June 1, 2022

Six Falcons Inducted into Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2022

The Athletic Department inducted six Falcons as a part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 on Jan. 28.

The class includes two former UM standouts and four meritorious service selections with distinguished athletics and professional careers.

The 2022 inductees were Daniel Tankersley ’07 (baseball), Gary O’Neill ’14 (men’s soccer), Jim Dunaway ’88 (broadcaster), Matt Orton (athletics photography), Dr. Lewis Brooks ’88, M.Ed. ’99, Ed.S. ’03 (men’s basketball) and Herman Watts ’70, M.Ed. ’72 (men’s basketball).

Tankersley had an outstanding baseball career for the Falcons playing during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The Dothan native has a long list of outstanding athletic achievements which included the 2010 GSC East Division All-Decade Baseball Team, 2007 Gulf South Conference East Division Player of the Year, 2006 First Team All-Gulf South Conference, 2007 First Team All-Gulf South Conference, 2007 NCAA Division II All-South Region and the 2007 Gulf South Conference All-Academic Team.

Tankersley’s name is all over the baseball record books starting with the third most doubles in a single season (20 in 2007), third most RBIs in a single season (70 in 2007), most sacrifice flies in a single season (13 in 2007), the third most putouts in a single game (17 vs. Valdosta State/Northwest Missouri State in 2006), most putouts in a single season (502 in 2007) and the third most putouts in a career with 984 during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Tankersley was a member of the 2006 Falcons baseball team which advanced to the National Championship series.

Tankersley also excelled off the diamond, earning the Kinesiology Senior Elite in 2007, Dean’s Trophy in 2007 and was named to the GSC All-Academic Team in 2007.

O’Neill was a defensive juggernaut on the pitch from 2010 to 2013, assisting the Falcons in winning 55 games with 36 shutouts. His senior year, he was named first team All-Peach Belt Conference, second team NSCAA Division II All-Southeast Region, second team Daktronics Division II All-Southeast Region and started in 18 matches.

O’Neill had four goals, one assist and two game-winning goals, including one in the semi-finals of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament against Flagler. He was named to the Peach Belt Conference All-Tournament team and served as the captain for the Falcons.

In 2012, O’Neill earned the program’s Defensive Player of the Year award, was named first team All-Peach Belt Conference, first team Daktronics NCAA Division II All-Southeast Region and second team National Soccer Coaches Association of America NCAA Division II All-Southeast Region.

O’Neill started all 20 matches he played in and finished with three goals and one assist his junior season. He finished with seven points and three shots on goal and scored one goal each against UAH, Flagler and USC Aiken. As a sophomore in 2011, O’Neill appeared in and started all 21 games.

He was named second team All-PBC, Preseason All-PBC and PBC Defensive Player of the Week. He helped the Falcons secure 11 shutouts throughout the season. O’Neill arrived in Montevallo in the fall of 2010, appearing in 21 games, starting in each.

Dunaway is the host of the popular podcast, “The Next Round” (TNR). Prior to TNR, Dunaway hosted the radio show “The Roundtable” on WJOX Radio in Birmingham for many years. Dunaway has earned two Southern Regional Emmy Awards as a producer/reporter at WVTM NBC 13 Birmingham and Associated Press Awards for Alabama Sportscaster of the Year at WIAT CBS 42 in Birmingham. He also received several Alabama Broadcasters Association Awards for work at WIAT CBS 42 and WJOX Radio and multiple Alabama Sportscaster of the Year awards from National Sports Media Association.

Dunaway initially wanted to walk on the baseball team at Montevallo, but Baseball
Coach Bob Riesener pointed out that he had a better chance of succeeding in broadcasting.

Orton served as director of photography at UM from 1991 to 2014. For more than two decades, he provided a photo library for the University. His portfolio of games and photos of all UM athletic teams was extensive. His office maintained an archive of not only athletic events, but University photography as well. Orton collected several awards during his stint at UM.

Brooks, who is an alum of the Falcons men’s basketball program, currently serves as the superintendent for Shelby County Schools. He has worked in public education for nearly three decades and was instrumental in the creation of the Rob Spivery Endowed Scholarship to assist fifth-year members of the men’s basketball program with scholarships. Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and education specialist degree all from UM.

He is second in the men’s basketball record book with his 3-point field goal percentage of .434 during his career from 1986-1988.

Watts is a former men’s basketball standout at UM from 1968-1970 who has given generously to the program since his playing career ended. Watts received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in school administration from UM. He had an outstanding career as executive vice president of marketing at ALFA.