The 2016 class of the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Athletic Hall of Fame features four stars from the past, two each, of our all-time best male and female athletes. The induction will take place on Sept. 24 at 3:30 PM prior to the Blue Raiders facing LA Tech at 6 PM on the lawn of the Hall Of Fame.
Football standout Pat Hicks and track & field All-American Eddie Loyd join women’s basketball star Patrice Holmes and women’s softball legend Cortney Mitchell in this year’s honored class.
For an offensive lineman to earn his way into a hall of fame is quite a feat as he has few, if any, personal statistics to claim. But, make no mistake about it; Pat Hicks earned every ounce of this year’s honor.
In 1993, he was singled out as a Kodak AFCA All-American as he helped lead Blue Raiders’ Hall of Fame running back Kippy Bayless to more than 1,200 yards rushing. Time and again, Hicks opened wide holes in the line of scrimmage for Bayless to dart through each and every game.
The Associated Press also pegged Hicks as one of its All-American selections (3rdteam), not once, but twice in 1993 and 1994.
Hicks and his Blue Raider teammates enjoyed a stellar 1994 campaign as they rolled through the Ohio Valley Conference to a 7-1 record and an 8-2-1 mark before falling in the first round of the NCAA 1-AA playoffs at Marshall.
The native of Hollow Rock, TN not only helped Bayless over the 1,300-yard rushing mark in 1994, but provided vital protection to Hall of Fame quarterback Kelly Holcomb. With Hicks up front, Holcomb was able to sit back and connect on 60 percent of his passes to Blue Raider receivers for more than 2,000 yards.
Eddie Loyd has carved his name into the Hall of Fame via one of the signature events in Blue Raider track and field history – the triple jump. He came to MT from a stint in the U.S. Army, to finish his college career.
Loyd did not win the Ohio Valley Conference championship only once, but did so a remarkable four times in his Blue Raider career. That’s dominance!
And, he excelled both indoors and outdoors, winning the conference championship in both venues in 1982 and 1983.
The native of Chicago excelled on the national stage as well, earning the coveted All-American status in 1982. He followed that up with an impressive 7th-place finish in the 1983 U.S. Track & Field Championships.
Loyd’s top jump of 55′ 1-3/4″ still stands today as a Blue Raider record and considering the long list of great triple jumpers who have, and still do, wear the MT uniform, that feat speaks volumes about his remarkable talent.
Patrice Holmes’ list of achievements at MT is a mind-boggling listing of stellar performances from the first day to her last. For starters, she was pegged as the Sun Belt Conference’s Freshman of the Year 2002. On the heels of that honor, this Blue Raider also earned her first of four (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005) All-Sun Belt Conference team selections!
That freshman year was just a small indication of what was to come, as Holmes went on to be the Sun Belt’s premier player, earning the Most Outstanding Player award in her sophomore, junior and senior campaigns (2003, 2004, 2005).
Unlike some prolific scorers who lack intensity on the defensive end of the court, Holmes distinguished herself with the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year honor in 2003 and 2005. She was the complete player, for certain.
When it came to post-season play, the Bishopville, SC native stepped up and led the way in grand fashion. She led the team to three appearances in the NCAA basketball tournament in her four years at Middle Tennessee. Of the Blue Raiders’ three wins in NCAA tournament play, she played major roles in two of them, a victory over North Carolina in 2004, and the victory over North Carolina State in 2005, averaging 23 points on the big stage.
Cortney Mitchell, who hails from Mt. Juliet, TN, is arguably the best non-pitcher to ever play for the Blue Raider softball program and her statistics bear that out.
While playing for the Blue Raiders, she practically destroyed the offensive record book.
She is 2nd all-time in batting average at .423 and 1st in doubles with 51. She was the NCAA leader in doubles in both 2003 and 2004, making her the first MT player to ever lead an NCAA statistical category.
In her final season, she led the team in batting average (.427), runs (49), doubles (25), total bases (137), and slugging percentage (.781). She ranked 2nd in 2004 in hits (76), home runs (10) and on-base percentage (.485).
When it came to post-season honors, Mitchell’s name was penciled in frequently.
She was a 1st-team All-Sun Belt selection in 2003 and 2004. In that short span of time, she went from being honored as the conference Newcomer of the Year (2003) to being the conference Player of the Year (2004). She was NFCA All-Region in both seasons.
With this list of credentials, she was named to the All-Time Sun Belt Conference team, an honor clearly deserved.