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PJC Athletic Hall of Fame adds 2005 team

Published or Revised December 07, 2015

PJC Hall of Fame

Displaying their trademark linked arms stance are Paris Junior College Athletic Hall of Fame inductees (from left): 2005 PJC basketball coach Bill Foy, players Michael Battle, Alexander Starr, Tyler Best, Donnell Franklyn, Rod Earls, Charles Stoker, Brian Burrell, and assistant basketball coach Brad Enright.

Coaches and seven of the ten players from the 2005 National Junior College Athletic Association championship basketball attended a ceremony on Nov. 14, inducting them into the Paris Junior College Athletic Hall of Fame.

According to PJC Athletic Director Deron Clark, who gave the history of the PJC Athletic Hall of Fame, this is the 25th year of the institution begun by then-athletic director Don Wilhelm.

“Today we celebrate the accomplishments of the team and recognize the contributions these young men and their coaches made and the honor that they brought to Paris Junior College,” said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin in her introduction. “You were the Cinderella team of the 2005 national tournament.”

She described sitting and watching the games and after cheering loudly, being asked by a nearby elderly woman which one of the players was hers?

“I looked at her and I said ‘they’re all mine’ and today I want to tell you that I would be proud to have any one of you as my son.”

Each player came up to receive their plaques and speak to the audience.

Mike Battle was named to the 2005 NJCAA All Tournament Team. He graduated from PJC in 2005 and continued his education at University of Central Florida, earning his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration. Currently working at Assist2Score in Washington, DC, Battle played for the American Basketball League’s Heartland Eagles in Sebring, Fla., FIBA’s U de M team in Managua, Nicaragua, the American Basketball Association’s Alexandria Avengers in Virginia, FIBA’s Zacatecas Bareterros in Zacatecas, Mexico, and the ABA’s Northern Virginia (NoVa) Wonders.

“My time here, Mr. Neely and Mrs. Mathis,” said Battle, “I thank you for being there and being patient with us. Thank you for appreciating us, and thank you Coach Foy for giving me the last scholarship, that meant a lot to me and my family.”

Tyler Best graduated from PJC in 2005, playing for Indiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne, as well as graduating from Indiana University. Currently living in Lafayette, Indiana, he works at Best Home Furnishings and is involved in a start-up 3D printing company.

“Seeing her [Dr. Anglin] cheer for us as a No. 1 fan was amazing,” said Best. “Coach Foy, when I decided to leave my Division I school and I got the call from him, I trusted him and that year was incredible. The road we went on as a team was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you guys as my teammates, the coaches for pushing us to something magical. Friends are the family you choose and I’m glad I’ve got you guys as family.”

Brian Burrell graduated from PJC in 2006 and continued his education and playing career at the University of Texas at Pan America, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Criminal Justice. While at UTPA, Burrell was named the Newcomer of the Year 2006-2007 and Independent Player of Year 2007-2008 and was ranked fifth all-time in three-point field goals with 156 made. He made 81 three-point field goals in 2006-2007 and 75 in the 2007-2008 seasons. Currently living in Nacogdoches, Burrell is a professional basketball player having played overseas in Mexico, Europe and South America.

“I started as a red shirt and Paris was the best thing that ever happened to me in my basketball career,” Burrell said. “It helped me develop my skills and become the player I am now.”

Rod Earls was named MVP of the 2005 Tournament, and was a 2005 PJC graduate. He continued his education and playing at the University of Tulsa, earning his bachelor’s degree there. While at Tulsa, Earls earned the Swenden and Holland Pro Ball Honors and third-team all conference USA honors. He and his wife Moche’ and five-year-old Aliah and one-year-old Amari live in Cedar Hill; he owns the trucking company E1 Transportation.

“Coming out of high school I didn’t know anything about Paris but I took a chance,” Earls said. “This is where I met my wife and she’s stuck by me for 10 years. I don’t know too many people who are in the Hall of Fame of anything, and now I know a few guys and I’m in it too.”

Donnell Franklyn graduated from PJC and transfered to Texas A&M University-Commerce where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Sociology and continued playing basketball. He lives in Lewisville and has one son, four-year-old Lyric Peeler. He is a Senior Compliance Analyst at USAA in Plano.

“I was a D1 transfer and when I came to visit, I had a good feeling about the guys and they felt like family off the top,” Franklyn said. “Some of the things Coach Foy did to get his point across, it was crazy. The teaching staff made us feel like family.”

Alexander Starr received the Charles Fesher Sportsmanship Award at the 2005 Tournament, and graduated from PJC in 2005. He then played basketball for Centenary College where he received First Team All Conference honors. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Paul Quinn College. Now living in Desoto, he is currently employed at Fellowship Christian Academy.

“I want to thank God, without him none of this would be possible,” Starr said. He also thanked Dr. Anglin and the staff, and Coach Foy and his teammates “for pushing me every day. Also the staff and professors who stayed on us and made sure we got our work done. But I want to thank somebody that took time out of his life, to put his arms around us and take care of us while we were here - Taj Lee, who was like a big brother to us, who came out of the community to help us.”

Charles Stoker graduated from PJC in 2005, then continued his playing career and education at Central Missouri State University. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Business Management and received Honorable Mention All Defensive Team and Division II Final Four Finalist. Living in Desoto with his wife and 11-year-old Ashton and one-year-old Carrington, he is a Deputy Sheriff with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department as well as a professional basketball skills trainer.

“I’ve always been a winner, and coming to PJC I teamed up with more winners,” said Stoker. “The biggest competition we faced was each other. I give advice to the team this year - if you guys want to be great, push each other in practice. We used grind, we used to battle, we used to get after it. I remember Miss Mathis, Mr. Neely and Miss Shelton pushing us, and Miss Mathis inviting me to church. She made sure we had a ride, and were fed well and made us feel at home. I remember Coach Foy calling me and saying ‘I don’t know about no PJC’ but he was down to earth and didn’t sugar coat anything. He got the best out of us. It all clicked together and I think it was destined for us to win.”

Brad Enright was the assistant coach for the 2005 NJCAA National Championship team. Prior to PJC, he served as assistant coach at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., Cal State Dominguez Hills in Los Angeles, and Pepperdine University of the West Coast Conference. After PJC, he worked as assistant men’s basketball coach for Northern Arizona University and The University of Texas - Pan American, then worked in account acquisition for Global Village Concerns. A native of California, Enright earned both his undergraduate and graduate degree from California State University, Northridge. Enright currently lives in Chula Vista, working as a digital marketing account executive for hibü.

“The first question Coach Foy asked me was ‘can you get players,’“ Enright said, “not ‘nice to meet you’ or ‘how are you.’ I worked at seven schools in my coaching career and I didn’t learn more about coaching than I did in my 10 months here. These guys taught me more about the game than I taught them. They loved each other, they didn’t care who scored or who had the pass, they just wanted to win. In our Moberly game, in the second half, we had five points scored by five different players. I don’t want to be part of another championship team because these guys are special.”

Bill Foy was the PJC men’s basketball coach for the 2005 NJCAA National Championship. A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, he currently he serves as the Head Golf Coach and Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Ranger College. During his 11-year tenure at PJC, Foy compiled a 227-125 record. His teams advanced to the NJCAA Region XIV state tournament five times as well as winning the 2005 championship. While at PJC, Foy was twice named the Region XIV Coach of the Year, 2005 NJCAA Coach of the Year, and the NABC and TABC Coach of the Year. He led the Dragons to the 2006 NJCAA Region XIV Conference championship with an 18-4 league record. His lifetime record is 537-339.

“It’s great to be back here and I’ve been looking forward to this,” said Foy. “This team right here had everything covered and it was tremendous to have ten guys that played the same amount of time. It made it difficult to beat us because of our depth and it created great competition at practice. Championships are won in practice and we emphasized that point to everybody. I remember Coach Stallings coming in and talking to the team; he looked at them and said ‘compete, compete,’ and that’s what those guys did, night in and night out.

“The thing that I’m proudest of with these guys is that they went on and got their four-year degrees. There’s no greater investment than education and they’re all doing very well. At the last game, when there were six seconds on the clock left and we had it won, a scout tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘you don’t have the most talented team here, but you have the best team.’ That’s what these guys were, the best team. I’m so proud of you; I appreciate you being a part of my life, you’re like my sons, and continued success to all of you.”

Unable to attend were players Lamar Seawright of Pontiac, Mich., Ricky Quarles of Shreveport, La., Bobby Joshua of Plano, as well as team managers Tyler Easthouse of Murray, Ky., and Patrick Thompson of San Antonio.

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