By Florida A&M Sports Information
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 28) – The Florida A&M University Sports Hall of Fame will induct five new members into its’ ranks during enshrinement ceremonies on Friday, September 14, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. in the Alfred Lawson Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium on the FAMU campus.
This year’s enshrinement, which marks the 37th class of FAMU sports personalities to be recognized, is part of the overall 125th anniversary celebration at the university this year.
The 2012 FAMU Sports Hall of Fame class is highlighted by current women’s volleyball coach Tanio “Tony” Trifonov, along with athletes Chris Burls (tennis), Darrell Spence (basketball) and Burney Adams (football), along with Eddie Shannon, the school’s first-ever full-time athletic trainer, as a supporter of athletics.
Tickets are $50 each, and may be purchased beginning in July. Tables seating eight can be reserved for $400 through the Sports Hall of Fame by called (850) 906-9150.
Below are the biographic sketches of the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame’s “Fabulous Five”:
ADAMS, BURNEY (Football * 1958-62) – A native of Savannah, Georgia, Burney Adams came to Florida A&M University following a stint in the United States Military, going from walk-on to standout under the legendary coach Jake Gaither.
Adams, whose fierce determination on the field earned him the nickname “Killer Boy,” also earned a spot on the varsity squad in 1958, and was one of three freshmen to make the Rattler travel squad.
He was a member of the undefeated Black College National Championship teams in 1959 and 1961, and FAMU’s 1962 Associated Press Small College National Championship team, for which he served as team captain.
The 1962 Lineman of the Year as a senior, Adams was also a first-team All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selection and an All-America nominee in 1962.
After graduation, Adams spent the next 42 years teaching and coaching at Weequahic High School in Newark, New Jersey, where he served 36 years as head football coach, producing a number of college players during his tenure.
BURLS, CHRISTOPER J. (Men’s Tennis • 1990-93) – A four-year court star for the Rattler Tennis team, Burls helped lead FAMU to four straight MEAC titles (1990-91-92-93).
Burls played the #2 singles slot in Coach Bob Mungen’s lineup, winning the #2 singles title in the MEAC three times in his four seasons (1991-92-93), teaming with Suru Balogun to win three straight #1 doubles’ crowns (1991-92-93).
The former three-time team captain (1991-93), is a graduate of the FAMU School of Business and Industry, with a degree in finance, and holds an MBA from Duke University.
He currently works as the corporate developmental strategy director at Energy Future Holdings in Allen, Texas.
SPENCE, DARRELL (Basketball, 1978-82) – This unselfish, and supremely dedicated court performer, guard/forward Darryl Spence was a two-time team MVP (1980, 1982) and was a two-time All-meac first-team selection (1981, 1982)….
An All-rookie selection in the SIAC in 1978, Spence was a key part of the Rattlers’ transition from Division Two to Division One….
He was a key cog in FAMU’s first-ever winning season in Division One, the 1980-81 campaign when the Rattlers won 18 games, stunning several in-state schools including South Florida, Jacksonville and Stetson, while scoring a near-miss against cross town Florida State….
An All-City and All-State performer from Detroit’s fabled Cooley High, Spence set a MEAC single-season record for field goal shooting with a robust .564 (184 of 326) standard in 1980-81…
He finished his career with a 13.9 scoring average, while averaging 4.7 rebounds….
TRIFONOV, TONY (Volleyball Coach * 1997-Present) – This native of Bulgaria has developed the FAMU Women’s Volleyball program into one of Division One’s most consistent threats during his 15-year tenure.
The Lady Rattlers have won 10 of their 13 MEAC titles during Trifonov’s tenure, including nine (9) straight titles (2001-09), winning 91 consecutive conference matches at one stretch, and 48 straight conference bouts by 3-0 counts – an unprecedented run of dominance likely never to be equaled.
Trifonov has recruited a widely diverse group of talented players both domestically and from abroad, which raised the level of his team’s play, and he challenged his squads with strong non-conference schedules, which bore some positive results.
His 2003 squad defeated Winthrop (S.C.) University, 3-1 in the opening round of the NCAA Regionals in Atlanta, becoming the first HBCU to claim an NCAA Tournament win.
Earlier that season, the Lady Rattlers knocked off SEC power LSU in Baton Rouge and upset nationally-ranked Louisville in a tournament.
But the program reached pinnacle of success in 2004, when his club stunned #1-ranked Nebraska, 3-1 in the finals of the Husker Invitational, becoming the first non-conference team in over 25 years to best Nebraska on their home floor.
That FAMU squad would finish the year with a school record 26 wins, including a 3-1 road win over perennial power Long Beach State, before garnering yet another HBCU first.
FAMU was selected to host a 2004 NCAA Regional in Gaither Gymnasium, featuring the University of Florida and eventual national champion, Stanford University.
An accomplished volleyball player in his own right in his home country, which he represented as a member of the 1984 Bulgarian Olympic team, Trifonov has fashioned an impressive 295-140 overall record at FAMU, and a 139-5 record against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference competition, with 10 conference titles and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances.
SHANNON, EDDIE (Football, 1946-50; Athletic Trainer, 1950-53) – This Palmetto, Florida native was the first full-time Athletic Trainer at Florida A&M, serving in the role from 1950 to 1953, following his graduation from FAMU in 1950….
Shannon, played football for Jake Gaither at FAMU from 1946 to 1950, following a stint in the military….
Now retired and living in Palmetto, Florida, Shannon had a distinguished career in the Central Florida region as an educator and coach in the public school system, garnering numerous service awards for his work both in education and in the community.