BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The 50th induction class and the largest class since 1966 will take center stage on September 11 with the social hour beginning at 5:15 p.m., followed by dinner and the induction ceremony at 6 p.m.
Former athletic letter winners make up the M-Club, consisting of former players, coaches, trainers, managers and cheerleaders.
Here a rundown of the 2015 Hall of Fame inductees:
GARY CANNIZARRO (BASEBALL 1973-1976)
One of the most talented shortstops to have played for the Golden Eagles…Had great range and would frustrate opponents with his ability to rob them of base hits…Was a great leader and was a player that found many different ways to help the team win…Finished his career with 106 hits in 372 at-bats for a .285 batting average….Also in his career had 19 doubles, seven triples and a home run…Had 39 runs-batted in, drew 57 bases on balls and was a perfect 13 for 13 in stolen bases in his career…Teamed with Hall of Famer Ricky Sutherland to produce one of the best double-play combos in school history…As a senior (1976)…He posted a career high .344 batting average with 13 doubles, a triple and 16 runs batted in and was a perfect six for six in stolen bases…Played on teams that faced some of the toughest schedules in school history that included games against Ole Miss, Mississippi state, Alabama, LSU among others.
ROD DAVIS (LINEBACKER 2000-2003)
Was a three-time All-American linebacker for the Golden who finished his career with 510 tackles that included 57.5 tackles for losses, 17.5 quarterback sacks, six interceptions, nine fumble recoveries and six forced fumbles…As a freshman he had 94 tackles with seven tackles for losses, a quarterback sack and two interceptions while leading the team to the GMAC Mobile Bowl and a victory over TCU…The following year as a sophomore he posted 100 tackles with 10 tackles for losses, three sacks and two interceptions…As a junior in 2002 he had a career high 168 tackles with 23.5 tackles for losses, 10.5 quarterback sacks and a pair of interceptions while leading the team to a berth in the Houston Bowl against Oklahoma State and then followed that with a senior year in which he had 148 tackles, 17 tackles for losses and three quarterback sacks while leading the team to a Conference USA championship and a berth in the Liberty Bowl against Utah…He was named the 2003 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and a first team all-Conference USA selection in 2001, 2002 and 2003 and an all-Freshman C-USA pick in 2001… Selected in the 5th round of the 2004 NFL draft by the Minnesota and played several seasons with the Vikings and the Carolina Panthers in addition to a several seasons in the CFL with Edmonton and Montreal.
SHERROD GIDEON (WIDE RECEIVER 1996-1999)
A four-year letterman as a wide receiver from 1996 to 1999 … Finished his career with 193 receptions for 3,214 yards and 23 touchdowns … Owns the career record for most receptions and most yards … Season leader in yards with 1,186 … Scored the most receiving touchdowns in a season and career … Named to the Conference USA first-team two times and a second team selection once … Led the team in receptions and yards in back-to-back seasons … In 1997 caught 54 passes for 1,008 yards and followed that in 1998 with 66 passes for 1,186 yards.
CHRIS HAYDEN (TENNIS 1990-1993)
A four-year letterman … Named All-Metro Conference honors in 1990 and 1992 … Ranks in the top 10 in career wins in singles … Recorded one of the best doubles winning percentage at 64.1 percent … Finished his career with 58 wins and 37 losses … Was the first Southern Miss to earn an ITA National Ranking … Recorded 41 wins in doubles with 23 losses … Later coached the Lady Eagle tennis team and has one of the best winning percentages in school history.
JEFF KELLY (QUARTERBACK 1998-2001)
Was one of the most talented and productive quarterbacks in school history from 1998-2001 seasons…During the 1999 season (his first as a starter) he passed for 2,062 yards while completing 153 of 260 passes and also threw 21 touchdowns while leading the Golden Eagles to the Conference USA championship and a victory over Colorado State in the Liberty Bowl…In the 2000 season he passed for 2,381-yards while completing 198 of 341 passes and threw for 15 touchdowns and led the Eagles to a berth in the GMAC Mobile Bowl where his touchdown pass in the final seconds that gave them a 28-21 upset win over TCU…As a senior he passed for a career high 2,613-yards while completing 214 of 362 passes and threw for 15 touchdowns…In his career he threw for over 200-yards in a game 22 times including a then school record 415 yards against Tulane…He finished his career throwing for 7,095-yards and 51 touchdowns…During his career he was one of the top scholar athletes in the country earning several national awards including being named a Woody Hayes Scholar athlete and an award from the National football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame.
BILLY LYONS (WIDE RECEIVER 1960-1962)
One of the most versatile ends that have ever played for Southern Miss who had the ability to catch the ball but also provide great blocking for the running game … Was a member of the 1962 UPI College Division National championship team that finished the year with an 9-1 record … As a sophomore in 1960 he caught five passes for a 17.8 yard average … Helped lead that team to a 6-4 record in 1960 and was one of the favorite of quarterback of Don Fuell … As a junior in 1961, he caught nine passes for 172 yards for a 19.1 yard average … That 61 team finished 8-2 … Had a good hands and was a deceptive receiver and was able to use his speed and quickness to make catches … As a senior on the 1962, he led the team with a team high 16 passes for 272 yards and a 17 yard average … Had a career-high four touchdowns.
PATRICIA NASH GRIFFIN (BASKETBALL 1992-1996)
Was a four-year letterwinner and starter from 1992 to 1996 … Helped lead Southern Miss to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances including a Sweet 16 appearance … Played in 118 games and started 113 … Finished with a career-average of 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game … Scored 1,875 career points, ranking fourth on the all-time list … Led the team in scoring and steals during her junior campaign … Led the team in steals for two seasons … Earned first team All-Metro Conference as a junior and second team as a sophomore … Was named to the Conference USA first team as a senior … Voted the Metro Conference Tournament MVP as a junior while earning all-tournament honors … Ranked in the top 10 in 10 statistical categories … Ranked fourth all-time in steals
CEDRIC SCOTT (DEFENSIVE LINEMAN 1997-2000)
Was a four-year letterman at defensive end for the Golden Eagles from 1997 to 2000…Named 3rd team All-America by the Football News and the Associated Press in 2000…Was an all-Conference USA selection in 1999 and 2000 and a 2nd team all-league selection in 1998…Played in the Senior Bowl following the 2000 season…Was selected in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL draft by the New York Giants…As a freshman he had 10 tackles along with two tackles for losses…As a sophomore he had 66 tackles, 12 tackles for losses and 9.5 quarterback sacks…As a junior he had 54 tackles, 14 tackles for losses and four quarterback sacks…As a senior he recorded 69 tackles, 19 tackles for losses and 12 quarterback sacks…Finished his career with 199 tackles, 47 tackles for losses and 26 quarterback sacks…Was a part of Conference USA championships in 1997 and 1999…Played professionally with the New York Giants (2001), Cleveland Browns (2002) and the Edmonton Eskimos (2005).
SHEILA SIMS-WILLIAMS (VOLLEYBALL 1981-82-1984-1985)
Was a versatile player and four-year letter winner for the Lady Eagles who still holds school record for solo blocks in a season with 115 (1982), solo blocks in a career with 258, block assists in a season with 177 (1982), total blocks in a season with 292 (1982) and career total blocks with 589…Her 425 kills during the 1985 season ranks fifth in school history, while her career hitting percentage of .314 is the best in school history…Helped to put the young Lady Eagle program on the map and by her senior year (1985) led the team to a 26-win season.
KENNY SMITH (BASKETBALL 1976-1980)
Was a talented scorer and play-making guard in a four-year career form 1976 to 1980Was one of the key players in rebuilding in the late 1970s and is considered one of the finest defensive players … Finished his career as the 23rd all-time scorer with 1,227 points and … In his career connected on 493 of 1008 field goals for 48.9 percent … Pulled down 347 rebounds, handed out 375 assists and had 111 steals … The 375 assists was the seventh best in school history … As a junior in 78-79 averaged a career-high 16.0 points with 136 assists and 53 steals … As a senior in 79-80, averaged 15.0 points with 114 assists and 58 steals … In both the 78-79 and 79-80 seasons, he shot over 50 percent of his shots from the field shooting 50.2 percent and 51.3 percent, respectively … As a senior in 79-80, led the Golden Eagles to a 17-10 record.
WILHEMINA "KAT" SMITH (BASKETBALL 1982-1985)
A four-year letter winner in basketball … Help the Lady Eagles advance to their first NCAA appearance in 1985 … Ranks eighth all-time in scoring with 1,427 points … Ranks third in rebounding with 1,046 … One only three players to score over 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in Lady Eagle history … Metro Conference First Team All-Conference Selection … Had a career average of 12.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game … Had a career field goal percentage of 52.0 percent … Averaged a double-double in her final two seasons 16.4 points and 11.2 rebounds as a senior and 19.8 points and 12.9 rebounds as a junior … Scored a career 42 points against UAB … Owns the record for most rebounds in a game with 26 against Cincinnati … Has the record for most rebounds in a season with 360.