Athletics Hall of Fame Class Announced

The Truman Athletics Hall of Fame will induct Aaron Royster (baseball), Jim Blacklock (football) and Mary Blandford (swimming) this October. Joining the three individuals, the 1946-47 Bulldog men’s basketball team and the 1982 softball team will be inducted as well.

The Truman Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at the Alumni & Friends Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Student Union Building Georgian Room and will also be honored at halftime of the Bulldogs Homecoming game against Emporia State (Kan.).

Aaron Royster (1991-1994)
Royster played baseball for the Bulldogs from 1991-1994 and still holds many of the team’s offensive records. Royster averaged .370 for his career peaking with a .444 mark during his senior season in which he earned first-team all-MIAA honors for the third consecutive season. Also in 1994, Royster was named first-team all-Central region and was a GTE/CoSIDA Academic all-American.

Royster is still tops on the club with a .645 slugging percentage, 33 home runs, 122 runs batted in and 305 total bases.

Following his Truman career, Royster was drafted in the 35th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Royster spent six years in the minor leagues spending most of his time with the Double-A Reading Phillies from 1996-2001. In 1998, he led the Phillies in doubles with 27 and runs scored with 67. He is a two-time recipient of the Eugene Shirk award, given to players who go beyond the call of duty in their commitment to the community. He worked on a baseball and education program that reached kids in over 100 schools.

Royster had two stints at Triple-A Scranton before ending his minor league career with an injury. He hit .270 in 760 minor league games and had 746 hits, 140 doubles and 75 home runs. His 49 career home runs in Reading is third most in franchise history.

Jim Blacklock (1957-1960)
Blacklock was one of the anchors of the offensive line for the Bulldogs that won the 1960 MIAA championship. Blacklock was co-captain of the 60 squad with Dale “Paley” Mills, one of the greatest running backs in the nation. Blacklock’s offensive line helped Mills establish a career rushing record of 4,502 yards that stood for 36 years as both the school and conference record.

Blacklock earned first-team all-Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Association honors following the 1960 season. In 1966 he became the head football coach at St. Joe-Central where he went 24-14-1 in four seasons.  Blacklock coached seven years at North Callaway High School and had a record of 50-24-3.

His final coaching stop was in 1979 at Montgomery County High School. In 1987, the Wildcats were undefeated heading into the state semi-finals but were upset by Berkeley High School of St. Louis.  Blacklock retired following the 87 season with a career record of 132-74-4.

In 2006, Blacklock was inducted into the Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Mary Blandford (1993-1996)
Blandford will be the first of many Truman women’s swimmers to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Blandford was a three-time national qualifier for the Bulldogs, earning trips to the national meet in 1994, 1995 and 1996.

As a freshman, Blandford broke four school records. She set a new mark in the 100 freestyle event with a time of 54.48 only to break the mark again two years later with a time of 53.12.  She also set a new mark in the 200 free with a time of 1:58.79 that had stood for eight years. Blandford would break the 200 free mark each year finishing with a time of 1:54.09.

The 200 would be the event that Blandford would help put Truman women’s swimming on the map. As a junior, she would finish sixth in the nation, which at the time was the highest finish for any Bulldog women’s swimmer, to earn all-American honors. In addition to the 200, Blandford finished 19th in the100 free and12th in both the 500 free and the 1,650 free.

In her senior year, Blandford moved up to fourth in the nation in the 200 free to repeat as an All-American. She also finished 11th in the 100 free and 13th in the 1,650 free as the Bulldogs won the Mideast Conference Championship and finished 15th in the nation.

When Blandford graduated from Truman, she left her name in the record book in seven locations. In addition to the 100 and 200 free events, Blandford held the 500 Free with a time of 5:06.86 and was a member of four relay team records, the 200 and 400 Medley teams, and the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle relay squads.

Boyd King’s 1946-47 men’s basketball team and Mary Jo Murray’s 1982 Bulldog softball team will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.

The 1946-47 basketball team is the only team to win 30 games in a season. The Bulldogs won their first 19 games before falling by eight to then-Southwest Missouri State in early February. The Bulldogs rebounded to win the next 11 contests, including the MIAA championship.

Truman qualified for their first National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball tournament that was held in Kansas City. The Bulldogs defeated Delta State (Miss.) 76-58, Whittier College (Calif.) 51-49 before falling in the semi-finals 59-53 to Northern Arizona.

The team was led on the court by NBA Hall of Famer, Harry Gallatin, and was joined by other greats such as Earl Dodd and Robert Lewis.

The 1982 softball team was the first women’s squad to bring home an NCAA trophy in the first year the sport was sponsored by the association.  The Bulldogs were 22-15 during the regular season but earned a berth into the NCAA Division II regional event in Omaha, Neb.

At the regional, the Bulldogs defeated the host Mavericks 4-1 but had to win the second game 1-0 in 13 innings to earn the trip to Bridgeport, Conn. In the 13th inning, Joni Williams singled in Renae Waddill for the regional championship.

At the College World Series, where only the four championship teams advanced, the Bulldogs lost their first game to Sam Houston State (Texas) by a 1-0. In the elimination game, Truman held a 3-1 lead after four innings but watched as Sacred Heart (Conn.) stormed back with three in the fifth and two more in the sixth for the 6-3 victory.

Truman finished the season with a 24-17 record.
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