By CHRIS MARKHAM
The University of Mary Washington recognized some of the greatest athletes to ever walk the campus on Saturday night with the 18th go around of the Hall of Fame induction. Alumni, coaches and current student athletes gathered in the Jepson Alumni Center Feb. 1 to honor the tremendous athletes.
“It was a wonderful evening as over 225 people celebrated our inductees, UMW athletics, and UMW,” said UMW Athletic Director Ken Tyler.
The class includes basketball star Dan Dupras, class of 2003, All-American high jumper Bobby Bergin, class of 2003, All-American tennis player Conor Smith, class of 2003, former head baseball coach Tom Sheridan and the national runner-up 1993 field hockey team.
During his career at UMW, Dupras led the Eagles to one of its best seasons in history. Under his leadership, the Eagles went 24-5 en route to a CAC championship and an NCAA tournament berth. Dupras ranks fourth all-time in points scored at UMW and sixth all-time in rebounding.
Bergin dominated Division III track and field during his career at UMW. He competed at eight NCAA track and field championships in his four-year career. Four of those eight trips resulted in All-American honors for the now hall of famer, while being national runner-up in 2002 and 2003.
His clear of seven feet, 1.75 inches at the 2003 indoor championships launched him into the top-five of all time in Division III track and field.
Smith served as a trail blazer of sorts for Mary Washington’s tennis program, as he became the first male Eagle to be recognized on a national level and made the team into a national powerhouse in the early 2000s when they earned four NCAA Tournament berths, finishing in the top 15 nationally three times.
Smith was also a three-time CAC Player of the Year and twice earned All-American honors in men’s singles. He earned awards such as ITA Player to Watch and ITA Senior Player of the Year in the region.
Sheridan’s 25-year career as UMW’s head baseball coach can be described as doing a lot with a little. Sheridan built his team from the bottom up starting in 1987, and, from that point until the end of his tenure, won 579 games and tallied 15 separate 25-win seasons.
During his career, the Eagles advanced to 11 NCAA tournaments and won 10 conference titles. He ranks top in the nation for Division III coaches, producing 15 professional baseball players in his career, and is one of only few coaches so surpass 500 career wins while also being the CAC coach of the year nine times.
One of the most successful varsity teams in the history of UMW, the 1993 field hockey team finished their season with a record of 22-2 and advanced all the way into the national championship game. The squad outscored their opposition 51-7 during the season, which still stands as one of the single-most dominant defensive seasons by any Division III field hockey team ever.
They, along with two NCAA championship women’s tennis teams, are the only UMW athletic program to advance to a national championship.
“Events throughout the day enabled us to connect our proud legacy with our exciting future,” said Tyler. “It was a great day, and night, to be an Eagle.”
National Football League and College Football Hall of Famer Darrell Green, a special assistant for student-athlete development and community relations, made an appearance as he served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony and shard his thoughts on the inductees and the university.
“[Green’s] presence made the even more special,” said Tyler.
The day was an opportunity to celebrate the many past accomplishments for the athletic department, according to UMW Sports Information director Clint Often.
“We have another outstanding class of inductees this year,” said Often. “The former student-athletes were all among the most successful on the field and in the classroom we’ve ever seen at UMW.”