The 1972 Missouri Southern NAIA Football National Championship team will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame as part of the Football Sports Enthusiasts Luncheon on October 20 in Springfield.
This year’s ceremony will take place at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds E*Plex East Wing in Springfield. The program will begin at 11 a.m. with a meal and should conclude by 1 p.m.
“This honor is well-deserved and representative of the fine student-athletes and coaches that I had the privilege of working with,” said former head coach and athletic director Jim Frazier. “I am very proud of this special group of young men.”
The 1972 MSSU Football team won the NAIA Division II Championship by defeating Northwestern College of Iowa, 21-14 in Joplin. Under the direction of Frazier, the team finished the season with a perfect 12-0 record and won the Central States Intercollegiate Conference (CSIC) crown.
Led by quarterback Ray Harding, tackles Terron Jackson and Charles Hendricks, Linebacker Barry Korner and defensive back Jack Duda, the Lions blitzed through the regular season en route to the National Championship.
The team started the season 4-0 with wins on the road at Fort Hays State and the College of Emporia, as well as home wins against Southeast Missouri and Missouri S&T. The team then went on the road and took out NCAA Division I Nevada-Las Vegas, 7-0. Duda ended that game for the Lions with an interception in the endzone to seal the shutout.
Southern finished the regular season with a perfect record of 10-0, including wins over Pittsburg State, Washburn, Emporia State, Missouri Western and Culver-Stockton. The Lions faced Doan College in the opening round of the playoffs at historic Junge Field in Joplin. A downpour made the natural grass field a mud pit, but the Southern defense held steady and limited Doane to just six yards rushing and 37 yards in the air in the 24-6 win.
On to the National Championship game which would again be held in Joplin at Junge Field. The Raiders of Northwestern College in Iowa came to town. Southern trailed by a point with three minutes to go in the game when the defense forced Northwestern to punt. The punt went into the endzone and the Lions’ Sam Kealoha pounced on it for the touchdown. A two-point conversion from Terry Starks and a late interception from Duda sealed the 21-14 win and the National Title.
The game served as a first for both Southern and the State of Missouri as the Lions became the first collegiate football team in the state of Missouri to win a National Championship.
Members of the team included Neal Alkire, Kerry Anders, Ron Barnds, Joe Balentine, John Busalacki, Larry Cameron, Mike Cole, Jack Duda, Doug Efird, David L. Evans, David S. Evans, Randy Fidler, Marty Galbraith, Fred Gnerlich, Roger Hall, Steve Hamilton, Ray Harding, Charles Hendricks, Larry Hill, Randy Hocker, Ken Howard, Terron Jackson, Sam Jeohala, Barry Korner, John LaBlank, Mike Mitchell, Max Mourglia, Dennis Pendergrass, Paul Sallie, Terry Starks, Kent Stracke, Jack Varns, Steward Ward, John Watson, Melvin Wilson, and Jeff Wolverton. In addition to Frazier coaches were Tony Calwhite and Ed Wuch. Managers were Ron McReynolds, Doug Guier, Henry Moyer, and Doug Dodd.
The complete schedule and results are listed below.
Sept. 9 Fort Hays State (A) W 40-15
Sept. 16 Southeast Missouri (H) W 7-6
Sept. 23 College of Emporia (A) W 33-7
Sept. 30 Missouri S&T (H) W 39-7
Oct. 7 UNLV (A) W 7-0
Oct. 14 Pittsburg State (H) W 21-6
Oct. 21 Washburn (A) W 14-3
Oct. 28 Emporia State (HC) W 14-9
Nov. 4 Missouri Western (H) W 52-7
Nov. 11 Culver-Stockton (H) W 63-12
Nov. 25 Doane College (H) + W 24-6
Dec. 2 Northwestern (H) + W 21-14
The 1972 football team joins eight other individuals and one other team with ties to Missouri Southern to be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. Also in the HOF are Sallie Beard, Robert Corn, Pat Lipira, Tom Rutledge, Anita Rank Oplotnik, Rod Smith, Warren Turner, Patty Vavra and the Missouri Southern Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country Programs.
Joining the 1972 football team in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame will be former Central Missouri quarterback Eric Czerniewski, former St. Louis football Cardinal Terry Metcalf, Branson radio’s Scott McCaulley and Midway coach Larry Burchett and the Midway football program.