Southern Poly revealed the members of its first athletics hall of fame, which was announced Wednesday following a months-long submission and review process.
A total of 34 former athletes were named to the hall, representing more than six decades of competition.
Matt Griffin, a former Southern Poly baseball player who went on to coach the Hornets and become Southern Poly’s final athletic director, was one of the main organizers of the hall. In fact, he was also one of the first inductees.
“As I look back through the list, there are some tremendously talented and good people who are members of this class,” said Griffin, now an assistant athletic director at Kennesaw State. “When you talk about the best of the best at a university that’s been around a long time, there are some remarkable folks on that list. It’s truly an amazing group when you read through their bodies of work.”
Coaches and administrators are set to be added to the hall Sept. 22, with teams and what the university refers to as “individuals for distinguished service” set for Oct. 13.
According to a release, athletes were chosen in one of two categories — for their athletic achievement at Southern Poly, or for professional achievement while in school or after they left the university.
In the former category, an inductee “must have participated in athletics for at least two seasons at Southern Poly, graduated and made a significant impact or earned special recognition while competing.”
Twenty-seven inductees received entry through athletic accomplishments, while seven were inducted for professional experience.
“There were a lot of people involved in putting this group together,” Griffin said. “We’re all very proud of it.”
Griffin estimates that through nominations and research, the committee filtered through approximately 150 eligible nominees, from a list covered names from all decades that Southern Poly was in operation.
Griffin, a three-year starting shortstop from 1996-98 who starred on the Hornets’ 1997 NAIA tournament team, was inducted with his brother, Daniel, a shortstop from 2006-08 who was part of NAIA tournament teams in 2007 and ’08.
“I’m thrilled to be inducted,” Matt Griffin said. “It’s truly an honor. I met a lot of great people there, and Southern Poly means a lot to me. I’m truly humbled by the honor.”
Eventually, the Southern Poly hall will be housed as a wing of the KSU Athletic Association Hall of Fame, which was established in 2003.
Inductees will be honored March 27 at Southern Poly, and at halftime of Kennesaw State’s spring football game the following day at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
“Due to the consolidation, we’ve taken the opportunity to do just one induction class, which just seems like the appropriate way to do it,” Griffin said. “That’s why this first group includes 34 people. A lot of student-athletes have come through there over time, and all of them should be proud of what they accomplished.”