Torry Holt and Sam Mills are Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists and will find out next month if they will be included in the Sanctuary’s Class of 2022.
Whatever happens, both will be honored for their sporting achievements this year.
Holt and Mills were announced Wednesday as two of 10 new members elected to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. They will be inducted in a ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center on Friday, April 22 along with Luke Appling, Missouri Arledge, Ronnie Barnes, Henry Bibby, Dan Brooks, Timmy Newsome, Dave Robbins and Tom Suiter.
Former Wake Forest basketball star Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, a member of last year’s class who was unable to attend his induction, will also be among those recognized.
“This year’s class includes a wide variety of athletic accomplishments, including professional, college, high school, Olympic and media sports, with special contributions,” said Dr. Jerry McGee, chairman of the Hall’s Board of Trustees, in a press release. “This class of inductees and their outstanding achievements continue to build on North Carolina’s rich sporting heritage. We look forward to celebrating these exceptional individuals in our state’s sporting history.
A native of Gibsonville, Holt earned All-America prep honors at Eastern Guilford High School before almost completely rewriting the receiving chapter in the NC State record books. He still holds the Wolfpack school records for receiving yards in career (3,379), season (1,604) and game (255 against Baylor in 1990).
Nicknamed “Big Game” because of his penchant for playing his best when the stakes were highest, Holt became an integral part of the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” after being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.
Holt caught 52 passes and six touchdowns helping his team to Super Bowl XXXIV as a rookie. He then recorded an NFL record 1,300 or more receiving yards in six consecutive seasons, while appearing in seven Pro Bowls in 11 seasons and ranking 13th all-time in career yards with 13,382.
Mills was the Carolina Panthers’ first star and veteran during the expansion franchise’s formative years. His interception return for a touchdown was the key play in the Panthers’ first-ever victory.
Although small for a 5-foot-9 linebacker from an even smaller college — Montclair State — Mills had 12 standout NFL seasons, including seven with the New Orleans Saints after starting his career with the Philadelphia. USFL stars.
He led the Panthers in tackles in two of his three seasons with the team en route to his fifth Pro Bowl selection. As beloved as he was as a player, with his number 51 retired, Mills earned even more respect for his courageous battle with cancer. He coined the phrase “Keep Pounding” which continues to be the motto of the Panthers. Mills died in 2005 aged 45
Here’s a look at the rest of this year’s NC Sports Hall of Fame class (*-posthumously elected):
- Luke Appling* – One of seven North Carolina natives in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Appling played an incredible 20 years in the major leagues from 1930 to 1950, all with the Chicago White Sox from 1930 to 1950 The High Point-born shortstop was a seven-time American League All-Star and a two-time AL batting champion, batting .388 in 1936. Appling hit better than .300 15 times during his MLB career.
- Missouri Arledge* – A star athlete from Durham’s Hillside High, from which she graduated in 1953, Arledge averaged 31.3 points per game during her senior basketball season. She went to Philander Smith College in Arkansas, scoring 21.0 ppg as a sophomore and becoming the first African-American woman to play in an AAU tournament (1954) and the first to be named an AAU All-American the next season. She was even offered to be the first woman to play with the Harlem Globetrotters. Arledge transferred to Tuskegee Institute and continued acting, but earned two master’s degrees and worked in education, including Hillside.
- Ronnie Barnes – A 1975 graduate of East Carolina’s sports medicine program, Barnes became an assistant track coach and instructor at ECU before moving to Michigan State, where he coached athletics in chief and obtained his master’s degree. He moved to the New York Giants in the NFL as an athletic trainee, becoming head athletic trainer in 1980 and now senior vice president of medical services, working more than 40 years for the Giants. He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and was twice that organization’s National Professional Coach of the Year.
- Henry Bibby – A native of Franklinton, Bibby was the starting point guard for UCLA men’s basketball teams that won three consecutive NCAA championships in the early 1970s, averaging 14.4 career points per game and earning first-team All-American honors. He played nine NBA seasons, winning a title with the New York Knicks. As a coach in Southern California, he led three teams to the NCAA Tournament, including an Elite Eight trip in 2001. Bibby held various coaching roles in professional basketball, including head coach of star Lisa Leslie and the LA Sparks in the WNBA and as an assistant with Memphis and Detroit in the NBA.
- Dan Brooks – Brooks had a distinguished career of unparalleled success in nearly four decades as head women’s golf coach at Duke. Brooks has guided her teams to seven NCAA national championships and 21 Atlantic Coast Conference titles, and her 140 team wins are the most by any women’s golf coach in Division I history. the NCAA. Seven-time National Coach of the Year, he is a member of the Duke University Sports Hall of Fame and the National Golf Coaches Association Hall.
- Timmy Newsome – An Ahoskie native, Newsome is Winston-Salem State’s second all-time rushing rusher with 3,843 yards in four seasons. He was selected in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and went on to enjoy nine seasons in the NFL, making the Cowboys All-Decade Team for the 1980s. He scored 30 touchdowns as an NFL player, including 19 on the ground and 11 in the air. He is a member of both the CIAA Hall of Fame and the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
- Dave Robbins – Robbins grew up in Gastonia, where he was a top athlete at Ashley High. He went on to a tremendous career as a men’s basketball coach, best known for leading NCAA Division II at Virginia Union University with 713 wins and three NCAA National Championships, as well as 14 CIAA titles. . His winning percentage at Virginia Union was .786 in 30 years. Robbins is a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and CIAA Hall of Fame.
- Tom Suiter – A native of Rocky Mount and a graduate of Erskine College, Suiter was WRAL-TV’s sports anchor in Raleigh from 1971 to 2016. The winner of two regional Emmys and the 1990 NC Sportscaster of the Year, he covered 24 Final Fours of the NCAA and created the groundbreaking “Football Friday” coverage, featuring high school football highlights, as well as the “Extra Effort Award” for student-athletes. Suiter is in several halls of fame, including the NCHSAA Hall of Fame and the NC Broadcasters Hall of Fame.