WSSU Great, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, One of 10 To Be Inducted Into College Basketball Hall Of Fame

KANSAS CITY (March 6, 2012) – Georgetown's dominating center Patrick Ewing, Kansas legend Clyde Lovellette and North Carolina's star guard Phil Ford headline the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame induction class of 2012. Joining them for enshrinement will be coaches Joe B. Hall and Dave Robbins, players Kenny Sailors, Earl Monroe and Willis Reed and contributors Jim Host and Joe Dean.

The Class of 2012 will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday, November 18, 2012, at the Midland Theatre in Kansas City as part of a three-day celebration of college basketball. The hall of fame is located in the College Basketball Experience, a world-class entertainment facility that provides a multi-faceted interactive experience for fans of the game. On November 19-20, Kansas, Saint Louis, Texas A&M and Washington State will compete at Sprint Center in the CBE Classic.

A three-time consensus first team All-America, Ewing dominated during his career at Georgetown. The seven-foot center led Hall of Fame coach John Thompson's team to three NCAA championship games, including a national title with an 84-75 win over Houston in New Orleans in 1984. He is the all-time leader in blocked shots (493/3.45pg), rebounds (1,316/9.2pg) and games played (143) for Georgetown.

Playing for Hall of Fame coach Phog Allen at Kansas, Lovellette was the first player to win championships in the NCAA, AAU, NBA and Olympic Games. The 6-9 center was a three-time All-America selection for the Jayhawks and led the Big 7 Conference in scoring in each of his three seasons. He was the nation's top scorer in 1952 with 28.6 points per game and was the Most Outstanding Player in the 1952 NCAA Tournament.

The first freshman to start the first game of his North Carolina career under Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith, Ford led UNC to the 1975 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship and was the first freshman in ACC history to win the Everett Case Award as the most valuable player in the ACC Tournament. Carolina won 99 of 124 games with Ford, reached the NCAA tournament every year and advanced to the NCAA championship game in 1977.  He scored 2,290 career points, was a first team All-ACC and All-America selection for his final three seasons and, as a senior, won the Wooden Award and was the consensus National Player of the Year.

One of college basketball's most spectacular backcourt performers, Monroe starred for Hall of Fame coach Clarence "Big House" Gaines at Winston-Salem State. His ball handling and shooting skills dazzled crowds as he led Winston-Salem to the NCAA Division II championship in 1967, averaging an incredible 41.5 points per game and was named the NCAA Division II Player of the Year.

An outstanding power forward for Grambling, Reed led the Tigers to three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and three national championship tournaments in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, including a first-place finish his sophomore season in 1961. As a senior, Reed averaged 26.6 points and 21.3 rebounds for Grambling.

Credited with introducing the jump shot, Sailors was a four-year letterman at Wyoming. He led the Cowboys to the 1943 NCAA championship and earned most valuable player honors in the NCAA. Following his standout 1943 season, Sailors enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps to serve in World War II. He returned to Wyoming in 1945-46, once again earning all-conference and All-America honors.

As a Kentucky assistant coach in 1972, Hall had the unenviable task of succeeding Adolph Rupp. Unfazed by the task, Hall guided the Wildcats for 13 seasons, winning 75 percent of 397 games.  Within three years, he reached the NCAA championship game and, in 1978, he earned National Coach of the Year honors while coaching Kentucky to its fifth national title with a 30-2 record. His Wildcat teams won eight SEC championships and earned a Final Four berth for the third time in 1984. He was named SEC Coach of the Year four times.

As the first white coach in the history of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), which consists of historically black colleges and universities, Robbins' ascension to collegiate coaching in 1978 drew considerable criticism. He guided the Panthers to their first NCAA Division II championship in 1980 and followed that up with two more – in 1992 and 2005. Robbins' teams had a remarkable won-lost record of 713-194, for a winning percentage of .786 over his 30 seasons. 

Few men have influenced the game of basketball as diversely as Dean. The three-time All-SEC player at LSU was a promotions and marketing executive with the Converse Rubber Co. from 1959-1987, advocating not only the Converse products but promoting the game of basketball wherever he traveled. In addition, he was a basketball color analyst with several networks including ESPN, NBC and Turner Sports from 1969-1987 before returning to his alma mater in Baton Rouge as director of athletics for 14 years.

The founder and principal of Host Communications, Host realized the potential growth of men's basketball and partnered the NCAA with major corporations like Gillette, Valvoline and Pizza Hut. Host, who also had a background in broadcasting, went on to create a model for multimedia rights, bundling everything from coaches' radio and TV shows, promotional appearances, endorsements and publishing into a single package for some of the nation's top programs. He has been recognized as one of college athletics' most influential people. 

"The Class of 2012 has incredible roots in the game of college basketball – from the player who introduced the jump shot at Wyoming to the domination of a 7-footer at Georgetown," said Reggie Minton, Deputy Executive Director of the NABC and chair of the Hall of Fame selection panel. "This group of coaches, players and contributors will no doubt bring back memories of national championships, all-American performances and the tremendous growth of the sport throughout the years."

In 2006 the first class was inducted into the newly formed National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. That class included the game's inventor, James Naismith, and possibly its greatest coach in John Wooden. Since that time, five more classes have traveled to Kansas City for a weekend of festivities. Those classes have included the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Danny Manning, Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson.