MIAMI– Wearing a sand-colored sportcoat he’d been handed as one of the night’s guest of honors, Bryant McKinnie was sharing University of Miami memories with a small group of people when the college, and now NFL teammate, he’d just mentioned strolled into the room.
McKinnie spotted him and chuckled.
“Hey, Bryant McKinnie how does it feel to be back in Miami?” Ed Reed bellowed jovially at his former Hurricanes and current Baltimore Ravens teammate.
McKinnie and Reed, who helped lead Miami to the program’s fifth and last national championship in 2001, headlined the Class of 2012’s induction into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday night. The 44th annual banquet was held at Jungle Island.
The other football inductees were receiver Ray Bellamy (1967-70), who was the first African-American athlete given a scholarship at Miami as well as the school’s first African-American student body president and guard Richard Mercier (1995-99), a Montreal native who grew up as a competitor mogul skiier and went on to tie fellow Miami Hall of Fame lineman Mike Sullivan for most career starts (48).
McKinnie said being inducted at the same time as Reed made the occasion more special.
“Winning the  national championship with Ed, 10 years later joining the same [NFL] team and then we’re both entering the Hall of Fame at the same time...I wasn’t expecting when I first got here to the University of Miami to be able to walk away and actually be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” McKinnie said. “Winning a national championship was a big enough deal for me, but then to have this honor to add to it makes it even better.”
“I never imagined this, actually until last year when [UM teammate and roommate] Reggie Wayne went in,” Reed said. “He was like ‘Man, you’ll be in there next year.’”
At Thursday’s banquet, Reed and McKinnie posed for photos next to a specially designed helmet – half Hurricanes, half Ravens. The Ravens also took out a full-page ad in the Hall of Fame program congratulating the two.
McKinnie said when he and Reed were selected in October, Coach John Harbaugh announced their accomplishment to the entire Ravens team after a practice. Ravens teammate Ray Lewis is already a member of UM’s Hall of Fame.
“I truly thank all the unsung heroes that are not here with me that were in school with me that really helped me to be the player on the field that I was [at UM],” Reed said Thursday.
Reed, who played safety at Miami from 1998-2001, was a first-team consensus All-American his last two seasons and led the nation with nine interceptions – with a school-record 209 return yards, as well as three touchdowns -- as a senior.
McKinnie, a transfer from Lackawanna Junior College in Scranton, Pa., was a consensus All-American in 2001 – he finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting -- and joined Russell Maryland as the only Hurricanes ever to win the Outland Trophy. The offensive lineman never allowed a sack in his UM career.
“This was a doorway to the NFL… that truly prepared us physically and mentally,” Reed said of his time at UM.
Also inducted on Thursday: track-and-field star Patrina Allen (1995-98), a six-time All-American – tied for second most in UM history – in four different events; women’s basketball player Desma Thomas Bateast (1992-97), the school’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made and attempted and 11th in scoring; relief pitcher Robbie Morrison (1996-98), who holds the school’s career record for strikeout average per nine innings and ranks third in career saves; women’s tennis coach Paige Yaroshuk Tews, the program’s winningest coach, a three-time ACC Coach of the Year who has led the ‘Canes to the Elite Eight in five of the past six seasons and the NCAA tournament in all 10 seasons.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun