When one thinks of Cumberland University athletics, the usual first thought is of the school’s storied baseball program.
So, it’s not surprising that three of the six inductees into the Cumberland Hall of Fame on Friday night are from Coach Woody Hunt’s legendary baseball program. The class is the first to be inducted into the school’s hall of fame since 2005.
Among the inductees are pitcher Kevin Hite and catchers Steve Green and Scott Corman, along with administrator Mickey Englett, the late Rosa Stokes, who starred in basketball and Lacritia Sanson Wilson, a three sport athlete for the Lady Bulldogs.
The careers of Hite, Green and Corman were intertwined at Cumberland, as Hite and Green played together on a pair of NAIA World Series teams in 1995 and 1996, and Corman, another former Bulldogs player, was an assistant coach with the program during that time.
“All three of them played for me and all three were great players who have gone on to do well with their lives after baseball,” Hunt said.
Hite was a first-team NAIA All-America pick as a senior in 1996 and still holds to NAIA records with two shutouts in the NAIA World Series and in 1995, while allowing no runs in 21.1 innings in that series. Hite won 13 games in 1996 and has 30 career victories for the Bulldogs.
“As far as being a pure pitcher, Kevin was probably as good a pitcher as I ever had,” Hunt said. “He was a phenomenal college pitcher and he did well in the pros too. He had great command and phenomenal control of his pitches.”
Hite said his fondest memories included going to the NAIA College World Series and creating and maintaining some of the friendships from his college baseball days.
“The trips to World Series probably stand out most to me, getting to play for national title, and some of friendships I created and still maintain,” Hite said.
After finishing at Cumberland, Hite spent time in the San Diego Padres organization, and made it as far as Double-A Mobile before going into the coaching ranks, first at Trevecca and now back at Cumberland for Hunt.
“It’s kind of a continuing process. I always joked that I started coaching so I would have to get a real job,” Hite said. “I’ve stayed with baseball my whole life. Steve Green and I going in together, and that’s cool since we played together.”
Speaking of Green, the catcher/third baseman holds many of the hitting records in Bulldogs history.
He batted .451 with 22 home runs and 89 RBIs as a senior, ranking second on the single-season charts for batting average and runs batted in. He was a member of three NAIA
World Series teams from 1995-97. Green batted .388 with 16 home runs and 66 RBIs as a junior and posted a .373 batting average as a sophomore. Green ranks first in school history in RBIs (205) and doubles (51) and second in hits (228) and home runs (51). He also ranks in the Top 10 in six other single-season and career categories.
“When it comes to being a pure hitter, Steve Green is probably the best we’ve ever had, and the numbers back it up,” Hunt said. “He was a catcher, and played some at third base, but what he was best known for was as a hitter.”
Now a policeman in Lebanon, Green is excited about being inducted into the Hall of Fame at Cumberland.
“I never had dreams of being at that level and being inducted is a great honor,” Green said. “As far as hitting, the stats are there. I guess I could hold my own on that part of it. I enjoyed hitting and it came fairly easily to me.”
He played independent baseball in Evansville, Ind., for a short time, but Tommy John surgery thwarted his baseball dreams on the pro level.
“I never really got back from the surgery,” Green said. “I finally game to the decision to walk away, and that was the hardest decision I ever made.”
Corman made his mark as a catcher and assistant coach at Cumberland before becoming a scout for the Rockies. Among the players he scouted and had a hand in drafting include former Vanderbilt pitcher, Casey Weathers in 2007.
“Scott is the best defensive catcher I’ve ever seen at the college level and just about any level,” Hunt said. “He was always a very heady player. He was intelligent and he just knew how to play the game. He was a good hitter, but was really known for his defense.”
Englett preceded Hunt as the school’s baseball coach, revived the women’s basketball program and oversaw the school’s transition back from the junior college ranks into the NAIA in the 1980s, described by Hunt as, “the best move the school ever made.”
He also served as athletics director and as basketball and baseball coach for seven years at Cumberland.
Stokes, who died in 2003, was one of the school’s top women’s basketball players and later entered the coaching profession as an assistant coach in several stops before becoming head coach at Georgia Southwestern in 2001.
The school plays an annual women’s basketball tournament in her honor each December. Stokes was a native of Alexandria, Tenn.
Sanson, a former Overton High School player, was a two-time all-conference performer in volleyball, basketball and softball. She also spent time at Austin Peay and Vol State.