EMCC honors Sports HOF inductees


East Mississippi Community College will honor its 2022 Sports Hall of Fame during tonight’s (Thursday) MACC North Division contest with Northwest Mississippi Community College. Kick-off is set for 7 at Sullivan-Windham Field on the Scooba campus. 

The Hall of Fame Class of 2022 is headed by current Tennessee Titans veteran NFL defensive lineman Denico Autry, who was a two-year starter (1992-93) for the Mississippi State Bulldogs after being selected NJCAA All-American First Team for the 2011 national champion EMCC Lions. Both with Meridian connections, retired EMCC and Lamar School baseball coach/administrator Bill Baldner as well as former three-sport Meridian High School standout and two-way EMCC football all-American Aaron Fox are also members of this year’s EMCC Sports Hall of Fame induction class. In addition, Illinois native Tom Hostetler, also a member of the Delta State University Athletics Hall of Fame as a standout pitcher, and former Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Quincy Jackson round out East Mississippi Community College’s Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022. 

Along with being honored during halftime activities of Thursday’s football game against Northwest Mississippi, EMCC’s newest Sports Hall of Fame induction class will be the College’s special guests during a 4 p.m. pre-game reception to be held at the F.R. Young Student Union Center on the Scooba campus. 

DENICO AUTRY (Football, 2010-11) – Nine-year veteran NFL defensive lineman who was a member of East Mississippi Community College’s first NJCAA national championship team in 2011. He is currently in his second season with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans after spending three seasons (2018-20) with Indianapolis and four years (2014-17) with Oakland. He entered the current NFL season with 248 career tackles, including 39.5 quarterback sacks, and eight career blocked kicks on special teams. Autry was tabbed NJCAA All-American First Team as a sophomore after totaling 81 tackles, 11 sacks and 13 TFLs during the Lions’ 12-0 season in 2011 and went on to start 23 of 26 games played at Mississippi State University with 73 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss and six sacks in two seasons (2012-13) with the Bulldogs. 

BILL BALDNER (Baseball Coach, 1985-2006) –He guided East Mississippi Community College’s baseball program for 22 seasons (1985-2006), producing more than 400 career wins, before capping his 25-year EMCC career with a three-year stint as the school’s assistant athletic director. Baldner enjoyed his greatest success with the Lions by earning Region 23 Coach of the Year honors after leading the 1986 EMCC squad to a 37-16 record, region championship, state runner-up finish and No. 16 final national ranking. Half of his EMCC teams participated in postseason tournament play with the 1994 Lions finishing fifth in the region and his 1998 division-winning club having hosted the conference tournament. Baldner guided Lamar School’s 1985 baseball team to the school’s first-ever state championship in any sport. He was selected baseball team captain as a senior at Ohio University and later honed his coaching skills under the guidance of Hall of Fame Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk. 

AARON FOX (Football, 1985-86) – Fox was a two-way football standout who came to the Scooba campus following a successful all-around prep career as a three-sport letterman (football, basketball and track & field) at Meridian High School. He capped his EMCC football career by being tabbed 1986 NJCAA All-American First Team as a sophomore split end after earning honorable mention all-state recognition as a freshman defensive end Fox led the Mississippi junior college ranks with 42 receptions for 747 yards (17.8 yds/rec) and seven touchdowns to also earn NJCAA All-Region 23 and MJCAA All-State honors. He participated in the 1986 Mississippi Junior College All-Star football game after being named the North Division’s Most Valuable Lineman.. Fox continued his collegiate football career at Fort Hays State in Kansas and currently resides in Katy, Texas. Fox’s son, De’Aaron, plays for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings after playing collegiately at the University of Kentucky. 

TOM HOSTETLER (Baseball, 1985) – He was EMCC’s top pitcher on the Lions’ winningest baseball team ever. The right-hander went 10-4 to earn all-state and team MVP honors for EMCC’s 41-16 squad in 1985. He continued his collegiate career by playing two seasons for Hall of Fame head coach Dave “Boo” Ferriss at Delta State University. He Earned DSU’s Most Outstanding Pitcher honor twice and capped his collegiate career by being named an ABCA All-American in 1987. He was inducted into Delta State’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015. Hostetler was chosen in the eighth round of the 1987 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Francisco Giants and went on to register a career pitching record of 46-22 during a six-year pro career in the minor leagues. He moved back to his home state of Illinois following his baseball career and has served the past 27 years as an officer within the Addison Police Department. 

QUINCY JACKSON (Football, 1995-96) – Jackson is an Alabama native who collected NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention status as a sophomore wide receiver for EMCC. He had 43 receptions for 1,170 yards and 12 touchdowns to help lead the 1996 Lions to an 8-2 overall record. Jackson continued his collegiate career at the University of Alabama, where he totaled 77 catches for 1,093 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons (1997-98)… The 1998 Senior Bowl selection was ranked among the top-20 all-time best wide receivers in Alabama Crimson Tide football history by Ranker.com. 

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