FULTON – A pair of former first round NFL Draft picks will be inducted as the 20th class of the Itawamba Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies set for Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, October 9th on the Fulton campus of ICC.
The members of the 2010 class are Tim Bowens (Okolona, MS) and Ernest Dye (Greenwood, SC).
Bowens, who played at ICC from 91-92, earned All-American honors and was a two-time All-State selection as a defensive lineman under the tutorage of National Hall of Fame Coach Mike Eaton. He transferred to Ole Miss, where he was a standout for one season before embarking on an 11-year career in the NFL that saw him make over 400 stops at his defensive tackle position.
The Okolona native was selected 20th in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins and later that season earned NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pro honors.
“ICC is where it all began for me,” said the two-time NFL Pro Bowl selection. “This is such an honor for me to be inducted into the ICC Athletic Hall of Fame. I was actually shocked when Coach Eaton called to tell me the good news because I had never been inducted into a hall of fame before.”
Dye, who played at ICC from 89-90, continued his collegiate career at the University of South Carolina and was selected as the 18th pick in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the then Phoenix Cardinals. He spent four seasons with the Cardinals before joining the St. Louis Rams in 1997 for one season and returned to the now Arizona Cardinals in 1998. In August 0f 1999, Dye and two of his teammates were involved in a car accident that ended his professional football career.
“I give a lot of credit to Coach Eaton,” said the former first round NFL draft pick. “He was patient with me and told me if I would stay in college, that all my dreams could come true.”
“Staying at ICC and getting my degree turned out to be a great turning point in my life. I’m grateful to ICC because it definitely allowed an opportunity to better myself, and because of that it’s such an honor for me to be inducted into its hall of fame.”
“These guys had pro written all over them when they came to ICC,” said Eaton, Chair of the ICC Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. “We were the fortunate recipients of their talent they had. They are both quality men that have transitioned out of pro football and we are glad they are a part of ICC.”
The two Hall of Famers will be honored with a special ceremony at 1:00 p.m. at the Student Services Building lobby along with being recognized at 2:40 p.m. at A.C. Butch Lambert Stadium prior to kickoff of the ICC vs. Coahoma game.
Adam Gore/ICC Sports Information Department