2022 Hall of Fame Reveal – Cherry & Swinton Enshrined Together - Murray State University Athletics (2022)

Given the fact quarterback Mike Cherry and receiver Reggie Swinton teamed for nearly 100 pass completions in 25 games from 1995-2022 Hall of Fame Reveal – Cherry & Swinton Enshrined Together - Murray State University Athletics (1)96 and helped the Racers win a pair of Ohio Valley Conference championships, it's only fitting that they will be inducted together in the class of 2022 to the Murray State Hall of Fame.

Beginning today on GoRacers.com, the eight-person class of 2022 will be revealed one day at a time.

Murray State fans are invited to attend the Hall of Fame dinner on the night of Nov. 11 at the CFSB Center. The 2022 class will also be recognized Nov. 12 at the Racer football game against Robert Morris (1 p.m. kick off) and a men's basketball game against a yet to be determined opponent. Tickets to the dinner can be purchased online through the MSU ticket office.

Certainly, opponents of the Racers grew weary of trying to game plan against this dynamic duo as they led Murray State to a 22-3 overall record and 16-0 in the OVC in the 1995 and 1996 seasons. Cherry and Swinton are Inextricably linked in Racer Football lore, even 26 years after their last game together.

Swinton was a speedy receiver from Little Rock and Cherry hailed from Texarkana. Swinton arrived at MSU in the fall of 1994 and grew into his role as a receiver and kick returner until he was ready to show what he could really do when Cherry arrived in 1995, after transferring from the Arkansas Razorbacks at the behest of Coach Nutt.

In 1995, Cherry threw for 2,460 yards and 18 touchdowns and was named All-OVC. Swinton caught 34 passes for 514 yards in 1995 and then exploded on the scene in 1996, with 75 catches for 1,120 yards. Cherry threw for 2,737 yards on 199 completions with 18 touchdowns (eight TDs by Swinton). Swinton earned All-America honors and Cherry was named OVC Player of the Year in 1996

On an average night, this pair of Racers were a handful for any defense, but on the night of Sept. 14, 1996, they were almost perfect in a game against the Southern Illinois Salukis at home in Roy Stewart Stadium. Cherry and Swinton connected on 10 passes for an incredible 224 yards and three touchdowns. The 224 yards receiving by Swinton is still second on the MSU single-game list. Later in the 1996 season, Cherry and Swinton led MSU to a 34-6 win at home over Western Illinois (11-30-96) as the first and still only postseason win in program history.

In two seasons of 1995 and 1996, Cherry and Swinton hooked up for 99 pass completions, 1,451 yards and nine touchdowns. In an era of run-first offenses, the numbers this pair put up are still impressive today.

Experience in the National Football League is another reason that Swinton and Cherry are headed to the Murray State Hall of Fame.

Swinton was the most successful in the NFL even though he was not drafted. He spent five seasons with 69 games played with the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions. He had 132 career punt returns with 1,311 yards and two touchdowns and 208 kickoff returns for 4,919 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Swinton was inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame in June of 2022.

Cherry was Murray State's 17th NFL draft selection in 1997 to the New York Giants. After this selection, the Racers wouldn't have another player drafted for 13 years until Austen Lane in 2020. Cherry spent four seasons on the Giants roster.

Cherry and Swinton join teammates William Hampton (2012), Rob Hart (2019) and their coach, Houston Nutt (2018) in the MSU Hall of Fame.

Cherry & Swinton Notes

  • Join teammates William Hampton (2012), Rob Hart (2019), and Coach Houston Nutt (2018) in the MSU Hall of Fame.
  • Two seasons together at Murray State in 1995 and 1996 produced two OVC championships for Coach Houston Nutt.
  • Combined in 1995-96, they helped the team to a 22-3 overall record and a 16-0 mark in OVC play.
  • The 1995 team was MSU's second undefeated team in the regular season at 11-0 as they joined the 1933 team who was the only other perfect team in MSU history in going 9-0.
  • Made 1-AA Playoffs in 1995 and 1996.
  • MSU's 34-6 win at home over Western Illinois (11-30-96) is the only postseason win in program history as of 2022.
  • In 1995-96 Cherry and Swinton hooked up for combined 99 pass receptions for 1,451 yards and 9 touchdowns for an average completion of 14.6 yards.
  • Mindful of the great offensive connection Cherry and Swinton enjoyed, the Racers also had big time yard gainers in running backs Derrick Cullors and David McCann and receivers Kwabene Idelette and Jesse Jones.
  • Cherry and Swinton teamed for a record night at home against Southern Illinois (11-14-96) of 10 completions for 224 yards and three touchdowns. The 224 yards was a career-high for both players.
  • It was then and still is in 2022, the second-best receiving game in MSU history, behind only Harvey Tanner's 255 yards with QB Larry Tillman against Middle Tennessee (Oct. 14, 1967).
  • In 2022, Cherry and Swinton become the 51st and 52nd football players to be inducted into the MSU Hall of Fame.

2022 Hall of Fame Reveal – Cherry & Swinton Enshrined Together - Murray State University Athletics (2)

2022 Hall of Fame - Mike Cherry – Football – 1995-96

  • Lasting legacy of the right quarterback at the right time to lead the Racers in what is still the best two-season run in program history.
  • Out of Texarkana, Cherry first played collegiately at Arkansas in 1993 and 1994, where he appeared in 10 games where he completed 21-40 passes for 242 yards with one touchdown.
  • In 1992. Houston Nutt was an assistant coach to Danny Ford at Arkansas. Cherry followed Nutt to Murray State in the spring of 1995 after Nutt became the MSU head coach in 1993.
  • Was named twice to All-OVC First Team as league's top QB
  • Named the 1996 OVC Player of the Year.
  • Held the career record at MSU for passing efficiency and is still fifth in 2022.
  • In a period of college football before pass-first offenses, Cherry's 365 career completions is still 10th in 2022 at MSU. His 36 career touchdown passes still rank eighth.
  • Cherry had four 300-yard passing games at MSU.
  • 391yds, 31-50 Northern Iowa 11/25/95 (Postseason record for the Racers)
  • 395 yds, 18-31 Southern Illinois 9/14/96
  • 312 yds, 13-21 Tennessee Tech 10/28/95
  • 328 yds, 17-24 Eastern Kentucky 11/4/95 (Clinched OVC championship)
  • In his MVP season of 1996, threw for 2,737 yards with 18 touchdowns.
  • Two-year totals were impressive with 365-640 passing for 5,197 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Cherry – National Football League

  • Selected by the New York Giants in the 1997 NFL Draft in the sixth round as the 171st overall pick.
  • Was the 17th Murray State player selected in the NFL Draft and the first since Eric Crigler in 1990.
  • After Cherry's selection, it would be another 13 years before a Racer was drafted again…as Austen Lane was taken by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010.
  • Spent four seasons with the Giants from 1997-00.
  • Wore jersey No. 18 with the Giants, the same number he wore with the Racers.

2022 Hall of Fame Reveal – Cherry & Swinton Enshrined Together - Murray State University Athletics (3)

2022 Hall of Fame - Reggie Swinton – Football – 1994-97

  • Competed for the Racers from 1994-97 for Coach Houston Nutt and Coach Denver Johnson.
  • All-America selection and All-OVC in 1996.
  • In his All-America season of 1996, Swinton caught 75 passes which was second all-time at MSU (sixth in 2022). His 1,120 receiving yards was first in MSU history and has since been topped by Walter Powell's 1,213yds in 2012.
  • Swinton's 1996 season made him MSU's first 1,000-yard receiver.
  • His explosiveness was never more evident than the opening kickoff of the homecoming game against Austin Peay at Stewart Stadium in 1997. Swinton took the kickoff 98 yards and a touchdown to get the Racers started on their way to a 51-0 victory.
  • In 40 career games at Murray State, Swinton caught 153 passes for 2,528 yards and 20 touchdowns.
  • His receiving totals were all the best in MSU history in 1997 and they still rank in the top-10 in 2022 (6th receptions, 2nd in yards and 6th in touchdowns).
  • Had seven career games of 100-yard receiving and his 166 career points is sixth all-time at MSU.
  • As a kick returner, had a career average of 32.4 yards per return, which is second all-time with the Racers.
  • Swinton's 1997 season was another All-OVC performance of 35 catches for 642 yards (18.3ypg) and seven touchdowns. He had nine kickoff returns for 292 yards (32.4ypr) and 1 TD.
  • In 1997, Swinton and quarterback Dan Lloyd hooked up for an 80-yard touchdown pass against UT Martin, as it was the third-longest TD pass in MSU history at the time and it still ranks sixth as of 2022.
  • Swinton wore jersey No. 11 as a freshman in 1994 and switched to No. 2 for his final three seasons.
  • Honored as part of the 2022 class inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at the Hilton Downtown Hotel in Lexington.
  • Swinton is the first Murray State player to be inducted into the organization since Gill Mains in 2015.
  • Swinton was joined in the class of six person by Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers; University of Kentucky), Elbie Nickel (Pittsburgh Steelers; South Shore Ky.), Steve Ortmayer (Oakland Raiders & University of Kentucky), George Wilson (Buffalo Bills; University of Arkansas) and Lee Calland (Pittsburgh Steelers; University of Louisville).

Swinton - National Football League Notes

  • Signed as a free agent first by the NFL's Dallas Cowboys.
  • Career in NFL spanned five seasons from 2001-05 for a total of 69 games played.
  • Also spent time on the rosters of the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals.
  • In 69 games, Swinton was known as one of the top kick returners in the game.
  • Fielded 132 career punt returns for a total of 1,311 yards and two touchdowns and in kickoff returns, he had 208 returns for 4,919 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Longest returns included: 2002 with the Cowboys, had the rare 100-yard kickoff return (Sept. 22, 2002) in front of more than 65,000 fans against the Philadelphia Eagles at Veterans Stadium in Philly. In 2003 Soldier Field (Oct. 26, 2003) against the Chicago Bears, took a kickoff for 96 yards and another TD. In 2001 with the Lions, he had a punt return of 65-yards for a touchdown at Texas Stadium against the Denver Broncos and had another punt return for a touchdown (Dec. 21, 2003) with Detroit against the Carolina Panthers of 89 yards at Ericsson Stadium.
  • Caught 41 passes for 493 yards with two touchdowns in his NFL career.
  • Had a 45-yard TD catch (Dec. 23, 2001) in a game at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona and another one (Oct. 24, 2004) against the New York Giants at Giants Stadium.

2022 Hall of Fame Dinner & Program
The annual Hall of Fame dinner is on the night of Nov. 11 at the CFSB Center. The 2022 class will also be recognized Nov. 12 at the Racer football game against Robert Morris (1 p.m. kick off) and a men's basketball game against a yet to be determined opponent. Hall of Fame dinner tickets may be purchased through the MSU ticket office online at GoRacers.com.

About Murray State Athletics
Located in Murray, Kentucky, the athletics department of Murray State University is a NCAA Division I member and plays in the Football Championship Subdivision. The Racers have 15 programs including men's teams for baseball, basketball, cross country, football and golf and women's teams for basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field and volleyball, as well as a mixed gender rifle team. The Racers became members of the Missouri Valley Conference on July 1, 2022. The Racers will become a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 2023.

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