Friday, January 31, 2014

Three Rattlers Elected To SIAC Hall Of Fame Class

ATLANTA, Georgia – The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced it’s 2014 class of inductees, which includes three FAMUans.  Andre Dawson, Clemon Johnson and Willie Galimore will be inducted in a ceremony surrounding the 2014 SIAC basketball championship in Birmingham, Ala., on March 5.
Florida A&M was a member of the SIAC from 1913-1979, where it competed against some of the best athletes in the country, barring no division status.  Florida A&M established it’s history of dominance during Alonzo “Jake” Gaither’s tenure as head coach of the Rattler football team.  He captured 22 championships in 25 seasons as head coach.  That feat has not been duplicated.  FAMU also won several basketball championships and stood out in baseball, and track and field.

This year, the SIAC Hall of Fame will pick up induction into the hall after an absence of 13 years; with the last inducting class being in 2000.  Recognizing that the history of athletics in the conference represented some of the best athletes in the world, the SIAC began their hall of fame with a ceremony in 1992.
Dawson, known as the “Hawk," for his trademark stare, was outstanding defensively in the outfield.  He was a three-time All-SIAC baseball player at Florida A&M, where he played under legendary coach Costa “Pop” Kittles. He finished his 21-year big league career with a .279 batting average, 438 home runs, 1,591 runs batted in and 314 stolen bases. Dawson was the National League Rookie of the Year with the Montreal Expos in 1977 and the NL Most Valuable Player in 1987 with the Chicago Cubs. He managed the MVP season while playing on the last place Cubs, the only time that feat has been done.  The eight-time All-Star became the second player (Willie Mays) to join the 400 HR/300 SB club.  His speech at Cooperstown was considered by many to be one of the greatest ever.  Dawson was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.
Johnson, known as “CJ,” was an All-SIAC and All-American selection as a senior and finished his career as the all-time leading rebounder at FAMU, as well as one of the top scorers in school’s history. Johnson played 10 seasons in the NBA and won an NBA championship as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983. He won the NBA championship on the team with Andrew Toney, Daryl Dawkins and NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving.  Today, he serves as the head basketball coach at Florida A&M.  Johnson was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.
Galimore, known as “Gallopin Gal,” is considered one of the greatest running backs of his time. He was a four-time All-SIAC selection and three-time Pittsburgh Courier All-American. He also led Florida A&M to four SIAC Football Championships and one Black College National Championship. He holds the current career rushing yards title at FAMU with 3,592, averaging an astronomical 7.0 yards per carry in 1955.  He holds these records despite not playing much more than a half, as the powerful Rattlers, under Jake Gaither, often were able to play reserves for the duration of the game after halftime.  Galimore played six seasons with the Chicago Bears until he died tragically in an auto accident in 1964.  He was also a member of the College Football and FAMU Hall of Fame.  He was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 1976.


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