It is the 25thanniversary of the creation of Conference USA and in recognition of this the athletic coalition has created a Hall of Fame.
The first class consists (appropriately) of 25 people, 20 student-athletes, three coaches and two administrators.
To qualify for the Hall, a candidate must meet the following criteria:
- Student-athletes must have played a minimum of two years.For coaches or administrators, the minimum requirement is five years of service.
- Student-athletes must have last played for the institution at least five years.
- Considerations for student-athletes are based on national honors, conference honors, academic standing and off-field contributions.
- Considerations for coaches and administrators are based on C-USA as a whole.
The 25 inductees are:
Courtney Blades, Southern Mississippi, Softball 1999-2000: Blades was the National Softball Player of the Year in 2000 and made history as the first player to record 600 Strikeouts in a season. She took Southern Miss to two straight College World series appearances.
Arnau Brugues, Tulsa, Men’s Tennis 2006-09: From Spain, Brugues was a four-time Conference USA Player of the Year and would win the 2006 Polo Ralph Lauren All-American Tennis Championship. This marked the first time that a C-USA player won the title.
Tori Bowie, Southern Miss, Track & Field 2009-12: Bowie was the 2011 and 2012 C-USA Field Athlete of the Year and she would also win the NCAA Long Jump Championship twice. After college, she represented the United States at the 2016 Olympics where she won Gold in the 4x100 m relay, Silver in the 100 m, and Bronze in the 200 m.
Jon Busch, Charlotte, Men’s Soccer 1994-96: A First Team All-American and Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996, Busch would take Charlotte to their first College Cup appearance that same year. He would later play in Major League Soccer for fifteen years and was named the Goalkeeper of the Year in 1998.
Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis, Men’s Basketball 2005-08: An All-American in 2008, Douglas-Roberts was also named the C-USA Player of the Year in 2008. That year, he led the Tigers to the National Championship Game.
Jarett Dillard, Rice, Football 2005-08: Dillard was a First Team All-American in 2008 and would set a record with a touchdown reception in 17 straight games. In 2008, He was a vital part in Rice’s first bowl win in 54 years.
Jake Gautreau, Tulane, Baseball 1998-2001: Gautreau was the C-USA player of the year in 2000 and 2001 and took the Green Wave to the College World Series in 2001. He would represent Team USA in the Olympics in 2000.
Tyler Henderson, Tulsa, Volleyball 2009-12: Henderson was a three-time C-USA Player of the Year (2010-12) and would set an NCAA record for kills in a season (710).
Deanna Jackson, UAB, Women’s Basketball 1998-2002: Jackson was the 2001 Conference USA Player of the Year and was the first player in the conference to record 2,000 Points and 1,000 Rebounds.
Chandi Jones, Houston, Women’s Basketball 2000-04: Jones was a three-time Conference USA Player of the Year and was the Division I Scoring Champion in 2003. She is still the all-time leading scorer in conference history.
Case Keenum, Houston, Football 2007-11: Keenum was named the C-USA MVP in both 2009 and 2011. He took Houston to four straight bowl games and he holds the FBS record for completions (1,546), passing yards (19,217) and passing touchdowns (155). To date, he has thrown for 64 Touchdowns in the NFL.
Michael Kogan, Tulane, Men’s Tennis 2001-04: Kogan was a four-time Conference USA Player of the Year and would take the Green Wave to three C-USA titles. He played the NCAA Championship in singles and doubles four times.
Kenyon Martin, Cincinnati, Men’s Basketball 1997-2000: Martin was the Consensus National Player of the Year in 2000 and was a part of the Bearcats four straight NCAA Tournaments. He would be drafted #1 overall and would play 14 years in the National Basketball Association.
Graeme McDowell, UAB, Men’s Golf 1999-2002: Named the 2001 and 2002 Conference USA Golfer of the Year, he would be named the 2002 Haskins Award winner that is given annually the most outstanding college golfer. McDowell would later win the 2010 U.S. Open.
Yulia Pakhalina, Houston, Diving and Swimming 2001-03: From Russia, Pakhalina won 64 of 66 collegiate diving events. She would be a three-time Olympian winning the Gold Medal in 2000 3m Synchronized Springboard and Silver in the same event in 2004 & 2008. She also won a Silver and Bronze in the 3 m Springboard in 2008 & 2004 respectively.
Anthony Rendon, Rice, Baseball 2008-11: Rendon would win the Dick Howser Trophy as the top Division I college player in 2009. Rendon would be named the 2010 C-USA Male Athlete of the Year and is currently in his seventh season in the Majors, playing for the Washington Nationals.
Brooke Tull, TCU, Women’s Golf 2002-04: Tull was a three-time C-USA Golfer of the Year and would have four tournament wins.
Dwayne Wade, Marquette, Men’s Basketball 2001-03: Wade was the Conference USA Player of the Year in 2003 and took Marquette to their first Final Four Appearance. Wade would play 15 seasons in the NBA and take the Miami Heat to three NBA Titles.
DeAngelo Williams, Memphis, Football 2002-05: Williams was a First Team All-American in 2005 and was a three-time C-USA Offensive Player of the Year. He is the all-time leader in Conference USA Rushing Yards and fifth in the FBS. In the NFL, he would lead the NFL twice in Rushing Touchdowns.
Kevin Youkilis, Cincinnati, Baseball 1998-2001: Youkilis was twice a Second Team All-American (2000 & 2001) and would later win two World Series rings with the Boston Red Sox.
Jeff Bower, Southern Mississippi, Football 1995-2007: Bower was a three-time C-USA Coach of the Year and would post a winning record 12 years, making 10 bowls. He would take Southern Miss to a Liberty Bowl win in both 1997 and 1999.
Wayne Graham, Rice, Baseball 2006-18: Graham took Rice too the College World Series in 2006, 2007 & 2008 and is a three-time C-USA Coach of the Year. He is a member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bob Huggins, Cincinnati, Men’s Basketball 1995-2004: Huggins is a three-time C-USA Coach of the Year and took the Bearcats to the Elite Eight in 1996.
Gene Bartow, UAB, Men’s Basketball Coach & Athletics Director: Bartow is a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
Mike Slive, Conference USA Commissioner 1995-2002.
- Moving forward, the Conference USA Hall of Fame will have a class of at least one and a maximum of five.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to congratulate the first class of the Conference USA Athletic Hall of Fame.