May 23 2012
Special Awards Salute: Election to CoSIDA Hall of Fame a fitting honor for former Mississippi Valley State SID Charles (Chuck) ProphetBelow, see the schedule of the 2012 Special Award recipient feature stories which will be written by CoSIDA members throughout the spring. The full slate of 2012 Special Awards was announced March 2. All awards will be presented during the 2012 CoSIDA Convention in St. Louis (June 23-26).
• Individual feature story schedule for 2012 Special Awards
• CoSIDA St. Louis Convention awards presentation schedule
Election to CoSIDA Hall of Fame a fitting honor for Chuck Prophet
by Maurice Williams, Hampton University
Charles “Chuck” Prophet was a man who wore many hats.
The longtime sports information director at Mississippi Valley State University, who passed away on June 20, 2008, is one of seven individuals who’ll be enshrined into CoSIDA Hall of Fame on June 25 during the St. Louis Convention. The other sports information icons who’ll go into the Hall along with Prophet are Debbie Copp (Oklahoma), Tom Di Camillo (Pacific West Conference), Sue Edson (Syracuse), Lawrence Fan (San Jose State), Fred Huff (SIU-Carbondale) and Kennan Timm (Wisconsin-Oshkosh).
During his career at Mississippi Valley State, Prophet served as sports information director for 30 years, from 1971 until his retirement in 2001. He held dual titles of SID and athletics director from 1985 until 2001. Early in his career at MVSU, he was listed as equipment manager and, while also serving as SID, he served as publicity director for the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) for nine of those years.
“I never got a chance to meet Mr. Prophet, but I know of his legacy,” said Hampton University’s SID, Maurice Williams, who nominated Prophet for the Hall of Fame. “From what I’ve heard, Mr. Prophet wore many hats and he wore them with pride, pride that was exemplified in his work. For the younger SIDs like me, he was a trailblazer.”
For most of his life, Prophet lived and worked in the same rural county where he was born – Leflore County, where Mississippi Valley State is situated. He graduated from Broad Street High School in Greenwood, Miss. in 1959, served a stint in the U.S. Army and then matriculated at MVSU, where he received a B.S. degree in social science in 1970 and a M.A. degree in continuing education in 1971. It was at that point that he launched his stellar career at his alma mater.
Prophet, along with SWAC legends Collie Nicholson of Grambling State University, Samuel Jefferson of Jackson State University and Bennie Thomas of Southern University, were the stalwarts who transformed sports information in the Southwestern Athletic Conference from being viewed as keepers of statistics to being viewed as an art, a respectable profession.
“Chuck’s commitment to Mississippi Valley athletics was unparalleled and it showed in his work,” says Jefferson. “He loved his athletes and would do anything for them when it came to promoting them.
“Chuck was a role model for the younger SIDs that came along in the SWAC,” added Jefferson. “A lot of innovative things that he did caused the younger guys to follow in his footsteps. He was definitely a trailblazer and going into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor for him.”
Just four years into his stint as SID at MVSU, Prophet concurrently took on the task of publicity director for the SWAC, running the league’s media relations program out of his SID office at the school.
It was during that period that he, along with Jefferson, initiated the SWAC Football Press Tour, a traveling bus caravan through the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas to promote the league’s upcoming football season. Legendary coaches such as Grambling’s Eddie Robinson, Alcorn State’s Marino Casem and Jackson State’s W.C. Gorden all participated in the tour, as did MVSU’s Archie “Gunslinger” Cooley and the offensive duo of Jerry Rice and Willie Totten.
It was the Cooley-Rice-Totten trio that helped to put the small Itta Bena university on the map. Prophet was the architect who made the trio household names. Both Totten and Rice would go on to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, while Totten, Rice, Cooley and Prophet have all been inducted into the SWAC Hall of Fame.
Totten, who currently works in development at MVSU, attributes much of the accolades he received while playing college football to Prophet.
“Actually, I think all of the credit goes to Chuck,” noted Totten. “Chuck was our SID and he made sure he got the word out to the media. He did an outstanding job of selling our program. It’s hard for players to sell a program. You have to have someone who knows the media and who knows how to sell you to the media. If Chuck hadn’t done the great job that he did, the media wouldn’t have known about me, or Rice or Cooley.”
Prophet served as president of the Black College Sports Information Directors Association (BCSIDA) from 1992-1999. In 1998, he was honored by CoSIDA with its 25-year award. Later, while also serving as MVSU’s athletics director, he oversaw a low-budget athletics program that managed to capture two NAIA outdoor track and field championships, three SWAC men’s basketball championships and two SWAC women’s basketball championships.
When he died in 2008, hundreds of former colleagues and players from around the country attended Prophet’s funeral at the R.W. Harrison Health, Physical Education and Recreation Complex, where the school plays its home basketball games and volleyball matches.
At Rice-Totten Stadium, the football field was dedicated in his honor three years before his death. The field is now called Charles “Chuck” Prophet Field.
Anna Prophet, who attended many CoSIDA Workshops with Chuck and the couple’s two daughters, says she was thrilled when she got the news about her late husband’s election to the CoSIDA Hall of Fame.
“I was just really, really excited,” said Anna Prophet. “For as hard as he had worked, I thought it was good to see that people realize that he did do a lot of good for the students. I’m happy to know that he’s still being thought of for the works that he did.”
Individual recipient feature story schedule for 2012 Special Awards
General 2012 Special Awards release
Mon., 5: Kim Wenger (Centennial Conference): Rising Star Award (College Division) – by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Wed, 7: Malcolm Moran: Jake Wade Award: by Joe Hornstein, CoSIDA 2nd Vice President
Fri., 9: Maurice Williams (Hampton University): Rising Star Award (University Division) – by Ed Hill, Jr. (Howard University)
Mon. 12: Bernie Cafarelli (Notre Dame): 25-Year Award - by Debbie White (Old Dominion)
Wed. 14: Peter Schlehr (Towson University): Lifetime Achievement Award – by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Fri. 16: Debbie Copp (University of Oklahoma): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Mon. 19: Chuck Sadowski (University of Bridgeport): 25-Year Award - by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Wed. 21: Bob Condron (USOC): Lifetime Achievement Award and Keith Jackson Eternal Flame Award - by Mike Mahon, former Drake & South Dakota SID
Fri. 23: Jack Neumann (University of Calgary): Warren Berg Award - by Paul Carson, former University of Toronto SID
Mon. 26: John Lewandowki (Michigan State): 25-Year Award - by Jamie Weir-Baldwin (Michigan State)
Wed. 28: Kennan Timm (Wisconsin-Oshkosh): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Tim Peterman (UW-Eau Claire)
Mon., 2: Tom Di Camillo (Pac West Conference, Central Arizona College): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Dan Drutz (Saint Peter's College)
Wed., 4: Dave Wohlhueter (CoSIDA treasurer, Cornell-retired): Lester Jordan Award - by Dan O'Connell (Towson University)
Fri., 6: B.L. Efring (Southern Maine): 25-Year Award - by Sheila Stevenson (Rowan University)
Mon., 9: Lawrence Fan (San Jose State): CoSIDA Hall of Fame and Arch Ward Award - by Jack Neumann (University of Calgary)
Wed., 11: Sue Edson (Syracuse): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Larry Dougherty (Temple University)
Fri., 13: Mark Bankert (Malone University): 25-Year Award - by Mike Leggert (Malone University)
Mon., 16: Rich Herman (Clarion): Bob Kenworthy Award - by Bob McComas (Slippery Rock)
Fri. 20: Michael MacEachern (Young Harris College)- 25-Year Award - by Tam Flarup (Wisconsin)
Mon., 23: Shelly Poe (Ohio State): Trailblazer Award - by Jeff Hodges (North Alabama)
Tue., 24: Shirley Jones-Hill (Southern Mississippi): 25-Year Award - by Debbie Davis (Conference USA)
Wed., 25: Joe Dier (Mississippi State): 25-Year Award - by Tammy Boclair (Special Awards Committee; former CoSIDA President)
Fri. 27: Roy Pickerill (Kentucky Wesleyan): 25-Year Award - by Ann King (The Sage Colleges)
Mon., 30: Bob Noss (Wright State): 25-Year Award - by Matt Zircher (Wright State)
Wed., 2: Wallace Dooley (formerly of Tennessee State): Lifetime Achievement Award - by Bill Hamilton (South Carolina State)
Fri., 4: Jeff Nelson (Penn State): Bill Esposito Backbone Award - by Bill Little (University of Texas)
Mon., 7: Bill Turnage (Florida Southern): Lifetime Achievement Award - by Tam Flarup (Wisconsin)
Wed., 9: Herb Vincent (LSU): 25-Year Award - by Tammy Boclair (Special Awards Committee; former CoSIDA President)
Fri., 11: Mike Mahon (formerly of Drake & South Dakota): Lifetime Achievement Award - by Jack Neumann, University of Calgary
Tue., 15: Bill Wagner (DePauw): 25-Year Award- by Larry Happel, Central College
Wed., 16: Fred Huff (formerly of Southern Illinois-Carbondale): CoSIDA Hall of Fame [Veteran Award Committee recipient] - by Bill Little, University of Texas
Fri., 18: Phil Haddy (University of Iowa): Lifetime Achievement Award - by Larry Scott, Minnesota State Moorhead (retired)
Tue., 22: Dave Geringer (University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth): 25-Year Award - by Larry Scott, Minnesota State Moorhead (retired)
Wed., 23: Charles "Chuck" Prophet (deceased; formerly of Mississippi Valley State): CoSIDA Hall of Fame - by Maurice Williams, Hampton University
Fri., 25: Robert Wilson (Florida State): 25-Year Award
Tue., 29: Dave Fischer (USA Hockey): 25-Year Award
Fri., 1: Bud Ford (Tennessee): Lifetime Achievement Award
Mon., 4: Robert McKinney (Willamette University): 25-Year Award
Awards to be presented during CoSIDA St. Louis Convention, St. Louis, Missouri Sunday, June 24: Kickoff Luncheon
25-Year Awards; Trailblazer, Kenworthy Community Service, Rising Star (University and College Divisions), Keith Jackson honors
Monday, June 25: (two award presentations)
CoSIDA Hall of Fame luncheon
Esposito, Lifetime Achievement, CoSIDA Hall of Fame awards
Capital One Special Awards Gala (dinner/ceremony)
Arch Ward, Warren Berg, Jake Wade, Lester Jordan, Enberg awards; Capital One Academic All-America® Hall of Fame induction