PRCC to induct 6 into Sports Hall of Fame

October 11, 2011 - 8:25am -- braswell

POPLARVILLE - Pearl River Community College will induct six new members into its Sports Hall of Fame here Saturday (Oct. 15) as part of the college 2011 homecoming celebration. The list includes women softball star Maghan James (2004-05) of Oak Grove, the school first-ever softball inductee into the Sports Hall of Fame. Other inductees include former football stars Sammy Broyles of Kentwood, La., who was an All-State running back at PRCC from 1956-58, Chris Ryan of Sulphur, La., an all-state and All-American fullback from 1992-93, Steve Nagy of Petal, an all-state and All-American defensive end from 1975-77, and the late J. Hugh Mitchell, who was an all-state tackle from 1951-52, and former basketball star Yandell Brown, who was an all-state and all-region star at PRCC from 2002-03. Induction ceremonies for the Sports Hall of Fame members will be held at 9 a.m. at the Technology Center on the PRCC campus. All five, along with Mary Jean Saulters, the 2011 Alumnus of the Year, and the 2011 Distinguished Service Award recipients, Hattiesburg Coca-Cola United and St. Michael Foundation of Picayune, will be recognized during the alumni luncheon set for 11:30 a.m. in the Crosby Hall Cafeteria and during halftime of the PRCC-East Mississippi football game at Dobie Holden Stadium.Maghan James James already has her name carved into the Pearl River Community College record books. As an all-state and all-region 23 softball player for the Wildcats from 2004-05, she batted .515 with eight home runs, both school records, her sophomore season. I get choked up when I think about this, said James, who is beginning her fourth season as assistant softball coach at PRCC. It is something I never thought I would accomplish. I love this school and I love working here. James came to PRCC from Oak Grove High School. She was the starting second baseman both years, leading the Lady Wildcats to the state tournament her freshman season. My two years here were awesome. They were also intense, said James. I learned a lot. I really became a better athlete my two years here. I loved the atmosphere. James wasnt just a good athlete, but she carried a 3.9 grade-point average as well. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Following her PRCC career, she signed with William Carey University, where she was an all-conference player and NAIA academic All-American for two years while earning a physical education degree with a minor in biology. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in higher education and administration at Carey.Sammy Broyles The story goes that it did not take long for fullback Sammy Broyles to make an impact at Pearl River College where football was concerned. The year was 1957. The opening game of the season was against Hinds Junior College. Broyles, who had signed with LSU following an outstanding high school career at Kentwood (La.) High School, was a starter behind quarterback Jimmy Gatwood. It was a rainy night. On Pearl River first possession, Broyles told Gatwood, Jimmy, gimme the ball and Ill run for a touchdown. Gatwood told Broyles, Were on our own 35-yard line. Broyles responded, Just gimme the ball, and I''ll score a touchdown. Unconvinced, Gatwood caved in, called a fullback play, handed the ball to Broyles, who then ran 65 yards for a touchdown, the first of four touchdowns he scored that night, still to this day, the second best in school history. He went on to have a stellar season at PRC and was named to the all-state team. The Wildcats wound up having a successful season, finishing 6-2-1, and Broyles carved his name into the record books. Coach Holden was a legend, I know that, said Broyles. He the only coach I ever had who paid me a compliment for running the football. So I am pretty happy about this honor. Broyles went on to sign with USM and played on the 1958 USM undefeated team that won the small college national championship. An injury his senior season ended his football career.Chris Ryan In PRCC long and storied football history, Chris Ryan was the Wildcats most punishing runner of all time, a runaway train so to speak. People around Mississippi junior college circles still talk about his explosive style, his ability to run like a tailback for a man who tipped the scales at 260 pounds. Ryan, who played his high school ball at Sulphur (La.) High School, is still PRCC all-time leading rusher. His school record 2,688 career yards ranks first. His rushing attempts (224) and yards (1,424) his sophomore season rank first. He was just as dynamic his freshman season, rushing for 1,243 yards and 16 touchdowns, leading the Wildcats to a 10-1 record and the MACJC state championship game. They would finish No. 4 in the nation. He was first team all-state both years and first team All-American his sophomore season. Pearl River was a great experience for me, said Ryan. I had never been away from home before. I was like a little baby. I actually cried when I got there. I learned quite a bit of football under Coach Coats while I was there. The Wildcats were 16-5 in his two years at PRCC.Steve Nagy Steve Nagy looks back to his transformation from a skinny high school football player at Petal to his selection as a junior college All-American at PRCC and laughs about it now. As a senior at Petal High in 1975, he stood 6-foot-2, weighed 167 pounds and was nicknamed the stork. Two seasons later, as a sophomore defensive end at PRCC, he weighed 220 pounds, made the JuCo All-State team and JC All-American second team while leading the 1976 Wildcats to the state championship. Those two years at Pearl River were the two best years of my life, said Nagy, 53. I worked under some very good coaches. Obtaining a football scholarship was not an easy task for Nagy, as he explains. I came to Pearl River to try out and J.C. Arban was the coach. Coach Arban liked the way I was aggressive, but he was worried about my weight, said Nagy. My high school coach (Mike Walters) told me about eating peanut butter, eggs, honey and this weight-gain supplement. I would take that stuff every night before I went to bed, and I was doing a lot of squats. Meanwhile, I waited for a scholarship letter from (Arban). Three or four of my friends had already signed with PRC. I was the last one to get a letter. When I got that letter, it was the greatest day of my life. When camp arrived, Nagy showed up weighing 215 pounds, shocking Arban and his staff. He told me, boy, you look like you could go bear hunting with a switch. One day in practice, I hit our quarterback pretty good and he ran over to me, grabbed my facemask and said, boy, you hit my quarterback again and I will run your tail back to Petal. He was serious. He was also a good coach, like all our coaches on that team.J. Hugh Mitchell. Mitchell, who died in 1995, played defensive tackle for PRCC from 1951-52. He made the 1952 all-state team for the Wildcats, a team that finished as co-champions of the Mississippi Junior College Conference with a 9-0-1 record. Mitchell went on to play at the University of Southern Mississippi (1953-54), where he is still remembered as one of the outstanding tackles to ever play at USM. He was an outstanding prep player at Picayune High before joining the Army. Then it was on to PRCC. While at USM, the 1953 team finished 9-2, including victories over both Alabama and Georgia. In 1954, USM won four of its first six games, including another win over Alabama. But a knee injury against UT-Chattanooga ended his career.Yandell Brown Brown, a native of Eastman, Ga., was a point guard for the Wildcat basketball team.As a sophomore, he made all-state and all-region while leading the Wildcats to a state championship for coach Richard Mathis. He led the Wildcats in scoring with an average of 24 points per game. As a freshman, he scored 42 points in a victory in the Suntrust Tip Off Tournament in Alabama. Yandell is probably all in all, one of the top one or two players that I have coached since I have been at Pearl River, as far as producing and being really good at his position, having the ability to put the team on his back and carry us to victory, said Mathis. He was a pure-point guard, looked like a defensive back. He only stood 5-foot-10, but he was a strong kid. He could play 40 minutes without ever getting tired. He could shoot the three pointer or take it to the goal. Brown went on to play two years at Columbus (Ga.) State.</p>