UMES' IRA SMITH TO BE INDUCTED INTO MEAC HALL OF FAME
Ira Smith with a practice swing circa 1990.
Ira Smith with a practice swing circa 1990.

Jan. 13, 2010

2010 MEAC Hall of Fame Induction Photo Gallery ft. Ira Smith

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced today its 2010 Hall of Fame Class and it features former Hawk hardballer Ira "Dude" Smith, a 2004 inductee into the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's (UMES) Hall of Fame.

Smith who is from Chestertown, Md., was a two-time NCAA Division I batting champion. He won the titles in 1989 and 1990 with a .488 and .519 average respectively. With that feat, Smith became the first player ever in NCAA history to win back-to-back batting titles. The feat has only been matched once, when Rickie Weeks, now with the Milwaukee Brewers, won in 2002 and 2003. Smith and Weeks are still the only players in NCAA DI history to win two batting titles.

Smith ranks sixth all-time in the NCAA Division I record books with the highest season batting average of .519 in 1990 and is 14th all-time with a .431 career average for the 86 and 88-90 seasons.

Smith was considered the most consistent hitter ever to wear a Hawk uniform, once collecting 10 straight hits over a three game span and three home runs in four games. He was the team's MVP in the '89 and `90 seasons.

This will be Smith's third Hall of Fame selection as he was inducted into the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Smith was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1990 and played professionally up until 2003. His best professional season came in 1993 when he batted .334 for two different teams. That year he played for the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes where he batted .346 with 32 steals and finished the year with Double-A Wichita where he hit .231 over just nine at bats. A year later he batted .321 with the same Wichita Wingnuts club.

After playing in spring games for the San Diego Padres and batting an impressive .385, Smith went to Double-A Memphis in 1995 and was then promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. He hit .325 the rest of that season with 229 plate appearances. In 1997, Padres ex-GM Randy Smith signed Ira to a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers where he would play for the Double-A Jacksonville Suns. After hitting .308 there he was promoted to the Triple AAA Toledo Mud Hens. He would end his stint with the Mud Hens after the 1998 season at 31 years of age.

Smith would play six more seasons of Independent League baseball, mostly with the Sioux City Explorers before ending in 2003 with the Lincoln Saltdogs (American Association of Independent Baseball).

Smith began his coaching career with the same Saltdogs. He spent two seasons with them, first as a bench coach in 2004 and later their hitting coach in 2005. The Saltdogs had an impressive offensive showing under Smith, recording 1,043 hits in a season, 220 doubles, 1,612 total bases and tallying three Northern League records. He was named hitting coach of the Joliet Jackhammers in 2006. He worked the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Jackhammers and returned in 2009 for a shortened stint, finishing out the year.

As a professional, Smith has a career average of .292 over 14 seasons. He had over 4,000 at bats, 1,208 hits and played in 1,155 games.

Smith will be inducted along with four other nominees at a banquet on Friday, March 12 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the M.C. Benton, Jr. Convention Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"We are excited to recognize another outstanding class of inductees who have made a significant impact on their institutions and our conference during their collegiate days and beyond," said Dennis E. Thomas, MEAC Commissioner. "I'd like to congratulate the 2010 MEAC Hall of Fame Class for all of their achievements both athletically and professionally."

The Hall of Fame Class will be honored in conjunction with the 2010 MEAC Basketball Tournament, held March 8-13 at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (LJVM) in Winston-Salem.

Enshrinees were selected by an 11-person committee made up of administrators from each member institution. The MEAC Hall of Fame includes former student-athletes, coaches, university and/or conference administrators as well as special contributors, who have enriched the legacy of the conference since its inception in 1969.

The MEAC Hall of Fame inducted its first class on May 29, 1981, during a 10-year anniversary banquet in Greensboro, North Carolina. Since its establishment in 1981, the Hall of Fame has enshrined 103 people, including the Class of 2010.

The remaining 2010 MEAC Hall of Fame Inductees are:

Inducted as a Student-Athlete:

Rickey Anderson, South Carolina State: was the first South Carolina State football player to surpass the 1,000 yard mark with 1,195 total yards. In 1977, he guided the Bulldogs to a 6-0 conference mark en route to their fourth consecutive MEAC title. That same year, he earned All-MEAC First-Team accolades and was named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Year. The 1977 Associated Press College Division All-American holds the school record for career averages per carry (6.5; 1974-77). Anderson was a third-round draft choice by the San Diego Chargers in the 1978 National Football League (NFL) draft. He was inducted into the South Carolina State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 and was a member of the South Carolina State Centennial football team in 2008.

Jacquay Nunnally, Florida A&M: was a three-time football Division I All-American at Florida A&M, who led the Rattlers to the NCAA Division I FCS (formerly I-AA) playoffs in 1997-2000. He is second all-time in NCAA Division I FCS football record books in career pass receptions with 317 for 4,239 yards and 38 touchdowns. Nunnally holds the NCAA Division I FCS record for most yards gained by a freshman during a game in his 284 yard performance on October 11, 1997 against North Carolina A&T. He caught 13 passes in the victory. Nunally led the FCS in 1998 in receiving with 96 receptions for 1,316 yards and 12 touchdowns. The four-time All-MEAC First-Team honoree (1997-2000) was named the Black College Player of the Year in 1998 and 2000. He concluded his collegiate career with 362 catches and was inducted into the Florida A&M Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Ted White, Howard: served as quarterback for the Howard football team from 1995-1998 and was named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1996. He holds the MEAC and school record for passing completions (638), passing yardage (9,908) and touchdown passes (92) during his tenure at Howard. White set the MEAC record for a single-game best mark in passing yards with 561 and eight TD's against Florida A&M on October 17, 1998. He leads the MEAC with 1,169 passing attempts and 9,845 total offensive yards in his four-year career. White played professionally in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1998 and the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999.

Inducted as a Conference Administrator:

Ed Hill, Howard: has served as the Sports Information Director at Howard for over two decades (1983-present). The talented writer's stories have appeared in USA Today and the NCAA News. Hill is a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and Black College Sports Information Directors of America (BCSIDA). He is also active in the Washington, DC community where he served as head coach and co-founder of the DC Warriors basketball program and as a counselor for the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP). Hill is also an adjunct professor at Howard where he teaches a course on Sports and the Media. He has worked 283 consecutive Howard football games and has not missed a game since the 1984 season. In 2005, Hill was honored by CoSIDA as the Bob Kenworthy Award recipient for his community service outside the profession. He was honored by CoSIDA again in 2009 when he was presented with the 15-Year Service Award. Prior to his appointment at Howard, Hill was a staff writer for the Winston-Salem Chronicle and the Black College Sports Page. He has also worked as a news aide and freelance writer for the Washington Post.

Portions of this release appear compliments of the MEAC Media Relations Office.