Released by The MEAC,
“Congratulations to the five individuals who will be inducted as part of the MEAC’s 2022 Hall of Fame class,” MEAC Commissioner Sonja Stills said. “This year’s class represents the MEAC at its best in the realm of competition, in the classroom, and in shining a brighter spotlight on the conference and its member institutions. These five inductees are fine representatives of the MEAC, and I am proud to induct them as my first class as commissioner.”
The MEAC Hall of Fame highlights former student-athletes, coaches, university and conference administrators, as well as special contributors, who have enriched the legacy of the conference since its inception in 1970. Enshrinees were selected by an eight-person committee made up of administrators and representatives from member institutions.
The inaugural Hall of Fame class was inducted on May 29, 1981 during a 10-year anniversary banquet in Greensboro, N.C. Since its establishment, the MEAC Hall of Fame has enshrined 163 people, including the Class of 2022.
Details regarding the induction ceremony are being finalized and will be announced at a later date.
David Kemboi, Norfolk State: Despite spending just two years at Norfolk State, Kemboi etched his name into the school and conference record books. He began his Spartan career by winning the MEAC men’s cross country title in 2005 with a record time of 23:20 before helping Norfolk State finish eighth in the NCAA Southeast region – the highest-ever finish for an HBCU at the event. Later that season, Kemboi was named Co-Outstanding Performer at the Indoor Championships and Outstanding Performer at Outdoor Championships – helping Norfolk State complete the yearly MEAC sweep (cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field). Kemboi, who won six MEAC track & field titles (five individual, one relay), repeated as MEAC cross country champion in 2006 before becoming the first HBCU athlete to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championship.
Kevin Talley, Norfolk State: Ranking as one of the top defensive players in Norfolk State and MEAC history, Talley was a tackling machine for the Spartans. He led all of FCS in tackles for two straight seasons, with 195 in 2003 and 135 in 2004. His 195 tackles in 2003 are a MEAC and FCS record for most tackles in a single season. Talley also has two of FCS’ top per-game averages in history, with 16.25 tackles per game in 2003 and 15.0 in 2004. A two-time FCS All-American, two-time Black College All-American and two-time First Team All-MEAC selection, Talley was the first Spartan ever to earn All-America honors at the FCS level. Talley was a 2019 inductee into the Norfolk State Athletics Hall of Fame, and his 416 career tackles are third-most in conference history.
Dr. Dennis Thomas, MEAC / Hampton: Commissioner of the MEAC from 2002-21, Thomas transformed the MEAC into one of the nation’s preeminent Div. I conferences by increasing student-athlete graduation rates, operating with financial prudence and expanding the conference’s corporate footprint. He negotiated multi-million dollar contracts with ESPN and Nike, the former of which allowed for national broadcasts of football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s bowling, track & field, softball and baseball. Thomas was the brainchild behind the Celebration Bowl, the only FCS postseason bowl game, between the MEAC and SWAC champions televised live on ABC with a $1 million payout to each conference, and he was also a driving force behind the creation of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, which has kicked off the HBCU football season on ESPN or ESPN2 for 15 years. Prior to serving as Commissioner of the MEAC, Thomas spent 12 years as Director of Athletics at Hampton University, where he spearheaded the Pirates’ transition from the CIAA and Div. II to the MEAC and Div. I. The Pirates won 11 MEAC championships under Thomas, and the men’s basketball team upset No. 2 seed Iowa State in the 2001 NCAA Tournament.
Veronica Wiggins, Florida A&M: Serving as softball coach at Florida A&M from 1990-2020, Wiggins won more than 700 games in her illustrious career – including a sterling 281-90 mark in MEAC play. Wiggins’ teams won 13 MEAC championships (1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017) and made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances (1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017). Wiggins was named MEAC Coach of the Year five times – in 1993, 1997, 1998, 2006 and 2017 – and she was inducted into the Florida A&M Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.