Former University of Northern Iowa track star Joey Woody became the first Panther student-athlete inducted into the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame Friday in St. Louis.
The ceremony took place Friday morning at the Peabody Opera House, located just north of the Scottrade Center.
Coaching legend/television analyst Charlie Spoonhour of Missouri State, basketball standout Paul Silas of Creighton, men’s soccer coach Fred Schmalz of Evansville, track and field Olympian Connie Price-Smith of Southern Illinois, basketball icon Denny Crum of Louisville and track star Joey Woody of Northern Iowa comprised the 15th MVC Hall of Fame class.
The 2012 Hall of Fame class includes a national basketball coach of the year selection, a three-time All-America men’s basketball choice, the architect of two Final Four men’s soccer teams, a 25-time national champion in the shot put and discus, a three-time national basketball coach of the year choice and a nationally recognized track and field hurdler.
The 1994 U.S. Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year, Spoonhour guided MSU to five NCAA Tournament appearances.
A first-team Academic All-American in 1964, Silas still holds the NCAA record for rebounds (1,751) for a three-year career.
The 1985 national coach of the year by Soccer America, Schmalz is a member of five soccer halls of fame.
Price-Smith became the most dominant track thrower in the United States and represented the USA in four Olympics.
The 1973 MVC Coach of the Year, Crum won over 85 percent of his league games and took Louisville to two Final Fours in his four seasons in The Valley.
Woody became the first UNI track athlete to win a Division I title in 1997.
“Each of our Hall of Fame induction classes is unique in its own way, but this group of individuals definitely has a men’s basketball feel to it,” said MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin, who is in his 24th year with The Valley. “Paul Silas and Denny Crum are clearly identifiable with basketball success and their schools, while Charlie Spoonhour is in a class all by himself.”
“Fred Schmalz took the UE men’s soccer program to unequaled heights, Connie Price-Smith’s story is one of which dreams are made, and Joey Woody becomes our first UNI athlete selected for the Hall of Fame,” said Elgin.
“We appreciate the opportunity to salute their contributions to the Missouri Valley Conference and collegiate athletics as a whole,” said Elgin.
JOEY WOODY, NORTHERN IOWA
A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Joey Woody became the Panthers’ first Division I track athlete to win a national title, winning the 400-meter hurdles at the 1997 NCAA Outdoor Championship.
With his selection, he becomes the first UNI student-athlete to be tabbed for the MVC Hall of Fame and joins former UNI volleyball coach Iradge Ahrabi-Fard as Panthers in the league’s elite group.
A four-time All-American at UNI, Woody placed at the national meet three times in the 400-meter hurdles and once in the indoor 800 meters.
In 1998, he garnered a gold medal at the World Cup of Track as part of the U.S. 4 x 400-meter relay team.
In 1999, Woody received a gold medal at the World Track Championships as a member of the U.S. 4 x 400-meter relay team.
In 2000, he was a member of the USA’s 4×800 meter relay team that set the indoor world record.
In 2003, Woody received a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the World Track Championships.
Named Missouri Valley Conference Track Athlete of the Year on three occasions, Woody was a nine-time Drake Relays champion.
He was inducted into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in 2002. He is the only athlete in Drake Relays history to win the Athlete of the Meet award in high school (1992) and college (1994).
Named to the MVC All-Centennial Team in 2007, Woody holds UNI school records in the 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, indoor 600 meters and indoor 800 meters.
He has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach at Iowa after serving five seasons (1997-2002) as an assistant at UNI.
Woody was twice named USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 2011. He earned the honor following the indoor and outdoor seasons. Woody led Iowa to three Big Ten titles and saw the Hawkeyes break eight school records in 2011.