PORTSMOUTH, VA – The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to announce its class of 2013 as chosen by the statewide Honors Court committee.
The Class of 2013 features:
· Franklin Allen, Roanoke College All-American and all-time leader in points and rebounds in Virginia history;
· Cornell Brown, Virginia Tech All-American, 1997 6th round pick of the Baltimore Ravens and 2000 Super Bowl champion;
· Lawrence Burton, 1st round draft pick in the 1975 NFL Draft for the New Orleans Saints and former Olympic sprinter in the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany;
· Dean Ehlers, first Director of Athletics for James Madison University and conference president during the founding of the Colonial Athletic Association;
· Robert Pratt, Baltimore Colts and Seattle Seahawks standout where he started 105 consecutive games and enjoyed a 12 year career in the NFL;
· Bill Roth, 10 time Virginia Sportscaster of the Year, the “Voice of the Hokies” and lead play-by-play announcer for Virginia Tech football and basketball;
· Dick Tarrant, coached 12 seasons for the University of Richmond basketball team where he amassed 240 wins and guided the team to five NCAA and four NIT tournaments.
Eddie Webb, President of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, notes, “The Class of 2013 exemplifies a mixture of longevity, quality, and outstanding athletic ability. These individuals not only excelled in Virginia, but also at the national or international level. This class denotes a small sample of the quality of athletes Virginia continues to produce.”
The 42nd annual induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center as the headline event of Hall of Fame weekend. Tickets go on sale January 14, 2013. For more information, call (757) 393-8031 or visit www.vshfm.com
More about the Class of 2013:
Franklin Allen, a native of Charlottesville, VA and graduate of Roanoke College, is considered to be one of the most prolific college basketball players in Virginia Intercollegiate Basketball History. Allen’s college career started in 1967 at Roanoke College where he was the first African-American student to attend Roanoke and led the Maroons to its first NCAA Tournament berth as a freshman. His sophomore year, he led the team in scoring and made honorable mention All-American, Virginia College Division Player of the Year and first team All-Mason-Dixon. Allen broke every scoring and rebounding mark as a junior at Roanoke and was once again named Virginia College Division Player of the Year. Rounding out his college basketball playing career in 1970-71, Allen became the all-time leader in points (2,780) and rebounds (1,758) at all NCAA levels in Virginia. Over his four seasons at Roanoke College, he averaged 24 points per game, and 15.2 rebounds per game. Franklin Allen was the first individual to ever be named to the All-state team all four years. Overall, Roanoke compiled an 82 win, 34 loss record during Allen’s career including two Mason-Dixon tournament victories. It is safe to say that Franklin Allen had a prolific college basketball career.
Cornell Brown, a native of Lynchburg, VA and graduate of Virginia Tech, is considered by many to be the first high-profile recruit of the Frank Beamer era. Brown, a defensive end, started four seasons for the Hokies and helped them to a 37-11 overall record, four-straight bowl games and a pair of BIG EAST Conference championships during that span. In 1995, he led the BIG EAST in sacks and led the Hokies to a 10-2 record and their first BIG EAST championship and a Sugar Bowl win over Texas. Football News named him National Defensive Player of the Year. After helping Virginia Tech to a share of the conference title and a berth in the Orange Bowl in 1996, he was named 1st team All-American. Brown’s 36 career sacks at Virginia Tech ranks 2nd all-time, behind only Bruce Smith. In the 1997 NFL draft, Brown was selected in the 6th round by the Baltimore Ravens where he played linebacker for the duration of his 7 year NFL career (1997-2004). Brown earned a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Brown’s Virginia Tech jersey was retired in 2002, and he was later inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
Lawrence Burton, a native of Melfa, VA and graduate of Purdue University, was an All-American flanker and first round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1975. Burton was also a world-class sprinter who finished fourth in the 200 meters in the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. In 1974, Burton starred for the Purdue Boilermakers football squad and was the team captain and MVP. Among his awards at Purdue were 1974 Outstanding College Athlete of the Year, First Team All-Big Ten, and the Big Ten Medal of Honor. Burton also starred on Purdue’s track team earning four Big Ten titles, an NCAA title for the 200 meter dash in 1972 and tied a world record of 5.9 seconds for the 60 yard dash. Burton was inducted into the Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996. He caught 35 passes as well as four touchdowns for the Saints before signing with the San Diego Chargers in 1978 and helping them in the playoffs. At age 28, Burton retired from the game of football. Career totals include 44 catches for 804 yards, seven touchdowns and averaging 18 yards per catch.
Dean Ehlers was the first director of athletics for James Madison University, a position he held for 22 years. When he arrived at JMU in 1971, it was a small program without football, a conference affiliation, athletics grants-in-aid and with limited athletics facilities. Now, it is nationally recognized program. Many notable events happened during Ehlers’ tenure as leader of JMU athletics including playing in the College World Series, moving to the Atlantic 10 conference in football, winning a national championship in archery and ranking nationally in men and women’s soccer as well as swimming. Also, JMU’s men’s basketball team won games in three straight NCAA Tournaments from 1981-83, and its women’s basketball team advanced to NCAA play five times from 1986-91. He also worked on the construction of Bridgeforth Stadium, the Convocation Center and several other athletic venues. Serving as president of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame was also a highlight. Ehlers was president during the founding of the CAA, and the conference established the Dean Ehlers Leadership Award in recognition of his career contributions to intercollegiate athletics. The annual award recognizes male and female basketball student-athletes who “Embody the highest standards of leadership, integrity, and sportsmanship through their academic and athletic achievements.”
Robert Pratt, Jr., a native of Richmond, VA, started his football career at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond where he eventually earned a full scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1970. At UNC, he started at left tackle and helped the team win two ACC Championships in 1971 and 1972. Capping off his college career, he earned All American and All ACC honors as well as the UNC Educational Foundation Award in 1974. Pratt was selected in the 3rd round of the 1974 NFL draft by the Baltimore Colts where he starred at left guard. He was a Co-Captain of the Colts and started in 105 consecutive games from 1975-1981. During his tenure with the Colts, he helped them win three straight AFC East Division titles from 1975-1977. In 1982, Pratt was traded to the Seattle Seahawks, where he again started in the playoffs in both 1983 and 1984. He was also named the Seattle Seahawks’ Lineman of the Year in 1983. In 1986, Pratt retired after a 12 year NFL career, in which he played in 170 games, most impressive for an offensive lineman.
Bill Roth, a native of Pittsburgh, PA is most famous for the refrain, "From the blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay to the hills of Tennessee, the Virginia Tech Hokies are on the air!" Roth is considered the "Voice of the Hokies," and begun every Tech sports radio broadcast with the refrain. Roth has been the lead play-by-play announcer of Virginia Tech football and basketball, has served as the host of the weekly radio shows and has also hosted Virginia Tech Sports Today. From Sugar Bowls, to Orange Bowls, to NCAA Tournaments, Roth has described some of the greatest moments in Virginia Tech athletics history. He has been honored as Virginia's Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association 10 times. Roth graduated from Syracuse University in 1987 with a degree in broadcast journalism and awarded the distinguished Robert Costas Scholarship in 1986. Bill also spent four seasons in professional baseball as a play-by-play broadcaster for the Triple-A Richmond Braves from 1993-96. At Virginia Tech, Bill has been inducted as an honorary member of the Hokies' Monogram Club and was inducted into the Richmond Hokie Club Hall of Fame in 2008.
Dick Tarrant retired with the most wins in the University of Richmond’s history in March of 1993. In twelve seasons as head basketball coach, he amassed 240 wins. Additionally, Tarrant guided his team to nine post-season tournaments, five NCAA and four NIT. Richmond had never been to post-season play before his arrival, and they made their first NCAA appearance in 1984. The 1988 Spiders advanced to the NCAA “Sweet Sixteen” of the original 64 selectees and in 1991, Spiders were seeded 15 and upset the number 2 seed Syracuse. This marked the first time in NCAA history that a 15 seed had defeated a number 2 seed. Tarrant was named National Association of Coaches District 4 Coach of the Year five times, the Conference Coach of the Year five times, the State of Virginia Coach of the Year twice and Nike College Basketball Coach of the Year in 1988. In 1995, Tarrant was selected as CAA’s Coach of the Decade. In 1994, Tarrant was inducted into the University of Richmond’s Hall of Fame. Ten of the 36 scholarship student athletes Tarrant coached have been inducted into the University of Richmond’s Athletic Hall of Fame.