HUNTSVILLE — The Alabama A&M Athletics Hall of Fame has announced its 2019 class of inductees.
Eight new members are entering the Hall of Fame.
The 2019 class is highlighted by four former NFL players, a former Alabama A&M administrator, one of the university’s most-successful coaches, a student-athlete who was a trailblazer for females in college athletics and a student-athlete who was part of multiple conference titles.
The inductees entering the Hall of Fame with the 2019 class are Robert Mathis, Kendrick Rogers, Betty Kelly-Austin, Melody Dawson, Terry Batts, Valerie Hervey, James Martin and Hali Andrew Robinson.
Longtime Alabama A&M photographer Sidney Jackson is being recognized by the Hall of Fame Advisory Board as a special contributor.
“We are excited to bring back the Alabama A&M Athletics Hall of Fame with a great class of inductees,” said Alabama A&M Director of Athletics Bryan Hicks, who serves as Chairperson of the Athletics Hall of Fame Advisory Board.
The 2019 class of inductees will enter the Alabama A&M Athletics Hall of Fame on Nov. 8 during the Hall of Fame Banquet, which is being held on campus at the Knight Center. The banquet is part of the Hall of Fame weekend, which concludes on Nov. 9 when the Alabama A&M football team hosts Jackson State University at Louis Crews Stadium.
Individual tickets for the banquet are $40, while tables can be purchased for $500. Tickets can be purchased at the Alabama A&M ticket office, which is located on campus at Louis Crews Stadium.
“Alabama A&M Athletics is steeped in history and tradition,” Hicks said. “As we continue to build the Hall of Fame, we are honored to have a group as distinguished as this to enter the Hall of Fame with the 2019 Class. Their enshrinement represents the impact these individuals made during their time at Alabama A&M University, as well as how they represented the University following their time here on ‘The Hill.’”
MEET THE 2019 CLASS
ROBERT MATHIS | STUDENT-ATHLETE | FOOTBALL
Mathis is one of Alabama A&M’s most-recognized alumni.
During his collegiate football career, Mathis was a four-year starter from 1999-2002 on Alabama A&M’s defense, where he emerged as one of the most-prominent pass rushers in Southwestern Athletic Conference history.
In 39 games at Alabama A&M, Mathis recorded 221 tackles while setting a program records with 44 sacks and 20 forced fumbles.
As a senior in 2002, Mathis set a Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) record with 20 sacks. That season, he also recorded 58 tackles while setting an Alabama A&M record with 32 tackles for loss while forcing 10 fumbles.
Mathis holds six Alabama A&M records: Career sacks (44); single-season sacks (32); single-game sacks (5); career tackles for loss (88.5); single-season tackles for loss (32); single-game tackles for loss (8).
After graduating from Alabama A&M with a bachelor degree in Physical Education, Mathis was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, where he played 14 seasons while helping the franchise win Super Bowl XLI.
During his NFL career, Mathis was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was the 2013 AFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Mathis retired as a player following the 2016 NFL season, finishing his career as the Colts’ all-time sacks leader with 123. During his NFL career, Mathis recorded 604 tackles, 52 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries and an interception. He finished his career ranked 17th in NFL history in sacks, and his 47 sack-forced fumbles are an NFL record.
Even though Mathis retired from the NFL as a player, he continues to work with the Colts as a pass rush consultant.
BETTY KELLY-AUSTIN | COACH | WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL
Austin is one of the most-successful coaches in Alabama A&M history.
During her tenure as the Alabama A&M women’s volleyball coach, Austin amassed more than 600 victories while leading the program to 17 conference championships.
When Austin took over the women’s volleyball program, Alabama A&M was an NCAA Division II member competing in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. While in the SIAC, Austin led Alabama A&M to 11 conference championships.
In 1999, Alabama A&M made the transition to Division I athletics, joining the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Austin’s volleyball program had no problem with the step up in competition, making an immediate impact by winning five straight conference championships from 2000-05.
Austin retired as the Alabama A&M women’s volleyball coach following the 2006, finishing her career with a 603-225 record.
Even though Austin stepped down as a coach in 2006, she continued to be involved in Alabama A&M athletics. In 2007, Austin was hired as Alabama A&M’s Director of Athletics, becoming one of the first black female athletic directors in NCAA Division I athletics.
Austin, a 1974 Alabama A&M graduate, also spent six seasons as the Alabama A&M women’s basketball coach from 1977-82.
TERRY BATTS | STUDENT-ATHLETE | FOOTBALL
Batts was a two-sport athlete at Alabama A&M, where he was a member of the football and baseball programs in the mid-1960s.
As a member of the Alabama A&M football program, in 1966, Batts was part of hall of fame coach Louis Crews’ last team to finish the regular season undefeated, which also played in the program’s first bowl game — the Orange Blossom Classic in Miami.
In 1964, Batts was selected as the Alabama A&M football team’s Freshman of the Year.
During his Alabama A&M football career, Batts was one of the Bulldogs’ top receivers, finishing the undefeated 1966 season with 27 receptions while tying the Alabama A&M record for longest reception when he caught a 97-yard touchdown pass from Orlander Hale during a game against Fort Valley State.
Batts also was a member of the Alabama A&M baseball program from 1965-68, where he was a starting pitcher.
MELODY DAWSON | STUDENT-ATHLETE | WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Dawson was a trailblazer for women in NCAA Division I athletics.
As a student at Lee High School in Huntsville, Ala. In the early 1970s, Dawson was tabbed as one of the city’s top basketball prospects, receiving offers from Tennessee State and Fisk University.
Dawson, however, decided to pass on the opportunities at Tennessee State and Fisk, opting to remain in her hometown and attend Alabama A&M.
There was one problem:
At the time, Alabama A&M did not field a women’s basketball program.
That was not enough to stop Dawson.
Following her freshman year at Alabama A&M, Dawson did research on Title IX laws, and developed a plan to push the university into establishing a basketball program for female student-athletes.
Dawson’s efforts were successful.
After receiving more than 300 signatures on a petition, and meeting with Alabama A&M President Dr. Richard Morrison, Dawson helped assist Alabama A&M in establishing its first women’s basketball team in 1976, where it was sanctioned under the American Intercollegiate Association for Women.
Dawson was a member of the first Alabama A&M women’s basketball team, which was coached by hall of fame coach Betty Kelly-Austin.
VALERIE HERVEY | STUDENT-ATHLETE | WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL
Hervey played a significant part in helping the Alabama A&M women’s volleyball program in the late 1980s win multiple conference championships.
After graduating from high school, Hervey, a Beaumont, Texas native, earned a scholarship with the Alabama A&M women’s volleyball program.
During her playing career at Alabama A&M, Hervey received numerous individual awards while helping the program win multiple SIAC championships.
Following Alabama A&M’s 1988 SIAC championship season, Hervey was selected as SIAC Player of the Year and SIAC Defensive Player of the Year.
In 1986 and 1987, Hervey was an all-conference selection in the SIAC, and following the 1986, 1987 and 1988 seasons, she was selected as Alabama A&M’s Most Valuable Player.
JAMES MARTIN | ADMINISTRATOR |ATHLETICS
As both a coach and an administrator, Martin enjoyed a long and successful career in collegiate athletics.
Following a successful coaching career at Tuskegee, where he led the Golden Tigers to numerous baseball and football conference championships, Martin made the move to athletics administration, which in 1996 led to a return to his alma mater when he was hired as Alabama A&M’s Director of Athletics.
During his 10-year tenure as Alabama A&M’s Director of Athletics, Martin led the Athletic Department through an era of growth and prosperity as AAMU made the transition to NCAA Division I membership.
By building a strong network of contacts, Martin was extremely successful in raising funds for Alabama A&M Athletics through sponsorships and promotions, which helped expand the resources available to the university’s student-athletes.
Martin also initiated a publicity campaign for the annual Athletics Department Golf Tournament to help gain more cooperate sponsorships.
Martin founded the Athletics Community Support Group, which assisted fans to travel and cheer for the Bulldogs at events both on and away from campus.
While Alabama A&M was making the transition to NCAA Division I membership, Martin expanded the Athletic Department and its staff to meet the needs necessary to be competitive at a higher level. Martin implemented and staffed a full-time office for Academic Enhancement, a full-time Compliance Office, a Sports Medicine staff, CHAMPS and Life Skills.
Martin also was instrumental in expanding Alabama A&M’s media and community presence. During his tenure, Martin implemented the Bulldog Talk radio show, the AAMU Football Review television show, AAMU Day in the Mall and AAMU Day at Costco. Martin also was able to schedule Alabama A&M in the Circle City Classic, John Merritt Classic, CRSA Classic and St. Louis Gateway Classic.
Through Martin’s fundraising efforts, Alabama A&M enjoyed several facility upgrades. Martin initiated the construction of the new baseball and softball fields, a new Officials’ Lockerroom at Louis Crews Stadium, a new women’s soccer field, a women’s volleyball lockerroom and a new football practice field complete with lights and an operable scoreboard.
Before returning to his alma mater as Director of Athletics, Martin enjoyed a very-successful collegiate coaching career.
While coaching baseball at Tuskegee, Martin led the Golden Tigers to 10 SIAC championships while placing three pitchers in Major League Baseball. Martin was named SIAC Baseball Coach of the Year seven times.
After spending 13 seasons as an assistant football coach at Tuskegee, Martin was promoted to head coach, where he won two SIAC championships in 1987 and 1991. In 1998, Martin made the move to athletics administration when he was hired as Tuskegee’s Director of Athletics. Martin also served as an athletic director at South Carolina State and Long Island University before returning to Alabama A&M in 1996.
HALI ANDREW ROBINSON | STUDENT-ATHLETE | FOOTBALL
Robinson was a multi-sport student-athlete at Alabama A&M in the late 1960s who enjoyed success in football along with track and field.
As a football player at Alabama A&M, Robinson lettered four years from 1967-70 as a wide receiver for hall of fame coach Louis Crews.
During his collegiate football career, Robinson emerged as one of Alabama A&M’s top wide receivers, earning accolades from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
After finishing his Alabama A&M football career, in 1971, Robinson signed as a free agent with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.
Robinson has remained involved in athletics throughout his life, working as a high school basketball and track and field coach.
As a track and field coach, Robinson coached two nationally-recognized sprinters: 2004 Olympic gold medalist Moushaumi Robinson University of South Carolina All-American Khalilah Carpenter.
Robinson also has enjoyed a high school basketball coaching career that has spanned across three decades. Robison coached Ohio high school state power Brookhaven (Columbus) for 11 seasons, leading the program to five 20-win seasons and one state tournament appearance. When Columbus City Schools opted to close Brookhaven in 2014 due to school consolidation, Robinson continued his coaching career at Mifflin (Columbus) High School.
KENDRICK ROGERS | STUDENT-ATHLETE | FOOTBALL
Rogers was a talented offensive lineman who starred for Alabama A&M from 1997-00 before playing four NFL seasons.
Rogers signed with Alabama A&M in 1996 after graduating from Blount High School in Mobile, Ala. After receiving a redshirt in 1996, Rogers worked his way onto the field as a redshirt freshman in 1997, where he recorded 14 tackles, two tackles for loss and two sacks as a defensive end.
As a redshirt sophomore in 1998, Rogers made the move to the offensive line, where he became one of the top offensive tackles in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
In 1998, Rogers helped pave the way for an Alabama A&M offense that averaged 353.3 yards per game while recording 126 rushing first downs. The following season, as a redshirt junior, Rogers anchored an offensive line that paved the way for an offense that averaged 360.7 yards per game.
As a senior in 2000, Rogers anchored an offensive line that paved the way for an offense that averaged 333.3 yards per game. That season, he was selected as the team’s offensive MVP.
Rogers earned numerous accolades during his Alabama A&M career. In 1998, Rogers was a Preseason All-SWAC selection, and following the 1999 and 2000 seasons, he was a First-Team All-SWAC selection.
Rogers was a Black College Football All-America selection following his senior season in 2000, and ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper ranked Rogers as the No. 18 Offensive Tackle heading into the 2001 NFL Draft.
Following his senior season at Alabama A&M, Rogers was a Blue-Grey All-Star selection (first in AAMU history) and he participated in the Senior Bowl (second in AAMU history). Rogers also was the first player in Alabama A&M history to receive an invitation to the NFL Combine.
Rogers signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2001. After playing two seasons with the Eagles, Rogers signed with the Arizona Cardinals, where he played the final two seasons of his NFL career. Rogers also played in the NFL Europe, where he earned a World Bowl Championship while starting at right tackle for the Frankfurt Galaxy.