August 9, 2012
The Missouri Valley Conference will honor its past on Friday, March 8, 2013, when the league conducts its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony in St. Louis.
College baseball player of the year choice Darren Dreifort of Wichita State, All-America volleyball selection Molly O'Brien of Northern Iowa, women's soccer standout Krissy Meek-Engelbrecht of Evansville, longtime MVC coordinator of men's basketball officials Jim Bain and basketball star Bob Portman of Creighton comprise the 16th MVC Hall of Fame class.
For the tenth time in 11 years, the league will conduct its annual Hall of Fame ceremony as part the Missouri Valley Conference Men's Basketball Championship weekend next March 7-10.
The March 8 festivities will begin with an 8 a.m. breakfast, followed by the induction ceremony at 8:45 a.m.
Tickets to the 2013 Hall of Fame event - scheduled to be held in the Peabody Opera House which is adjacent to Scottrade Center - can be obtained by calling the league office at (314) 444-4300. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The 2013 Hall of Fame class includes one of college baseball's most dominant pitchers, a four-time All-MVC volleyball selection, a three-time league women's soccer player of the year choice, an internationally respected college basketball official and administrator and an All-America men's basketball selection.
The 1993 college baseball player of the year, Dreifort powered the Wichita State baseball team to three-consecutive College World Series appearances.
A 2002 AVCA third-team All-American, O'Brien was a three-time MVC Player of the Year choice.
The only three-time MVC soccer player of the year selection (men's or women's) in league history, Engelbrecht led UE to four-straight MVC Tournament titles.
Bain was inducted into the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Hall of Fame in 2010.
Portman was named a Helms Foundation All-American in 1968.
"Each of our Hall of Fame induction classes is unique in its own way, but this group of individuals might be as diverse a collection of inductees as we've had," said Commissioner Doug Elgin, who is in his 25th year with The Valley. "Molly O'Brien and Krissy Engelbrecht are clearly deserving as our first volleyball and women's soccer choices, respectively, while Darren Dreifort is arguably the greatest collegiate pitcher in league history."
"Bob Portman's contributions to Creighton and college basketball are well-documented," said Elgin. "We are equally proud to recognize the career achievements of Jim "Boomer" Bain who dedicated his professional focus to this league for over four decades."
"We are grateful for the opportunity to recognize their contributions to the Missouri Valley Conference and collegiate athletics as a whole," said Elgin.
DARREN DREIFORT, WICHITA STATE
A native of Wichita, Darren Dreifort becomes the third collegiate baseball player of the year selection to enter the Missouri Valley Conference's Hall of Fame, joining former Shockers Joe Carter (1999) and Phil Stephenson (2005).
A first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference choice in 1992 and 1993, he was named the 1993 Golden Spikes Award winner and the R.E. "Bob" Smith Award winner after being a finalist for each award in 1992.
Also in 1993, he received first-team ABCA All-Midwest Region laurels as a pitcher and second-team honors designated hitter.
That same season, he was voted Most Outstanding Player of Atlantic Regional, tabbed MVC Pitcher of the Year and selected national Player of the Week four times.
He ended his WSU tenure as the school's record-holder for career earned-run average (2.24) in 78 appearances and third in career saves (17). He is currently third in ERA and seventh in saves.
He also possesses a career record of 26-5 at WSU and holds the Shocker career mark for fewest hits allowed per nine innings.
In his three-year career at WSU, Dreifort saw the Shockers compile a 180-41 overall record and 56-9 mark in The Valley.
During his career, he and his teammates were CWS runners-up in 1991 and 1993, took three NCAA regional titles for three CWS appearances in his three campaigns.
He was subsequently drafted in the 1st round (2nd overall behind Alex Rodriguez) in the 1993 Major League Baseball Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dreifort became one of only a select few players to make his professional debut in the Majors without first appearing in a minor league game.
He made his debut on April 7, 1994, against the Florida Marlins, working one scoreless inning as a relief pitcher. He appeared in a total of 27 games for the Dodgers that season, finishing 0-5 with a 6.21 ERA.
After missing the 1995 season due to injuries, Dreifort returned to the Dodgers bullpen for the 1996 and 1997 seasons, pitching effectively as a late inning setup man.
He recorded his first career win on August 30, 1996, in relief against Philadelphia. In 1997, he was very good, finishing 5-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 48 appearances and notched 4 saves.
He transitioned to the starting rotation for the 1998 season, making his first start on April 11 against Houston at Dodger Stadium, working five innings and taking the loss.
Dreifort finished the season 8-12 with an ERA of 4.00. He continued to pitch effectively in 1999 (13-13) and in 2000 turned in his best season with a 12-9 record, 4.16 ERA in 32 starts and 164
A free agent after the 2000 season, Dreifort re-signed with the team, and received a five-year, $55 million contract in 2001.
His health shut him down during the very first season of the deal; he was finished in early July when he was forced to undergo elbow reconstruction surgery that kept him out until the end of 2002.
With continuing arm and shoulder trouble, plus additional knee and hip trouble, he actually pitched in only three of the five years on the deal, also missing the entire 2005 season and parts of two other seasons during that span.
Dreifort retired at age 32.
He lives in Pacific Palisades, California, and remains involved with baseball, working as a Dodgers minor league spring training instructor.
Dreifort was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.