OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – Ole Miss will honor its 2018 inductees into the M-Club Hall of Fame this fall, with six Rebels across five sports being enshrined.
The 2018 hall of fame class includes Billy Chadwick (men’s and women’s tennis), Rufus French (football), Rahim Lockhart (men’s basketball), Jonathan Nichols (football), Jennifer Soileau (soccer) and Brittney Reese (track & field). Additionally, former Rebel football standout Bill Jones will be bestowed with the Lotterhos Service Award.
Below are brief bios on the newest additions to the M-Club Hall of Fame, as well as the recipient of the 2018 Lotterhos Service Award.
Billy Chadwick, Men’s & Women’s Tennis (1979-2014)
Billy Chadwick ranks as one of the top collegiate tennis coaches and one of the most successful head coaches in the history of Ole Miss. He retired in 2014 after an outstanding 35-year career at Ole Miss. A member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Hall of Fame, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame, Chadwick led the Rebels to unprecedented heights on and off the courts in his three decades directing the program.
Chadwick began his coaching career at Ole Miss as the women’s tennis coach and led the Rebels to the 1982 SEC finals and the program’s first top-20 national ranking. He took over the men’s program in 1982 and led the Rebels to an NCAA runner-up finish in 1995 as well as four Final Four, nine Elite Eight and 16 Sweet 16 appearances. With his fifth SEC Championship in 2009, Chadwick trails only legendary Rebel football coach John Vaught in SEC titles won at Ole Miss.
Chadwick coached three NCAA Individual Champions, 28 All-Americans four SEC Players of the Year and more than 70 All-SEC honorees.
Rufus French, Football (1996-98)
Rufus French manned the tight end position for Ole Miss from 1996 to 1998 and was a consensus first team All-American as a junior in ’98. French earned first team All-SEC honors in as a sophomore and junior and was a finalist for the Conerly Trophy in 1998. He chose to forgo his senior season at Ole Miss and signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks.
In three years at Ole Miss, French had 84 receptions for 814 yards and four TDs. French’s 84 career catches ranks third all-time on Ole Miss’ career tight end receptions list. In 1998, French became the first player from Ole Miss to be named to the Football Coaches All-America team since safety Glenn Cannon was picked in 1969.
Rahim Lockhart, Men’s Basketball (1998-2001)
One of the greatest players in Ole Miss Basketball history, Rahim Lockhart can be found all over Ole Miss basketball record books. A four-year letterman, Lockhart earned third team All-America honors in 2001 after leading the Rebels to a 27-8 overall record and the school’s first ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. He ranks 28th in Ole Miss history with 1,160 career points in 123 games played. Lockhart earned All-SEC honors as a senior after averaging 13.0 points and 8.1 rebounds a game. Playing largely in the post area, he ranks third in Ole Miss basketball history in field goal percentage (.561) for his career, and fourth in blocked shots (132).
A member of the Ole Miss Team of the Century, Lockhart helped the Rebels to three NCAA Tournament appearances, two SEC Western division titles and three 20-win seasons in his four years in Oxford. He joined the coaching ranks in high school basketball and quickly rose to junior college basketball and saw much success. It was only fitting that Lockhart would return to his alma mater, and he was hired in the spring of 2017 as an assistant coach on Andy Kennedy’s staff.
Jonathan Nichols, Football (2001-04)
One of the most decorated kickers in Ole Miss history, Jonathan Nichols set 15 school records during his time with the Rebel football program from 2001-04. When Nichols career concluded, the Greenwood, Mississippi, native had etched his name in the Ole Miss record books as the all-time leading scorer, career leader in field goals made, as well as being ranked first on the school’s career list for PATs made and PATs attempted.
Nichols won the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s top kicker in 2003 after a junior season that saw him connect on 25-of-29 field goals, including a long of 54 yards. Nichols followed up his stellar All-American junior year with a solid senior campaign in which he was 20-of-27 in field goal attempts, and a perfect 19-for-19 in extra-points. Nichols finished his career with a streak of 117 consecutive PATS made.
Brittney Reese, Track & Field (2007-08)
Olympic gold medalist Brittney Reese established herself as one of the top long jumpers in NCAA history during her time at Ole Miss. She swept both the indoor and outdoor NCAA long jump titles her senior year in 2008 following a runner-up finish outdoors in 2007. On the all-time NCAA lists, Reese still ranks fourth indoors (6.87m/22-06.50) and outdoors (6.93m/22-09). In addition to her two NCAA titles, Reese was a five-time All-American, five-time SEC champion, four-time SEC runner-up, three-time SEC Women’s Field Athlete of the Year, two-time SEC Commissioner’s Trophy winner and the first Rebel to win USTFCCCA Women’s Field Athlete of the Year in 2008.
Following her Rebel career, Reese quickly became one of the greatest long jumpers in the world. She is a three-time Olympian, earning trips to Beijing in 2008 (fifth), London in 2012 (gold) and Rio in 2016 (silver). Her gold at the London games in 2012 was the first medal by any Rebel woman, and the first gold overall in program history. Additionally, she is a 10-time Team USA qualifier for the World Championships, where she has won eight medals (seven of them golds). She is an 11-time USA champion, and she ranks third in American history and 11th in world history with her career-best leap of 7.31m (23-11.75) from the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
Jennifer Soileau, Soccer (1997-2000)
One of Ole Miss’ earliest soccer stars, Jennifer Soileau has held up as one of the greatest players to ever don a Rebel kit. When Soileau joined Ole Miss prior to the start of the program’s third season in 1997, the Rebels were coming off of back-to-back last place finishes in the SEC West. With the Baton Rouge native in the midfield, the Rebels quickly rose to the top of the division. After finishing in second in the division in both 1997 and 1998, Ole Miss captured back-to-back SEC West Championships in 1999 and 2000, advancing to the SEC Tournament Championship game during Soileau’s junior season.
Soileau’s name is littered throughout the Rebel record book. A natural finisher and distributor, her 99 career points stand as the second most in Ole Miss history, while her 39 assists and 30 goals rank second and sixth all-time, respectively. Of the top-6 single season assist marks in Rebel history, Soileau stakes claim to three. Ole Miss’ No. 10 collected her fair share of accolades during her illustrious career. One of just two players to receive First Team All-SEC laurels three times, Soileau also garnered All-Region recognition from the NSCAA each season from 1998-00. A standout in the classroom as well, she earned NSCAA Scholar All-American honors following her senior season.
2018 Lotterhos Service Award Recipient: Walker “Bill” Jones, III
The 2018 Lotterhos Service Award is being presented to Bill Jones of Jackson, Mississippi. The award is given to those who provide outstanding leadership, dedication and service to the M-Club Alumni Chapter and the University of Mississippi. Bill lettered in football 1967-1969. He received his Bachelor of Public Administration degree in 1971 and his law degree in 1973.
Bill served as president of the M-Club Alumni Chapter from 1998-2000 and has served many roles on the board since that time. He has also served on various university committees and boards. The M-Club and the university have benefited tremendously from Bill’s selflessness over the years. He continues to go above and beyond the call of duty and is always one of the first to volunteer time and resources to any project that needs assistance. Bill was instrumental in the formation of the Wobble Davidson Scholarship Fund, the Grove Bowl inception, M-Club Summer Weekend and two $1 million donations to the Athletics Foundation. In addition to his service to the M-Club, Bill has served on the Ole Miss Alumni and Law Alumni Chapter boards of directors. Bill is a past president of the American Board of Trial Advocates (Mississippi Chapter) and is a member of the Trial Attorneys of America, the International Association of Defense Counsel, Litigation Counsel of America and Maritime Law Association of the United States. Bill is a partner in the law firm Cosmich, Simmons and Brown and is married to the former Candace O’Barr. They have four children, Walker Jones, IV, Adam Jones, Shellie Cheatham and Boyce Holleman, all of whom graduated from Ole Miss. They also have seven grandchildren. Bill’s sister, Gail Pittman, attended Ole Miss as well, and was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame in 2001.