By CHRIS MARKHAM
Five former University of Mary Washington athletes recently joined an exclusive group of legendary athletes in the 18th induction class of the UMW Athletics Hall of Fame.
These inductees include All-American high jumper Bobby Bergin (’03), All-American tennis standout Conor Smith (’03), basketball star Dan Dupras (’03), former head baseball coach Tom Sheridan and the 1993 Field Hockey team, who made it all the way to the national championship game in that year.
One of the five inductees, Bergin, was a regular at the NCAA track and field championships, competing eight times in his four years at UMW.
In those eight appearances, Bergin achieved All-American honors four times. His highest finishes at the championships included a second place finish at the 2002 indoor championships in the high jump and another second place finish in the 2003 indoor championships.
At that meet, Bergin jumped a height of 7’ 1.75”, which tied him for the fifth best jump in NCAA Division III history.
Coach Sheridan, another new inductee, began his 25 year career at UMW in 1987.
Virtually starting from scratch, Sheridan was able to accumulate 579 wins over the course of his career.
Some of his accolades include being one of only a few NCAA Division III coaches to surpass 500 wins. He was also named the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) Coach of the Year on nine separate occasions.
UMW also ranks among the highest in Division II schools to produce players into the professional baseball ranks, with 15 alumni.
Dupras, one of the most successful basketball players in UMW history, is the fourth highest leading scorer and sixth leading rebounder in the school’s history.
During the 2002-2003 season, Dupras was captain and led the Eagles to a record 24-5 record, winning the CAC Championship and advancing the team to the NCAA tournament.
Dupras stressed that his time at UMW focused on the ability to support every sport at the university and through that, he learned the core values of a team.
Goal setting was also a huge key in not only his own abilities, but his team’s ability to achieve such high honors.
“Before the season started I put scissors in an envelope with a ‘do not to open until the CAC championship’ on the outside. I believed we had a special unit and we did,” Dupras said.
“It was pretty cool to use those scissors to cut down the net with a group of guys that worked together to achieve our goals.”
Also on the list of new hall of famers, Smith was the leader of the UMW men’s tennis team and was a factor in the program’s revamp in the early 2000’s and on.
Smith finished in the top 15 on the national level three times while leading his team to four different NCAA tournament appearances. Smith was a three time CAC player of the year and a two time singles All-American.
The 1993 field hockey team racked up a record of 22-2 while advancing to the NCAA championship game. The team outscored their opponents by a mind boggling 51-7 over the course of the season, and is still one of the most dominant defensive seasons in Division III history.
The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on Feb. 1, 2014. Current student athletes are invited to join.