic gold medalist, six-time world champion, nine-time U.S. champion and the American indoor record holder in the long jump.
“I was surprised and immediately grateful and humbled to be selected for the Ole Miss M-Club Hall of Fame. I’ve been an Ole Miss man all my life. Was born in Oxford while my dad attended Ole Miss on the GI Bill and a small athletic scholarship, and my mom worked in the Grill. I was the first M-Club scholarship recipient and later came to resurrect a dormant track program. My three sons graduated from Ole Miss, so Ole Miss has always been a part of my life and my family.