BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Former basketball All-American Sam Staggers will be inducted into the Campbell University Sports Hall of Fame during half-time of Saturday's 3:30 p.m. men's basketball game against VMI at Gore Arena.
Staggers' Hall of Fame induction will be held in conjunction with a reunion of the 1977 Fighting Camel team that finished as runner-up at the NAIA national tournament. Staggers will be the fifth individual associated with the '77 squad to be inducted into the Campbell Hall of Fame, joining Coach Danny Roberts, teammates Don Laird and Don Whaley, and Director of Athletics Wendell Carr.
With the induction of Staggers, membership in the Campbell Sports Hall of Fame, which began honoring past Campbell athletic greats in 1984, now numbers 74.
A native of Mullins, S.C., Staggers arrived at Campbell in 1973 after a standout career at Mullins High School, where he was named all-state as a senior.
He was a four-year starter at center for Coach Danny Roberts' Fighting Camels from 1973-77. Staggers earned NAIA all-district honors each year from his sophomore through his senior campaign as the Camels won at least 23 games each season.
During Staggers' sophomore year, he averaged 18.5 points per game and Campbell set a school record with 25 victories. The team won 23 games in 1976 when Staggers was again a unanimous all-district choice after contributing 16.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest.
However, during his senior year, Staggers led the Camels to the brink of a national title in their final campaign at the NAIA level. After scoring more than 600 points for an average of 18.2 per game and grabbing 10.5 rebounds per contest, Staggers was named first-team NAIA All-American, NAIA District 29 Player of the Year and District 29 Tournament MVP. He finished ninth in the country in field goal percentage (.607).
The Camels won the 1977 District 29 tournament to earn one of 32 spots in the national tournament at Kansas City. While in Missouri, Campbell defeated Lincoln Memorial, Southwest Oklahoma State, Alcorn State and Henderson State to become the first unseeded team in the 40-year history of the event to reach the finals. In the semifinals, Staggers scored 29 points – and outscored the entire Henderson State team in the first half (20-19).
Along the way, Staggers set the school record for career points scored with 1957 – a mark that stood for more than three decades. He pulled down 1148 rebounds in 119 games, an average of nearly 10 per outing, while making better than 56 percent of his field goal attempts.
Following graduation in May 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education, Staggers embarked on a professional playing career that lasted nearly 20 years.
Drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters, Staggers opted to play pro ball in Belgium, where from 1977-96, he starred in the Belgian pro league. During his playing career with Belgian clubs Andenne (1977-80), Standard Liege (1980-86), Mariandenne (1986-89), Mariemboug (1989-90), Spirou Monceau (1990-91) and Pepinster (1991-96), he was a Pro League all-star team member in 1986 and top-10 Sunair selection from 1982-92.
After the conclusion of his playing career, Staggers moved to the coaching ranks in 1996-97 and guided Belflamme to the playoffs in his first year on the bench. He also led St. Louis (1997-98) and Colfontaine (1998-2000) to post-season berths. He retired from men's pro division coaching in 2009; then guided the Quievrain women's team to a runner-up finish in the Belgium Cup.
Staggers' basketball career has afforded him the opportunity to visit 35 countries. He speaks four languages and now resides in St. Vaast, Belgium with his wife, Chantal. His grown daughter, Julie, was a youth basketball player and now resides in Mons, Belgium.