MACON — The Class of 2009 for the Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame will be inducted on Nov. 21, the day of the Homecoming basketball game against Florida State. The 31st class of inductees includes Bob Burks, Bill Finch, Tony Gattis, Scott Emerson, Anita Meadows-Mitchell and Craig Gibson.
The Mercer Athletic Hall of Fame dates back to 1971. The induction ceremony will be held in the Presidents Dining Room in the University Center. The honorees will also be recognized at halftime of the Homecoming game.
Three decades of Bears are represented on this year’s class. Finch and Burks starred in the 1950s, Gattis, Meadows and Gibson performed in the 80s and Emerson graduated in 2004.
Bob Burks (1951) Track and Field: Burks competed in the 440 and also was a member of the mile relay team. He set the Mercer school record in the 440 in 1951 with a time of 52.6 and was on the school record-setting mile relay team of 3:35 along with Dayton Malone, Julian Leroy and Bob Reede. As a junior, Burks placed first in the 440 against Wofford and Howard, and placed third against Davidson, Georgia and Emory. He also placed fourth in the Dixie Conference Championships. As a senior, he placed first against Davidson, Wofford, Howard and Emory, third against Georgia, and fourth in the Dixie Conference tournament. During Burks’ junior year the Mercer mile relay squad had first place finishes against Wofford, Davidson, Howard and was third in the conference meet.
Bill Finch (1959) Men’s Basketball: Finch was a two-year starter for the Bears after transferring from Young Harris College. Coach Bobby Wilder said Finch “played excellent defense, was an outstanding shooter and a great team player.” Finch scored 548 points in two seasons at Mercer and finished with a career average of 12.7 points per game. He shot 43 percent from the field and 77 percent from the charity stripe. One of his best games came against Georgia when he scored 18 points, including 14 in the first half to lead the Bears to a 76-69 win over the Bulldogs.
Tony Gattis (l983) Men’s Basketball: The power forward from Burlington, N.C., is seventh on Mercer’s all-time scoring list with 1,615 points. Gattis was a first-team All-Conference performer in 1983 and second-team All-Conference as a junior. He was named Most Valuable Player in the Trans American Athletic Conference tournament in 1981 and led the Bears to their first-ever trip to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, where they played Arkansas in the Midwest regional in Austin, Texas. Gattis scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 72-67 conference championship game victory over Houston Baptist and ended his Mercer career with an average of 14.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. He was a two-time Player of the Week honoree and was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 1983.
Anita Meadows-Mitchell (1985) Women’s Basketball: Mitchell is a member of Mercer’s 1,000-point club with 1,088 career points and led Mercer to the NCAA Division II Final Four in 1984-85. Mitchell averaged 17.1 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, shooting 47 percent from the field and 70.1 percent from the free throw line that season while contributing 63 steals on the defensive end. She was Mercer’s leading scorer in 13 games in ’84-’85 and posted 23 points in a 86-76 win over Quinnipiac in the NCAA quarterfinals. Mitchell followed that with a 24-point effort against Central Missouri in a 82-79 semifinal setback. As a junior, she averaged a team-high 10.3 points per game while pulling down 4.4 rebounds. Her top scoring efforts that season came against Northeast Louisiana (24) and Tulane (20). Mitchell earned a career high of 14 rebounds against Mississippi College during the 1982-83 season and was the tournament MVP at UT Chattanooga her junior season.
Craig Gibson (1986) Baseball: Gibson was the 1985 Atlantic Sun Player of the Year and a three-year starter for the Bears. He hit 45 home runs (sophomore-12, junior-19, senior-14). As a junior, Gibson ranked in the top five in six different Atlantic Sun offensive categories and produced 19 doubles and hit .390 that season. Gibson hit five home runs in the first six games of his sophomore campaign and had three home runs in one game against David Lipscomb that year. He also delivered two home runs against the University of Florida and one against Georgia Tech. Gibson led Mercer to a sweep of Samford with two home runs and six RBIs as well as hitting a walk-off and a two-run homer in the ninth inning to beat Samford, 5-4. He is beginning his seventh season as Mercer’s head baseball coach.
Scott Emerson (2004) Men’s Basketball: Emerson is the third all-time leading scorer in Mercer basketball history with 1,753 points. He helped lead the Bears to the 2002-03 Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championship as well as making Atlantic Sun First-Team All-Conference in 2001 and 2003 and Second-Team All-Conference in 2000. Emerson is ranked in the top 10 all-time among Mercer players in virtually every offensive category and has a career scoring average of 15.5 points per game, with a career high of 16.4 during the 2000-01 season. His career rebounding average is 8.2 per game and his season-best came in 2002-03 with 9.1. Emerson had 930 career rebounds — second all-time in school history. He posted career marks of 52.2 percent shooting from the field and 70.9 percent from the charity stripe. Emerson added 95 career blocked shots, including 38 in the 1999-2000 season.