On Oct. 5, Samford announced its inductees to the 2023 Athletics Hall of Fame class. This is the sixth class since the Hall’s creation in 2017.
The 2023 inductees are Jaquiski Tartt, the 2005 women’s soccer team, Megan Dowdy, Steve Barker and Phillip Ervin.
Athletic Director Martin Newton said, “This year’s Hall of Fame class is a wonderful mix of individual talent and team excellence. This event is truly one of the year’s highlights for our department.”
From 2011 to 2014, Jaquiski Tartt starred for Samford football, where he played defensive back and had 277 tackles and six interceptions for his career with the Bulldogs. He helped the team to a 2013 SoCon championship that was shared with Chattanooga and an FCS Playoffs appearance. After graduating, Tartt entered the 2015 NFL Draft, where he was picked in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers. Tartt went 46th overall, the highest in Samford’s history.
Samford has had many storied women’s soccer teams, but 2005 was a groundbreaking year for Todd Yelton’s program. The team finished the season with a record of 15-4-4 overall, which led to a third consecutive regular season title in the Ohio Valley Conference and an OVC Tournament Championship, the first for Samford. With the title, the Bulldogs earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament, becoming the first soccer team to do so.
According to statistics, Megan Dowdy, a center fielder, was one of the best softball players to wear Samford’s uniform. From 2013 to 2016, she led the team and set program records that still stand today, including the single-season record for hits (86) and at-bats (191). In 2016, Dowdy helped the Bulldogs claim their first NCAA Tournament appearance with a SoCon Championship.
The second all-time leading scorer for Samford Men’s Basketball, Steve Barker, left an indelible impact on the program. During his four years at Samford, Barker scored 1,902 points, with 534 coming in his senior season. In addition, Barker still holds the single-game records for free throws made and attempted (21 and 24, respectively) for the Bulldogs.
Outfielder Philip Ervin played from 2011 to 2013 for Samford Baseball, having a career batting average of .344 for the team. Ervin helped the team to its first SoCon Tournament title and NCAA tournament appearance in 2012 and repeated the feat the following year. In 2013, he entered the MLB draft, where he was picked by the Cincinnati Reds 27th overall in the first round. This was the first first-round pick for Samford Baseball in program history.
Along with the 2023 Hall of Fame class, Janet Cone will be awarded the John C. Pittman Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to those who have demonstrated an uncommon commitment to excellence and a passion for the interests of Samford Athletics and its student-athletes. Cone was an integral piece in the inception of Samford’s women’s basketball team, as she was the team’s first head coach.
Overall, Samford’s Hall of Fame class contains a litany of stars that have left an unforgettable impact on the programs and teams they represented. The class of 2023 will be recognized on Nov. 5 during Samford’s Homecoming festivities.
Staff Writer (Sports)