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BOONEVILLE, Miss. - Three worthy candidates will join the Northeast Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame during its 12th annual induction ceremony.
Anthony Gamble, William "Billy" Southward and Shirley Hall White are set for enshrinement at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 19 in the Claude Wright Room of the Haney Union.
The trio will also be recognized at Tiger Stadium prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff of Northeast's homecoming football game versus Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division opponent Holmes Community College.
This group of honorees includes a longtime baseball and football coach for the Tigers plus a pair of successful student-athletes that left their mark on the basketball court.
Tickets are on sale for this event and its accompanying meal at a cost of $15. For more information, contact athletic director Kent Farris at 662-720-7309 or by email at email@example.com or Tiffany Johnson in the Northeast Development Foundation office at 662-720-7185 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anthony Gamble (Men's Basketball 1987-88, 1988-89)
Anthony Gamble was an integral part of one of the most exciting teams in the tradition-rich history of the Northeast Mississippi Community College men's basketball program.
Gamble led the Tigers to a runner-up finish in the 1989 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I National Tournament at the legendary Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kan.
Northeast opened the national championship game against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College on a 16-7 run. But the Norsemen came from behind to down the Tigers by a final score of 83-76 despite Gamble's team-best 27-point effort.
Gamble was one of two Northeast standouts to receive a spot on the NJCAA Division I All-Tournament team along with Clay Johnson. He was the top scorer and the second leading rebounder of the entire event with sensational averages of 31.3 points and 11.1 boards.
The duo of Gamble and Johnson concurrently became the Tigers' ninth and tenth NJCAA All-Americans. They remain just the second tandem of players in program history to earn All-American honors in the same season along with Gene Garrett and Kenneth Lindsey from the 1949-50 campaign.
Gamble consistently scored 30 points on any given night during his sensational sophomore year in which Northeast compiled a 30-5 overall record and won the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament championship prior to its journey to the Sunflower State.
The Wheeler High School graduate opened the season by accounting for 31 points in a 115-93 victory over Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College. Gamble followed that with a 34-point effort in a road triumph at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.
Gamble and the Tigers upped their mark to 12-0 after opening Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division play with a 96-88 win versus Holmes Community College. He continued his assault on the nets with a game-high 37 points.
Northeast wrapped up the first semester with a 15-1 record and a No. 14 ranking from the NJCAA. The Tigers gained revenge from their lone loss of the fall with a 98-76 decision over Walker State (Ala.) College, which is now part of the Bevill State (Ala.) Community College system, in early January after Gamble tallied 21 points.
The Tigers were just as good during Gamble's freshman campaign. Northeast won its initial 27 games, which included a perfect 24-0 ledger during the regular season and the MACJC North Division title.
The 6-4 post player helped the Tigers reach the state and regional championship contests, but Co-Lin emerged as the victor in both tilts. Gamble had a team-high 18 points during the MACJC title matchup inside historic Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
Gamble, who was instructed by Hall of Fame coach Harvey Childers, had stellar performances following the Christmas break with 22 and 20 points against Mississippi Delta Community College and Holmes, respectively.
He recorded his inaugural 30-plus point outing on November 14, 1987. Gamble notched 32 points that evening in a come-from-behind 93-81 triumph over Mississippi County (Ark.) Community College, which is now Arkansas Northeastern College.
Gamble signed with the University of North Alabama following his sensational career in the City of Hospitality. The Lions went 20-8 during the 1989-90 campaign under the watch of headman Gary Elliott.
The Booneville native was selected as the Gulf South Conference (GSC) Player of the Week on February 27, 1990 after guiding North Alabama to a thrilling 107-102 win versus rival Troy (Ala.) University one day earlier.
William "Billy" Southward (Head Baseball Coach 1975-1985; Assistant Football Coach 1974-1995)
William "Billy" Southward was tasked with multiple responsibilities over a distinguished coaching and teaching career that spanned across parts of four decades at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
He originally arrived on the Booneville campus in 1974 to assist legendary Northeast headman W.B. "Bill" Ward as a defensive coach. Southward worked with the linebackers, defensive backs and defensive ends in his inaugural season with the Tigers.
Southward worked under five different head coaches at Northeast, including Ward from 1974-82, David Carnell from 1983-85, Johnny Plummer from 1986-89, Hubert Tucker from 1990-94 and Gunter Brewer in 1995.
His 22 seasons with the Tigers make him the second longest tenured football coach in school history. Only Carnell's 23 combined years as an assistant and head coach rank longer than Southward's service.
Five National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Americans played for Northeast during Southward's time with the team, including defensive backs Barry Todd in 1977 and Maury Hill in 1979 plus defensive lineman Paul Rhodes in 1980.
Southward was on the sidelines for several of the most successful campaigns in program history. He saw the Tigers rise to No. 1 in the entire country in the J.C. Gridwire poll and No. 2 in the NJCAA rankings during the 1980 season.
Northeast captured its inaugural Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) North Division championship that year after winning nine straight outings. The Tigers also hosted a playoff game for the first time ever.
The Tishomingo native helped Northeast return to the state playoffs twice more in 1983 and 1987 after finishing as the MACJC North Division runner-up during both of those seasons.
The Tigers captured one of their biggest marquee wins ever during Southward's next-to-last campaign on the gridiron. Northeast upset defending national champion Mississippi Delta Community College by a score of 14-12 on October 20, 1994.
He joined his colleagues Carnell and Ward in earning MACJC Coaching Staff of the Year laurels following the successful 1980 season. Southward was selected to coach in the 1977 MACJC All-Star Classic as well.
Southward took control of the baseball team from Carnell in the spring of 1975. He gave the program some needed stability after the Tigers featured seven different head coaches in the previous 14 years.
He also guided Northeast through a period of transition on the diamond. The Tigers expanded their schedule from playing fewer than 15 games before Southward's arrival to competing in more than 30 contests in his final season of 1985.
Several of his former Northeast student-athletes signed scholarships with four-year institutions, including Tim Kent, Jerry Long and David Wilkerson with the University of North Alabama.
Southward spent 11 total seasons at the helm of the baseball team. He is one of only two men to serve as head coach of the Tigers for more than a decade along with Ray Scott, who holds the school record at 15 years.
He remained at Northeast for an additional nine years as a physical education instructor after transitioning out of the athletic department. Southward officially retired from the college in 2005.
Southward starred on the gridiron himself at Mississippi State University from 1969-72. He was a three-year letter winner that started at both linebacker and defensive back for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State went 6-5 during Southward's sophomore campaign, which included big victories over the University of Georgia, Oklahoma State University and Texas Tech University all at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson.
Southward and the Bulldogs, who were under the watch of coach Charley Shira, remained competitive during his junior and senior seasons with wins over the University of Florida in the state capital and the University of Houston (Texas).
He stayed in Starkville to open his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Mississippi State in 1973. The Bulldogs compiled a 4-5-2 overall record in Southward's lone year on the staff.
The Tishomingo High School alumnus was previously inducted into the Northeast Mississippi Coaches Association for Better Baseball (NEMCABB) Hall of Fame in 2000.
Shirley Hall White (Women's Basketball 1973-74, 1974-75)
Shirley Hall White helped to lay the foundation for what has become one of the most successful women's basketball programs in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
White was a member of Northeast Mississippi Community College's first two teams following an 18-year layoff after the sport was discontinued by each of the Magnolia State's two-year institutions in 1955.
She was part of an inaugural group of 13 Lady Tigers, or Tigerettes as they were originally called at that time, that was comprised solely of women from the college's traditional five-county district.
Northeast won its initial matchup back from the hiatus on November 6, 1973 by a score of 58-53 at Meridian Community College. The Tigerettes were victorious in their home opener as well against that same Meridian squad one week later.
White and the Tigerettes dashed through the months of November and December without a loss. Northeast went 7-0 before the Christmas break, which included a sweep of East Mississippi Community College.
The Tigerettes ran their unbeaten streak to 11 straight games following the holiday hiatus with a 60-50 victory versus visiting Mississippi State University and a 60-53 decision over Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Northeast ended White's freshman campaign with a solid 12-4 record after falling to Hinds Community College and host Meridian on the same day in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) State Tournament.
White was recognized with MACJC All-State honors after leading the Tigerettes with approximately 18 points per game. She was also picked by her peers for the Best Offensive Player Award.
She was one of seven returning players for Northeast during the 1974-75 campaign. The Tigerettes picked up where they left off the previous year with a season opening 77-60 triumph over Blue Mountain College in which White contributed nine points.
The Ingomar High School graduate found her shooting touch once again in the Tigerettes' next outing. White poured in a team-best 30 points in a heartbreaking 78-76 setback to Lambuth (Tenn.) University inside legendary Bonner Arnold Coliseum.
White, who wore jersey No. 31 while under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Millard Lothenore for two years, completed her tenure at Northeast with wins over Jackson State (Tenn.) Community College and Blue Mountain during the spring semester.
She repeated as a MACJC All-State selection and again received the Best Offensive Player Award. White also earned the prestigious Tiger Award for women's basketball after displaying quality characteristics such as leadership and sportsmanship throughout her sophomore season.
The New Albany product handled her business outside the gymnasium as well. White was one of 35 individuals from Northeast to gain distinction as a "Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges" in 1975.
White also secured a spot on the Dean's List after excelling in her major of health and physical education. She continued her career on the court and eventually obtained a Bachelor's degree at Blue Mountain.