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Union Sports Hall of Fame to induct six individuals and 1963 baseball team

JACKSON, Tenn. - 11/5/2009 - The Union University Sports Hall of Fame will induct six individuals and also honor the 1963 baseball team. The Hall of Fame banquet will be on Friday night, Nov. 6 at 6:00 p.m. as a part of Union's Homecoming, 2009.

Gil Gideon, Denise McCarty, Mickey Wolfe, Robert Victor Sullivan, Billy E. Murphy and Robin T. "Muggs" Coffman will be inducted. The event will take play in the Carl Grant Events Center.

Gil Gideon, ‘49

In 1942, Gil Gideon walked onto the downtown campus of Union University with a football scholarship in hand ready to play halfback on offense and on defense. However, after only one year, he was called in 1943 to serve with the marines in the South Pacific during World II. In 1946, Gil returned to the Union campus to complete his education, once again on a football scholarship and the GI Bill. He served as co-captain of the team with Jack Brown. Mr. Gideon graduated from Union in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

After graduation Mr. Gideon was hired by Lexington High School to coach football, boys and girls basketball, and baseball. Over a period of 13 years his football teams recorded a 78-28-3 record. His boys’ basketball team advanced to the state tournament three times and his girls’ basketball team advanced once.

In 1952 Mr. Gideon received his Masters Degree from George Peabody College (now Vanderbilt University). In 1962, Mr. Gideon went to Jackson Junior High School, Jackson, Tennessee as football and basketball coach and as assistant principal, later serving as principal of Alexander Elementary School.

Mr. Gideon went with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) in 1966 as Assistant to Director A. F. Bridges and later became Director in 1971. During his 15 year career at the helm of the TSSAA, “Coach” Gideon received numerous accolades from both state and national athletics organizations: President, National Federation, 1982; Award of Merit, National Federation, 1986; Distinguished Service Award, National Interscholastic Administrators’ Association. 1986; National Distinguished Service Award, National High School Coaches’ Association, 1986; TSSAA Hall of Fame, 1986.

In 1986 Mr. Gideon retired from the TSSAA and moved to Florida where he worked with the Los Angeles Dodgers for twenty years at their training and rehabilitation facilities. In 1997, he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Gideon is now retired and returned to Tennessee where he lives in Gallatin with his wife, Sarah. They have two sons, Stephen and Robert.

Denise McCarty, ‘73
Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Softball
Coach and Teacher

Ms. McCarty was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on October 24, 1951, the daughter of Norma Shearin McCarty and the late Ed McCarty. After living in Dallas and then Atlanta, Denise relocated to Jackson, Tennessee at the age of 5 ½ with her mom, sister, and brother.

She learned to play basketball on the parking lot of Calvary Baptist Church, then on Lexington Avenue in East Jackson, near the former Union University campus. She was taught the fundamentals of basketball at Jackson Junior High by coaches Bobby Wilson and David Blackstock. Denise played basketball at Jackson High School under Coach Tury Oman.

In the fall of 1969, Ms. McCarty played on the first organized women’s basketball team and was the second Lady Bulldog to letter four years for varsity sports basketball, volleyball, tennis, and softball. She is a member of Chi Omega Fraternity.

After graduation from Union University in 1973 with a B.S. degree, she moved to Orlando, Florida, where she began a very successful teaching and coaching career at Conway Junior High School. She later moved to teach and coach at 4A high schools, Edgewater and Apopka. In her 18 years of coaching basketball she recorded 399 wins and only 61 losses.

Along the way, Ms. McCarty was named Coach of the Year by the Florida Athletic Association seven times; Orange County Metro Coach of the Year nine times; and in 1988 chosen by the Florida Coaches Association to coach the North All-Stars in the North-South Girls All-Star basketball game, winning the game 87-74.

In 1992, Ms. McCarty retired from coaching and was Dean of Student at Apopka High School and then assistant principal, later transferring to West Orange High School as assistant principal with 3800 students and supervising five deans. In 1993 Denise was honored at half time of the University of Florida-Florida State basketball game as one of the “Winningest High School Coaches” in the state of Florida, the only woman selected.

Ms. McCarty retired from the Orange County School System in 2005 and is currently principal for Community Education Partners School for students at risk. She was inducted into the Jackson-Madison County Hall of Fame on April 18, 2002.

Micky Wolfe, ‘98

Born in Selmer, Tennessee, Micky Wolfe had many hobbies, but only one passion – golf. After graduating from McNairy Central High School in 1994, Micky accepted a golf scholarship to Union University.

During his time at Union, Micky was named to 26 All-Tournament teams, which remains a school record. During the spring of his freshman year, Micky earned All-Tournament status at the Berry College Invitational, the most prestigious tournament in the NAIA. His consistent play resulted in being named TCAC First-Team Conference in 1995. Many other honors followed Micky’s stellar golf career at Union: TCAC First Team All Conference in 1996; 1996 Individual Conference Championship; named to the 1997 Inaugural Tran-South All Conference Team and Individual Championship.

As Micky approached his senior year at Union, his commendable performance at the NAIA National Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, led him from 77th to 5th place after three rounds. On May 18, 1998, Micky was named to the 1998 NAIA Men’s Golf All-American Team. After graduation from Union in 1998, he served as Assistant Coach of the Union Golf Team for one year.

Mr. Wolfe, earned membership in the PGA of America in 2002, winning over 20 tournaments in his professional career, including the Alabama PGA Championship in 2006, earning him an invitation to the 2007 National Championship in Sunriver, Oregon.

Micky is the Director of Golf Operation at The Huntsville Country Club. In 2007 he was awarded the Dixie PGA Section President’s Plaque for outstanding contributions to golf.

The Wolfe’s live in Madison, Alabama, where Micky, Stacy, a 1998 Union alumna, and their three children, Gentry, Ella, and Nolen are active members at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church, where Micky is a deacon and leads a young adult Bible study.

Robert Victor Sullivan, ’42

Robert Victor Sullivan was born on December 10, 1918 in Echola, Alabama. He graduated from Aliceville High School in 1938, but only after establishing himself as a football standout and earning a football scholarship to Union University. He attended Union for two years, then the University of Nevada-Reno, subsequently graduating with a B.S. degree in Physical Education from the George Peabody College (Vanderbilt University). He later earned an M.A. in anthropology sociology from Mississippi State University in 1965 with additional study toward a Doctorate in Anthropology. Mr. Sullivan was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, national honorary scholastic society.

Upon coming to Union University, Mr. Sullivan immediately earned himself two nicknames: “Bull”, suggesting power and tenacity, and “Cyclone”, indicating that he possessed lightning speed and destroyed everything in his past. He was named “All-American Center” for Union University in 1942. That same year he played in the Shrine All-Star game in Honolulu in the Aloha Bowl.

“Bull/Cyclone” Sullivan went on to play professional football for the Detroit Lions. A letter from Union University coach Fred Delay reads: “I am enclosing a letter just received from Gus Dorias (Detroit Lions Coach). He Is very anxious that you get your contract in as soon as possible. You can judge from his letter how he feels regarding you and your prospects in pro ball. If you are interested, attend to this at once!”

Mr. Sullivan went on to play with the Detroit Lions from 1943-48.

In 1948-49 Mr. Sullivan served as Assistant Coach at the University of Oregon, where he coached John McKay, later coach at USC and Tampa Bay, and Norm Van Brocklin, a stand-out quarterback in the NFL for 12 seasons and coach for Atlanta. Oregon went undefeated and played in the Cotton Bowl.

Mr. Sullivan coached sixteen years at East Mississippi Junior College (97-62-3), coaching nine All-American High School and Junior College games. Over 200 players coached by Mr. Sullivan went on to become coaches themselves.

Mr. Sullivan was married to Virginia Dale. They had four children. He died on September 8, 1970 in Columbus, Mississippi

Billy E. Murphy, ‘59
Track and Field

Dr. Billy Murphy, a 1954 graduate of Ridgely High School in Lake County, Tennessee, played all four years on the school football and basketball teams. He accepted a football scholarship to Memphis State University (University of Memphis) in the fall of 1954, but transferred to Union University three semesters later after disappointing injuries on the field.

Dr. Murphy quickly became friends with Al Allen, art professor and former Memphis State student, who was in the process of reviving the track and field program at Union. Billy worked out with the team in anticipation of fall 1955 competitions.

Billy quickly excelled in numerous field events, most notably shot, discus, and pole vault, winning first place in all three events. He also competed in the long jump and javelin. Dr. Murphy’s trademark was his willingness to compete in any event that would result in the accumulation of points for him and his team. Called upon to fill in for an ill team mate, Billy ran hurdles, never before attempted, and won second place.

In 1957 and 1959 the Union team won the Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VSAC) conference championships due in part to the prolific production of points by Billy Murphy. Over the course of his track career, Dr. Murphy set records including the 120 high hurdles, pole vault, discus, and shot. He was also a member of the record-setting 440, 880, and mile relay teams. In 1958 and 1959, he was voted “Outstanding Athlete” in the VSAC.

While a student at Union, Billy was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, served as student coach of the 1958 Cross Country team, selected as “Mr. Union for the 1957-58 school year and elected President of the 1959 Senior Class.

Dr. Murphy earned his Masters and Doctor of Ministry degrees from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and began serving as a bi-vocational pastor in various churches in addition to teaching and coaching on the high school and college level.

From 1991-2003, Billy extended his passion for athletics to the Senior Olympics, participating in the shot, discus, javelin, pole vault, long jump, high jump, along with the 100-yard dasy,200-yard dash, race walk and the 60 yard hurdles. He has won many gold, silver, and bronze medals at both the district and state levels.

Since retirement in 2004, he has busied himself with a prison ministry as a Director of Schools for the Whiteville, Tennessee Correctional Facility. Dr. Murphy and his wife, Nancy, make their home in Henderson, Tennessee.

Robin T. “Muggs” Coffman, ‘58

Robin, “Muggs”, Coffman walked onto the campus of Union University in 1953 as a baseball standout from Ripley, Tennessee. While in high school he lettered in three sports: football, basketball, and baseball, coming to Union on a baseball scholarship. His primary position was second baseman for the Bulldogs, playing all of their home games in “Death Valley”. In his senior year of play, Mr. Coffman hit nine home runs in the first fourteen games and held seven baseball records for over 30 years with a batting average of .477. He is a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.

After graduation from Union University, “Muggs” signed a contract with the New York Giants organization, playing outfield. He was an “All-Star” for the Danville Giants for two years, played for the Corpus Christi Giants for one year, and for the Springfield Giants for three years. During his play for the Eastern League, his team won the league championship for two consecutive years.

Mr. Coffman officiated basketball for over twenty years in the WTBA and the Ohio Valley Conference. He also officiated five state basketball tournaments. “Muggs” coached Little League for a number of years and served as coach for the American Amateur Baseball Conference Team.

Mr. Coffman is a member of the Jackson-Madison County Sports Hall of Fame. He has worked in the cotton warehousing business for over 40 years, serving as President of the Cotton Warehouse Association of America and the National Cotton Council Board of Directors. He is married to Tommie Faye Carmichael. They have three children: Kimberly, Kristin, and Robin, Jr.

Sports Hall of Fame Special Merit
Union University 1963 Baseball Team

The 1963 Union University Baseball Team proved to be one of the most outstanding teams in Union University history. The team was the first to advance to the national finals and won the NCAA Small College World Series Championship in 1963 after capturing the Volunteer State Athletic Conference title. The team finished the season with a 15-1 won/loss record.

Don Douglas led the team with the greatest Slugging Percentage with 108 while also making the most home runs in a single game with three. The highest batting averages were held by Dave Pflasterer with .526 and Don Douglas with a .523. The batting average for the ’63 team was exceptional at .350.

Those making the 1963 Union University Bulldogs Baseball team include the following:

David Blackstock, Jim Connors, Larry Darby, Don Douglas, Charles Gentry, Tom Giles, Joe Hammonds, Sonny Hawkins, John Lytle, Frank Nations, David Pflasterer, Bill Owens, Tom egram, Bob Quint, Gilbert Sikes, Paul Slover, Roy Weichand, and Larry Wilson.


Steven Aldridge
Phone: (731) 661-5027
Sports Information
Fax: (731) 661-5182

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