The Southwestern Athletic Conference officially announced its 2007 Hall of Fame Inductees. The Class of 2007 includes:

  • Leslie Frazier – Alcorn State University
  • Eddie Payton – Jackson State University
  • Johnny Thomas – Southern University
  • Robert Moreland – Texas Southern University
  • Vanette Johnson – University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff
  • Archie Cooley – Mississippi Valley State University
  • Leslie Frazier – Alcorn State

    Leslie Frazier was born in 1959 in Columbus, Mississippi. During his high school years, Frazier lettered for three years in baseball, basketball, and football. In addition to being team captain, he was also an all-conference performer in baseball and football. Frazier attended Alcorn State University where he was captain of the baseball team and played football for Alcorn State as well. He received a degree in Business Administration in 1981.In 1985, Frazier was a part of the Chicago Bears team that won the Super Bowl XX; that season he led the team with six interceptions. Shortly thereafter, Frazier began his coaching career at Trinity International University. As the first head coach at Trinity University, he won two Northern Illinois Intercollegiate Conference titles. He held that position for nine seasons before moving on to the University of Illinois as the defensive back coach. In 1999, Frazier became the defensive back coach for the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2003, he was named the defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, his contributions to the team was of great significance to their improvement. In 2005, Frazier was personally offered by Coach Tony Dungy to be apart of the Indianapolis Colts. Frazier’s title was the Special Assistant to the head coach and Defensive Backs. On February 4, the Colts defeated Frazier’s former team, the Chicago Bears, in Super Bowl XLI. A few days after the victory over the Bears, he became the defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings.

    Eddie Payton – Jackson State
    Edward Payton was born in 1951 in Columbia, Mississippi. He attended John Jefferson High School and during his senior year, Payton was named all-conference in football, basketball, and track. After graduation, Payton attended Jackson State University on a football scholarship. In 1973, he graduated with a bachelor of science in mathematics, health, and physical education and recreation. Payton played professional football for the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Minnesota Vikings. During his professional career with the Detroit Lions, Payton garnered national attention as he became one of three players in Lions history to register two touchdowns off returns in a single game. His 98-yard kick-off return for a touchdown is the fifth-longest in Detroit history and his 87- yard punt return is the third-longest in franchise history.

    Currently, Payton is the head golf coach at Jackson State University. He’s been the recipient of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year award 18 times and the National Minority Coach of the Year award eight times. Payton and his men’s team have won 13 of the last 18 National Minority Championships and 18 consecutive SWAC Championships. The Lady Tigers have won nine SWAC titles under Payton. After winning the 2001 SWAC Championship, the Lady Tigers received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, becoming the first women’s golf program from a historically black college or university to receive that honor. Payton and his men’s team made NCAA history when they qualified for and participated in the NCAA Golf Regional Tournament, hosted by the University of Michigan. In doing so, Jackson State became the first HBCU to participate in the event.

    Johnny Thomas – Southern
    Johnny Thomas graduated from McKinley Senior High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1959. He received his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Southern University in 1963. Thomas also received his masters in Guidance from Southern University and is presently the head track and field coach at Southern University. Thomas served his community as a coach, teacher, and guidance counselor. In 2002, Thomas received the Louisiana Track Coach of the Year Award. He has been awarded SWAC Coach of the Year honors for cross country, indoor and outdoor men’s and women’s programs. Thomas is also the creator of the Track Club for Girls and later the Baton Rouge Express Track Club for ages 7-18. He is also the only African American to win Louisiana State Singles Championship in Bowling in addition to publishing an article in Coaches Magazine on hurdling.

    Robert Moreland – Texas Southern
    Robert Moreland, Sr. is a Utica, Mississippi native. He attended Hinds Agricultural High School and Utica Junior College in Utica. After graduating from Utica Junior College, Moreland was awarded an athletic scholarship to Tougaloo College where he participated in football, basketball, and track and field. Moreland was an all-conference quarterback in football and an all-conference participant in track and field. Moreland taught at Utica Junior College for twelve years before moving to Texas Southern. While at Texas Southern, Moreland and the basketball team were victorious with over fifty wins in two seasons. They won the district eight NAIA championships and advanced to the NAIA National championships in Kansas City, Missouri. His 1975-76 team was the first team to win twenty games since the 1958 team of SWAC Hall-of-Fame coach Ed Adams. Adams and Moreland are the only basketball coaches in the history of Texas Southern University basketball to win twenty or more games in a season. During his twenty-six year tenure as a basketball coach at Texas Southern University, Moreland teams won or tied for ten SWAC championships. During the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, Moreland and his team won back to back championships and participated in consecutive NCAA championship tournaments. Moreland’s team was named Black College Champions in 1994 and 1995.

    Moreland has 399 career victories. Over his twenty-six year career as the head basketball coach at Texas Southern University, his teams participated in five national tournaments and Moreland was named SWAC Coach of the Year seven times. He received the National Coach of the Year award presented by the National Sports Wire in 1994 and he received the SWAC’s Pacesetter Award in 1995 for his contributions to the SWAC society. In 32 years at Texas Southern, Moreland has served as an assistant professor and assistant provost at Texas Southern and is now the interim head coach of the Tiger’s basketball team.

    Vanette Johnson – Arkansas-Pine Bluff
    Dr. Vannette W. Johnson was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He graduated from Dunbar High School where he participated in the honors program, football, track & field, and basketball. He attended Arkansas AM&N College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He furthered his studies at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and received a Master’s degree in Education.

    In Johnson’s professional career he served as a high school football, basketball, and track coach in Pine Bluff. He was also the swimming pool manager in Little Rock and the recreation supervisor in Washington D.C.

    At UAPB, Johnson served as Project Administrator and Activity Director, NCAA, National Youth Sports Program, head track coach and recreation director, and chairperson of the Department of Health, athletic director, and head football coach. Johnson currently holds the position of professor in the School of Education and is Compliance Coordinator for Athletics. Dr. Johnson has authored several publications; among them are “Evaluation of the Administration of Intercollegiate Athletics in Selected Colleges and Universities.”

    Dr. Vanette W. Johnson, former Golden Lions All-American quarterback serves as head football coach and athletic director for 12 years in addition to posting the best record of any Golden Lion football coach with an overall record 54-46-6. Johnson joined the AM&N staff in 1957 as assistant football and head track coach. During Johnson’s tenure he produced 32 professional football athletes. In 1969 a record number of seven players were drafted. No other Arkansas college or university had the number of pro football athletes than AM&N since Johnson’s tenure.

    Archie Cooley – Mississippi Valley State
    In 1958 Archie Lee Cooley was born in Sumrall, Mississippi. He received his high school diploma from Oak Park High School in Laurel, Mississippi. Cooley received a Bachelors of Science from Jackson State University majoring in Health and Physical Education with a minor in Biology and in 1982, Cooley received a Master of Science in Education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

    In Cooley’s professional career he served as head football coach and Associate Professor of Physical Education at Mississippi Valley State University from 1980-1986. From 1987 through 1991, Cooley was the Athletic Director, head football coach and Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He shortly served as the Offensive Coordinator for Southern University in 1992.

    From 1992 through 1994, Cooley was the head football coach and associate professor of physical education at Norfolk University in Virginia. In 1995, he joined Texas Southern as the Offensive Coordinator until 1999. He is presently the head football coach at Paul Quinn College in Dallas TX.

    Cooley also hosted “The Archie Cooley Show” from 1988-1990 and in 1993. Cooley also telecasted with CNN Sports, ESPN Sports, NFL Today, and various local and national TV stations, radio stations and social organizations.


    1. Congrats to all the new inductees into the SWAC Hall of Fame. I personally am happy that Coach Johnny L. Thomas was indicted into the Hall of Fame. I know Coach Thomas has prepared his athletes not only to be champions, but also made men and women out of them. Coach Thomas today is still going strong, and I thank him for the guidance I have received under him.


    2. This is a wonderful honor for coach Johnny L Thomas to be inducted in the SWAC Hall of fame, but there are so much more that needs to be said about Coach Thomas. The article really don’t explain his true accomplishments


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