Football stars Holt, Mills highlight 2022 NC Sports Hall of Fame Class

Luke Appling, Missouri Arledge, Ronnie Barnes, Henry Bibby, Dan Brooks, Timmy Newsome, Dave Robbins and Tom Suiter will also be inducted at a ceremony in April

Torry Holt set numerous receiving records at NC State before becoming one of the most prolific receivers in NFL history. (Tom Gannam / AP Photo)

Torry Holt and Sam Mills are finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and will find out next month if they’ll be included as part of the shrine’s Class of 2022.

Regardless of what happens, both will be honored for their athletic achievements this year.

Holt and Mills were announced Wednesday as two of the 10 newest members elected into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. They will be inducted at a ceremony at the Raleigh Convention Center on Friday, April 22 along with Luke Appling, Missouri Arledge, Ronnie Barnes, Henry Bibby, Dan Brooks, Timmy Newsome, Dave Robbins and Tom Suiter.

Former Wake Forest basketball star Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, a member of last year’s class who was unable to attend his induction, will also be among those recognized.

“This year’s class includes a wide variety of athletic achievement, including professional, collegiate, high school, Olympic sports, and media, with some special contributions,” Dr. Jerry McGee, president of the Hall’s board of directors said in a statement. “This class of inductees and their outstanding accomplishments continue to build on the rich sports heritage of North Carolina. We look forward to celebrating these outstanding individuals in our state’s sports history.”

A native of Gibsonville, Holt earned prep All-America honors at Eastern Guilford High School before almost completely rewriting the receiving chapter in the NC State record book. He still holds Wolfpack school records for receiving yards in a career (3,379), season (1,604) and game (255 against Baylor in 1990).

Nicknamed “Big Game” because of his penchant for playing his best when the stakes were highest, Holt became an integral part of the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” after being selected with the sixth overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft.

Holt caught 52 passes with six touchdowns in helping his team to Super Bowl XXXIV as a rookie. He went on to record 1,300 or more receiving yards in six straight seasons, an NFL record, while going to seven Pro Bowls in 11 seasons and ranking 13th all-time in career receiving yardage at 13,382.

Mills was the Carolina Panthers’ first star and veteran leader during the expansion franchise’s formative years. His interception return for a touchdown was the key play in the Panthers’ first ever win.

Despite being small for a linebacker at 5-foot-9 from an even smaller college — Montclair State — Mills played 12 standout seasons in the NFL, including seven with the New Orleans Saints after starting his career with the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars.

He led the Panthers in tackles in two of his three seasons with the team on his way to his fifth Pro Bowl selection. As beloved as he was as a player, with his No. 51 having been retired, Mills earned even more respect for his courageous fight against cancer. He coined the phrase “Keep Pounding” that continues to be the Panthers’ motto. Mills died in 2005 at the age of 45  

Here is a look at the rest of this year’s NC Sports Hall of Fame Class (*-elected posthumously):

  • Luke Appling* – One of seven native North Carolinians in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Appling played an incredible 20 years in the major leagues from 1930-50, all with the Chicago White Sox, from 1930 to 1950. Born in High Point, the shortstop was a seven-time American League all-star and twice was the AL batting champ, compiling a .388 average in 1936. Appling hit better than .300 15 times during his MLB career.
  • Missouri Arledge* – A star athlete at Durham’s Hillside High, from which she graduated in 1953, Arledge averaged 31.3 points per game during her senior basketball season. She went to Philander Smith College in Arkansas, scoring 21.0 points per game as a sophomore and becoming the first African American woman to play in an AAU tournament (1954) and the first to be named AAU All-American the following season. She even had an offer to be the first female to play with the Harlem Globetrotters. Arledge transferred to Tuskegee Institute and continued playing but earned two master’s degrees and worked in education, including back at Hillside.
  • Ronnie Barnes – A graduate of East Carolina’s sports medicine program in 1975, Barnes went on to become an assistant athletic trainer and instructor at ECU before going to Michigan State, where he was head athletic trainer and earned his master’s. He moved on to the New York Giants in the NFL as an athletic training intern, rising to head athletic trainer in 1980 and now senior vice president for medical services, working 40-plus years for the Giants. He is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame and twice was that organization’s National Professional Trainer of the Year.
  • Henry Bibby – A native of Franklinton, Bibby was the starting point guard on UCLA men’s basketball teams that won three straight NCAA championships in the early 1970s, averaging 14.4 points per game for his career and earning first-team All-American honors. He played nine NBA seasons, winning a title with the New York Knicks. As a coach at Southern California, he led three teams to the NCAA Tournament, including an Elite Eight trip in 2001. Bibby had various coaching roles in pro basketball, including head coach for star Lisa Leslie and the LA Sparks in the WNBA and as an assistant with Memphis and Detroit in the NBA.
  • Dan Brooks – Brooks put together a brilliant career of unprecedented success in nearly four decades as head women’s golf coach at Duke. Brooks has guided his teams to seven NCAA national championships and 21 Atlantic Coast Conference titles, and his 140 team victories are the most of any women’s golf coach in NCAA Division I history. A seven-time National Coach of the Year, he is a member of the Duke University Sports Hall of Fame and the National Golf Coaches Association Hall.
  • Timmy Newsome – A native of Ahoskie, Newsome is Winston-Salem State’s second all-time leading rusher with 3,843 yards in four seasons. He was selected in the sixth round of the 1980 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and went on to enjoy nine seasons in the NFL, making the Cowboys’ All-Decade Team for the 1980s. He scored 30 touchdowns as an NFL player, including 19 on the ground and 11 through the air. He is a member of both the CIAA Hall of Fame and the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
  • Dave Robbins – Robbins grew up in Gastonia, where he was an excellent athlete at Ashley High. He went on to a tremendous career as a men’s basketball coach, best known for leading NCAA Division II power Virginia Union University to 713 victories and three NCAA national championships, as well as 14 CIAA titles. His winning percentage at Virginia Union was a whopping .786 in 30 years. Robbins is a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and the CIAA Hall of Fame.
  • Tom Suiter – A native of Rocky Mount and a graduate of Erskine College, Suiter was the sports anchor for WRAL-TV in Raleigh from 1971-2016. Winner of two regional Emmy Awards and the 1990 NC Sportscaster of the Year, he covered 24 NCAA Final Fours and created the revolutionary “Football Friday” coverage, featuring high school football highlights, as well the “Extra Effort Award” for student-athletes. Suiter is in several halls of fame, including the NCHSAA Hall of Fame and the NC Broadcasters Hall of Fame.