CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Southern Illinois University Department of Athletics announced its 2022 Saluki Hall of Fame class today. The distinguished, eight-person class will be formally inducted in a ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14, and then make public appearances during Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Oct. 15. The 2022 class features Corky Abrams (Men’s Basketball), Kerri Blaylock (Softball Head Coach), Don DeNoon (Women’s Track & Field, Cross Country Coach), Elmer McDaniel (Football), Bob Roop (Wrestling), Derek Shelton (Baseball), Ed Thompson (Athletic Trainer) and Carisa Winters (Softball).
A member of the 1977 NCAA Sweet 16 team and 1975 NIT team, Abrams played forward for the Salukis from 1973-77. He still holds the school record for career field goal percentage (.599) and finished among SIU’s all-time leaders in scoring (1,035 points), rebounding (735) and assists (251). Southern posted a 75-33 record during his career, and he was named All-Conference in 1976 — SIU’s first season in the Missouri Valley Conference.
The all-time winningest coach in school history, Blaylock guided Southern’s softball program from 2000-22. She posted a 751-413-1 record, and during her 22 seasons as head coach, the Salukis made eight NCAA Tournament appearances. SIU earned at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament in both 2006 and 2007, becoming the only program in MVC history to reach five-consecutive NCAA Tournaments. A native of Herrin, Blaylock retired after the 2022 season.
A three-time conference Coach of the Year, DeNoon guided Southern’s women’s track & field and cross country programs from 1983-2001. During that time, SIU won six Gateway/MVC Outdoor championships (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1995, 1996), three indoor championships (1987, 1988, 1989) and one cross country championship (1992). DeNoon’s teams produced 98 conference champions, three All-Americans, and three Olympians, including throwing legend Connie Price-Smith. DeNoon died tragically in 2021.
One of the most dominant offensive linemen in college football from 2003-04, McDaniel was a consensus All-America center who played a key role in the football program’s emergence as a national power. The Salukis were 20-4 with two conference titles and two playoff appearances during McDaniel’s tenure. He helped block for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, including NFL star Brandon Jacobs in 2004. The two-time All-Conference pick is one of only seven consensus All-Americans in school history.
Roop compiled a 66-18 career record as a wrestler at SIU from 1965-69 and was a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 1968. He finished seventh in the Greco-Roman heavyweight division, losing to Soviet wrestler Aleksandr Medved, who went on to win the gold medal. A four-time National Amateur Athletic Union All-American, Roop won the NAAU Greco-Roman Heavyweight title during his senior year at SIU. After graduation, he spent three years in the Army and Special Forces, performed in professional wrestling from 1969-1988 and made a cameo appearance in the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie Paradise Alley.
Currently in his third season as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the first Saluki alum to be named the head coach or manager of a major professional sports team, Shelton played at Southern from 1989-92 and was the catcher on SIU’s last NCAA Tournament team in 1990. The Carbondale native played in 177 games for the Salukis, hit .268 and was considered a premier defensive catcher. His prestigious pro coaching career includes stops with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Minnesota Twins.
One of the longest-serving administrators in department history, Thompson worked in athletic training at Southern for 38 years and served as head trainer from 1979-2012. For 23 years, he worked with both the football and men’s basketball programs. He was the team trainer for a National Championship football squad in 1983, and nine NCAA Tournament basketball teams. During his 30 seasons with men’s basketball, 15 teams went to either NCAA or NIT postseason. Thompson is also the only college athletic trainer to work at the University Games, where he worked with Matt Painter.
A three-time First Team All-MVC pitcher, Winters was a dominant force in the circle for the Salukis from 1997-2000. She led the Valley in ERA in 1998 (0.72) and 2000 (0.72) and led the MVC in strikeouts three times. Winters is the school record holder for career strikeouts (896), saves (16) and strikeouts per 7 innings (8.96). She was a two-time All-Great Lakes Region selection and nine-time MVC Player of the Week. Winters allowed just four home runs in her four-year career.