College of the Ozarks inducted four individuals into its Sports Hall of Fame during a private ceremony held on February 1. Three of the inductees worked at College of the Ozarks—former Women’s Basketball Coach George Wilson (16 years), former Sports Information Director Candace Sullinger (26 years) and former Dean of the College Marilyn C. Graves (43 years). The fourth inductee, Jenessa (DeMuth)Hughes, graduated from College of the Ozarks in 2008 with Bachelor of Science in pre-physical therapy.
Hughes played basketball for College of the Ozarks from 2004-2008, finishing her career with 1,904 points, 705 rebounds, 434 assists and 421 steals, at which time she held the NAIA record for steals. She was named All-Conference three times, Third-Team All-American her sophomore year and First-Team All-American her junior and senior years. Hughes played in four conference championships in both regular season and tournament play. She also participated in four NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championships, including three National Championship games. Additionally, Hughes was named an NAIA Academic All-American her junior and senior years.
Coach George Wilson coached the College of the Ozarks Women’s Basketball Team for 16 seasons from 1997-2013. He developed the program into one of the top teams in the country, compiling a 447-89 record during his tenure. Coach Wilson led the Lady Bobcats to 13 conference championships and 15 NAIA Division II National Tournament appearances, including four Runner-up finishes. He coached 17 All-Americans, including 10 First-Team All-Americans and 15 Academic All-Americans. In 2008, Coach Wilson was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. In 2013, he earned his 1000th career win, was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame and was named NAIA Coach of the Year.
Mrs. Candace Sullinger served as the C of O sports information director, secretary of the Physical Education Department and coordinator of the Bobcat Booster Club from 1987-2013. She also co-directed the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship for 14 years. During her tenure, Mrs. Sullinger garnered numerous accolades, including MCAC Administrator of the Year (2003-04), the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Award (2007) and the NAIA Clarence “Ike” Pearson Award (2009), which is given annually to an outstanding NAIA sports information director.
Dr. Marilyn C. Graves began her career at College of the Ozarks in 1970 as a physical education instructor and soon became a pioneer in the Athletic Department. She coached the Cross Country Team from 1973-76, Tennis from 1975-78 and the Women’s Basketball Team from 1979-81. Dr. Graves was instrumental in helping begin the Women’s Basketball Program. However, she is most remembered for starting and coaching the Volleyball Team from 1975-93. She was the director of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship for 14 years. Dr. Graves also served as Dean of the College from 2003-12.