Heroes from the worlds of baseball, football, basketball, and volleyball, as well as a sports innovator and educator highlight the 2017 class of the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame.
The class was announced Wednesday. The induction ceremony and banquet will take place Thursday April 6th at the Battle House Hotel.
The six inductees are Jason Caffey, Lawyer Tillman, Dave Stapleton, Thomas Rosandich, Ann Schilling, and Jerrel Wilson.
Caffey was Alabama Mr. Basketball at Davidson High School. He played four years at Alabama, three as a starter. He was All-SEC his senior season and led the Tide to three NCAA Tournament appearances. A first round pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1995, Caffey played on two Bulls NBA Championship teams. He had a nine year NBA career with Chicago, Golden State, and Milwaukee.
Tillman prepped at LeFlore High School before going to Auburn where he was a four year starter at wide receiver. His touchdown run on a reverse with a half minute remaining won the 1986 Iron Bowl for the Tigers. Tillman played five years in the NFL as a tight end and wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers.
Stapleton played baseball at Robertsdale High, Faulkner State C.C., and South Alabama before embarking on a professional career. His 1975 Jaguar team won a school record 52 games. Brought up to the big leagues in the 1980 season, Stapleton hit .321 with 7 HRs and 45 RBI in 106 games for the Boston Red Sox to finish second in American league Rookie of the Year balloting. He spent seven seasons with the Red Sox, finishing his career with a .271 batting average.
Rosandich is a pioneer in sports management and coaching education having founded the United States Sports Academy. He coached track and field clinics and seminars in fifty different countries and at one point was the coach of the Indonesian national track and field team. He was awarded the highest International Olympic Committee honor – The Olympic Order, in 1997. In 1972, while athletic director at Wisconsin-Milwaukee he founded the United States Spirts Academy. He moved the Academy to Mobile in 1976 when he took a job at the University of South Alabama, and then took it across the Mobile Bay to Daphne in 1982. The USSA has bestowed 5,000 bachelor’s masters and doctoral degrees.
Schilling won three state championships in volleyball and two in basketball at McGill-Toolen High School.
He played four years of basketball and one of volleyball at Auburn University. Schilling became head volleyball coach at Bayside Academy in 1987 and has won 21 state championships with the Admirals, including an active streak of 15 in a row. She’s named Alabama Volleyball Coach of the year six times and was named National Coach of the Year in 2010.
Wilson was a football star at Murphy High School and was later a small college All-American at Southern Miss. Drafted by the NFL’s L.A. Rams and the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, he signed the Chiefs and spent the next 15 seasons as their punter. He was named punter on the All AFL Team when the league merged with the NFL in 1970. Wilson appeared in two Super Bowls with the Chiefs and was named All Pro seven times. Wilson passed away in 2005.
In addition to the inductees, the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame will recognize a special contributor, John L. “Doc” Finley. Finley opened Finley’s Pharmacy on Davis Avenue in 1950 and sponsored dozens of youth and amateur teams on the city’s Northside, as well as being a community philanthropist. In 1964, he started the “John L. Finley Award” to recognize achievement in sports in the African-American community.