As we continue to try to switch gears from basketball season to football season (it's been difficult, considering all the recent basketball news), we now switch from our basketball hall of fame of sorts (The Rafters) to the second class of our Football hall, The Wall of Excellence.
Today we move to the era with potentially the toughest selections, the 1970s-1980s. A couple of the selections below were rather obvious, but the last 3-4 slots could have gone to any of about 10-12 strong candidates. Below is a list of seven athletes that is relatively evenly distributed between the '70s and '80s and from unit to unit (there's a QB, two RBs, a WR, a lineman, an LB and a DB). Eric Wright and Leo Lewis, you have every reason to complain about your exclusion.
Below are your seven 1960s-1970s nominees. All of them are members of the Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.
Phil Bradley (1970s)
A football star, a baseball All-Star, and now a softball assistant coach. Phil Bradley is collecting the whole set!
Hall of Fame Bio: One of the most decorated athletes in MU annals, Bradley lettered in football at MU from 1977-81, and in baseball in 1970-80-81. A native of Macomb, Ill., Bradley quarterbacked the Tigers to three bowl games. He was a three-time Big Eight Conference "Offensive Player of the Year" and set the conference total offense record at 6,459 yards which stood for 10 years. In baseball, he starred as an outfielder on MU teams that won the Big Eight championship in 1980, and went to the NCAA Tournament in 1980 and '81. Now a member of the Chicago White Sox, Bradley was drafted out of MU by the Seattle Mariners. He reached the Major Leagues with Seattle, in 1984, and played with the Mariners through 1987. He was named to the '85 American League All-Star Team, and that season hit his career-high 26 homers. He spent 1988 with the Philadelphia Phillies, and one-and-a-half seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, before being traded to Chicago.
Brad Edelman (1980s)
Another candidate for Mizzou's best lineman ever, Edelman was an All-American at Mizzou and All-Pro in N'awlins ... will he get a little more love than the other linemen in Tiers I and II?
Hall of Fame Bio: A St. Louis, Mo., native who was a rock on an offensive line that helped lead Mizzou Football to four consecutive winning seasons, and four straight bowl game appearances, from 1978-81 ... Earned All-American honors as a senior in 1981, despite missing two games during the season due to a knee injury ... Helped lead Tigers to 31 wins in four years, and appearances in the 1978 Liberty Bowl, the 1979 Hall of Fame Bowl, the 1980 Liberty Bowl and the 1981 Tangerine Bowl ... Mizzou won all of those bowl games, with the exception of the 1980 game, beating ranked opponents in 1979 and 1981 ... Was a team captain in 1981, and earned All-Big Eight honors in 1980, and later played in the Hula Bowl and Olympia Gold Bowl all-star games following his senior season in 1981 ... Was voted by MU fans onto Mizzou's All-Century Team in 1990 ... Went on to a solid professional football career, as he played offensive guard for the New Orleans Saints from 1982-90 ... Was a Pro-Bowl starter in 1987, and earned Pro-Bowl alternate status in 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1988, as well ... Worked as an actor in Hollywood for a period of time after finishing his pro football career, and has since gone on to become an accomplished photographer in the New Orleans area, where he currently resides.
Chris Garlich (1970s)
Talk about picking your moments. Garlich was a good player throughout his career, but he was a GREAT player in the big games. He was great in Columbus in 1976. He recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, and made a huge redzone stop in South Bend in 1978. He had 21 tackles and a momentum-swinging interception in Lincoln in 1978. He was an integral part in many of Mizzou's biggest wins of the 1970s, and ... well, just ask Harry Ice how much love huge contributions in huge games can get you.
Hall of Fame Bio: The consummate student-athlete who starred both on the field and in the classroom ... A three-year starter at middle linebacker on Tiger teams that became known as giant killers, upsetting the likes of national powerhouses as Alabama, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Nebraska ... Led MU in tackles (108) and interceptions (4) as a senior, and twice won Big Eight Conference Defensive Player of the week award when he made a game-saving fourth down goal line tackle to preserve a 3-0 win at Notre Dame, and later had 21 tackles and an interception to beat 2nd-ranked Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. ... Was also named Sports Illustrated National Defensive Player of the Week in 1976 after helping lead MU to an upset win at Ohio State ... A three-time academic All-Big Eight pick (1976-77-78) who was named an academic All-American in 1976 and a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete in 1978 ... Went on to earn the prestigious NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1979, and is just one of six MU football players to ever earn the award ... A standout prep athlete from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Mo., where he was an all-state performer in both football and track ... Currently resides in St. Louis, Mo.
Henry Marshall (1970s)
A great, and somewhat forgotten, Tiger. Marshall put up 21st-century receiving yards in the mid-1970s, broke the Chiefs' all-time receiving records in the pros ... and yet, I always hear more people talking about Leo Lewis. Marshall was great, and he easily makes this candidates list.
Hall of Fame Bio: One of Mizzou's greatest receivers, Henry Marshall was an all-Big Eight and all-America choice in 1975, when he caught 44 passes for 945 yards and nine touchdowns. A native of Salina, Kan., he was a tight end when he lettered as a freshman in 1972, but moved to wideout whiled lettering in 1974 and '75. HE played in the Blue-Gray game, Hula Bowl and Coaches All-America Game following his senior year, then was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, for whom he played from 1976-87, and in the process, unseated Otis Taylor as Kansas City's all-time receiver. He held the MU records for receiving yards in a game (207) and season (945) for 15 years, before both were broken in 1990 by Linzy Collins. Marshall was a first-team choice on the Missouri All-Century Football Team, and lives in Kansas City.
Erik McMillan (1980s)
A DE-turned-safety who wore #96 and seemingly scored on a pick six in every game. He was unique to say the least, and not only was he Mizzou's best defensive player on some awful teams, with his pick sixes, he may have been their best offensive player too!
Hall of Fame Bio: A Silver Spring, Md., native who came to Mizzou as a defensive end, but left as one of the top defensive backs in school history ... An honorable mention All-American and first-team All-Big Eight pick in 1987 who had five pass interceptions for 119 yards in returns ... Tied an NCAA season record by returning three of his interceptions for touchdowns that year ... Ended his Tiger career with 323 tackles, which ranks 7th on the school career list ... Is also ranked 6th on the MU career sacks list, with 12 ... Was voted to the MU All-Century Team in 1990 ... Closed his collegiate career by playing in the Blue-Gray Game, the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl ... Was drafted by the NFL's New York Jets, and went on to earn the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 1988 ... Was a two-time Pro Bowl pick (1988-89), and later played with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos ... His father, Ernie McMillan, is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame ... Currently resides in Fayetteville, Ga., where he is a financial planner and is active in charity work.
Darrell Wallace (1980s)
Okay, McMillan wasn't the best offensive player on those bad late-'80s teams -- Wallace was. He may be forgotten now, but he was Mizzou's all-time leading rusher for a decade, darting for piles of yards despite little blocking and little help.
Hall of Fame Bio: One of the grittiest performers ever at Mizzou, Wallace overcame personal tragedies during his career from 1984-87 to become the school's all time leading rusher with 2,607 yards. He broke James Wilder's record despite standing 5-foot-7 and weighing 168 pounds. He was second-team all-Big Eight and honorable mention all-American in 1985 and '86, and was named a sophomore all-American by Football News in 1985. Wallace is the last Tiger to run for 1,000 yards, with 1,120 in 1985, a year in which he led the Big Eight in rushing. He was CFL's Western Division Rookie-of-the-Year in 1989, while playing with the British Columbia Lions. He also played with several other CFL teams, in the NFL with the Detroit Lions and in the WLAF. Currently, he lives in Auburn Hills, Mich.
James Wilder (1970s)
"DID YOU SEE THAT?? DID YOU SEE HIM?? DID YOU SEE HIM TAKE THAT MAN AND THROW HIM DOWN??"
Hall of Fame Bio: One of the greatest running backs in Missouri history, who went on to a distinguished professional career in the NFL. In three years at MU, Wilder set the school rushing record with 2,357 yards (broken in 1987). But it's the 1978 Nebraska game for which he is probably best remembered. In that game, he carried 28 times for 181 yards and four touchdowns including the game-winner in a 35-31 MU victory. He led Missouri in rushing three times, and holds or shares four school records. Was the MVP of the 1978 Liberty Bowl game that Missouri won over LSU. Was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and became the Bucs all-time leading rusher, and also a Pro Bowl selection, during nine seasons there. Wrapped up his pro career playing with the Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions. A native of Sikeston, Mo., hence his nickname - "The Sikeston Train."