USM Spires Athletics Enshrines New Class of Sports Stars
The ranks of legendary athletes in the Saint Mary Athletic Hall of Fame grew considerably this fall with the additions of a robust 2012 class of honorees—baseball standout Cody Newman, U’08, and the entire award-winning 2000-2001 Saint Mary Men’s Basketball Team.
Confused by the timing? The Saint Mary athletics department made a break with tradition this year, moving the induction ceremony from January to October’s homecoming weekend.
The switch meant a bigger turnout for the HOF festivities, including the traditional banquet dinner the night before USM’s Oct. 6 Homecoming Game.
At the banquet, USM Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach Rob Miller praised Cody’s efforts and character both on and off the field.
“I got lucky (recruiting) Cody Newman,” Coach Miller said. “He came here as a football student-athlete who could play baseball, and could he ever play baseball. Sometimes luck in sports—luck when you’re recruiting, luck during a game—is crucial.”
Cody, a catcher and native of Peculiar, Mo. was named First Team NAIA All-American in 2008, First Team All-Region in 2007 and 2008, and First Team All-KCAC in 2006, 2007, and 2008. In 2007, he led the nation with a .480 batting average, and finished his Spires career averaging .434 with 182 hits and 21 home runs.
Cody offered advice to current Spires student-athletes.
“I have no regrets for my collegiate playing days because I know I worked hard in the classroom, and I worked hard during the season and the off season to do everything I could to help my team win,” he said. “You’re going to make mistakes, know that now. But know that you will have an opportunity to fix them… You can persevere if you believe and you are confident. Doubt is your most feared competitor, not only in athletics, but in life.”
The 2000-2001 Spires Men’s Basketball Team enter the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame as a team. The ’00-’01 squad went 24-9 that season en route to winning the KCAC Tournament. They qualified for the NAIA DII National Tournament, and advanced to the Sweet 16 round. The Spires finished the season ranked 20th in the NAIA DII.
Representing the team at Saint Mary during Homecoming weekend were: Head Coach Tim Schuring, Assistant coach Cam Schuknecht, Graduate Assistant Jerome Williams, C’01, Graduate Assistant Joe Godina, C’02, Team Captain Troy Brown, C’02, and players Bryan Shelley, U’04, Jess Arter, C’03, Josh Woods, C’03, Mike Finnell, C’01, Dave Finnell, C’02, and Shawn Pinkett, C’02.
In introducing the team, current Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jon Bishop said “I tell my guys all the time: the best basketball team that’s ever been assembled here at Saint Mary is the 2001 team…we’ve never accomplished what that team’s accomplished… You will always have a home back here with the Saint Mary Basketball program.”
Coach Schuknecht shared tales about his days with the program, when his office was a cubicle and a Saint Mary team once was forced to finish a game with only four players.
“We were not your average group. We had six states represented on that roster. We had outstanding senior leadership,” he said. “This team was special.”
Jerome Williams echoed the sentiment.
“We were all friends. We were all close. That’s what really matters most. We had it rocking here for a while,” he said. “Cherish the moment. It will end quickly in the blink of an eye and you’ll be working the rest of your life.”
Learn more about USM’s Athletic Hall of Fame at www.gospires.com.