Former Seneca FB Coach Tom Hodge Headed to Missouri HOF

Former Seneca FB Coach Tom Hodge Headed to Missouri HOF


Former Missouri Tigers quarterback Corby Jones, longtime Seneca football coach Tom Hodge, Columbia Hickman standout and successful college coach Randy Ball as well as the Camdenton High School football program will soon join elite company in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

President and Executive Director Jerald Andrews on Wednesday announced their upcoming inductions, which will highlight the annual Football Luncheon presented by the Ozarks Coca-Cola/Dr Pepper Bottling Company. The ceremony is at 11 a.m. on Monday, October 10 at the University Plaza Convention Center in downtown Springfield.

An individual ticket is $40. A sponsorship table of eight is $400 and includes an autographed print and recognition in the printed program. Numerous other sponsorships, such as congratulatory ads, also are available. For tables and tickets, call the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame at 417-889-3100.

The Hall of Fame’s annual Elite 11 will be announced soon. The Elite 11 honors former players from the Show-Me State who made an impact in high school, college or professional football.

Corby Jones, Mizzou

A Columbia Hickman High School graduate, Corby Jones was a standout quarterback and four-year starter for the Missouri Tigers from 1995 to 1998, emerging as a fan favorite as he led the program to bowl games in his junior and senior seasons. He held 14 school records at the end of his senior year, with Jones still ranking in the top 10 of at least eight Mizzou records. He also was a four-time letterman and a three-time All-Big 12 Conference (including first team in 1997). It was Jones who quarterbacked the Tigers to a 7-5 record in 1997 – the program’s first winning season in 13 years and its first bowl game since 1983, as the team played in the Holiday Bowl. The team finished
8-4 in 1998, beating West Virginia in the Bowl, its first bowl win since 1981. Overall, Jones amassed 6,230 career yards of total offense, a mark that ranks seventh in school history, although four players ahead of him on that list all played after he left school. Jones rushed for 2,533 career yards on 559 carries, a 4.5 yards per carry average. Jones also was 257 of 516 passing for 3,697 yards, which are 10 th -most in Mizzou history, although five passers on the list all came after Jones. He also scored 228 points, now sixth-most in the Mizzou record book. In other Mizzou records, Jones ranks first in most yards gained per attempt in a single game (15.2 average against Iowa State, 1997); tied for first with Terrry McMillan and Maty Mauk for most TDs responsible for in a single game, with six; and ranks second, seventh and ninth, respectively, in QB passer rating in a single game (260.7 against Iowa State, 1997), single season (140.8 in 1997) and career (119.6). Overall, Jones had five games of at least 200-yards passing and six games of at least 100 yards rushing. He led the team in total offense in 1996, 1997 and 1998. The Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants attempted to draft Jones, a first team All-State selection in football and baseball at Columbia Hickman in 1994 and 1995, but he instead wanted to be a QB and played the 1999 and part of the 2000 season with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League and spent part of 2001 with the National Football League’s Baltimore Ravens. He graduated from Mizzou in 2000, and graduated from the Missouri Law School in 2004. Jones, a 2003 University of Missouri Hall of Fame inductee, currently works at the law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

Tom Hodge, Seneca

Tom Hodge has been connected to Seneca High School and its football program as a player, coach, athletic director or parent since the fall of 1961. He served 17 seasons as the head coach from 1981 to 1987 and again from 1989 to 1998. Overall, he was part of six Seneca teams that played in state championship games, with Hodge either a volunteer coach, assistant or head coach. As the head coach, Hodge compiled a 161-38 record, a .809 winning percentage that ranks fifth all-time in state high school history. His teams won two state championships (1987 in Class 2, 1995 in Class 3) and also earned state runner-up finishes in 1983 and 1986. Seneca won 11 district titles as well as a dozen Big 13/Big Eight Conference titles in his head-coaching tenure. Hodge also was a three-time state Coach of the Year and a 2011 Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee. A 1965 graduate of Seneca High School, Hodge played on Seneca’s 1964 undefeated team which featured Greg Cook, who later played on the Missouri Tigers 1968 Gator Bowl team that beat Bear Bryant-coached Alabama. Hodge was a volunteer coach for Seneca football in 1968 when the team placed second in Class 2. His first assistant coaching job was in 1969 at Greenwood Laboratory School, and he earned an undergraduate degree in 1970 from Missouri State University. He then coached one season at Seneca before serving two years in the U.S. Army overseas, earning a master’s degree from Southern Cal while in Germany. Upon his return, Hodge was part of Seneca coach Pat Lawson’s staff for nine seasons, including the 1975 season when Seneca placed second in Class 2. Hodge, who spent the 1988-1989 school year as an administrator at Neosho High School, has been Seneca’s athletic director for all but four years since 1981.

Randy Ball, Columbia Hickman/Truman State & Western Illinois/Missouri State

Randy Ball was a standout football player Columbia Hickman High School and later for Truman State University before going on to a successful college coaching career. Between 1990 and 1998, Ball led Western Illinois University football to a 64-41-1 record (.608 winning percentage) – the career record at the Football Championship Subdivision school. With Ball at the helm there, the Fighting Leathernecks won their first I-AA postseason victory (1997), enjoyed their first 11-win season (1997) and reached their first national semifinals appearance. He was also part of three Gateway Conference Championships, now the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The first was in 1988 as an assistant and the next two were in 1997 and 1998. His 51 career league wins in the Valley as head coach at Western and at Missouri State (34-42 record from 1999 to 2005) stand among the league’s best. Ball was the 1997 Eddie Robinson Award finalist for the National Coach of the Year in addition to being named the Bruce Craddock Award recipient and Gateway Conference Coach of the Year. After leading the Leathernecks to their second outright conference title in school history in 1998 with a 6-0 record, Ball was named the American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year. The 1998 team led the nation in holding opponents to only 9.4 points per game. Under his guidance, an instrumental part of the defense in both the 1997 and 1998 seasons was Western’s first-ever player to win the Buck Buchanan Award for the nation’s top linebacker, in James Milton. At Missouri State, Ball coached four future NFL players, including standout Brad St. Louis. At Columbia Hickman High School, Ball earned three varsity letters in football and track and field (1966-1968). He then went to then-Northeast Missouri State University (Truman State), where he was team captain and earned all-conference honors (1970-1971), and was a member of three league championships between 1969 and 1972. Prior to his head coaching career, Ball was an assistant at various stops – Missouri Western University in 1977, Illinois State from 1978-1980, one season at Northeast Missouri State and then with Western Illinois from 1983 to 1989. At Missouri Western, the team won the Boot Heel Bowl in 1977, and he was part the Northeast Missouri State 1982 team that won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association and advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs. Since his head coaching days, he has been involved in the All American Football League (2007), Drake University football (2007), the United National Gridiron Football League (2008) and the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League (2009-2013). He now works as a pro scouting assistant for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League.

Camdenton High School football program

The Camdenton High School football program has been one of the most successful in the state since first fielding a team in 1959. The Lakers are 468-139-7 since then, having enjoyed 54 winning seasons as well as five state championships (1986, 1987, 1995, 1999, 2005). Camdenton also has two state second-place finishes, in 1977 and 1996, and reached the state semifinals three other times (1978, 1980, 1988) and the state quarterfinals 10 other times (1982, 1983, 1984, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013). Additionally, the Lakers have won 26 district championships, with the first in 1977, and enjoyed a 26-game winning streak in the 1986 to 1988 seasons. The first head coaches were Jim Johnson, Everett Mason, Randal Lambert, Ray Scott and Bob Powell before Camdenton hired Bob Shore in 1975. Shore was 328-75-2 before retiring after the 2010 season, earning Missouri Sports Hall of Fame induction in 2004 and Coach of the Century by the News-Leader in 2000. His son, Jeff Shore, has coached the team since. The program has produced 114 All-State players, including 111 since the 1975 season. Jason Whittle went on to play nine seasons in the National Football League after playing at Missouri State University. Five Lakers were part of NCAA Division I programs – Paul Long in the early 1970s with Missouri, Mickey Turner four seasons at the University of Wisconsin, Forrest Shock four seasons at Missouri, and Jeff Shore and Tate Turner with the University of Arkansas.