Rebecca (Davis) Wilmes sees MU athletic director Mike Alden often. As an assistant coach with the Missouri track and cross country teams, Wilmes crosses paths with her boss regularly.
A recent meeting was a little more out of the ordinary, however.
“I found out a couple of weeks ago,” Wilmes said. “That was neat. Mike Alden ran into me in the hall, and gave me the news, and I was very floored.” The news was that Wilmes will be inducted into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.
Al Abram, Charlie McMullen, Sonny Siebert, Ray Thorpe and Devin West join her in the Class of 2004. A reception and dinner will be held in their honor Jan. 21, 2005. They also will be honored at the Missouri men’s basketball game on Jan. 22.
“I feel tremendously honored,” Wilmes said. “The Missouri Hall of Fame is the highest honor at the university. It’s something I never expected.”
Wilmes, then Rebecca Davis, was twice a track All-American at Missouri, twice a Big Eight champion, and was the 1996 Midwest Regional cross country champion. She is married to another former Missouri great, Jared Wilmes. They coach cross country.
Al Abram was the first African-American athlete at Missouri. He lettered in basketball in 1956-57, a full year before Norris Stevenson joined the Missouri Football team. Abram played for a short time in the National Industrial Basketball League before retiring from the sport. He died in 1982 at the age of 44.
In 1973, Charlie McMullen became the first Tiger to run a mile in under four minutes, a feat he did twice that year. Following his years at Missouri, McMullen continued running, including marathons, and helping run the Special Olympics in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. McMullen died of colon cancer at age 52 in August 2003.
Sonny Siebert was a two-sport athlete during his time at the University. A three-year letter winner in basketball, he was best known for the 1958 baseball season. He was an all Big Eight selection while leading the Tigers to a second-place finish in the College World Series that year. He played professional baseball for 12 years.
Ray Thorpe, the first African-American baseball player at MU will also now be a part of the Hall of Fame. He was recruited to play football but was an All-American with the baseball squad in 1967. With the football team, Thorpe returned kicks and played running back on the 1966 Sugar Bowl champions.
Devin West was a key part of Missouri’s most recent bowl-winning football team. West rushed for 125 yards in 1997’s Insight.com Bowl, MU’s last postseason victory. West is the all-time leader in all-purpose yards for a career, season, and single game.