Eleven former Connors State College athletes were inducted to the Third Annual Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday Oct. 18, at the Muskogee Country Club.
Inductees include Mike Daniel (baseball), Pete Evans (football), Ed Hardeman (Leadership), Harold Lackey (football), Monte Madewell (basketball), John Rodriguez (baseball), Carl Scott (basketball), Carri Hayes Storts (basketball), Dan Sulivant (football), Sheree Johnston Vinson (softball), and John Whisenant (basketball).
“We are very excited about the third Athletic Hall of Fame Class, who have excelled both on and off the athletic courts and playing fields of Connors State College,” said CSC Athletic Director Bill Muse. “The Connors State Athletic Hall of Fame is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a Cowboy or Cowgirl that participated in CSC athletics. This is a well-deserving class.”
Mike Daniel, who had an outstanding athletic career at Weatherford High School, signed with Connors State in 1987, where he continued to distinguish himself both on and off the diamond.
During his two years at Connors, where he was the Cowboys’ catcher, he was an All-Region selection, named NJCAA Academic All-American for two years and an NJCAA All-American for two seasons for his play on the diamond.
Daniel led the NJCAA in home runs in 1988 and in RBIs in both the 1988 and 1989 seasons.
Daniel is fourth on the all-time CSC batting average at .497 in a season, with 92 hits in a season, 21 doubles, and 26 home runs. For his career, Daniel had 177 RBIs and 164 hits and is tied as the Cowboys career home run leader with 41.
Following graduation from Connors he was drafted in the 24th round by the Toronto Blue Jays but elected to attend Oklahoma State University, where he continued to have an outstanding career. He was inducted in the OSU Hall of Fame in 1994.
Daniel led the Cowboys to two Big Eight Conference Championships and a regional championship en route to a national runner-up finish at the College World Series in 1990.
Daniel was named second-team All-America in 1990 by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Baseball America.
Daniel and his wife Kathryn live in Bixby with their three children, Breydon, Barrett and Brynn.
Gwaune Oren (Pete) Evans graduated from Catoosa High School in 1955, at the age of 16, where he was an All-Conference running back in football.
He was offered a football scholarship by Murray State, but wisely turned it down to accept one to Connors State College, where he played in 1955 and 1956.
Coached by Cecil Devine, he played linebacker and fullback his first season, only to break his leg the last practice and was in a cast for 14 weeks. His sophomore season he was once again playing fullback and linebacker.
Second semester his sophomore year he transferred to the University of Tulsa in order to work nights at a truck stop to help finish his education. However, with the help of Connors State Coach Tom Johnson, he secured a football scholarship to Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo.
However, when it was time to report he had a change of heart and enrolled at Northeastern State as a regular student.
That led to a longtime teaching and coaching career in three states, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
Evans’ first teaching contract, with the help of longtime friend and teammate Harold Cage, was at Chetopa, Kan. While at Chetopa he posted a 14-5 record in two seasons. He then posted a 28-6 record, 3 conference titles and an undefeated season while at Ensign and Spearville, Kan., over four seasons, while coaching basketball for six years, registering a 61-35 mark, which included 3 conference championships.
He returned to Connors State in 1965 as assistant football coach for Harold Cagle, teaching GPS and History. In 1967 he returned to high school teaching but got the call from CSC President Dr. Melvin Self to teach history and assist C.W. Lynch in basketball, while also serving as the Dean of Men.
However, in the spring of 1969 he made the career decision to remain in public schools, taking a position at Warner High School, where he remained for 9 years, coaching basketball and football. He served as high school counselor and was the elementary and middle school principal.
He then moved to Ketchum High School in 1978, coaching football and basketball, before moving to Chouteau in 1985 as head football coach and girls’ basketball coach.
During his 36 years as an educator and coach, he was 41-28 as head football coach, 321-150 as boys and girls head basketball coach and 255-134 on the junior high level for an overall record of 576-284. He won 14 conference titles, 13 district championships, 8 regional crowns, 1 area title and reached the state semifinals one time.
He also wrote a manual on 8-man football, while being named Oklahoma Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year twice, and serving as its director one year.
Evans and his wife Vivian have been married 56 years, and reside in Tahlequah.
Ed Hardeman came to Connors State College in 1973 as an assistant basketball coach under head coach Carl Scott, a position he held for four seasons.
He also served as the coordinator of the evening education program, Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Services. Hardeman was also athletic director for one year.
Hardeman was the National Junior College Athletic Association Region II Director for 29 years, before he retired. He was honored by the NJCAA for Distinguished Service. During his tenure as Region II Director he served at the NJCAA Representative at the 1995 World University Games in Japan.
Prior to arriving to Connors State Hardeman was assistant basketball coach and head baseball coach at Northeast High School in Oklahoma City.
His baseball team advanced to the state semifinals in 1970 and in 1972 his basketball team posted a 25-2 record and was state runner-up.
He is a graduate of New Lima High School and played at East Central State College before transferring to Central State College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master’s Degree.
Hardeman and his wife Anna, have two daughters, both Connors State graduates, two grandchildren and a great grandchild.
Harold Lackey played both football and baseball for the Connors State Cowboys, where he was an All-Conference and an NJCAA All-American tight end in 1959.
Following graduation from Connors he was recruited by Florida State but instead attended Northeastern State University, where he played football for two seasons.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1963 and in 1968 earned a Master of Teaching from NSU.
Following graduation from college, Lackey worked for the Rockwood School System in St. Louis, Mo., for 13 years, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 1978. He coached the baseball team to three state championships, 1970, 1971 and 1972. He also coached the sophomore football team to three consecutive undefeated seasons.
Lackey coached one player who became an All-American at UCLA, Cliff Fraizer.
In 1965 he married Margaret Grandstaff and they have three children, Lance Lackey, Lynette Allen and Leann Spruell. During their childhood, Harold was the youth minister and Sunday school teacher at the First Baptist Church in Washington, Mo. Each summer while school was out, he built a total of 30 homes. He considers this one of his greatest accomplishments.
Lackey currently maintains a home in Morris.
Monte Madewell began his coaching career in 1971 at Berryhill High School as an assistant coach. He then moved to Haskell High School serving as assistant coach before taking over as head coach were he posted a 113-26 record in five seasons. He began an outstanding junior college coaching career in 1979.
During his 20 years as head coach of the Connors State Cowgirls, Madewell amassed an 82 percent winning percentage posting a record of 547-121, which resulted in more than 27 wins per year. He coached 17 NJCAA All-Americans, many Academic All-Americans and two National Players of the Year. His teams were perennial contenders for the Region II championship and won an NJCAA National Championship in 1985 and finished runner-up in 1989.
Madewell was inducted into the NJCAA Basketball Hall of Fame and Oklahoma High School Girls Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002.
In all, Madewell led the Cowgirls to eight Region II and Bi-State Conference championships and eight appearances in the NJCAA National Tournament. The Cowgirls also obtained the No. 1 ranking in the NJCAA basketball poll during seven different seasons.
Madewell’s teams post 73 straight home victories from November 1982 to February 1990. It was during his eight-year stretch that Madewell led the Cowgirls to a 103-2 record.
In 1985 he was selected as the NJCAA Coach of the Year and coached the NJCAA All-Star Game. His career record for the only two head coaching jobs that he held was 660-147.
Madewell served as Connors State College’s Athletic Director for 21 years and as the NJCAA Region II Director for eight years. He retired from Connors in 2001 before becoming the Superintendent of Warner Public Schools, retiring in 2012.
Madewell and his wife Susan, a former Cowgirl and retired elementary teacher, live on Fort Gibson Lake. They have a daughter, Mindy, also a former Cowgirl, who lives in Tahlequah with husband Nick Baker, along with three children, and a son Martin and wife Ashley, who reside in Tulsa with their daughter Saylor.
John Rodriguez played for Connors State Cowboys Head Baseball Coach Perry Keith during the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
Following Rodriguez’s graduation from Connors, he was an undrafted free agent signee by the New York Yankees in 1996. He was previously drafted right out of Brandeis High School in New York in the 16th round (425th pick) by the San Diego Padres, but did not sign, instead opting to play at Connors State for Coach Keith.
After graduating from Connors, Rodriguez signed with New York and was in the Yankees’ minor league system for eight years before signing with the Cleveland Indians in 2005. He was traded to the Cardinals later that season and was called up from the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds to replace the injured Reggie Sanders in St. Louis. While at Triple-A Memphis, Rodriguez hit .342 with 17 home runs.
He performed well enough that the Cardinals signed him to a one-year contract following the season. On July 20, 2005, Rodriguez hit his first home run off Ben Sheets of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Rodriguez got more playing time for the 2006 Cardinals and was on the postseason roster, winning a World Series ring when the Cardinals won the 2006 World Series.
In two Major League seasons, 2005 and 2006 with the Cardinals, Rodriguez hit .298, with 7 home runs and collected 43 RBIs.
In two Major League seasons, 2005 and 2006 with the Cardinals, Rodriguez hit .298, with 7 home runs and collected 43 RBIs.
After being released by St. Louis in 2007, Rodriguez played in the Tampa Bay, New York Mets, New York Yankees minor league systems, before signing with Veracruz of the Mexican League in 2011 and with Wichita in the American Association in 2012 before retiring.
The former Cowboy is currently an instructor at a Baseball Academy in Manhattan, New York.
Following an outstanding high school coaching career at Tonkawa and Okmulgee High Schools, Carl Scott took over the reigns as the men’s basketball coach at Connors State College in 1971, where he served as Athletic Director for nine years. Scott oversaw the development of the women’s basketball program and was named Coach of the Year seven of his nine years.
During that time he amassed a 197-66 record, which included eight conference championships, ranking among the elite of the nation’s junior colleges and a berth in the NJCAA National Tournament. In his final season as head coach of the Cowboys he posted a 30-4 record before joining Ken Trickey at Oklahoma City University, which at the time was an NCAA Division I school. He also coached at Cameron University and Bacone College.
In Scott’s first season at Connors, he led the Cowboys to their first conference championship in 21 years, posting a 20-8 record in 1971. Before Scott arrived on the scene the Cowboys had posted only one winning season in 13 years.
Scott began his coaching career in 1957 at Tonkawa Junior High and then moved to Okmulgee High School for nine seasons, leading them to 12 state tournament appearances, twice winning the state championship in 1969/1970 and 1970/1971. While at Okmulgee he was named the Tulsa World, Daily Oklahoman and Oklahoma Journal Coach of the Year.
In 1969 he coached the North team in the North vs South All State Game, and in 1970 he coached the Oklahoma All Stars against Texas winning the Faith Seven game. Scott’s holds an impressive career record of 624-206.
Scott is also a member of the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Northeastern State University Athletic Hall of Fame and the Tournament of Champions Hall of Fame.
Scott and his wife Mary Beth live in Muskogee. He has one son Carl Lee and two grandchildren, Peyton and Jaren. He has two step daughters, Kim and Pam and two step-grandsons James and Charlie.
Carri Hayes Storts is a graduate of Latta High School, where she led Latta to two straight state tournament appearances and was selected to the Oklahoma Girls Coaches Association All-State Team before being recruited by Cowgirls basketball coach Monte Madewell.
While attending Connors State College in 1981 and 1982, she help guide the Cowgirls to two straight Bi-State Conference championships, two Region II Championships and the Cowgirls’ first NJCAA National Championship Tournament appearance.
During her sophomore year she led the nation in assists and was selected a first team NJCAA All-American and Who’s Who Among American Junior College Students.
Following graduation from Connors, she attended Southwestern State University and led the Bulldogs to the semifinals of the NAIA National Championship her junior season and then won the title her senior year with a 34-0 record.
She graduated with a degree in math and physical education at Southwestern and earned a master’s degree at East Central University, where she was a graduate assistant coach for the women’s basketball team.
Hayes Storts has taught for 25 years, including coaching for 23 of those years, two years each at Ada and Calera High School and the past 21 years at Latta Middle School as a math teacher. She is currently the assistant coach for the Latta High School girl’s basketball team. She was selected the 2010-11 Teacher of the year for Latta Public Schools.
She is married to Doug Storts and they have three children, Nathan, Keeton and Trent. They also have three grandchildren.
Dan Sulivant attended Connors State College in 1955, playing football and baseball for the Cowboys his freshman season.
Sulivant then left Connors in the spring of 1956 to join the United States Marines, stationed in Camp Pendleton, Calif., where he was a member of the First Battalion football team and the track team.
Following completion of his enlistment, he returned to Connors State in 1958, where he rejoined the football and baseball teams. He was named to the NJCAA All-American team and established conference track record in the discus, while also throwing the shot and javelin.
After graduating from Connors he attended Northeastern State University, competing in football and track before graduating in 1961. He then took a job with the Okmulgee Public School System as a social studies teacher and coach.
At Okmulgee he coached football, basketball, and track and was named athletic director in 1971. He became head coach in track in 1974 and head football coach in 1972.
In 1972, Okmulgee was state runner-up in Class 3A and his track team won the state title and set a state mile relay record.
Sulivant’s 1974 football team lost in the first round of the playoffs, the 1975 team won the state Class 3 championship, and his 1979 club lost in the state semifinals.
He retired in 1980 as head football coach and was named to the high school counseling staff. He returned to coaching in 1982 as assistant football coach until 1987 before leaving coaching due to health reasons.
During his coaching career Sulivant coached the Oklahoma North All-State football team and the Oil Bowl. He was voted into the Oklahoma Coaches’ Hall of Fame.
Sulivant is married to Marilyn Mabrey and they have two children and four grandchildren.
Sheree Johnston Vinson attended Connors State from 1996 to 1998, where she was a pitcher for the Cowgirls softball team after graduating from Purcell High School.
Following graduation from Connors she signed with Stephen F. Austin University. However, at the Texas school it was determined she had to have shoulder surgery. Following her recovery she attended St. Gregory’s University for a year and then transferred to Northeastern State University.
Johnston Vinson ranks fourth for the most wins in a single season inside the circle with 19 victories in 1998.
While at NSU she earned a degree in Mass Communications and Elementary Education. At NSU she met her husband Brock Vinson and they have one daughter and are expecting their second child in January.
She currently teaches first grade at Lexington Elementary and also gives private pitching lessons.
John Whisenant, a native of Gore, Okla., played for the Connors State Cowboys basketball team graduating from Connors State with an Associate Degree, before earning a degree in physical education at New Mexico State University, where he played for the Aggies for two seasons. He then earned a Master’s Degree from Pittsburgh State before launching a very successful coaching career.
Whisenant began his coaching career at Coffeyville Community College where he posted a 48-10 record, then joined the coaching staff at the University of New Mexico where he accumulated a record of 137-62, including two Western Athletic Conference championships. He later served as the vice president of basketball operations for the New Mexico Slam in the International Basketball League where his record was 51-35.
He spent four seasons as head coach at Arizona Western University, where he won three league championships (97-60) and later coached his son’s AAU team, where he dominated with a record of 176-16.
While serving as a consultant for the Sacramento Kings, under the Maloof family, he became the assistant manager for the Sacramento Monarchs of the WNBA. Whisenant became the general manager the following year, and then took over as head coach in the middle of 2003. In 2005, he won the WNBA Coach of the Year Award and his Monarchs won the WNBA championship title over the Connecticut Sun.
Whisenant later coached the Monarchs to its second straight Western Conference Championship by beating the Los Angeles Sparks. However, the Monarchs lost the WNBA title to the Detroit Shock.
He became the New York Liberty’s coach in 2011 and after the 2012 season Whisenant announced that he was resigning from his coaching position.
Whisenant has a WNBA coaching record of 139-102 including one championship.
Whisenant is a partner in a commercial real estate firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico.