By Jason Pugh, Assistant AD for Media Relations
A trio of Northwestern State football standouts, including All-Pro return specialist Terrence McGee, are joined by four-time track and field All-American Stephanie Sowell among NSU’s 12-person 2020 N-Club Hall of Fame class.
Joining McGee and Sowell are NSU all-time rushing king Tony Taylor and All-American defensive end Robert Daniel, three-time national assist leader La’Terrica “Cooda” Dobin, five-tool baseball outfielder Jordan Robison, national javelin qualifier Regina Roe, softball standout Linette Stuart, who doubled as a conference javelin champion, and cross country runner Randy Moore, a standout from NSU’s era as an NAIA powerhouse.
Terry Alario Sr. and Terry Alario Jr., the first father-son combination in NSU baseball history, will receive the N-Club’s Distinguished Service Award while groundbreaking assistant football coach Al Miller is the first recipient of the N-Club Pioneer Award for his innovative and influential role in strength and conditioning training in the mid-1970s.
In addition, baseball pitcher Bob Kairis will be inducted after being chosen as part of the Class of 2019. Kairis had to miss this past year’s induction festivities.
The 12-person class was selected by a combination of voting by members of the N-Club, the association of former Northwestern State athletic letterwinners, and a committee comprising N-Club members and NSU administrators.
Enshrinement in the N-Club Hall of Fame is among the highest honors NSU bestows on its former competitors and staff. Those receiving N-Club Hall of Fame recognition are showcased in a digital N-Club display in Prather Coliseum. Induction ceremonies are scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 17 in Magale Recital Hall.
McGee set an NCAA record for single-season punt-return average in 2000, earning All-American honors as a return specialist after averaging 23.7 yards per return. A versatile athlete, McGee shares the school record for career pass breakups (44) with 2018 N-Club Hall of Fame inductee Jermaine Jones. He ended his career as NSU’s all-time leader in single-season (427, 2000) and career punt return yardage, single-season punt return average (23.7) and punt return touchdowns (3, 2000) and added 190 career tackles and 11 interceptions as a defensive back.
McGee parlayed his career as a four-year starter into a fourth-round selection by the Buffalo Bills in the 2003 NFL Draft.
McGee, a member of the Top 100 Demon Players of All-Time squad and a two-time, first-team All-Southland selection at cornerback and return specialist, spent his entire nine-year pro career with the Bills. He earned Pro Bowl honor as a kick returner in 2004, was a two-time All-Pro honoree and still holds numerous franchise records as a cornerback and return specialist.
Taylor needed just three seasons to set NSU’s all-time rushing mark (3,997 yards) before turning pro. A Pineville product, Taylor recorded the top two single-season rushing totals in school history (1,507 in 2000 and 1,441 in 1999), earning All-American honors in 2000. His 20 career 100-yard rushing games also stand as a career standard among Demon rushers as does his 112.7 yards per game average. Taylor, who earned a Super Bowl ring as part of the 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad, shares the school record with five straight 100-yard rushing games and owns the single-season scoring mark of 96 points.
In addition to being one of the Top 100 Demons of All-Time and a three-time, first-team All-Southland selection, Taylor doubled as a triple jumper on the Demon track and field team, contributing to the 1998 indoor SLC title and the 1999 SLC outdoor crown. Taylor scored in four conference meets, topped by a fourth-place finish in the 2000 SLC Outdoor Championships.
A consensus All-American in 1998 after missing a season because of a knee injury, Daniel rounds out the trio of Demon football players headed into the Hall. Daniel drove the Demons’ “Purple Swarm” defense that helped NSU reach the 1998 FCS semifinals, collecting 68 tackles, 12 for loss, seven sacks, four forced fumbles and a pair of pass breakups to earn All-American and first-team All-Southland Conference honors.
Daniel’s bounceback season came after he missed the 1997 season because of a knee injury suffered on the final play of the final preseason scrimmage. He was a two-time preseason All-American and was one of just two FCS players among the 1998 Bob Griese Preseason All-America Team. Prior to the 1997 season, Daniel was a preseason All-American after a second-team All-Southland season when he made 63 tackles, five for loss, three sacks, three pass breakups and two forced fumbles. He was a sixth-round NFL Draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 1999.
In addition to Taylor, four members of the Northwestern State track and field program find themselves headed into the N-Club Hall of Fame.
Stephanie Sowell earned four All-American honors – twice as a long jumper and twice as a triple jumper – during her 2001-04 NSU career. The 2004 NCAA Indoor long jump runner-up, Sowell still holds the Lady Demon triple jump record, soaring 43-1 in 2003 to break her previous mark of 43-0.75 set a season earlier. Sowell captured eight Southland Conference championships and became the first female track and field athlete in Southland Conference history to earn four All-American honors.
She held the school long jump record (20-10.5) until Jasmyn Steels broke it in 2019. Sowell nabbed two top-11 finishes in the 2003 NCAA Indoors (seventh, long jump; 11th, triple jump) and added a seventh-place finish in the triple jump in 2004 to go along with her runner-up long jump finish.
While Sowell made conference history on a national level, Regina Roe did the same for the Lady Demon track and field program.
Roe became the first Lady Demon to qualify for multiple NCAA Outdoor Championships, reaching the national stage in the javelin in her junior and senior seasons of 1999 and 2000. Roe also became the first Lady Demon to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, finishing 28th at the 2000 event with a throw of 131-0.
Roe nabbed the 1999 Southland Conference Outdoor javelin championship with a school-record throw of 166-9, a mark that stands 21 years later. Roe finished 16th nationally in 2000 (148-5) and 17th in 1999 (152-10) in her two national meet appearances.
Randy Moore established three school and state records during his cross country and track and field career from 1972-76. Competing when Northwestern State was a member of the NAIA, Moore earned All-American honors in 1976, placing second nationally in the 3,000 meter steeplechase and added a sixth-place finish in the NCAA Division II 3,000 meter steeplechase that season.
Moore’s 8:52.4 time in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the 1976 Texas Relays established a Louisiana and NSU record and still stands as the school’s mark. Moore also was part of the NSU distance medley relay team that set the school mark of 9:57.2 at the 1975 Texas Relays.
Like Taylor, Stuart was a two-sport performer in her NSU career that spanned 1997-2001, playing softball and throwing the javelin.
Stuart was a four-time All-Southland Conference outfielder whose .331 career batting average and 78 career steals were school records at the conclusion of her career. Both marks now stand fourth in NSU history. A first-team All-SLC pick in 1999 and a three-time second-team selection, Stuart started 199 games, fourth all-time at the end of her career, and ranked second in runs (115) and fourth in hits (213). Her 70 hits and 32 steals in 2000 both set school single-season records.
Stuart made the most of her lone track and field season, winning the Southland Conference championship in the javelin with a mark of 141-8 in 2001.
Dobin is the only player – male or female – in NCAA history to lead Division I in assists per game for three straight seasons. As a senior, Dobin was the 2003-04 Southland Conference Player of the Year and the Southland Conference Tournament MVP after helping lead the Lady Demons to the title and ensuing NCAA Tournament berth.
A three-time first-team All-Southland Conference and All-Louisiana selection, Dobin’s career average of 8.2 assists per game ranked seventh in NCAA history at the end of her career and now stands eighth. Her career-high 20 assists against Idaho State in her junior season highlighted a season in which she established school records of 298 assists and a 10.6 per game average.
In addition to establishing the school mark for career assists (921), Dobin finished fourth in career steals (283) and 17th in career scoring with 1,651 points while leading NSU to an 86-32 mark, including a 61-15 SLC ledger.
Robison needed just two seasons in an NSU uniform to pepper the Demon record books with his name. A Hutchinson Community College transfer, Robison was a two-time, first-team All-Southland Conference performer in 2000 and 2001. He finished as the runner-up for the Southland Conference Player of the Year award in 2001 after producing a .372 batting average with 13 home runs, 56 RBIs and 20 stolen bases as NSU went 38-17 overall and 19-8 in conference play, bringing home its seventh conference championship.
A first-team All-South Region as a junior, hitting .342 with eight home runs, 45 RBIs and 12 stolen bases, Robison added 13 outfield assists in his two-year career.
A 14th-round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2001 who reached Double-A before retiring to start a family, Robison stands second in school history in slugging percentage (.623), third in career triples (11), seventh in career batting average (.356) and 10th in total bases (273) and ranked in the top 10 of 10 different statistical categories at the end of his career.
The Alarios were the first father-son duo to play baseball at Northwestern State.
Terry Alario Sr. was a pitcher from 1966-69 while Terry Jr. lettered as a catcher in the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Between the pair, they were part of three NSU conference championship squads – the 1967 Gulf South winners and the 1993-94 Southland champions.
The pair have been ardent Northwestern State athletics supporters, notably creating the Alario 22 Scholarship for the NSU baseball program, while continuing to lend financial support and actively promoting Demon athletics throughout the state. Both Alarios wore jersey number 22 during their Demon playing careers and were informed of their selection by NSU Assistant Athletic Director of Development Mike Jaworski, who also wore No. 22 during his Demon baseball career.
Miller’s official title was assistant football coach under head coach A.L. Williams from 1975-78, but Miller made his mark in the strength and conditioning realm.
During his four seasons on the NSU staff, Miller’s strength and conditioning program quickly became regarded as one of the best nationally, which led him to a 23-year career as an NFL strength and conditioning coach. Miller also established a legacy of helping other coaches reach the NFL, including his former Demon players Bill Johnson and Barry Rubin, the latter of whom captured a Super Bowl ring in February as the Kansas City Chiefs’ strength and conditioning coach.
Kairis, who pitched for NSU in 1987-88, set a school single-season strikeout record in 1987 (102, now sixth all-time) and topped that by one (103, fifth all-time) as a senior. His 205 Ks tied the then-school career record, set in four years.
2020 N-Club Hall of Fame Class
Robert Daniel (football, 1995-98) – A consensus All-America defensive end for the 1998 Southland champions who went 10-3 and reached the FCS playoff semifinals, finishing ranked No. 3 nationally … overcame reconstructive knee surgery after an August 1997 injury to become a sixth-round 1999 NFL Draft pick (Carolina) … a neck injury curtailed his pro career to two seasons … he was a preseason All-American in 1997 and 1998 … one of only two FCS players chosen to the Bob Griese Preseason All-America Team for 1998 … first-team All-Southland as a senior, second-team as a junior when he had 63 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 3 passes broken up and 2 forced fumbles … 68 tackles, 12 for loss, plus 7 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 PBU as a senior … career totals: 142 tackles, 17 TFL, 10 sacks, 9 forced fumbles, 5 PBU … began his career as a tight end … chosen among the Top 100 Demon Football Players selected in the 2007 centennial celebration of NSU football.
La’Terrica “Cooda” Dobin (women’s basketball, 2000-04) – The 2003-04 Southland Player of the Year is the only player, man or woman, to lead NCAA Division I in assists per game for three straight seasons (only three men and two other women have done it twice) … 2004 Southland Tournament MVP while leading coach James Smith’s last Lady Demons team to an NCAA Tournament appearance … shattered the Lady Demon career assists record (921) and ended her career ranked seventh in NCAA history with an 8.2 average (now eighth) … three-year first-team All-Southland and All-Louisiana pick …two-time All-SLC Tournament … had 28 career double-doubles (points, assists) … single-game high of 20 assists vs. Idaho State at the Rice tournament as a junior, another school record, and the only 20-assist game in NCAA Division I history this century … her 298 dimes in that season is the school single-season best, with her 10.6 average ranking as the seventh-best season rate in NCAA Division I history, and the best this century … NSU finished 24-7/14-2 in her senior season, the third 20-win season in her four years (overall 86-32, including 61-15 in Southland regular-season games … averaged a career-best 16.0 points as a senior, finished with 1,351 in her career, 17th all-time … with 283 career steals (2.5 pg), she is fourth in school history despite not ranking in the top 10 on the single-season list … played in 119 career games, starting the last 88 in each of her final three seasons.
Bob Kairis (baseball, 1987-88) – Set Demons’ single-season strikeout record as a pitcher in 1987 (102, now sixth all-time) and topped that by one (103, fifth all-time) as a senior … his 205 Ks tied the then-school career record … won 7 games in 1988, going 7-4 with a 3.72 ERA and walked 24 in 81.2 innings … played in all but two games in 1987, pitching (3-6, 5 saves in 21 appearances, 9 starts) while also being a starting centerfielder (hit .304, tops on the team, with 45 hits, 11 doubles) … struck out 11 LSU batters in a 1987 game … tied for 10th all-time with 6 career saves … was a first-team All-Southland Conference pick as a pitcher in 1988 … drafted by Cleveland (23rdround, 1988) and was the Indians’ minor league player of the year in his first year as a pro.
Terrence McGee (football, 1999-2002) – All-America as a punt returner in 2000, when he set an NCAA record with a 23.7 average including three long scores … a four-year starter at cornerback, where he tied Jermaine Jones’ career school record for pass breakups (44, 15 as a true freshman, 12 as a sophomore) while making 11 interceptions … started in his third college game as a true freshman, finishing with 44 straight starts … split time as a senior at safety … first-team All-Southland twice, at corner and return specialist, as a sophomore and junior… career 190 tackles, 16.9 punt return average on 61 returns (1,031 yards, a school record), 3 TDs … set NSU records for career punt return yards (since broken by Toby Zeigler), season yards (427, 2000), average (23.7, 2000), TDs (3, 2000) … fourth-round (111th overall) 2003 NFL Draft pick … a Pro Bowl kick returner with Buffalo in 2004, and twice named All-Pro as a returner, he started 90 games (and played in 122) in nine seasons at cornerback for the Bills … he is the first NFL player ever to return a kickoff and an interception for TDs in the same game (12/24/05 vs. Cincinnati) … still holds numerous kick return and cornerback franchise records … chosen for Top 100 Demon Players of All-Time squad.
Randy Moore (track and field, 1972-76)- Four-year letterman in track and field established three school or state records during his career … 1976 NAIA All-American after placing second nationally in the 3,000 meter steeplechase … won the 3,000 meter steeplechase and finished second in the 5,000 and third in the 1,500 meters at the NAIA Regional meet in 1976 … added a sixth-place finish in the 1976 NCAA Division II 3,000 meter steeplechase … established school and Louisiana 3,000 meter steeplechase record with a time of 8:52.4 at the 1976 Texas Relays, a school mark that still stands … part of the distance medley relay team that set a school record time of 9:57.2 at the 1975 Texas Relays … posed two top-three finishes in the 1975 Gulf South Conference meet – 2nd in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, 3rd in the 3-mile run … part of the 1974 Gulf South Conference championship squad … was NSU’s No. 2 finisher at the 1975 NAIA National Cross Country championship … named all-conference in cross country in 1974 after finishing third in the conference meet … NSU’s No. 2 finisher in the 1973 NAIA Cross Country championship … NSU’s top finisher in the 1972 national meet and was part of the Gulf South Conference championship team.
Jordan Robison (baseball, 2000-01) – First-team All-Southland, All-Louisiana outfielder twice who went from an undrafted juco signee to a 14th-round MLB draft pick after an assault on the Demon record book that led to him referred to as “perhaps the best all-around performer in modern-day NSU history” in the 2001 season recap … runner-up for 2001 conference player of the year by one vote as NSU went 38-17/19-8 and won its seventh SLC crown … second all-time at NSU in career slugging percentage (.623) … career .356 batting average is seventh all-time … 11 career triples is third in school history … 273 total bases ranks 10th all-time … ended his career ranked in school career top 10 in 10 stats … single-season NSU ranks: first in triples (6, 2001), fifth in triples (5, 2000), sixth in home runs (13, 2001) and slugging percentage (.686, 2001), eighth in hits (77, 2001), RBI (58, 2001), runs scored (58, 2001) … earned All-South Region first team as a junior (.342, 8 HR, 45 RBI, 47 runs, 12-13 on steals, 8 assists from right field) … hit .372 as a senior (13 HR, 56 RBI, 77 hits, 58 runs, 5 assists, 20-26 on steals) … led team in steals both seasons … Robinson joins teammate Brad Hanson, 1995 senior Matt Donner, 1993 senior Troy Conkle and N-Club HOF members Reggie Gatewood, Terry Joseph, Brian Lawrence, and Kyle Shade as the only Demons to make first-team All-Southland in back-to-back seasons … reached Double-A with Cardinals before ending a promising pro career to start a family back home in Idaho.
Regina Roe (track and field, 1997-2000): Became the first Lady Demon to qualify for multiple NCAA Outdoor Championships, reaching the Nationals in 1999 and 2000 … finished 17th nationally in 1999 with a throw of 152-10 … captured the 1999 Southland Conference javelin championship with a school-record throw of 166-9, a mark that still stands atop NSU’s career list … finished 16th nationally in 2000 with a throw of 148-5 and became the first Lady Demon competitor to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2000, finishing 28th with a throw of 131-0.
Stephanie Sowell (track and field, 2001-04) – Four-time All-American (twice in long jump and triple jump indoors), 2004 NCAA Indoor runner-up in long jump … won eight Southland Conference championships … still holds NSU triple jump record (43-1, 2003), breaking her own record of 43-0 ¼ a season earlier … held school long jump mark (20-10 ½) until Jasmyn Steels’ 2019 eruption … was first female four-time All-American in Southland Conference history … finished seventh in the LJ and 11th in TJ at 2003 NCAA Indoors, then as a senior a year later was seventh in the TJ and second in the LJ.
Linette Stuart (softball, 1997-2000; track and field, 2001) – A four-year All-Southland Conference outfielder and the 2001 Southland champion in the javelin (141-8) … her career .331 batting average from 1997-2000 is fourth-best in school history, and set a school record at the time … her career 78 stolen bases also set a school record, and now ranks fourth … a dynamic defensive player … was second-team All-Southland in 1997, 1998, and 2000, first-team in 1999 … started 199 games, fourth all-time at end of her career … her 115 runs were 2nd, 213 hits 4th, and 78 stolen bases was a school record … set single-season records with 70 hits and 32 steals in 2000.
Tony Taylor (football, 1998-2000; track and field, 1998-2000) – Demons’ career rushing king (3,997 yards), even though he gave up his senior season after graduating to pursue pro football and support his two kids and wife … All-American as a junior in 2000 when he shattered NSU season and career records … has top two single-season rushing totals (1,507 in 2000, after 1,441 in 1999) … record 20 career 100-yard rushing games, including co-record five straight, and all-time best 112.7 rushing yards per game (career) … his 198 career points set a school record for a non-kicker (now tied for second) … his 96 points in 1999 (also 16 TDs that year) are overall Demon bests (kickers included) … has two of the top five all-purpose season totals and ranks fourth all-time with 4,524 yards … first-team All-Southland all three seasons … key in 1998 Demons’ run to Southland crown, FCS semifinals … three 200-yard games, topped by 230 on 38 carries in 1998 comeback win at Jacksonville State as a true freshman … as a triple jumper, contributed to SLC titles in 1998 (indoor, 1999 outdoor) in track and field … had a PR of 51-4 ½ for his best conference meet finish, fourth, at the 2000 SLC Outdoors … scored in three other conference meets … earned a Super Bowl ring with Tampa Bay in 2003 while on practice squad … played in one regular-season game with Dallas backing up Emmitt Smith … NFL Europe experience as a starting RB for Rhein … earned a doctoral degree in education … Top 100 Demons of All-Time team member.
Distinguished Service Award Recipient
Terry Alario Sr. and Terry Alario Jr. – The first known father-son duo in Northwestern State baseball history with Senior lettering as a pitcher from 1966-69 and Junior earning a pair of letters in 1993-94 as a catcher … both were part of conference championship teams – 1967 with Senior and 1993-94 for Junior … Terry Jr. batted .250 and drove in three runs while appearing in 13 games … he handled 44 total chances without committing an error … they have been ardent NSU supporters … created the endowed Alario 22 Scholarship and have lent financial support to all Northwestern State athletic programs.
N-Club Pioneer Award Recipient
Al Miller (football assistant coach, 1975-78) — As linebackers coach on A.L. Williams’ staff, he was in charge of strength and conditioning as he developed innovative approaches that ultimately made him a legend in the emerging field … his strength and conditioning program quickly became regarded as one of the best in the nation … worked with athletes in all sports whenever asked, including during the early years of women’s scholarship sports … he designed the NSU weight room to be at the cutting edge for one its size at that time … he wrote a book on how to train in strength and conditioning which is used by our present staff today and others around the nation and world … helped many former NSU players become NFL coaches (Barry Rubin, Bill Johnson) and players after he rapidly climbed into the NFL ranks himself … received the NFL Lifetime Achievement Award from the league’s strength and conditioning coaches after retiring at the end of the 2014 season … member of the inaugural USA Strength and Conditioning Hall of Fame class in 2003, Miller spent 23 seasons as a strength coach with Denver (1985-92), New York Giants (1993-96), Atlanta (1997-2006) and Oakland (2013-14) … his teams went to four AFC Championship games, two NFC Championship games and four Super Bowls and he also worked two Pro Bowls … honors from the NFL strength coaches included the President’s Award (1993), the Emrich-Riecke-Jones Award (1998) and the NFL Strength Coach of the Year Award (2004) … the 2007 recipient of the Legends in the Field award from the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association … was a Hall of Fame receiver at his alma mater, ULM.