The Southwestern Athletic Conference has announced its 2010 Hall of Fame inductees. The class includes six honorees affiliated with five of the league’s 10 member institutions: Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd (Jackson State, baseball), Clyde Duncan (Texas Southern, track and field), Charlie Granger (Southern, football / track and field), Aaron James (Grambling, basketball), Willie “Rat” McGowan (Alcorn State, baseball / football), and Shirley Walker (Alcorn State, basketball).
The class will be honored on Thursday, December 9 at an invitational reception at the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham as a part of the festivities surrounding the 2010 Farmers Insurance SWAC Football Championship Game. The inductees will also be made available to media members at the championship’s press conference at the Birmingham Sheraton on Friday, December 10 at 10:00 a.m.
Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd – Jackson State University / Baseball
In three seasons as a pitcher at Jackson State from 1978-80, Boyd amassed a 20-5 record with 12 saves and a 1.71 earned run average. He struck out 165 batters and is a member of the JSU Hall of Fame.
The son of Willie James Boyd, who played professionally in the Negro Leagues, and a native of Meridian, Mississippi, Boyd forewent his senior season with the Tigers as he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 16th round of the 1980 Major League Baseball draft.
Boyd’s 10-year Major League career spanned three teams from 1982 to 1991. He played for the Texas Rangers and Montreal Expos after making a name for himself with the Boston Red Sox from 1982-89. “Oil Can” helped lead the Red Sox to the 1986 World Series recording a career-high 16 victories with a 3.78 ERA. In 1985, he won 15 games with 154 strikeouts and a 3.70 ERA.
Currently, Boyd works as an emissary for the game of baseball devoting his time and energy to the development of young players and promoting the game across the country. He is involved with several charities and the Boston Red Sox Alumni working community service, including Kids for Cancer and the St. Jude’s Children’s Foundation.
Clyde Duncan – Texas Southern University / Track and Field
A national champion in the 60 meters, an All-America sprinter all four years, and at one time a member of three world record holding relay teams, it is difficult to decide whether Duncan’s Hall of Fame resume is more impressive as an athlete or as a coach.
After several coaching stops, including recruiting Carl Lewis to the University of Houston, the Des Moines, Iowa native returned to his alma mater in 1995 and has been at TSU ever since. An instructor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology as well as track and field coach, Duncan has mentored numerous All-America student-athletes, including the NCAA 200m indoor national champion in Tremedia Brice.
Duncan is a member of the Drake Relays Hall of Fame, the National High School Hall of Fame, and the State of Iowa Hall of Fame. He is active with his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, and the United States Jaycees. He also coaches with the Special Olympics and the NCAA YES program.
Charlie Granger – Southern University / Football and Track and Field
A two-time All-America selection in football as an offensive lineman and an All-America in track and field competing in the discus and shot put during each of his four years at Southern University, Granger went on to play in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Cardinals in the early 1960s. Granger started at right tackle in 1961 for Tom Landry’s Cowboys, a team that included the likes of Bob Lilly and Don Meredith.
After his playing days, Granger turned to the sidelines and front office, serving as the general manager and head coach of the Baton Rouge Red Wings and the Baton Rouge Golden Eagles, both semi-pro teams in Louisiana. He tallied a 28-4 record in four seasons as head coach and won three Dixie Football League championships.
The Lake Charles, Louisiana native is now the Chairperson of the Southern University Hall of Fame Commission, a position he has held since 2003. He is a retired teacher and coach from the East Baton Rouge Parrish school system and is active in several community service projects and organizations. He is also active in the NFL Retired Players Association and a member of Omega Phi Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Aaron James – Grambling State University / Basketball
A two-time All-America selection, three-time all-SWAC selection, and the 1971 SWAC Freshman of the Year in basketball, James led the NCAA in scoring during the 1973-74 season with 32.1 points per game. He scored 2,251 career points for the Tigers and was a first-round draft pick of the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Jazz in 1974.
After retiring from the NBA in 1979 and playing professionally overseas, the New Orleans native served as head coach and physical education instructor at Jarvis Christian College and later returned to his alma mater as head men’s basketball coach, assistant women’s basketball coach, and assistant athletics director. He currently holds a position as an assistant professor and is a Major’s Club advisor in Grambling’s Department of Kinesiology and Sport and Leisure Studies. He also currently serves as Assistant Bayou Classic Committee Coordinator for GSU.
James is a member of the NBA Retired Players Association and is active in several community organizations, including the Eddie G. Robinson Museum, Boy Scouts of America, Louisiana Parks and Recreation Association, Grambling Faculty Senate, and the Black Empowerment Apprenticeship Program.
Willie “Rat” McGowan – Alcorn State University / Baseball and Football
A fixture for over 40 years at Alcorn State, McGowan won 701 games as the head baseball coach for the Braves, including four division titles. “Rat” was named SWAC baseball coach of the year four times (1978, 1979, 1981, and 1988). He also served as the defensive line and defensive backs coach for the ASU football teams during his tenure.
As a player at Alcorn State from 1957 to 1960, the McComb, Mississippi native lettered four times in both football and baseball and was named captain and football team MVP in 1959. He earned the school’s inaugural Jack Spinks Award.
McGowan retired in 2009 and the baseball complex on campus is now named in his honor, along with another Alcorn State legend, Bill Foster. He was inducted into the Alcorn State Hall of Fame in 1998 and received a proclamation from the State of Mississippi in 2005. In 2005, he also received the Tom Joyner Award and the ASU Humanitarian Award.
Shirley (Gibbs) Walker – Alcorn State University / Basketball
The owner of more SWAC women’s basketball coaching victories than any other person, Walker won 493 games in 30 seasons on the sideline for her alma mater, Alcorn State University. Her Lady Braves teams won 12 regular season and six SWAC tournament titles in her tenure on “The Reservation.” They also qualified three times to the NCAA Tournament, most recently at the conclusion of the 2004-05 season.
While spending her entire coaching career at Alcorn State, Walker is also an advocate for the SWAC. She said one of her fondest memories was when Jackson State earned the league’s first women’s basketball automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament, and wearing blue and white at the game just as if she were wearing the purple and gold of ASU.
Walker served on numerous NCAA committees and is a member of the Black Coaches Association, and even though she is now retired from coaching, still teaches classes at Alcorn State. The Bude, Mississippi native is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.