Charlie Bell, Andre Rison headline MSU Hall of Fame class
East Lansing — Charlie Bell, a member of Tom Izzo’s 2000 national championship team, and NFL Pro Bowler Andre Rison headline a six-person class to be inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame, the school announced on Tuesday.
Bell (1997-2001) and Rison (1985-88) are joined by Mary Kay Itnyre (basketball, 1977-80), Pat Milkovich (wrestling, 1972-76), Doug Weaver (athletic director, 1980-90/football, 1950-52) and Mike York (hockey, 1995-99) as part of the 2015 class that will be inducted formally on Sept. 17.
“We’re excited about inducting another elite class into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame,” athletics director Mark Hollis said. “We really look forward to the unique opportunity to celebrate the achievement of student-athletes being awarded their first varsity letter jacket in conjunction with honoring our best of the best with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. We also celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Varsity S Club. This is truly one of my favorite weekends of the fall.
“What strikes me is that these former student-athletes not only achieved individual success, but they excelled on some outstanding teams.”
Bell, a Flint native and an All-American in 2000, is MSU’s all-time leader in games played and won four straight Big Ten championships as well as three straight Final Fours while winning the national title in 2000.
Bell played parts of seven seasons in the NBA, averaging 13.5 points in 2006-07 with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I was shocked when I got the call from Mark Hollis, but I was also extremely happy,” Bell said. “I had a lot of different emotions, and I was just trying not to cry. … This is a great honor, and one that I wouldn’t have realized without tremendous support from so many people throughout the university, including our fans and alumni. But most importantly, I need to thank my teammates and coaches.”
Rison, a native of Flint, was an All-American receiver who helped the Spartans win the Big Ten in 1987 and reach the Rose Bowl. He still ranks among MSU’s career leaders in receiving yards (second), 100-yard receiving games (second), yards per catch (third with 20.49 avg.), receptions (fourth) and TD receptions (tied for fourth with 20).
“I was fortunate to play with some great players and great teammates,” Rison said. “When I received the news from Mark Hollis, I immediately thought about guys like Percy Snow and Harlon Barnett. You can’t erase those memories. We’re Spartan brothers for life.”
Rison also lettered in track (1986) and basketball (1988) while at MSU, finishing second in the long jump at the 1986 Big Ten Indoor Championships. He went on to a standout NFL career where he was voted to the Pro Bowl five times.
York, from Waterford, led the Spartans in points in each of his final three seasons and finished as one of only 14 players in program history to eclipse the 200-career point milestone. York was a two-time first-team All-America selection and a two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist. He led MSU to the Frozen Four in 1999.
“Being at Michigan State was the best four years of my life,” York said. “I met my wife at MSU, I had great teammates, made great friendships and had a lot of fun. It’s a great community, with great people and great fans. I fell in love with the place as soon as I walked on campus.”
Following his Spartan career, York went on to play 10 seasons in the National Hockey League, compiling 322 career points. He continued his professional career in Germany where he has played since 2011.
He is one of 15 Spartans who competed in the Olympic Games and just one of seven to have earned a medal. In 2002, he helped the USA to a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
Itnyre, from Detroit, began her career at Arizona State before transferring to MSU and set 19 Spartan single-season and career records. The 6-foot, center/forward became only the second 1,000-point scorer in program history. She closed out her career as MSU’s all-time leader in scoring (1,189 points), scoring average (14.9 points per game), rebounds (821), rebounding average (10.3 rpg.) and double-doubles (43). Itnyre, who scored in double figures in 63 of 80 career games, led the team in scoring for three-straight seasons from 1977-80. She posted 27 career 20-point games.
Milkovich, of Maple Heights, Ohio, was the first four-time NCAA finalist in Big Ten history and won national titles at 126 pounds in 1972 and 1974. One of just two four-time All-Americans at Michigan State, he finished his career with a.902 winning percentage (90-8-4 record), and his 18 wins at the NCAA Championships are tied for the most in school history. In addition, his 90 victories ranked second at MSU upon the completion of his career. Milkovich also is one of only seven Spartans to win three Big Ten titles (1972, 1974, 1976), and he finished runner-up in 1975.
Weaver is one of only two people at Michigan State to earn a varsity letter as a student-athlete, coach a varsity sport, and serve as athletics director at the school (George Perles). A three-year letterwinner as a center on the Spartan football team under Biggie Munn in 1950-52, Weaver was an assistant football coach for Duffy Daugherty in 1956-57 and presided as Michigan State’s athletics director during a successful decade in the 1980s.
“This is the greatest honor of my life,” Weaver said. “It’s really overwhelming. My history with Michigan State goes all the way back to when I was a walk-on working in cafeterias. It’s been a long journey and all I can think of is the marvelous people that I had a chance to play with, coach with and work with along the way.”