Mississippi College Leaders Induct 2013 MC Sports Hall of Fame Members
April 25, 2013
Columbus physician Dr. Chad Altmyer learned the values of integrity, hard work and dealing with adversity during his undergraduate years at Mississippi College.
“This chapter in my life molded me to make me the person I am today,” Altmyer told hundreds of guests during the annual MC Sports Hall of Fame banquet on April 20.
Altmyer joined Eugene Smith, Harry Upton, Scott Waterbury, Renee Brown Sumlin, Robert Street and Brenda Phillips Smith as the newest crop of inductees. President Lee Royce, Athletic Director Mike Jones, family members and friends lauded their many achievements.
Attracted to Mississippi College because of its strong pre-med curriculum, Altmyer excelled on the baseball field for the Choctaws where he served as the versatile team captain who played every position in the infield and pitched on some occasions. A four-year baseball letterman, the Mississippian also was a standout on the Choctaws basketball team in 1993 that won the Gulf South Conference championship.
A former star athlete at Laurel High School, Altmyer maintained an incredible 4.0 academic average for four years as a busy undergraduate. The University of Mississippi Medical School graduate literally ran from MC athletic fields to labs at the Baptist-affiliated university. The hard work is paying dividends for the physician and his patients in Columbus. A specialist in orthopedics, Dr. Altmyer serves as the team doctor for Mississippi State University.
Year-round, Altmyer bleeds blue and gold. He’s married to the former Betsy Bokin, a three-time national champion cheerleader for the Choctaws. He met his future wife on the Clinton campus.
An outstanding scholar-athlete, Altmyer’s success story reflects the true spirit of the Mississippi College M-Club Sports Hall of Fame.
Others spotlighted include Scott Waterbury, a 1994 alumnus inducted for his many accomplishments as a four-year track and field letterman under Coach Billy Lamb. At a national track meet in 1993, his discus throws led the USA that season during his junior year.
A knee injury kept Waterbury from being considered for the U.S. Olympic team. A 1994 criminal justice graduate, the Gulfport High product served with the Mississippi Highway Patrol for 18 years where he’s an investigator. His brother, Bobby, was inducted into the MC Sports Hall of Fame a few years ago.
A super softball player as an MC Choctaw, Renee Brown Sumlin was selected to the first team All-Gulf South Conference. During her 1999 season, she led the team with a mighty batting average of .447. She led in runs batted in during her softball career at Mississippi College after one semester at Holmes Community College.
A Madison-Ridgeland Academy graduate, Sumlin has worked as a nurse at Baptist Hospital. The mother of two boys, Jacob and Cade, she’s a lab manager at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Robert Street was a stellar football and baseball player for the Choctaws. During his sophomore season in 1973 when the Choctaws played in the Gulf South Conference, he led the USA in interceptions. In baseball, Street was voted the squad’s MVP and team captain. He was the first MC player selected All-GSC for baseball. A Yazoo City High graduate and 1974 MC alumnus, he has been self-employed for 30 years.
A 1962 Mississippi College graduate, Harry Upton joined the Christian university’s Sports Hall of Fame as a Friend of Athletics. A three-year track letterman at Laurel High, he came to MC in 1958 and ran track as a freshman. After a stint in the Marines, he returned to school where he was used as a scout team-blocking dummy for the big guys on the Choctaws football squad. His one brief appearance in a real game resulted in an injury that ended his athletic career. But Upton wasn’t finished with sports. He helped launch the MC Sports Hall of Fame.
Retired from the investment services industry, Upton says his greatest achievement was meeting his future wife, Jackie, at Mississippi College. They’ve been married for 50 years in 2013.
A superb softball, tennis and basketball player at Mississippi College, Brenda Phillips Smith relished life in metro Jackson after growing up in tiny Rexford, Kansas. A former first-team junior college All-American in basketball in Kansas, Smith played on MC hoops teams that competed against strong NCAA Division I schools including Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU and national champion Louisiana Tech.
A former Wingfield High teacher in Jackson, Brenda Smith is the dean of students at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson where she’s worked the past 17 years. The youth director at Wesson Baptist Church, she’s married to Steve Smith. The couple met on the Clinton campus.
Former MC Choctaws football tight end Gene Smith played on the university’s Gulf South Conference championship team in 1979. A former football player at Gulfport East High, Smith distinguished himself as a coach and business executive. He served as defensive coordinator at the University of Houston from 1993-96. Other coaching stops included Clinton High, Southern Miss, Arkansas, Mississippi State and the Birmingham Fire of the World Football League.
He and his wife, Amy, have three children and are Petal residents. Smith serves as the general manager of Fiber Vision in Columbia and is a former owner of CiCi’s Pizza in Hattiesburg. All three of his Mississippi College football coaches, John Williams, Terry McMillan and Cooper Page, recommended the son of a Methodist preacher for the MC Sports Hall of Fame.
Photo: Pictured are from left: Brenda Phillips Smith, Robert Street, Chad Altmyer, Athletic Director Mike Jones, Scott Waterbury, Renee Brown Sumlin, Gene Smith, and Harry Upton