Go back

Three to be inducted into APSU's Athletics Hall of Fame

January 14, 2003

Three athletes who had great impact on their respective sports, both at APSU and within the Ohio Valley Conference in the 1990s, will be inducted into the APSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
January 14, 2003

Three athletes who had great impact on their respective sports, both at APSU and within the Ohio Valley Conference in the 1990s, will be inducted into the APSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Charles “Bubba” Wells, the Govs all-time leading scorer, 1997 Ohio Valley Conference “Player of the Year” and two-time OVC “Male Athlete of the Year,” who gained national attention for his miraculous return from a leg stress fracture; Andrea Miller, who earned 11 letters in the sports of volleyball, softball and basketball; and Jamie “Cat” Walker, 1992 OVC “Pitcher of the Year" and a member of the Detroit Tigers, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a breakfast ceremony set for Saturday, Feb. 8 in the Dunn
Center's front lobby.

The induction ceremonies push the APSU Athletic Hall of Fame to 77. The newest inductees also will be honored during halftime ceremonies at the APSU-Murray State men's basketball game, set for 1 p.m. that day. Tickets for the breakfast are $10 and can be reserved by telephoning 7903.

According to former OVC director of communication Rob Washburn, Wells was "perhaps the most popular player in OVC basketball historya true cult figure." Why? His outstanding play, his ability to overcome adversity and his charisma on and off the court motivated both Austin Peay and opposing fans to come see this “Bubba.”

Wells finished his career with 2,267 pointsthe first APSU player to reach 2,000 pointsranking him third all-time in the OVC.

He was a three-time first-team All-OVC choice after being named the league's “Freshman of the Year” in 1993-94. Wells also was the 1997 OVC “Player of the Year” and the 1996 and 1997 OVC “Male Athlete of the Year" as well as a two-time Tennessee Sportswriters College Basketball “Player of the Year.”

As a senior, "Athlon Magazine" and all-district by both the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) named him third-team Preseason All-America. He was named to the "Basketball Times" All-South team.

As a sophomore, Wells averaged 19.3 points per game and followed that up with a 26.3 points per game average (third in the nation) in 1995-96, earning the OVC Tourney MVP in leading the Govs to a championship and NCAA tournament appearance. Wells still owns several OVC tournament records.

But it was his senior year that drew nationwide attention. He missed the season's first 12 games with a stress fracture in his left tibia, requiring surgery to place a tibial nail in the lower leg. He had undergone similar surgery following the 1994-95 season, needing some five months to rehabilitate.

However, this time the rehab process took less than five weeks, and in his debut game, Wells scored 39 points in 28 minutes. As a result, the performance and the surgery were featured in "USA Today."

He went on to become the nation's unofficial scoring leader (he didn't have enough games played to qualify for the official title), averaging 31.7 points per game and scoring 30 or more points 11 times, including three 40-point games.

His performance also caught the attention of the "The Los Angeles Times," who did a front-page story about “The Man of Steel,” and he was profiled in both CBS NCAA College Basketball “At the Half” and in a seven-minute featurethe “Real Rod Man”on NBC's "Today" Show.

For his career, Wells averaged 21.6 points per game, 7.1 rebounds while shooting 52 percent from the floor.

He was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 1997 draft and played one season before being traded to the Phoenix Suns and then to the Chicago Bulls. Leg injuries have slowed his professional career, although he played in the Philippines this past season and will return there in the spring.

Andrea Miller, meanwhile, left APSU as perhaps the most decorated female student-athlete in school history, earning 11 letters (four softball, four volleyball and three basketball) plus several academic honors.

Originally, Miller was recruited to play basketball with the intent of also playing softball in the spring. But during the fall of her freshmen year, the former prep volleyball standout was asked to play that sport to help the Lady Govs through an injury crisis. She wound up playing both volleyball and softball four seasons and basketball three.

It was softball where she achieved her greatest success. She was a four-time first-team All-OVC shortstop and the 1995 OVC “Player of the Year”the only Lady Gov to earn such distinction. She still owns nine career records, including batting average (.367), home runs (22) RBI (118) and eight single-season, including batting average (.438, 1995), home runs (10, 1995) and slugging percentage (.765).

She was a two-time All-South region nominee.

In volleyball, Miller helped lead the Lady Govs to the 1992 OVC championshiptheir only regular-season title. She started both as a junior and senior after being a regular member of the rotation as a freshman and sophomore. She still ranks eighth all-time in service aces and six all-time in digs.

In basketball, she played both as a freshman and sophomore (1992-93, 1993-94) before deciding to give up the sport as she entered her junior season. However, after completing her volleyball and softball eligibility, then first-year head coach Susie Gardner asked her to play again as a fifth-year athlete in 1996-97.

She still is ranked third-best all-time in three-point field goal percentage in APSU history.

But Miller was more than just a standout athlete. She also was a superb student. She was an eight-time nominee for Academic All-American for her respective sports. She twice was named Third-Team GTE Academic All-Americanthe only APSU female athlete in history to earn national recognition more than once.

As a junior, she was named APSU's Female Athlete of the Year, and in 1996-97 she shared the Joy Award, as APSU's most valuable senior athlete, with Wells. She returned to Austin Peay a year ago as volleyball graduate assistant and men's basketball administrative assistant. She then went back to Willowbrook High School (her prep alma mater) last fall to become the school's head volleyball coach after previously coaching volleyball, basketball and softball at the school.

Jamie "Cat" Walker enjoyed a stellar three-season Governors career, culminating with an outstanding senior season. The workhorse lefthander pitched in 20 games that season, 15 as a starter, going 9-5 with a 2.74 ERAthe sixth-best ERA all-timein 108.3 innings, second most in school history.

His 89 strikeouts that season still rank as the all-time single-season best, as do his two shutouts (tied with three others). His nine wins rank fourth-best all-time. As a result, he was selected OVC “Pitcher of the Year” and was drafted by the Houston Astros that spring, beginning his professional career.

Walker completed his APSU career with a 17-15 record, with the17 victories ranking fifth all-time career-wise. Despite pitching just three seasons, he is first in career shutouts (three), third in complete games (13), seventh in games started (54) and eighth in innings pitched (243).

After being traded by the Astros to the Braves in 1997, he got his break that spring when the Braves shipped him along with Jermaine Dye to the Kansas City Royals for Michael Tucker and Keith Lockhart.

He made his major league debut that season, pitching in 50 games in 1997 as both a starter and reliever.

He also recorded his first career victory.

A year later, he again was a member of the major league team before injuries ended his season. For the next three seasons he continued to battle a succession of injuries while hurling at the Class AAA level.

But his persistence paid off. He signed with the Detroit Tigers as a free agent in November 2001 and enjoyed an outstanding spring training. Although he was optioned to Class AAA again to start the season, he was recalled in April and enjoyed his career's finest season.

He finished the season 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA. He also recorded his career's first save and, for the first time since 1997, enters the off-season on the major league roster.