Tomlinson inducted into Lipscomb HOF

By: 
Josh Lewis, Sports Writer

Salem’s own Wade Tomlinson is now a hall of famer. The Lady Lions assistant coach was inducted into the Lipcsomb University Athletics Hall of Fame on November 10th as part of the 2018 class.

Tomlinson was a member of the Bison from 1986-1990. He helped lead Lipscomb to 134 wins during his four years, the most of any school during that time period. During his four seasons Lipscomb reached the number one ranking in NAIA over the course of each season. He currently sits at number 11 on the all-time scoring list with 1,792 career points, and ended with a 45.5% shooting mark from three point land. 

Tomlinson said it was a huge honor to be inducted into his alma mater’s hall of fame. He didn’t believe it at first he said. “It meant a lot. It probably shouldn’t. I was very content with not getting in. I didn’t think I would get in because I played on such a great team. Even Coach Meyer had told me before he passed away, ‘Hey you’re not going to get.’ My two teammates deservingly got the higher accolades and should have. Coach Meyer told me where I stood with him as far as ranked as a player, and my teammates knew; so was happy and content because my teammates knew and my coaches knew. I knew how it kind of all worked. I kind of just knew it wasn’t going to happen. I was stunned for a minute because I just did not expect it. I couldn’t believe it.”

The whole weekend was a great experience Tomlinson said. He went down and watched the Lipscomb girls basketball team play. That same weekend the women’s soccer team was playing in the NCAA tournament. He said the whole weekend was hectic but the video presentation and everything overall was a great experience.

Tomlinson’s coach while he was at Lipscomb is a legend among basketball enthusiasts. Don Meyer was the all-time winningest basketball coach at any level of college basketball until he was recently passed. Meyer passed away in 2014.

Tomlinson said his coach would have been proud of him for his accomplishment, but not without giving him some grief as well. “He would have ripped me,” he laughed. “He was old school. If he ripped you that means he liked you. He would have said something like, ‘I can’t believe somebody who couldn’t play a lick of defense could be in the hall of fame.’ It would have been something like that. Jason Shelton was in our class and he was a student assistant coach. He got to dress for a couple of years. He said it best, ‘Coach would have really liked for me and Marcus to go in together.’ We were blue collar guys, and Coach Meyer was a blue collar guy. He loved the guys that accepted a role, and played a role and did the dirty work. We all did the dirty work. Coach would have been tickled to death about it deep down. But he wouldn’t have let you know about it.”

One of the other inductees in the Class of 2018 was one of Tomlinson’s teammates Marcus Bodie. Getting inducted with him added to the experience he said. “It was special to me because not only were Marcus and I teammates, but were the same class, and we were roommates my freshman year. And we were both from North Alabama. So that was really special. And was college basketball’s all time steals leader. He’s really special to me. It was a really nice deal.”

Lipscomb is a special place not just to Tomlinson, but to his whole family. He makes the trip south to Nashville several times a year. He has many fond memories there, but not a ton of them are of games. They are more of his teammates he said. “It’s a wide range of stuff. You don’t remember many games. You remember the bad loses more than the good wins. I remember having fun with my teammates. I loved my teammates. I would not trade the time we spent together in the dorms and just hanging out and goofing around in the locker room or whatever. I still think about that. They were great guys.”

“Coach Meyer being so known nationally; he was a special man. How he taught you to become a man and he did it through Christian values and principles. That ranks way up there. Then how good our team was; I played with some great players. Practices were intense, and it was fun playing with a lot of great players. The people at Lipscomb were great people. The teachers, the students, they were all great.”

Being inducted was not something Tomlinson every thought was going to happen, nor was it ever really a goal he said. “It never crossed my mind. You would hear about it. When you would hear about it, I knew other guys would get in and just thought that wouldn’t be me. When you’re that young you don’t think that much about it. I just wanted to be the best player I could be, and I wanted to contribute to a great team. I was really focused on being the best player I could be and that was about it.”

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