The Summit League recently announced its inaugural Hall of Fame class and honored eight decorated individuals who have combined for 17 league Player or Coach of the Year awards, eight All-America honors, an Olympic Gold medal, and a World Series title. As the centerpiece of The Summit League’s 35th anniversary season, The Summit League Hall of Fame and its initial class of inductees were unveiled at the site of the league’s basketball championships.
The Class of 2017 consists of Brian Anderson (baseball), Tony Bennett (men’s basketball), Bryce Drew (men’s basketball), Dr. Homer Drew (men’s basketball), F.L. “Frosty” Ferzacca (administrator), Caleb Green (men’s basketball), Krista Ragan-Binum (women’s basketball), and Anita Rapp (women’s soccer).
“This is truly a historical milestone in our league’s history,” said Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple. “We are honoring the ‘best of the best’ when you consider all the deserving candidates considered for this prestigious recognition. This inaugural class has achieved many significant accomplishments that have laid the foundation and paved the way for The Summit League’s success. Each individual is assured a prominent place in Summit League history with this preeminent award.”
Headlining the class is a quintet of the league’s most prominent basketball names, including a pair of NBA Draft picks who had multiple-season careers. The group includes the father-son duo of Dr. Homer Drew and Bryce Drew from Valparaiso. The elder Drew turned the Crusaders into both a national media darling and household name during their run to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 1998. Bryce, a former All-America and NBA Draft pick, authored one of the most famous shots in NCAA Tournament history with his first round buzzer beater to defeat Mississippi. Both were instrumental in gaining notoriety for The Summit League, then the Mid-Continent Conference.
Drew, and Tony Bennett, a former Academic All-American of the Year while a guard at Green Bay, each played in the NBA and are now successful Division I head coaches. Bennett also won a bronze medal as a member of Team USA at the 1991 Pan American Games.
Oral Roberts had two former student-athletes earn nods from their careers on the hardwood. Caleb Green, a former Freshman and Mid-Major All-America, and Krista Ragan-Binum, who finished as the league’s all-time leading scorer before a stint in the WNBA, each were three-time Player of the Year selections.
Brian Anderson, was the league’s all-time highest draft pick when he went No. 3 overall in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft out of Wright State. He spent 13 seasons pitching in the Majors and appeared in two World Series, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks to the 2001 World Championship as a member of the team’s starting rotation.
Anita Rapp, who remains the league’s lone Olympic Gold Medalist, was first team All-America in 2001. The previous year, while an undergraduate at Oakland, she helped her native Norway win gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
The league’s “founding father”, F.L. “Frosty” Ferzacca, was elected as the lone administrator of the 2017 class. He presided over the transition of the original Association of Mid-Continent Universities into Division I in 1982.
A nine-member selection committee representing each current member institution reviewed and selected the annual induction classes. The inaugural honorees came from a pool of eligible individuals who were selected to The Summit League’s 30 Most Distinguished Performers list during the league’s 30th anniversary celebration in 2011-12.
Eligibility standards include completion of eligibility and/or tenure at least seven years prior to nomination. Each nominee must have achieved significant honors during his/her career within the league, on a national level, and/or in professional or Olympic competition.
The Summit League Hall of Fame also features its own branding with a logo that incorporates the present and past. The current “peak” logo is amalgamated with elements from the iconic logo used when the league was known as the Mid-Continent Conference in a nod to the previous era.
A webpage devoted to The Summit League Hall of Fame will be housed at www.thesummitleague.org/halloffame and includes detailed information on each inductee. Future plans include a “virtual museum” of league artifacts, including publications and photos.
SUMMIT LEAGUE HALL OF FAME INAUGURAL CLASS OF 2017
BRIAN ANDERSON, WRIGHT STATE
The league’s initial first team baseball All-America selection, Brian Anderson was one of the most successful pitchers in league history. Selected as Pitcher of the Year in each of his two seasons, Anderson earned a third team All-America nod before following with first team honors the following year. He concluded his college career with the league’s all-time best earned run average and second-highest winning percentage. Anderson set league single-season marks for most victories, complete games, and recorded the second-lowest ERA in history. Following his stellar career, he was chosen in the first round, No. 3 overall, in the 1993 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, marking the highest draft pick of any sport in league history. He went on to play 13 seasons in the Major Leagues and was part of two World Series teams. He became the first Summit League alum to win a World Championship, when he was a member of the starting rotation for the 2001 World Series Champion Arizona Diamondbacks.
TONY BENNETT, GREEN BAY
1988-92 (MEN’S BASKETBALL)
One of the league’s most decorated student-athletes, Tony Bennett excelled both on and off the court. During his senior year in 1992, Bennett won the GTE Men’s Basketball Academic All-America of the Year award and was the league Player of the Year and an honorable mention All-America selection. During his college career, he collected two Player of the Year honors, won both the Newcomer of the Year and Tournament MVP award and was a four-time all-league selection. Bennett was a bronze medalist as a member of Team USA at the 1991 Pan American Games. He ended his college career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in three-point shooting percentage. Selected in the second round, 35th overall, by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1992 NBA Draft, Bennett spent three seasons in the NBA before embarking on a college coaching career. In stints as head coach at Washington State and Virginia, Bennett has won multiple national and league Coach of the Year accolades.
BRYCE DREW, VALPARAISO
1994-98 (MEN’S BASKETBALL)
Famous for one of the most memorable moments in NCAA Tournament history when he hit a buzzer beater to secure a first round upset of Mississippi in 1998, Bryce Drew is one of the league’s most famous basketball names. Drew’s college career included consecutive league Player of the Year awards and tournament MVP honors in three of his four seasons. He capped his senior year by leading his team to the Sweet 16 and becoming the first league player to be named as third team All-America. Drew was also named the league’s top male scholar-athlete. He became the league’s initial first round pick, going 16th overall, in the 1998 NBA Draft and spent six seasons in the NBA, including winning Henry P. Iba Citizen Award for sportsmanship. Following his professional playing career, Drew joined the coaching ranks, beginning as an assistant coach under his legendary father, Dr. Homer Drew. He later coached his alma mater to multiple NCAA Tournament appearances before taking over as head coach at Vanderbilt.
DR. HOMER DREW, VALPARAISO
1988-2002, 2003-07 (MEN’S BASKETBALL)
One of the most successful coaches in league history, Dr. Homer Drew turned Valparaiso into a notable college basketball program. A four-time Coach of the Year, Drew led his teams to eight regular season titles, eight tournament titles, and seven NCAA Tournament appearances on his way to becoming the league’s winningest coach. From 1995-2000, Drew guided the Crusaders to a league-record six consecutive tournament championships. His most recognized squad reached the Sweet 16 after a pair of upsets as a No. 13 seed that turned Valpo into the 1998 NCAA Tournament’s “Cinderella” story. Drew earned the Naismith Good Sportsmanship Award in 1998 and the Commissioner’s Award of Merit in 2002. He also served as Valpo’s Director of Athletics and his two sons each went on to become successful Division I head coaches.
F.L. “FROSTY” FERZACCA, MID-CONTINENT
The “Founding Father” of the league, originally known as the Association of Mid-Continent Universities, F.L. “Frosty” Ferzacca was the initial commissioner and presided over the transition to Division I in 1982. Ferzacca was instrumental in fortifying the league’s future by securing an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Prior to serving as the league’s steward, Ferzacca began his collegiate athletics career as head football coach at Marquette and Northern Michigan before moving into administration roles that included stints as the Director of Athletics at Eastern Michigan and Florida International. He was also a successful Wisconsin high school basketball and football coach. Ferzacca worked in the Green Bay Packers front office and was a charter member of the team and National Football League alumni chapters.
CALEB GREEN, ORAL ROBERTS
2004-07 (MEN’S BASKETBALL)
One of the league’s most prolific players, Caleb Green ended his career as the all-time leading scorer and rebounder after four stellar seasons. Green burst onto the college basketball scene by earning Freshman All-America honors in 2004. The following year he began a run of three consecutive Player of the Year awards, a first in league history, while also collecting honorable mention All-America and Mid-Major All-America honors in each of those seasons. Green led Oral Roberts to three consecutive regular season titles and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances from 2005-07. He ended his college career as the 18th player in NCAA history to total 2,500 points and 1,000 rebounds. Selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 CBA Draft, Green went on to play professional basketball internationally.
KRISTA RAGAN-BINUM, ORAL ROBERTS
1996-2002 (WOMEN’S BASKETBALL)
One of the most decorated women’s basketball players in league history, Krista Ragan-Binum, was the first to earn three Player of the Year honors. She began her career by winning both the Newcomer of the Year and Tournament MVP award as a freshman while leading Oral Roberts to its first NCAA Tournament appearance. As a sophomore, Ragan began her run of three consecutive league Player of the Year honors, while earning a second career Tournament MVP honor in 2001. A first team all-league performer each of her four seasons, Ragan ended her college career as the league’s all-time leading scorer and the first to surpass the 2,000-point plateau. She played in the WNBA before embarking on a high school coaching career.
ANITA RAPP, OAKLAND
1998-2001 (WOMEN’S SOCCER)
The league’s first Olympic Gold Medalist, Anita Rapp excelled on both the college level and the international stage. While an undergraduate, Rapp won gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games as a member of the Norwegian National Team. She also played for her native Norway in two World Cups. A two-time league co-Player of the Year, Rapp also earned first team All-America and second team Academic All-America honors during her senior season in 2001. She capped her college career by earning Tournament MVP honors and moving atop the league’s all-time list for total assists and assists per game. Rapp helped teams win a pair of Norwegian League titles and the Norwegian Cup. Following her playing career, Rapp served the Norwegian Football Association as the International Coordinator for the Women’s and Girl’s National Teams.
ABOUT THE SUMMIT LEAGUE
Celebrating its 35th season of Division I athletics, The Summit League offers 19 championship sports and has a combined enrollment of over 120,000 at nine institutions, including four located in top 60 U.S. metro populations and two land-grant universities. Member institutions include: Denver (University of Denver), Fort Wayne (Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne), IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis), North Dakota State University, Omaha (University of Nebraska Omaha), Oral Roberts University, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Western Illinois University. Previously known as the Mid-Continent Conference, The Summit League rebranded in 2007 and has since produced eight NCAA Champions along with over 80 Academic All-Americans, 75 All-America selections and numerous former student-athletes competing at the highest professional level. For more information about the league, visit www.thesummitleague.org website, follow The Summit League on Twitter