The 2020 Southern Conference Hall of Fame class includes members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame, a 10-year Major League Baseball veteran, an NCAA pioneer and an NCAA record-holder.
This year’s group of individuals represents the ninth class of inductees into the league’s Hall of Fame, highlighting 99 years of athletic success.
The 2020 inductees are: Lynne Agee (UNC Greensboro), Eric Breitenstein (Wofford), Terrell Owens (Chattanooga), Rod Thorn (West Virginia) and Wayne Tolleson (Western Carolina).
Student-athletes who competed for a minimum of two seasons in the Southern Conference were eligible for consideration, along with coaches and administrators who spent at least five years in the league.
A pool of more than 200 candidates from the conference’s current and former member institutions were nominated for consideration.
The pool of former student-athletes, coaches and administrators was cut down to 40 individuals who comprised the final ballot. A voting panel of 20 media members and league administrators made the selection of the induction class.
Rod Thorn, men’s basketball/baseball (West Virginia, 1960-63) – A two-time SoCon Male Athlete of the Year in the early 1960s, Rod Thorn was part of a West Virginia dynasty in the era, helping the Mountaineers to a combined 70-18 record from 1960-63 that included a 34-4 SoCon mark. Thorn helped WVU to three SoCon regular-season titles and two tournament crowns, claiming MVP honors twice, and helped the squad to a run to the NCAA regional semifinals (later known as the Sweet Sixteen) in 1963.
Thorn averaged 21.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in his career, which rank fourth and third in program history, respectively.
One of just three players in program history to have his number retired, Thorn established six school records and finished with 1,785 points in three seasons, good for third at the end of his career.
Thorn also played baseball for the Mountaineers, helping the squad to a 66-21 mark and three SoCon titles with three NCAA appearances, and was inducted into West Virginia’s athletics Hall of Fame in 1992.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 1963 NBA Draft, Thorn enjoyed an eight-year playing career in the league before transitioning to coaching and then the front office.
The 2002 NBA Executive of the Year, Thorn enjoyed a lengthy career serving as a general manager and team president and working in the league office and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as an executive and a contributor in 2018.