2013 inductee Steve Mitchell (right) with former Voice of the Blazers, Gary Sanders (left).
Feb. 22, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ----- Close to 200 Blazer supporters and friends filled the UAB National Alumni Society House last Friday as UAB Athletics inducted its 2013 Hall of Fame Class.
The Blazers’ second Hall of Fame inductees included Vonetta Flowers (track and field, 1993-96), Dr. Charles "Scotty" McCallum (UAB President, 1987-93), Steve Mitchell (men's basketball, 1982-86) and Harry "The Hat" Walker (baseball coach, 1979-86).
The inaugural UAB Athletics Hall of Fame Class was inducted in 2009 and consisted of Gene Bartow (head men's basketball coach, 1978-96; UAB director of athletics, 1978-2000); Dr. S. Richardson Hill (UAB President, 1977-86); Oliver Robinson (men’s basketball, 1978-82); Wanda Hightower Jordan (women’s basketball, 1978-82); Dr. Jerry D. Young (UAB Senior Vice President for Finance, 1974-83).
2013 UAB Athletics Hall of Fame Class
Vonetta Flowers (Track and Field, 1993-96)
Vonetta Flowers is one of the most decorated UAB student-athletes in school history. She later went on to earn a Gold Medal at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Then Vonetta Jeffery, she was a standout performer as a sprinter and jumper on the Blazers' track and field team in the mid-1990s. A Birmingham native, she still holds UAB indoor records in the 55-meter and 200-meter dashes and outdoors in the 100, 200 and long jump. By the time she graduated, Jeffery was a seven-time All-American and claimed 35 conference individual titles. She competed in the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials for the Summer Games. In 2002, she earned a spot on the U.S. Winter Olympic Team and later won a Gold Medal in the bobsled at the Salt Lake City Games, garnering the distinction of being the first person of African descent (male or female) to win a Gold Medal at the Winter Olympics.
Dr. Charles "Scotty McCallum (UAB President, 1987-93)
Dr. Scotty McCallum became the third President of UAB in 1987 and has been a great friend of UAB Athletics -- before, during and after his tenure as the University's President. In more than four decades at UAB, McCallum served as Dean of the School of Dentistry, vice president for health affairs and director of the Medical Center. He received his dental degree from Tufts College Dental School and his medical degree from the Medical College of Alabama. As an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, he completed residency at University Hospital in Birmingham. He served as Vice-President for Health Affairs and Director of the Medical Center at UAB before becoming the school's President. When he relinquished his duties as president in 1993, he was named Distinguished Professor. Dr. McCallum also served as a professor of dentistry and professor of surgery. During his tenure, the UAB men’s basketball program flourished with routine conference championships and NCAA Tournament berths. Dr. McCallum and Coach Gene Bartow also engineered the Blazers’ move from the Sun Belt to the Great Midwest Conference. Dr. McCallum was instrumental in the first UAB football team taking the field in 1991. His accomplishments at UAB were numerous and he later became a two-term mayor in the neighboring city of Vestavia Hills.
Steve Mitchell (Men's Basketball, 1982-86)
As an All-America guard for Coach Gene Bartow from 1982-86, Steve Mitchell was one of the first players who helped bring national notoriety to the UAB basketball program. Mitchell, who is the Blazers' all-time leading scorer with 1,866 points, played an integral role in UAB earning NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his seasons in the Green and Gold. He also was a part of two Sun Belt Conference champion teams (1983 and 1984) and helped lead UAB to 92 victories in his four seasons. The Memphis, Tenn. native is second all-time at UAB in assists with 597 and is also one of three former Blazer men's basketball players who have had his jersey -- #14 -- retired.
Harry Walker (Head Baseball Coach, 1979-86)
Harry Walker was UAB's first baseball coach (1979-86) and also enjoyed an outstanding career as a Major League player and later as a manager. A veteran of five decades in professional baseball, Walker was nicknamed "The Hat" for his habit of adjusting his cap between pitches in the batter's box. He played Major League baseball for 11 seasons, won a National League batting title in 1947 and was a player on two World Series champions with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1942 and 1946. He missed the the 1944 and 1945 seasons due to service in the United States Army during World War II, where he saw extensive combat in Europe, and received a Purple Heart, among other citations. He later served as the manager of the Cardinals in 1955, as well as the Pittsburgh Pirates (1965-67) and the Houston Astros (1968-72). Born in Pascagoula, Miss., Walker became UAB's first baseball coach and led the Blazers to two Sun Belt North Division titles (1981 and 1982) and had an eight-year record of 211-171. He finished his career at UAB with four consecutive 20-win seasons. Walker died in August of 1999.