Spring 1998

Dukes Digest

Haley Celebrates 'Haul of Fame' Induction at JMU

JMU helped John Madden's annual "Haul of Fame" induction ritual make a precedent-setting change this year.

Madden's 1997 choice of retired Dallas Cowboys linebacker and five-time Super Bowl winner Charles Haley ('87) was posted, in renowned Madden humor and tradition, in oblivion.

"Charles' announcement was posted on the wall of the Georgia Pig, a little restaurant in the sticks of Georgia," says JMU Athletics Director Donald L. Lemish. Then, as usual, Madden announced it to the world on the Sunday before the Super Bowl on FOX TV.

Charles Haley with his former JMU football coach Challace McMillin, and McMillin's wife, Mary Lou, and son, Sid.

In between, and for the first-time ever, FOX TV, Madden sponsor Outback Steakhouse and JMU teamed forces to stage an induction ceremony at JMU.

"The plaque presented to Charles here at JMU was a replica of the [Georgia Pig] announcement - a photo stapled to a piece of wood," Lemish says. "It was Charles who wanted the dinner at his alma mater. It was the first time FOX and Outback had done it this way and afterward they thought it would be great to do it like this again."

Members of Haley's family and childhood friends and coaches attended the JMU dinner and program. Among those on hand from JMU were Lemish, former athletics director Dean Ehlers and former football coach Challace McMillin, for whom the JMU event was particularly meaningful.

"It's always good to see someone excel in his chosen field, especially someone who did not have many economic advantages growing up," McMillin says. "It was good to see too that Charles' values and priorities haven't changed. They're really strong in terms of family. To be able to be the master of ceremonies and present him with the plaque, that was a special time. It's good that he could come back here and receive it among his own."

Haley is now actively involved in the fund raising for a new academic center for JMU athletes that will be named in honor of McMillin and be part of a new football stadium, Lemish says. "He's taking a leadership role in that." And he will host a 1999 celebrity golf tournament and auction to benefit JMU.

And JMU is reciprocating. The university will participate in fund raising and a national search for bone marrow matches for Haley's young daughter, Brianna, who has a rare form of leukemia. See Ex Libris for a report on Haley's book, All The Rage.

Byers Leads Duke Club

Dennis Byers

Dennis Byers became JMU's assistant athletics director for development and executive director of the Duke Club in December. He succeeds Mike Minnis, who left JMU in November to accept a position in private business after seven years at JMU.

Byers was director of alumni leadership development at North Carolina State University for the last two years and was JMU's director of athletic marketing in 1995. The Augusta County native has also directed his own athletic marketing firm and worked in athletics at the University of Tennessee and the College of William and Mary.

"We are excited that Dennis is returning to JMU," says JMU Athletics Director Don Lemish. "He is familiar with the Duke Club and knows many of the donors. His previous experience here as marketing director and his recent work in alumni and development at North Carolina State make him an excellent choice for the position."

At North Carolina State, Byers established alumni organizations throughout the nation, identified and coordinated volunteer leaders for the NC State clubs, and identified major gift prospects for an $80 million campaign for student scholarships. He was involved primarily in athletics marketing while at JMU.

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