Michigan State Announces 2017 Hall of Fame Class
MSU will induct five Spartans into its Hall of Fame in September.
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State will induct five Spartans into its Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday, Sept. 28 as part of its annual “Celebrate” weekend, it was announced on June 22. The 2017 Hall of Fame class includes: Bob Apisa (football), Joe Baum (soccer), Bob Cassleman (track & field), Kristin Haynie (basketball) and Dr. Clarence Underwood (administration).
The “Celebrate 2017” weekend includes the eighth-annual Varsity Letter Jacket Presentation and Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 28 and then a special recognition of the Hall of Famers during the Michigan State-Iowa football game at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 30.
The MSU Athletics Hall of Fame, located in the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, opened on Oct. 1, 1999, and displays key moments in Spartan Athletics history as well as plaques of the 139 previous inductees. The charter class of 30 former Spartan student-athletes, coaches and administrators was inducted in 1992.
“Every year, the Hall of Fame class is special, but if there’s one word to sum up this group it would be ‘impactful.’” Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. “No one gets inducted into the Hall of Fame without an amazing set of accomplishments. But this group has done more than just achieve greatness, they have each made a greater impact on Spartan athletics in their own individual manner.
“I can’t wait until Hall of Fame Weekend when they get to tell their stories, perhaps inspiring the current student-athletes to not only pursue greatness, but to strive to make a lasting impact in their sport and at Michigan State.
“On a team full of great players, Bob Apisa was sometimes overlooked. But Bob’s accomplishments and accolades take a back seat to no one. He is one of just 15 players in Michigan State football history to be a two-time first-team All-American, and played an instrumental role on back-to-back Big Ten and National Championship teams – arguably some of the best teams in college football history. A tough competitor on the field, he was a remarkable teammate and also looked to make a positive impact in the community.
“Michigan State soccer would not be what it is today without Joe Baum. He was a two-time NCAA Champion as a goalkeeper, started the women’s program, and led the men’s program for more than three decades. He was a blue collar individual for a blue collar program, and his influence is still felt today as his former player and assistant Damon Rensing leads the Spartans.
“Bob Cassleman set a standard by which all future runners are judged. He won 13 Big Ten titles, including eight as an individual, and yet he seems most proud of the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championship teams that he was a part of in 1972. He was so dominant on the track that his times still hold up against today’s standards. He is without a doubt one of the single greatest competitors in MSU track and field history.
“Growing up in Mason, in the shadows of Michigan State, Kristin Haynie dreamt of being a Spartan. Today, little kids can dream of having the impact on a program that Haynie did. Her stats are impressive, ranking as the career leader in steals and assists, and her All-Big Ten and All-America honors speak for themselves. But what makes Kristin transcendent are her intangibles such as her leadership and heart. That’s how she played a major role in elevating Spartan women’s basketball to among the nation’s top programs.
“Dr. Clarence Underwood dedicated his professional life to educating and mentoring students – many of those at Michigan State. He grew up in the south, but after watching an integrated Spartan football team on TV in the 1954 Rose Bowl, he knew Michigan State was the place for him. He approached his work as an administrator looking to support his coaches and build relationships with student-athletes. For many of those athletes he was a mentor and role model. It’s nearly impossible to measure how many different lives he’s touched, but his impact can be felt in their accomplishments both on and, more importantly, off the field.”
One of just 15 players in program history to earn first-team All-America honors twice, fullback Bob Apisa played an instrumental role in helping the Spartans to a combined record of 19-1-1 during the 1965 and 1966 seasons, including back-to-back Big Ten and National Championships.
A three-year letterwinner from 1965-67, Apisa garnered first-team All-America accolades as a sophomore in 1965 by Football News, and repeated as a first-team All-American in 1966 by both the Football News and New York News.
“I got very emotional,” Apisa said upon learning of his election into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. “My wife was right there, and she hugged me. I think of the all the hardship that I went through. I think of my teammates – I really do feel that they were very involved with my entrance into the Hall of Fame. I look at our team picture, and I see so many good guys – Wade Payne, Ed McLoud, Larry Smith, Tony Conti, Joe Przybycki, George Chatlos, Jimmy Raye, and on down the line – that were very instrumental and helped me get my footing at Michigan State. We were all part of the same class.
“I shed tears for those of us who are no longer here, from Bubba Smith to George Webster to Harold Lucas to Don Japinga to Maurice Haynes to unfortunately many others. But the fact is, when I enter those buildings nowadays, like the Duffy Daugherty Building, I feel there’s a ghost that comes with me, because I was with these people. I knew them personally, sat next to them on train rides and bus rides and plane rides. I played with them, and got chewed out by them. But it was all for the good. They all have love for you as a person and want you to develop. It’s so surreal to go in those buildings and remember seeing all of these people.
“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity. It’s an exclusive club to be a part of, and I’m just honored. And for those that have been supportive of me, I’m honored as well. I’m grateful to Mark Hollis, Mark Dantonio, President Lou Anna Simon and Roy Simon. There’s a lot of credit to go around and I’m very appreciative for that.”
Apisa made quite the journey to East Lansing before even playing in a game. He grew up in American Samoa for seven years, followed by a move to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he lived for the next decade prior to attending school at Michigan State. He starred at Farrington High School in Honolulu and picked MSU among 34 scholarship offers from across the nation.
It didn’t take long for Apisa to make an impact on the field. As a sophomore in 1965, he ranked second on the team in rushing (career-high 666 yards), carries (122), rushing touchdowns (9) and scoring (56 points), and third in total offense (666 yards). He also caught six passes for 93 yards. In his collegiate debut against UCLA, Apisa collected 99 yards on 13 carries, including the game’s only touchdown, a 21-yard run. Apisa went on to score a touchdown in his first seven games.
Despite missing most of the last three games due to a knee injury, Apisa’s 666 rushing yards were the most ever in a single-season by a Spartan fullback. He rushed for a season-high 114 yards on 17 carries in a 32-7 victory over Ohio State on Oct. 16 and also had 74 yards on 11 attempts in the win over Michigan on Oct. 9 that featured a 39-yard rushing TD in the game’s closing minutes.
In the 1966 Rose Bowl against UCLA, Apisa ran four times for 49 yards, including a 38-yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter, which still stands as MSU’s longest-ever TD run in a Rose Bowl game and third-longest overall by a Spartan in a bowl game.
Including the bowl game, Apisa tied for first in the Big Ten with 10 rushing touchdowns in 1965, along with teammate and fellow All-American tailback Clinton Jones. Apisa’s 715 total rushing yards also ranked third in the conference as he picked up second-team all-league accolades in addition to the All-America honors. He also was named the Touchdown Club of Columbus’ “Sophomore of the Year.”
Apisa followed up his stellar sophomore campaign with another impressive season in 1966, although he was again hampered by knee problems and played in just eight games. He led the Big Ten and National Champion Spartans with eight rushing touchdowns and 54 points (nine touchdowns overall), and ranked second in rushing (86 carries for 445 yards) and third in total offense (445 yards). The consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection ran for a career-high 140 yards on 18 carries in the 20-7 win over Michigan on Oct. 8 to earn UPI Back of the Week honors. Two weeks later, Apisa tied his career high with three touchdowns in a Homecoming triumph over Purdue before more than 78,000 fans in Spartan Stadium.
Unfortunately, Apisa continued to battle knee injuries in his final season with the Green and White and finished his senior year with 183 rushing yards on 50 attempts in 1967.
Apisa closed out his career as MSU’s most prolific rushing fullback with 1,343 yards on 262 attempts. Not only did he produce on the stat sheet, but Apisa also helped pave the way for Jones, a two-time All-America tailback who was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Apisa was an honorable mention selection on the all-time MSU football team.
It wasn’t just the football field where Apisa made his mark in East Lansing – he was also very active in the community. Apisa was an avid member of the Christian Athletes in Action group, participated in several activities with the Lansing Big Brother organization, and worked a summer program in 1966 with the Lansing Boys Training School.
Apisa was selected in the eighth round (No. 245 overall) of the 1968 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He graduated with a bachelor of science from MSU in 1968 and a master of arts from Western Michigan in 1970.
Men’s Soccer Coach (1977-2008)
Women’s Soccer Coach (1986-90)
St. Louis, Missouri
If there is one person that emblemizes Michigan State soccer, it’s Joe Baum.
Baum was a part of Michigan State soccer as a player, assistant coach and head coach for a combined 39 seasons. As a goalkeeper, he led MSU to back-to-back co-national championships. Later, he served as the head coach of the men’s program for 32 years and the women’s program for five years, compiling a combined 389 victories.
“I was shocked,” Baum said upon receiving a call from MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis, notifying him of his selection into the Hall of Fame. “He called me at 7:45 in the morning and I thought something was wrong, so I braced myself. He said, ‘congrats, you were voted into the Hall of Fame.’ I was at a loss for words. I said, ‘oh my gosh.’ I’m just so humbled and honored.”
Baum arrived in East Lansing as one of five incoming freshmen on the team from St. Louis, Missouri, then a fertile recruiting ground for Spartan head coach Gene Kenney.
“Everything for me at Michigan State really started in 1965 when we got to the Final Four and then lost 1-0 in the National Championship game,” Baum said. “After going to the national semifinals in both 1965 and ’66, as a team we thought, hey, we’re an NCAA team, let’s get in this thing and do some damage.
“It all went back to ’65 and seeing the Spartans in the national championship.”
The 1966 season proved to be a precursor of Baum’s success at MSU as he set the program’s single-season goals-against average mark (0.37) – a record that still stands today.
The Spartans rolled to a 10-0-2 mark in 1966, but their season was ended by the NCAA rule book in the national semifinals. After four overtimes in a 2-2 tie with Long Island, the Spartans were declared the losers in a 2-2 draw due to a rule that stated in the event of a tie after all the overtimes, the team with the most corner kicks wins.
Baum and the Spartans responded with another unbeaten season in 1967 (12-0-2) and ended the year on a better note. In taking on St. Louis in the NCAA title match, the scoreless game was suspended after a half due to a heavy rainstorm and the teams were declared co-champions.
The Spartans got back to the NCAA title game with Baum in net as senior in 1968. Baum posted three shutouts en route to the title game where another tie gave MSU its second consecutive co-national championship following a 2-2 draw with Maryland.
In all, Baum helped lead the Spartans to a 33-1-7 record during his three seasons as a player, including a 33-game unbeaten streak. He was named to the 1968 All-Midwest team by the National Soccer Coaches of America.
Baum was less than a year removed from being on the field as a player when he began his coaching career in 1969 as an assistant at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. He then moved on to Wisconsin-Green Bay from 1972-74, also as an assistant.
In the spring of 1974, Baum felt the urge to go back to East Lansing, offering then head coach Ed Rutherford to work as a volunteer.
“I told him MSU soccer was my passion,” Baum remembered. “I told him I’d do everything as a volunteer and it worked out pretty well for a few years.”
The Spartans went 25-7-3 (.757) during Baum’s three years as an assistant and when Ed Rutherford stepped down from his head coach role to serve as a full-time administrative assistant to then-Athletics Director Joe Kearney, Baum knew the time was right.
“I had been an assistant for a few years at that point and was very confident that I was ready for the job,” said Baum.
After eight seasons under his belt as head coach of the men’s soccer team, Baum took on another challenge – coaching two varsity teams at once. With women’s soccer earning varsity status in 1986, Baum was tapped to direct both the men’s and women’s teams.
“It was hard,” Baum said. “At times, it was crazy, especially with doubleheaders.”
Fortunately for Baum, he had a trusted assistant in a former player – Tom Saxton – who took over in 1990 and is still leading the Spartan women’s program.
“It all worked out perfectly,” Baum said. “Tom has done a great job.”
Baum ended his five-year stint as head coach of the women’s program with a 69-23-5 (.737) record.
Baum established himself as one of the titans of college soccer during his tenure with the Spartan men’s team. He finished his career with 320 victories, becoming just the second coach in Big Ten history to reach the 300-win plateau.
He was Big Ten Coach of the Year three times (1996, 2000, 2008) and mentored the Spartans to 22 winning seasons.
Baum guided MSU to four NCAA Tournament appearances (2001, 2004, 2007, 2008), coached 57 different All-Big Ten players and had five players drafted in the MLS in his final five seasons.
In the summer of 2008, Baum decided the upcoming season would be his last as the man in charge of Spartan soccer. With perhaps his most talented roster as a head coach, Baum and the Spartans put together one of the most memorable and successful seasons in Spartan history.
The regular-season finale between the Spartans and Northwestern proved to be for the Big Ten championship. With nearly 3,000 fans in the stands at DeMartin Stadium, the Spartans delivered Baum a Big Ten regular season title with a 1-0 victory.
Two weeks later, the Spartans topped Indiana, 1-0, in the Big Ten tournament title game, giving the Spartans the Big Ten Tournament title as well.
“It was like a dream – a dream come true,” Baum said. “I always thought about having a season that was a banner year. We had future professional players at numerous positions. Going into the year, I knew that if we could stay healthy, we could have a very good team. It was a magical run.”
The Spartans went 8-0-1 over their final nine games heading into the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, their run came to an end as the Spartans were ousted in the second round vs. UIC by penalty kicks.
Despite how suddenly and disappointingly the Spartans’ dream season ended, Baum kept perspective on the overall success of his last season as head coach.
“That game didn’t detract from what we did,” Baum said. “I wasn’t going to let the fact that we got beat in PKs affect us.”
Baum remained on staff with the Spartans for the 2009 and 2010 seasons, serving as an assistant to his former player-turned-head coach, Damon Rensing.
Baum’s final two seasons strolling the Spartan sideline proved to be a perfect ending to his five decades representing Michigan State soccer.
“To go from the success of the 2008 season right into retirement would have been really hard,” Baum said. “Those two years as an assistant were a way I phased myself out. When I did step away and retire fully, I knew I was ready.”
Track & Field (1971-74)
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Bob Cassleman’s name is on many records, titles and awards. His name is scattered throughout the Michigan State track & field record and history book and will most likely be there forever. There is now one more spot for Cassleman’s name to be etched for eternity, the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Initially, it was like Christmas as a child. I knew I had been nominated and I hoped it would happen, but when it did happen I felt an incredible thrill,” Cassleman said about his feeling when getting the phone call from MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis. “I’m just incredibly grateful to be named to the 2017 Class. When you consider all the men and women that have worn the Green & White over the many, many years, you can’t but be a bit humbled.”
Cassleman is a Green & White great, as he currently possesses two MSU records, the outdoor 400-meter hurdles record of 49.64 set in 1972 and the indoor 600-yard run, a record that will live on perhaps forever as it is no longer a contested event in college track. He is not only the MSU record holder in the 600-yard run, but he holds the collegiate record, running a 1:08.15 on his home track.
“The high mark in my career as a Spartan was setting the collegiate record at 600 yards indoors. I actually eclipsed the school record held by MSU alum Bill Wehrwein. It was on a February evening in 1973 at the Spartan Relays on MSU’s indoor track. I really wanted the record, and I went after it as soon as the gun went off. That was very satisfying,” Cassleman said.
He was a five-time All-American and finished in the top 10 of the NCAA Championships a total of eight times. He won a total of eight individual Big Ten titles as well as five more conference crowns in relays, including two that set collegiate-record times, combining for a remarkable total of 13 Big Ten titles.
The MSU Athletics Hall of Fame honor sparks a great sense of pride for Cassleman.
“I’m also very proud to be associated with such a fine University, one that is considered to be among the top public universities in the country. I’ve worked in higher education during my entire adult working career, so I’ve been able to view Michigan State from an educated perspective, perhaps,” Cassleman said.
This Hall of Fame accolade also stirs up some great memories for him during his time as a Spartan student-athlete, and the people that helped him along his path.
“You’re also able to recollect about the times you were competing, for me that was in the early 1970s, and the most visible recollections are about people, teammates and coaches, competitors and things like that. I’ve always remembered the people that formed this family of support around us as athletes,” Cassleman said. “I vividly remember the athletic director at the time, Burt Smith, and I think a lot of us knew him on a first name basis and were tight with him. I also remember Clarence Underwood, who is a fellow member of the 2017 class, was the assistant athletic director at the time. I also remember all the support staff, like the equipment managers, the athletic trainers, the ticket office mangers and business office managers, and everyone like that. All those people come back into fond recollection when you have a moment like this induction. It’s all just kind of ‘holy smokes!’”
“Holy smokes!” might be what a lot of Cassleman’s opponents and fans thought when watching him run. His numerous highlights as a Spartan include an undefeated streak in the 400m hurdles and 600-yards in Big Ten Championship competition. Cassleman won three Big Ten crowns in the hurdles and five in the 600-yards during his time as a Spartan. Eight Big Ten Championship races as an individual, eight Big Ten titles.
“From an individual standpoint, I also remember my senior season and my Big Ten title in the 400 meter hurdles, which was my ace event, I was undefeated from my freshman to my senior year in Big Ten title events, so I was really hoping to keep that streak going as a senior,” Cassleman said.
How fast did Cassleman run? His school record time of 49.64 would have won the 2017 Big Ten title. Not by a few hundredths of a second or a few tenths of a second, not even by a split second, but smashing it by over a full second, as this year’s conference title time was 50.88. Cassleman not only earned All-America honors in the 1970s, but his 49.64 time would have earned him All-America accolades in 2017 as it would have placed him sixth at the NCAA Championships this year.
While Cassleman has many individual accomplishments to be proud of, he is also proud of his team accolades.
“One of my biggest athletic memories is the 1972 season, when we won the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor titles, and also won the cross country title, so we won the Big Ten triple crown, as we termed it. We then came within one point of winning the 1972 Indoor NCAA title at Nationals, so that was a very special season,” Cassleman said.
Cassleman’s competitions expanded to the international level, competing on United States National Teams in 1973 and 1975 and in three Olympic trials in 1972, 1076 and 1980. He also was a National Sports Festival participant in 1979.
All of those races pitted Cassleman against competitors from all around the world, and he enjoyed the experiences of meeting different people.
“I met people from different backgrounds. We all put our socks on one at a time,” Cassleman said.
Throughout his time as an athlete, Cassleman was given many tips and advice from coaches, and many of them stuck with him throughout his career and stick with him today.
“One of the lasting sayings is by my individual coach, Jim Gibbard, and he would always say ‘you’ve got to want it.’ That was something that really stuck with me, you really have to desire the outcome that you want, whether you get there or not, whether it’s to make the Olympic teams or whatever your dream, you’ve got to want it,” Cassleman said.
After his running time was done, Cassleman wasn’t done with track & field, as he became a coach, starting off at Central Michigan, with stops at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Illinois and Washington State. Cassleman retired from coaching in 1995 after 13 years at Washington State. He continued to work at Washington State in the Office of International Programs.
During his time at Illinois, he met his wife of 35 years, Jessica, who shared his love of track & field and his love for coaching, and they coached together at Illinois, leading the Illini cross country and track & field programs before moving to both coach track & field at Washington State. While Bob retired in May of 2015, Jessica is the Assistant Dean for International Programs in the Carson College of Business at Washington State.
“I’m retired, so while my wife serves as the breadwinner, I’m getting lots of practice with my domestic skills. I really enjoy cooking and am pretty handy with tools,” Cassleman said.
The Casslemans have four adult children, John (32, married to Shanell), Brendan (30), Nick (26) and Michael (23), and one granddaughter, two-and-a-half year old Aster Brynn. John inherited his father’s 400m hurdles skills, as he was an All-American at Washington State in 2006, and has the Cassleman “household” record at 49.53 seconds.
While he may be retired, Cassleman is still active, hiking and enjoying many outdoor activities in the Pacific Northwest, including hiking Mt. Hood. He also has stayed very involved with track & field, volunteering as an official, usually the starter, at track meets in the area, ranging from middle school to college.
Even though he lives in Washington, Cassleman travels a lot, visiting family and friends, including returning to East Lansing on several occasions.
“I’ve been back a few times over the years to get together with friends and track alums. I was back last September when Ken Popejoy was inducted. I have four brothers in Michigan, so I try to get back there,” Cassleman said.
Whether it is on his returns to East Lansing, at home in Washington, or wherever he may be, Cassleman keeps close tabs on the happenings at MSU, particularly with Spartan Athletics.
“I’m a lifetime member of the MSU Alumni Association, so I read as many of their emails and newsletters as I can, to keep track of things going on at Michigan State in general, plus there’s always a weekly athletics update that I read,” Cassleman said. “I’ve known MSU head coach Walt Drenth for decades, back to when I was coaching, so I definitely stay up on everything going on. I watched Tim Ehrhardt in the decathlon at the NCAAs on TV and it was lots of fun to watch him. The Spartan women’s cross country national championship a couple years ago was very special and was wonderful to see. I was back a few years ago when Michigan State hosted the Big Ten Track & Field Championships and that was fun to watch and relive some memories. We try to get our track alums together and we’ve had some nice memories, reliving our good times.”
With this fall’s induction, Cassleman will be able to add MSU Athletics Hall of Fame member to those memories and good times.
Women’s Basketball (2001-05)
Kristin Haynie was the quintessential Spartan, leading the Michigan State women’s basketball team to its first Final Four during the magical 2005 season. The Mason, Michigan, native dreamed of becoming a Spartan and used complete tenacity to make her dreams come true.
She joins Mary Kay Itnyre (2015), Diane Spoelstra (2012) and Kisha (Kelley) Simpson (2011) as MSU women’s basketball players in the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame.
“When Mark Hollis told me, I was speechless,” Haynie said about being told of her honor. All these types of emotions were going through my head so quickly, and I was definitely shocked and I thought I was dreaming. MSU was always my dream school to play ball at and to be inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame definitely leaves me speechless. Obviously, it is not just me; it is my coaches even from when I was a kid from middle school to high school. There are also my teammates that basically made me look good. This is an award for everybody who has been a part of my life.
“I love the state of Michigan, and I love Michigan State. I grew up watching the Spartans play, and it was always my dream to play for the Spartans. I always bleed Green and I always will. So really it’s emotional, and it means a lot to me. I just have to continue to soak it in. One of these days it will hit me, but I am still shocked.”
As native Michigander, Haynie finds it particularly special to be named to the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. Haynie was inducted into the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2014, but did not anticipate being named to the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame at such a young age.
“Being inducted period, it’s something I never would have imagined or thought about,” Haynie said. “I just wanted to go to State to play ball and pursue championships, so this award is something so special to me. I bleed Green.”
Haynie had a stellar Michigan State career, ranking as the career leader in assists (574) and steals (346). She finished her career ranked eighth in MSU history in scoring (1,199 points) and is still 14th in career scoring. At the time of her graduation, she was just the fourth player in Big Ten history to reach career totals of 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals. She is also the Michigan State leader in single-season steals with 117. The point guard is still one of just three Spartan women’s basketball players to record a triple-double.
The Spartan had an amazing stint in East Lansing, but the pinnacle of her MSU career was the 2005 season. Michigan State advanced to its first-ever Final Four, falling in the championship game to Baylor. MSU finished the season with a 33-4 record, which is still the school record for wins, under the tutelage of head coach Joanne P. McCallie.
“The 2005 season was a whirlwind,” Haynie said. “Starting my senior year of college, I knew that we had a special team. The core players played a lot of minutes, and we knew Coach P’s system. We wanted to do special things. We shocked the nation and made it to the National Championship game. Then a couple of weeks later I got drafted in the first round, and then a couple months later we won a WNBA Championship in Sacramento. I finally have been able to realize what 2005 was, and it was a year that I will never forget and I love talking about it. Not a lot of student-athletes get to the National Championship game let alone get drafted and win a world championship. I am definitely humbled by it.”
Michigan State finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in the final USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, earning its highest-ever national ranking. The Spartan starting five featured Haynie, Liz Shimek, Kelli Roehrig, Lindsay Bowen and Victoria Lucas-Perry. MSU averaged 71.0 points per game, while allowing only 58.2. Those stats were bolstered by a 67-51 win over No. 11 UConn on Dec. 29, 2004, as the 10th-ranked Spartans not only won on the Huskies’ tough home court, but dealt them their worst home loss in 12 years.
“Beating UConn at UConn was a big highlight of the 2005 season,” Haynie said. “I think that they were on a 40-game winning streak at the time, and we beat them at their place, that was a big turning point. I still remember getting a No. 1 seed in the tournament and people having their doubts. Commentators and analysts thought we were overrated, but we beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame, UConn at UConn, won the Big Ten Championship, so it was awesome to be the underdog and prove people wrong.”
Haynie knows that her success during her senior season had as much to do with the other four players on the court with her. Shimek and Bowen both started every game of the 2005 season with Shimek leading the team in scoring, averaging 14.8 ppg. Haynie, Shimek and Bowen all garnered Kodak/WBCA and Associated Press All-American honors after the conclusion of the 2005 season, but it was Haynie that emerged as the heart of the Big Ten Championship squad.
“When I got the ball, I always wanted to find Lindsay Bowen,” Haynie said. “She is one of the best players that I have ever played with. I loved playing with her. Liz Shimek is one of the hardest-working players that I ever played with, even throughout my professional career. Kelli Roehrig and Victoria Lucas-Perry, they played their roles as well. We just gelled as a team. It was just really fun and no one really cared who scored, which makes the game fun. We were close; we had good chemistry on the court and that is what made is so successful.”
Haynie and Roehrig finished their Michigan State careers with 91 victories, which was the most by any class in MSU history at the time.
Just weeks after National Championship game, Haynie was the ninth pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft by the Sacramento Monarchs. She helped the Monarchs capture the WNBA title in her first season as a pro. She played in 160 games during her WNBA career, spending five seasons in the WNBA (2005-09) with the Sacramento Monarchs, Atlanta Dream and Detroit Shock. Following her stint in the WNBA, Haynie played professionally in Italy, Lithuania, Russia and Greece.
After the conclusion of her playing days, Haynie returned to the court as an assistant coach at both Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan. These days, she continues to help young athletes reach their potential. She works with basketball players of all ages at Ignite Training, improving their speed, agility and fundamentals in the Mason and Kalamazoo areas.
“I loved coaching,” Haynie said. “You don’t realize what goes on, you know, on the other side when you are playing. You just care about putting the ball in the hoop. I really enjoyed it; I loved the relationships and I learned a lot. I stopped coaching because I want to train. I am doing skills training on the court because I saw a lot of kids when I was coaching that could have used a little more help. Looking back, I wish that I had a trainer and a mentor who helped me reach my goals. Whether their goal is to be a really good high school player or to get to college or be a professional, I want to help them reach their goal. I played at the highest level. I really want to give back to the game that way and see young kids reach their dreams and goals.”
Haynie also stays close to the MSU program watching the likes of Aerial Powers and Tori Jankoska flourish under the guidance of head coach Suzy Merchant.
“Even though Suzy wasn’t my coach, I still love the women’s basketball program,” Haynie added. “I bleed Green. I still follow them. I like Suzy Merchant a lot. We talk, and I like to learn things from their practices. I don’t want to be a stranger to Malinda (Hudkins) and LouAnne (Jefferson), all the people that are still there who were there when I was.”
The point guard says she wants to be remembered at Michigan State as a relentless team player, but realizes that the equally tenacious MSU fan base has a lot to do with the Spartans’ success.
“It was just awesome to watch as my years went on to watch the fan base increase,” Haynie said. “I am pretty sure we were top five in the nation by the time my senior year ended in home attendance. That is what I miss most about basketball, running out of the tunnel and hearing the fans cheer. That is an adrenaline rush. We couldn’t be successful without our fans either so I want to give them a shout-out.”
The tough as nails point guard couldn’t have gotten where she is today without some key individuals, including her parents.
“I want to thank my parents,” Haynie said. “My dad was hard on me, and I think that it helped. Looking back I wish that he was even harder on me. I want to thank my mom as well because she was the supporter. When dad was bringing me down my mom was bringing me up, and it was a good balance.
“Julee Burgess was my best friend in high school, and we were roommates in college. She has helped me through all the thick and thin and any adversity I had at MSU. I appreciate everything that she did for me in college.”
Burgess remains close to the Spartan Family as a Sport Operations Assistant in the MSU Athletic Department, and Haynie stays in contact with her today.
It took a team, a family and a community to help Kristin Haynie develop into the Hall of Famer that she has become today. She is looking to give some of that back to the state that helped cultivate her winning state of mind.
Dr. Clarence Underwood
Administration (1969, 1972-83, 1990-2002)
Jan. 1, 1954, was a great day in the history of Michigan State football and Spartan athletics. On that day, the Spartans defeated UCLA, 28-20, in their first ever trip to the Rose Bowl. It was also a day that changed the life of Clarence Underwood, exposing him to Michigan State, a place where he would later serve as an educator, administrator, and most importantly a mentor to so many student-athletes.
Stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Underwood, serving in the United States Army 82nd Airborne Division, was on a break from guard duty when he happened upon a live broadcast of the Rose Bowl.
“I had never seen black and white boys playing together on the same team,” said Underwood, who grew up in Gadsden, Alabama. “I couldn’t believe the number of black athletes playing key roles for Michigan State – players such as LeRoy Bolden and James Hinesly.
“At that time I told myself ‘man, when I leave here I’m going to Michigan State.’”
Underwood made good on the promise to himself, and in 1961 he received his bachelor’s of science degree in physical education at Michigan State. His career in education began as a physical education teacher for elementary and junior high schools in the East Lansing school district, while simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in physical education and counseling from MSU, which he completed in 1965.
From there, Underwood moved on to jobs at Northern Michigan University, the University of Wisconsin and the Michigan Department of Education, not knowing that his career path would bring him right back to Michigan State.
There was a brief stint as assistant ticket manager, but his career in athletics administration really began when he was named assistant athletics director for academic support in 1972. His primary responsibility was the implementation of greatly expanded academic support services, including a tutoring program for all athletes with full-time academic counselors. In 1978, Underwood was recognized for his work in academics by being elected president of the National Academic Athletic Association.
“Everything I did at Michigan State, I loved,” Underwood said. “In everything I did, my goal was to make it better when I left than when I came in. I wanted to impact the student-athletes to do their best. My highest goal always was to help student-athletes graduate and demonstrate good conduct with the same intensity as coaches prepared them to win in their sports.”
After 11 years at Michigan State, during which time he worked to earn a Ph.D. in administration and higher education in 1982, Underwood became a deputy commissioner at the Big Ten Conference in 1983. At the Big Ten, Underwood served as the liaison with each school’s director of athletics, was the primary administrator for the men’s sports coaches and oversaw the officials, team physicians and athletic trainers. Furthermore, he initiated the popular Big Ten SCORE program (Success Comes Out of Reading Everyday) for inner city children, promoted the Big Ten Advisory Commission to give voice to minority/equity issues and established lofty standards in the area of academic advising and institutional compliance.
But once again, Underwood found his way home to MSU when Athletics Director George Perles hired Underwood to be the school’s assistant athletic director in charge of compliance in 1990 and implemented the school’s first formal compliance program. Four years later, he was appointed senior associate athletics director where he served as the departmental point person on all student-athlete welfare issues, while also developing cultural programs for student-athletes.
In April 1999, Underwood assumed leadership of the department, starting a three-year stint as Athletic Director. The 1999-2000 season proved to be one of the best years ever for Spartan athletics, including an NCAA Championship for men’s basketball, a New Year’s Day Citrus Bowl victory for football and a CCHA Tournament title for ice hockey. Fifteen of MSU’s 26 sports were represented at their respective NCAA Championship. The 2000-01 campaign brought similar success, highlighted by a Final Four appearance for the men’s basketball team and a Frozen Four trip for the ice hockey squad. In 2001-02, Michigan State hosted “The Cold War,” an outdoor hockey game at Spartan Stadium between MSU and Michigan, played in front of a world record crowd of 74,554 (Oct. 6, 2001).
During his time as athletics director, Underwood reflected on what brought him joy in his job.
“I get a great deal of satisfaction in seeing young people come to our program and develop as individuals while having an opportunity to play their sport, get an education, earn their degree and then come back here someday and say ‘thank you,’” Underwood said. “Michigan State has a rich tradition, including a history of offering many opportunities to all minorities. It is that history and the current student-athletes that make me proud to be a Spartan.”
For Underwood, his life’s work has been about helping others. Because of his efforts, many student-athletes of all races have gone on to experience great success in life beyond their athletic careers. It’s an impact that even he is only starting to grasp.
“My job was to support the coaches and serve them the best I could, and build strong relationships with the athletes to help them be successful,” said Underwood. “I never really thought of their success being a tribute to me – that wasn’t the reason I did what I did. But looking back on everything now, I can see that my support helped others accomplish so many great things.”
Perhaps that humble mindset is why Dr. Clarence Underwood was surprised to receive the call from MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis informing him of his induction into the Hall of Fame.
“Nothing stuns me at my age, but I was stunned when Mark Hollis called me,” said Underwood. “It’s an amazing honor, but I never worked for individual recognition or honors. I’m elated and just starting to wrap my mind around it.”
For someone who learned about Michigan State after happening upon a game on television, it’s been a remarkable journey. And considering the number of Spartan lives Underwood has mentored, it’s even more amazing.
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