WRITTEN BY: Phillip Dowden
The 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame Class will be formally inducted Friday night, Sept. 20, at a banquet on the Evangel University campus at 6 p.m. with five individuals who have represented Evangel on the highest stage.
Former administrative assistant to the department, Faye Liddle will be inducted for meritorious service after serving the Athletic Department from 1986 to 2014.
In addition to Mrs. Liddle, the 2019 Hall of Fame Class welcomes, a two-sport standout in baseball and original football member Eric Collins, two-time volleyball all-American Julie Griffith (Logan-Rogersville HS), two-time men’s basketball all-American Mike Linehan (Shawnee, Kan.), and NAIA baseball all-American Tim Phipps (Nixa, Mo.).
All five individuals will be honored during Hall of Fame weekend beginning with the 2019 Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday.
The group will also be honored the following evening at halftime as the Evangel football team hosts Culver-Stockton at 6 p.m.
Tickets for the banquet can be purchased at the door, Buy Tickets Online or by calling 417.865.2815 ext. 7282.
Faye Liddle — 1986-2014 (Meritorious Service)
Mrs. Faye Liddle served with distinction as administrative assistant in the Evangel University Athletics Office from 1986 until her retirement following the 2013-14 academic school year. For those many years, she served as the face and the voice of the department in performing the many and varied duties required of the office at that time.
Handling ticket sales for football and basketball she was the face of the athletic department to the public in many ways. She supervised numerous work study students during all contests and in all kinds of weather.
Faye was responsible for justifying the athletics budget which was the second largest at the University, second only to that of the Physical Plant with numerous lines for each sport and office within the department. Usually, this work was done “off the clock” and after hours starting at a time before a computer finance programs had been developed.
For much of her tenure, she was also responsible for tracking the injury insurance coverage and claims for all athletes, to go with helping run the athletic department on a day to day basis.
To capture the true essence of Mrs. Liddle’s service in the athletic department, former director of athletics, Dr. David Stair noted:
“The truth is, when she announced her retirement, there was not one person on campus who was willing to apply for her position; everyone knew what an exceedingly demanding job it was. Faye filled the position with dignity and grace with a ready smile and a never give up attitude that made her one in a million!”
Eric Collins — 1977-1981 (Football & Baseball)
Eric Collins cemented his Hall of Fame status as a two-sport standout at Evangel as a member of the original football team and an all-district performer on the baseball diamond.
Collins still stands as one of the most prolific kick returners in Evangel history as he was a three-time All-District selection at cornerback.
The New Orleans, Louisiana, native still holds nearly every kickoff return record after more than 40 years of Evangel football. He holds the game, season, and career record for total kickoff returns, yards, and yards per kick return. He is also the record holder for the longest kickoff return in Evangel history as one of two players to post a 100-yard kickoff return and his three kickoff return touchdowns also still stand for the most in a Crusader uniform.
Dangerous in the defensive backfield, Collins also still holds the Evangel record for most interceptions in a game with three and is the career record holder with 16 interceptions. His 168 interception return yards in 1978 also still stand as a single-season record.
Leading the team in punt returns and kick returns all four seasons, Collins also led Evangel three seasons in interceptions and all four years in passes broken up.
During his time on the baseball diamond, Collins was the first ever NAIA Academic All-American in 1980. He was also an all-District selection first in 1979 as an outfielder and again in 1981 as an outfielder and pitcher.
He also is tied with the most triples in a single-game at Evangel as the speedy Collins recorded two triples against Missouri State in 1980.
Julie O’Dell Griffith — 2006-2009 (Volleyball)
Just the third ever NAIA All-American in the history of Evangel volleyball, Julie O’Dell-Griffith also became the first Crusader to earn All-America honors by the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2008.
A two-time all-American and all-Region selection, she also was an all-conference pick in 2006, 2007, and 2008. She is just one of two Crusaders to record 600 kills in a season behind only Hall of Famer Kelly Hartley-Richardson. Her 4.37 kills per set also rank second most in a single-season and 201 blocks in 2007 rank fourth-most in a season.
Leaving Evangel she was the third all-time in kills and still ranks third in kill percentage and fifth in kills per set. She also ranks in the top 10 in career blocks and blocks per set.
Voted by her teammates as MVP of the 2007 and 2008 seasons, she helped lead the Crusaders to just the second ever NAIA postseason tournament advancing to the NAIA Region V Tournament. Evangel finished 24-13 and advanced to the tournament semifinals for the first time in program history.
Mike Linehan — 1992-95 (Men’s Basketball)
The first men’s basketball all-Americans of the NAIA Divisional era started with the Linehan’s. Mike Linehan followed his brother Matt as the second two-time NAIA All-American in Evangel basketball history.
Linehan recorded the seventh and eighth best scoring seasons in Evangel history as his 660 points in 1994-95 and 635 points in 1993-94 still stand in the top 15. Upon graduation, Linehan ranked fifth in career scoring with 1,545 points and currently ranks 12th all-time.
His three-point shooting ranked second at graduation in Evangel history, and his 104 steals rank in the top 30 all-time.
Linehan helped lead Evangel to its first ever 20-win season in 1992-93. The Crusaders finished second in the Heart of America Athletic Conference and advanced to the NAIA District finals for the first time in school history.
Tim Phipps — 1998-2001 (Baseball)
A name that still fills the Evangel baseball record books is NAIA All-American Tim Phipps. After being just the third Crusader baseball player to ever be named All-American, Phipps also became the first All-Region selection in 2000 being named to the first team. He was also the 2000 Heart of America Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a three-time All-Conference selection.
Phipps still holds the Evangel career record for batting averaging hitting at a .386 clip during his career and scoring 177 runs, also a school record. His 68 doubles in 2000 still stand as an Evangel single-season record. His 2000 and 2001 seasons rank in the top 10 for most hits, runs, doubles, and RBIs, while he hit over .400 twice during his career including the ninth-best mark in school history at .416 during the 2000 season and .408 during the 2001 season.
He helped lead the 2000 Evangel baseball team to its first 30-win season and a .612 winning percentage. Both numbers that still rank in the top three for best team win percentage and most wins in a season for Evangel baseball.
Evangel University, which includes the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the church and society globally. Evangel serves more than 2,100 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.
CONTACT: Phillip Dowden, Assistant Athletic Director
PHONE: 417-865-2815 ext. 7260