PRCC announces star-filled Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2022
Published 12:25 pm Thursday, May 5, 2022
PRCC Sports Information
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Pearl River Community College is proud to announce its Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
This year’s six-person induction class is a distinguished group of Wildcats who excelled on the field and in the PRCC community. Comprising the Class of 2022 is football’s Ricky Cuevas, softball’s Rachel Hickman Kirkland and women’s basketball’s Carmen Labat. For the first time in the Hall of Fame’s history, a father-son duo will be inducted in the same class as baseball’s Eric Adkins and football’s Terry Wayne Adkins will be enshrined together. Long-time SID Mitch Deaver is also being inducted for his tireless dedication to the Athletics Department.
For the second year in a row, PRCC is introducing an exciting change.
PRCC is also honoring the 2002 baseball team that broke through to the NJCAA Division II World Series for the first time in program history.
“This year’s Hall of Fame class is as decorated as any. The selection process is always challenging when you have been blessed with extraordinary people and their talents here at The River. These honorees are more than worthy of this prestigious honor,” PRCC Athletics Director Scotty Fletcher said. “Pearl River Community College has a rich and storied history in athletics that is well documented. These individuals have cemented their names into another part of Wildcat history.
“The inductees touched many of lives with their ability to perform at an elite level, while capturing many memories wearing the maroon and gold.”
The ceremony will be held July 29 at Hollywood Casino & Resort Gulf Coast in Bay St. Louis. There will be a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by the banquet at 7 p.m. Tickets are $100 per ticket. Children 5 and under are free.
PRCC is also hosting a four-person scramble golf tournament at 9 a.m. July 29 at The Bridges Golf Club in Bay St. Louis. Each golf team is $600. Teams are limited. Interested golfers are encouraged to register ASAP to secure a spot.
To secure your team’s spot in the golf tournament or to purchase tickets, visit PRCCAthletics.com/tickets.
More information about the inductees will be provided prior to the July 29 ceremony.
MEET THE CLASS
ERIC ADKINS: Eric Adkins was a catalyst for the Wildcats during his two seasons in Poplarville as a rare two-time triple-crown winner.
As a freshman on PRCC’s 2001 squad, the Purvis native claimed the triple crown by leading the Wildcats in batting average (.343), RBIs (37) and home runs (10). He also led PRCC with 13 doubles and a .679 slugging percentage.
The third baseman followed up his debut performance by earning another triple crown. In 2002, Adkins hit 13 homers to go along with a .372 batting average and 53 RBIs.
Adkins’ star continued to shine at William Carey, where he was a two-time Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a two time All-GCAC selection. His 21 homers in 2004 are still a single-season record for the Crusaders.
TERRY WAYNE ADKINS: Terry Wayne Adkins was a true weapon for the Wildcats in 1973 and ’74. Head coach John Russell had the luxury of deploying one of the premier kickers in the country in Adkins.
The former North Forrest standout was a straight-on kicker who handled PATs, field goals and kickoff duties.
One of his best games as a Wildcat was a 29-7 victory over Hinds where Adkins accounted for 17 points on a 5-for-7 showing on field goals plus two PATs.
Two games later, Adkins helped lift PRCC past North champion Mississippi Delta 17-14 courtesy of a 42-yard field goal. His 62 points that season were second nationally and helped land Adkins on the all-state squad. He was also an All-American honorable mention following the 9-1-1 season.
The following season, Adkins was good enough to earn post-season accolades again under the guidance of interim head coach and PRCC Hall of Famer Harvey Seligman.
Adkins still holds records for field goals in a season (13 in ’73), field goal attempts (24 in ’73) longest field goal (53 in ’74) and field goals in a game (five in ’73).
RICKY CUEVAS: A two-year starter on defense in 1974 and ’75, Cuevas is said to have been “as mean as a snake” for the Wildcats.
Prior to arriving at PRCC, Cuevas had already built quite the reputation. A standout at Lumberton, Cuevas was one of 33 seniors selected to compete in the North-South All-Star Game. His coach, Jack Craft, coached the South squad.
With Seligman as coach his freshman season, PRCC went 4-4. The following year the nose guard flourished under the tutelage of PRCC Hall of Famer J.C. Arban. The Wildcats improved to 7-2, setting the foundation for the Wildcats’ 1976 State Championship. For his efforts, Cuevas was named to the All-State and All-Star squads. He was also named the MVP of the All-Star Game.
Cuevas went on to play nose guard at Delta State in 1976 and ’77.
MITCH DEAVER: Deaver was a beloved figure and personality at PRCC.
A 1971 graduate of Purvis High School, Deaver attended PRCC before beginning his career in the newspaper business. He worked at publications in Lamar and Pearl River counties before returning to Pearl River in April 1996. Deaver quickly earned the nickname “Dean of Junior College Sports Information Directors” for his generosity in addition to a wide array of skills. Most notably, Deaver prided himself in his remarkable photography and being able to capture moments at just the perfect time. Although he died in 2015 at the age of 62, former Wildcats still ask quite often about “Mitch’s” photos; they don’t reference the school or other photographers by name, only Mitch.
As a sign of respect for Deaver, the league’s Sports Information Directors still honor him by including his photo in the annual composite football schedule.
Deaver is only the third non-student athlete or coach to be inducted into PRCC’s Sports Hall of Fame, joining former Director of Public Relations Larry Stanford and trainer Phil “Doc” Hudson.
RACHEL HICKMAN KIRKLAND: Kirkland had a decorated career on the softball diamond at Pearl River playing for coach Leigh White. As a freshman in 2014, Kirkland boasted a 21-10 record with a 2.53 ERA and set the school record for strikeouts with 120. She also hit .237 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. Kirkland came right back in 2015 with another outstanding season. Although she was 11-12 as a sophomore, Kirkland broke her own strikeout record with 153. She also improved her ERA to 2.34 and hit .250 with 12 RBIs.
Kirkland was named to All-MACJC and All-Region 23 squads both seasons.
Kirkland went on to play at William Carey in 2016 and ’17.
CARMEN LABAT: Joining this year’s class of deserved inductees is Labat. The Waveland native had a stellar career at Bay High prior to signing with Ed Walley and PRCC. With the Tigers, Labat let the squad to the 2003 Class 4A State Championship and No. 1 final ranking in the Associated Press Poll. In addition to being named the Sun Herald Player of the Year, Labat was named All-State and was a McDonald’s All-American nominee.
As a freshman at Pearl River, Labat blossomed. She averaged 17 points and was named to the All-MACJC and All-Region 23 squads.
After a stellar sophomore campaign, Labat picked up another national honor when she was named an NJCAA All-American honorable mention.
As a senior at SLU, Labat averaged 3.6 points with 24 rebounds, eight assists and six steals. She was 22-for-59 from behind the 3-point arc.
Labat’s .370 career 3-point percentage is still in SLU’s record book.
2002 BASEBALL TEAM: The 2002 Wildcats proved to be a team for the ages. In head coach Jay Artigues’ first season at the helm of his alma mater, the Wildcats broke through for the program’s first NJCAA Division II World Series berth in Millington, Tennessee.
During the magical debut for Artigues, his Wildcats won a program-record 42 games while also claiming the MACJC South Division, Region XXIII and Super Regional titles.
In addition to Adkins, the 2002 team was comprised of the following student athletes: Mark Broom, Collin Smith, Chris Thompson, Nate Murray, Jeff Middleton, Josh O’Flynn, Josh Parker, Jake Smith, Nick Zavros, Jabrell Cook, Josh Parks, Jered Salazar, Blake Munna, Daniel Clark, Jonathan Mitcham, Andy Harper, Garrett Drake, Rhett Shaffette, Chris Stewart, Juston Gros, Eric Adkins, Brett Harris, Derek Underwood, Brad Wood, Neal Cannon, Chas Pierce, Jeremy Guidry, Jared Harris, Rodney Hayes, Travis Tucker, Ben Smith, Neil Favre and Brandon Arcement. Artigues’ assistant coaches were Jamie McMahon, Rob Segura and Tony Salim.
That season, Artigues was named the Region XXIII Coach of the Year. Jake Smith was named to the NJCAA All-American team. Middleton earned a place on the 2002 NJCAA World Series All-Tournament Team.
Artigues was a 2009 inductee of the PRCC Hall of Fame and was enshrined in the state Hall of Fame in 2017. Jake Smith was inducted in 2021.
Twenty Wildcats from that squad went on to play at the four-year level.
Previous inductees who are planning to attend the banquet are encouraged to contact Coordinator of Alumni Services Mary Alice Chandler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601-403-1193 to provide their jacket sizes. Deadline to submit jacket information is May 15, 2022.
Anyone who registers after the deadline can pickup their jackets at the 2023 ceremony.
Sponsorship packages are available for both the banquet and golf tournament.
The banquet has two tiers of sponsorships, the $2,500 Maroon Sponsorship and the $5,000 Gold Sponsorship.
The Maroon Sponsorship includes 10 banquet tickets, 20 beverage tickets, two rooms Friday night at Hollywood Casino and advertising at the banquet; the Gold Sponsorship features one four-person golf team, four rooms Friday night at Hollywood Casino, 10 banquet tickets, 20 beverage tickets and advertising at the banquet.
There are several sponsorship opportunities for the golf tournament as well. PRCC is offering $100 hole sponsorships (which include a 24×18 sign next to the tee box), $300 longest drive or closest to the pin sponsorships, $500 awards ceremony sponsorship and $500 beverage sponsorship.
PRCC is also accepting items for the silent auction and food for the golf tournament.
To secure your sponsorship package or donate to the event, contact Chandler at email@example.com or 601-403-1193.
HOW TO NOMINATE
Know a former Wildcat who you believe should be considered in the future? Nominate by visiting prccathletics.com/hof/Hall_of_Fame_nomination_form or visiting PRCCAthletics.com/HOF and clicking the nomination form link at the top of the page.
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