Courtesy: TSU Athletics
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The 1957-59 Tennessee A&I NAIA National Championship teams were recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The teams, featuring legendary players such as Richard Barnett and John Barnhill, were one of 12 honorees in this year’s Class of 2019. The class was celebrated at the enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, Sept. 5-7.
Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover, Athletics Director Teresa Phillips, and men’s basketball coach Brian “Penny” Collins were among those who attended the event.
The 1957-59 teams were the first in basketball history to win back-to-back-to-back championships in any college division. Coached by the late Hall of Fame coach John McLendon, the teams went 31-4, 31-3 and 32-1 in his final three years at the helm of the Tigers, garnering the school’s first national championship. The 32-win season remains the most-winningest season for Tennessee State basketball.
Richard Barnett, the fourth pick in the 1959 draft and a member of the back-to-back-to-back championship teams, represented Tennessee State at the induction.
“It was a wonderful experience for them to finally acknowledge the great team Tennessee State was and the contribution that we made being a part of a team that was able to acheive such great things during the crisis of the height of segregation” said Barnett. “Now, the young people at Tennessee State can remember the history of what was accomplished.”
Coach Collins said witnessing the historic moment was “inspiring.”
“Not many know the greats that came out of TSU, such as Anthony Mason, Carlos Rogers, as well as members of the teams that were honored tonight – Dick Barnett and John Barnhill,” said Collins. “This induction hopefully encourages our current student-athletes to strive for greatness and acheive more.”
Members of the three NAIA championship teams:
Richard Barnett, 1955-59
John Barnhill, 1956-59
Hillary Brown, 1959-61
Joseph Buckhalter, 1956
Charles “Henry” Carlton, 1955-56
Robert Clark, 1959-61
Albert Cook, 1956
Melvin Davis, 1959-61
Lavert France, 1959-60
Ronald Hamilton, 1954-56
Ronald Heflin, 1958-61
Porter “Mert” Merriweather, 1959-62
Remus Nesbit, 1952-56
Rueben Perry, 1955-58
Gregory Pharr, 1959
James Satterwhite, 1956-59
Nurlin Tarrant, 1955-59
Ben Warley, 1958-60
Elliott “Peco” Warley, 1959-61
Eugene Werts, 1958-61
Department of Media Relations
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.