SPORTS HALL OF FAME TO INDUCT 8 NEW MEMBERS
North Carolina A&T State University Athletics has selected four basketball players, two football players and one baseball player and one volleyball player to be inducted into the N.C. A&T Sports Hall of Fame at a dinner on Sept. 7.
The eight inductees will be introduced at a 4 p.m. press conference Thursday, Sept. 6 in Stallings Ballroom. They will also be introduced to Aggie fans before N.C. A&T’s 6 p.m., football game against West Virginia State at Aggie Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Among the inductees are former MEAC standouts N.C. A&T football players, Demetrius Harrison (linebacker) and James White (running back). MEAC basketball standouts are James Anderson and Thomas Griffis, Jr. Also being inducted is one of A&T’s Batting Champions and standout Willie Morrison.
The three female athletes being honored are former basketball standouts Eva Patterson-Heath and Marsha Simmons as well as volleyball standout Carmen Barrantes-Santa Maria.
James “Doc” Anderson Sr.
James was all MEAC 1st team selection 1981 and 1982; he was the only unanimous choice in 1981. Also, he was voted to the MEAC best defensive team, as well as 1st team MEAC Tournament selection. He was Aggie Holiday Classic tournament first team member and Classic MVP. During his two years as a member of the Aggie basketball team, he led the team in assists and steals. He was second in scoring and third in rebounding. In March 2009, James was Selected as “One of the top 40 MEAC Players” by the Triad Weekly.
Carmen Barrantes- Santamaria
Carmen was voted most valuable player in 1982, 1983, and 1984. She was selected to the All-Tournament team for her outstanding performance during the tournament. She played on the USA Virgin Island national team in 1982 prior to playing for the Lady Aggies Volleyball team. Furthermore, she was a member of other teams outside of the United States such as the Central Caribbean Games of Cuba and Havana, as well as the Dominican Games.
The volleyball skills that Carmen executed during games and practices were more advanced than her teammates. She specialized as an attacker averaging six to seven kills and service points per game. Her leaping ability made her a threat both offensively and defensively as she transitioned from attacker to blocker.
Thomas Lee Griffis Jr.
Thomas was voted MEAC All-Conference player three times. During his career as an Aggie, he played on four conference championship teams. During this time, the Aggie men’s basketball team also participated in the NCAA tournament four consecutive years. Thomas was the MEAC Tournament MVP in 1986 and 1987. Thomas played in 118 games for our Aggies wherein, they won 77% of those games. He was the all-time assist leader with 582, all time steals leader with 261, and third all-time free throw percentage with 83.3%.
Demetrius Antonio Harrison
As a member of our Aggie football team, Demetrius is one of four, three-time all MEAC first team selection in school history. He was a two-time MEAC defensive player of the year, as well as one of the only two AP All-Americans in Aggie History. He was the leading tackler three consecutive years with 497 career tackles. In other words, Demetrius was a tackling machine. He was a four year career starter. Demetrius Nickname, “Uni” is listed as No. 1 Linebacker in school history and of the Greatest Aggies of all time.
Eva was a starting five player during her four year career for our Aggie women’s basketball program. She lettered three years 1975-1977. She was Co-captain 1974-76 and team captain her senior year. She was leading scorer 1975-1976 and leading rebounder 1976-1977. Eva was a member of NCAIAW District Three Championship Teams, 1975-77 as well as all tournament awards. Eva was presented the “Senior Award” which culminated all of her accomplishments while at A&T. One of her teammates said, “[Eva] shines with humility that exudes her intellectual brilliance!”
Willie was a four year letterman during his baseball career at A&T. Also, he started every game with one exception during his tenure. Willie played third base; known as the hot spot in baseball. During his tenure, the Aggies were MEAC Co-champs in 1974 and MEAC Champions in 1975. For three seasons, Willie had a batting average of 357. During his senior year, he batted 395. Willie is a native of Greensboro, N.C. His coach Mel Groomes described him as being an excellent fielder and base runner.
Marsha B. Simmons
Marsha was named MEAC player of the month several times during her career at A&T as a member of our Aggie women’s basketball team. She was also recognized as a MEAC basketball star in 1983. She was team MVP. She was also second in assists, scoring and steals. Marsha nicknamed “BB” played point guard and was recognized as one of the top five most proficient guards during Coach Spruill’s tenure (1975-86). Her coach also says, “[Marsha] possessed outstanding hands, an eye to read defenses, and craftiness to create offensive freedom within our system."
James nicknamed, “The Rock” was the first Aggie to rush for over 1000 yards in a single season with 1,316. Currently, he is second in A&T history for career rushing yards with 2,736 and tied for fourth in career rushing touchdowns. James was 1st team All MEAC as well as team’s most valuable player and male athlete of the year in 1993. He was named MEAC player of the week several times and ranked 13th in the nation among division 1AA schools. He was Sporting News D1AA national player of the week when he rushed for 197 yards and scored four touchdowns against Liberty. He averaged over 6.5 yards per carry, which would be second in the school history.