McKendree to induct three into Hall of Fame

News-DemocratSeptember 30, 2013 

— Three individuals will be inducted into the McKendree University Sports Hall of Fame for 2013.

The ceremony will be held in conjunction with the annual McKendree Alumni Awards Dinner, which will take place on Saturday at St. Clair Country Club in Belleville.

The Alumni Awards Dinner will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and the event program. Tickets are available for $32 each, and must be purchased in advance. To buy tickets, call 618-537-6826 or e-mail alumni@mckendree.edu.

The newest members of the McKendree Sports Hall of Fame are: Lance Marcum, who enjoyed one of the most prolific pitching careers for the Bearcats' baseball program; Danna Gilbert, a two-sport standout who led the McKendree women's basketball and softball programs to new heights; and Fred Taylor, the sparkplug of the high-scoring Bearcat men's basketball teams of the late 1980s.

Marcum, a native of Centralia, is a 2007 graduate of McKendree. In his four years on the mound for the Bearcats' baseball squad, he helped McKendree solidify its standing as one of the top programs in the American Midwest Conference and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). During his career, Marcum was a part of 172 victories along with four consecutive AMC Tournament championships and a pair of regular-season league titles. McKendree also reached the NAIA Region V championship game during his junior year in 2005, when the Bearcats were just two game shy of reaching the NAIA World Series.

Over his four years at McKendree, Marcum won 38 games with 38 complete games, 11 shutouts and 361 strikeouts in 377 2/3 innings of work. Those are just five of the 11 McKendree baseball records that Marcum set during his career, all of which still stand today. He is the only player to throw multiple no-hitters for the Bearcats, tossing two in his four seasons.

In each of his last three seasons, Marcum was selected as the AMC Pitcher of the Year, and was also a first-team All-Conference honoree during those years. He earned NAIA Region V Pitcher of the Year accolades as a junior and senior (2005 and 2006), and was a three-time All-Region choice from his sophomore through senior seasons. Nationally, Marcum received first-team NAIA All-America honors in both 2005 and 2006.

Following his McKendree playing days, Marcum signed a free-agent contract with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He made 19 appearances for the Class A State College Spikes in the New York-Penn League.

Gilbert is a 2000 graduate of McKendree. The Florissant, Mo., native excelled both on the basketball court and the softball field for the Bearcats. As a guard for the McKendree basketball program, Gilbert twice grabbed All-Conference honors in the American Midwest Conference, including first-team accolades as a senior in 1999-2000. A long-range shooter, Gilbert is second on the career list for three-point field goals attempted with 596, and is tied for ninth in three-pointers made with 99. Gilbert also ranks 10th on the Bearcats' all-time list with 285 assists. In addition, she is ninth in career steals with 187.

As a sophomore and junior (1997-98 and 1998-99) Gilbert helped McKendree to a pair of AMC Tournament championships. Those victories enabled the Bearcats to make their first two appearances at the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship in Jackson, Tenn.

On the softball field, Gilbert was a four-year starter in the outfield for the Bearcats. She had a career batting average of .395, which is the highest for any player ever to wear the McKendree uniform. Gilbert also holds the program record for highest on-base percentage at .439. Known for her speed, she swiped 47 bases and collected 10 triples throughout her career, and both totals are good for second all-time at McKendree. She still ranks among the Bearcats' top 10 in career hits (200), sacrifice hits (24), runs scored (98), total bases (236), slugging percentage (.466) and games started (156).

In addition to her lofty career numbers on the softball diamond, Gilbert owns two of the top five single-season batting averages in McKendree history. She batted .417 as a junior in 1999 and followed that with a 405 mark during her senior season in 2000. In each of her four seasons, Gilbert earned All-Conference recognition.

In 1998 and 1999, Gilbert helped McKendree to appearances at the NAIA Softball National Championship. The 1999 Bearcats' squad earned a fifth-place finish at the national event.

Taylor is a 1990 McKendree graduate and a native of Chicago. A two-year starter, Taylor joined the McKendree squad as a junior in 1986-87 and put together one of the top all-around seasons in program history. He averaged 20.1 points per game, scoring 704 points in the process. One of the most accurate three-point shooters in the nation, Taylor connected on 51 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, a McKendree record that still stands today. Thanks in part to Taylor's scoring prowess, the Bearcats collected their first-ever 30-win season and reached the finals of the NAIA District 20 Tournament.

In his senior year, Taylor and his teammates were part of an historic season for McKendree basketball. The Bearcats reeled off 22 consecutive wins to start the 1987-88 season on their way to a school-record 35 victories. That included a win over Saint Xavier in the District 20 title game to give the program its first trip to the NAIA National Championship in Kansas City, Mo. That marked the first of 15 appearances by McKendree at the NAIA national tournament in a 23-year span.

A team loaded with offensive firepower, McKendree led the nation by averaging 102 points per game. Taylor showed the way by averaging a team-high 21.1 points per contest. He saved his best for last, scoring a season-high 33 points in the Bearcats' national tournament second-round game against Dordt (Iowa).

Taylor finished his McKendree career with 1,400 points in two seasons, a mark that sits 27th on the Bearcats' all-time scoring list. He is also third on the team's career chart for three-point field goal percentage at .452.

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