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Walls, Manning to be inducted into University's Athletics Hall of Fame

One of the greatest linebackers in Austin Peay football history and one of the Bat Govs all-time best infielders will be inducted into the APSUs Athletics Hall of Fame.

Eddie Walls, a former first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick in the mid-1980s and an honorable mention All-American, and Nate Manning, whose 1996 season is considered the greatest offensive performance in Govs baseball history, will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame during a 9 a.m. breakfast ceremony, Saturday, Feb. 14, in the Dunn Centers front lobby.
One of the greatest linebackers in Austin Peay football history and one of the Bat Govs' all-time best infielders will be inducted into the APSU's Athletics Hall of Fame.

Eddie Walls, a former first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick in the mid-1980s and an honorable mention All-American, and Nate Manning, whose 1996 season is considered the greatest offensive performance in Govs baseball history, will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame during a 9 a.m. breakfast ceremony, Saturday, Feb. 14, in the Dunn Center's front lobby.

Walls was a four-year letterman (1983-86) and three-year regular at linebacker at a time when APSU's defensive prowess was well known around the OVC. As a freshman, he recorded 57 tackles as a reserve linebacker and key special teams performer. A year later, a back injury limited him to five games before his career really took off as junior in 1985. He recorded 64 tackles, with three pass interceptions, from his inside linebacker spot before this time a surgery-necessitating knee injury ended his season with four games remaining.

The Oliver Springs, Tenn., native became one of the OVC's best defenders. He finished his career with a team-high 146 tackles (88 initial hits) in 1986, the second most by a Governor in the last 27 years, and most since Bob Bible tallied 170 in 1977. Walls was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week for his dominating 17-tackle effort against MTSU, the last time APSU defeated the Blue Raiders, an overtime victory. In fact, the previous season Walls suffered that season-ending knee injury against those same Raiders and marked his calendar for the rematch.

Walls was chosen first-team All-OVC in 1986 and was runner-up in voting for the league's defensive player of the year award. He also was selected Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America.

Following the season he was presented the Earl Walton Leadership Award along with being named permanent team captain after being voted game captain 10 of the 11 weeks. Later, he was selected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Class.

He became a free-agent signee by the New York Giants prior to the 1987 season before another knee injury ended his football career.

Manning, meanwhile, also enjoyed an extraordinary career in his sport: baseball. He was a three-year starter at third base and made a tremendous impact both offensively and defensively.

After playing sparingly as a freshman, the Keosaqua, Iowa, native's career took off the next season. As sophomore in 1994, he batted .288 with 15 doubles, three triples and four home runs while driving home 43 runs. His defensive work in an extra-inning marathon OVC tourney game against Murray State was memorable. He earned second-team All-OVC honors that season for his all-round efforts.

As a junior, Manning again batted .288 with eight home runs and 11 doubles while driving in 39 runs. The 6-2, 205 pounder also showed superb speed for a big man with 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts.

But it was his senior year performance that has become the standard for all future Govs. He helped lead the dominating Govs to a school-best 44-22 record, a regular-season OVC co-championship, an OVC tourney title, an NCAA Play-In berth and the program's only NCAA tourney appearance.

That season, Manning set APSU records for home runs (19), RBIs (81), hits (100), runs scored (70), total bases (191, also current OVC record) and extra base hits (49). He batted .394 with 26 doubles and four triples.

As a result, he was named Ohio Valley Conference "Player of the Year," leading the conference in home runs (19), runs scored (70) and total RBIs (81). He also was named to 1996 All-OVC tournament team and, fittingly, tourney most valuable player. And he was selected second-team All-Region.

But it was more than just the numbers for Manning as a senior. When the Governors needed a big hit, he always seemed to answer. His late-game double in the OVC tourney title game helped spur the Govs to a 5-3 come-from-behind victory against stubborn Morehead State. Then he helped punish Southern in the NCAA Play-In series in Clarksville with one of the longest home runs in recent memory as the Govs advanced to NCAA tourney play for the first time in Baton Rouge, La.

Following his senior season, he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. He played professionally for five seasons (four with the Cubs organization, one with the Minnesota Twins) before retiring after the 2000 season.

For tickets and other information about the breakfast, telephone Tara Pfeifler at 7903.
—Brad Kirtley