A two-sport athlete, a baseball player, a track-and-field athlete and a former faculty athletic representative.
The four made up the newest class of the Missouri Southern Hall of Fame, inducted by the Athletic Department. Following a social and luncheon, they were introduced to fans during halftime of the Sept. 16 game vs. Emporia State.
The newest inductees are:
Dr. Wayne Harrell (meritorious):
Harrell was an instrumental part in Missouri Southern’s transition and move from the ranks of the NAIA to the NCAA Division II in the late 1980s. Harrell served as a professor at Missouri Southern in the music department for 24 years from 1971 until his retirement in 1995.
He served as the Missouri Southern Faculty Athletic Representative from 1988-95 and served as the President of the MIAA from 1993-95. He was chair of the Intercollegiate Athletics Committee at MSSU and has been an active Lionbacker for many years.
Joey Ballard (baseball and football – 1999-02): Ballard holds the distinction of being the only person in MIAA history to be named a league Freshman of the Year in two sports as he earned that honor in 1998 for football and 1999 for baseball.
A three-time honorable mention All-MIAA selection in football, Ballard was a four-time All-MIAA pick in baseball, earning honorable mention All-MIAA three times and was a second-team All-MIAA pick his senior season. He graduated from Missouri Southern in 2002 with a degree in criminal justice and resides in Joplin.
Jim Baranoski (baseball – 1986-89): Baranoski was a four-year letter winner for the Green and Gold in the late 1980s. During his career, he was an honorable mention All-CSIC selection in 1987, while earning a spot on the District 16 All-Tournament team in 1987, as well. He was a first-team All-CSIC and All-District selection in both 1988 and 1989.
Baranoski’s name can be found all throughout the MSSU baseball records, but amongst the numerous listings, he is known as the most prolific power-hitter to ever wear the uniform. His 41 career home runs is tops at MSSU, while he is second with 181 career RBIs. He also ranks fifth in career walks with 135, and second in career sacrifice flies with 15, while ranking fourth in both career slugging (.662) and on-base percentage (.496).
He graduated from Missouri Southern in 1989 and resides in Plainfield, Ill.
Michelle Heimerman (women’s track and field – 1996-97): Heimerman was a two-year letter winner for the Lions from 1996-97.
She was an All-American in the hammer throw for the Lions in both 1996 and 1997, and held the Missouri Southern school record in the event until 2000 at 171 feet. She transferred to Missouri Southern from Coffeyville Community College where she held that school’s record in the hammer until 2000 at 160 feet.
Heimerman was a member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll and was an MIAA Scholar-Athlete, graduating from Missouri Southern in 1998 with a degree in criminal justice. She currently serves as a victim advocate for the Barry County Prosecutors office in Cassville, Mo.
The Missouri Southern Athletics Hall of Fame was established to pay tribute and give deserved to former athletic letter winners and/or coaches who have shown distinctive, unique or exceptional ability while at Missouri Southern or since graduation. With the addition of the 2017 class, the MSSU Athletics Hall of Fame now includes 121 members and two teams.