Kelli James To Be Inducted Into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Saturday

April 25, 2008
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

April 25, 2008

PORTSMOUTH, VA-- Old Dominion University field hockey great Kelli James Precourt ('92) will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Saturday evening, April 26 at 6 p.m. in the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel and Waterfront Conference Center. James is a two-time All-American and Olympian.

Joining James in the new class will be John Hilton, football standout at the University of Richmond and in the NFL; Ricky Hunley, 1997 College Football Hall of Fame inductee; Betty Jaynes, 2000 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductee; Jerome Kersey of Longwood University and Portland Trailblazers basketball; Bob Rathbun, the TV voice of the Atlanta Hawks and ODU; and Dawn Staley, University of Virginia All-American and WNBA star.

"The accomplishments of this class are astounding," says Hall of Fame President Eddie Webb. "Having earned national attention in both men's and women's sports, these seven are great examples of Virginia's reputation for athletic excellence."

The 37th annual induction ceremony will take place on April 26 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center, as the crowning event of Hall of Fame Weekend. Tickets on sale January 15. (757) 393-8031.

A closer look at the Class of 2008:

Kelli James Precourt of Medford, New Jersey, was a field hockey sensation at Old Dominion University. Playing striker, Precourt led the Lady Monarchs to three NCAA national championships (1988-90-92). The Lady Monarchs were 23-2-1 in 1990 and 25-0 in 1992. In 1992, Precourt became one of an impressive list of Lady Monarch field Hockey players to win the coveted Honda Award as the nation's top player in her sport.

The two-time All-American, led the nation in scoring with 131 points and 59 assists in 1992 as ODU captured the NCAA National Championship with a 4-0 victory over Iowa, In Richmond, VA.. Precourt played for the US national field hockey squad, appearing in the 1996 Olympics (fifth place finish), two World Cups, and three Pan-American Games. Precourt was inducted into the ODU Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. Precourt was a four-time All-South Region selection and was a 1990 and 1992 NCAA All-Tournament selection. She graduated from ODU with a degree in marketing education, and has a Master's degree corporate training.

Other Monarchs who have been inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame: Mark West(basketball ), Yogi Hightower (field hockey), Paul Webb (basketball coach), Marianne Stanley (Basketball coach), Tommy Scott (first AD and coach), Scrap Chandler (Swimming), Bud Metheny (baseball coach), Dave Twardzik(Basketball), Lou Plummer (track and field), Nancy Lieberman (basketball), and Anne Donovan (basketball).

John Hilton was a three-sport star at Hermitage High School in Richmond. Hilton attended Fork Union Military Academy, and then the University of Richmond. He played football for the Spiders under VSHF inductee Ed Merrick and was selected to the All-State team three times (1961-62-64). After college, Hilton enjoyed a nine-year NFL playing career. As a Pittsburgh Steeler, Hilton set a single-season record for receptions by a tight end (46) that stood for 25 years. Hilton spent seven years as an NFL special teams and receiver coach with Chicago, Washington, and Green Bay.

Ricky Hunley was born and raised in Petersburg. He attended the University of Arizona, where he was a two-time All-American linebacker. In 1983, Hunley was named the PAC 10 Player of the Year. His playing career at Arizona earned him induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. Hunley played in the NFL for seven seasons. He was a starter for the Denver Broncos in Super Bowls XXI and XXII. Hunley got his start in coaching at the University of Southern California, and is now the linebackers' coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Betty Jaynes, a native of Covington, Georgia, came to Madison College (now James Madison University) in 1968 as an assistant professor of physical education. She served as the head women's basketball coach from 1970 to 1982, amassing a notable 142-114 record. But Jaynes is best known for her contributions as an administrator. She founded the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, where she was both Executive Director and CEO over her 19-year tenure. Jaynes is an inductee of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (2000), National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame (2006), and Georgia Sports Hall of Fame (2007).

Jerome Kersey was raised in Clarksville, and attended Longwood College (now Longwood University), where he was a record-setting basketball forward and two-time Division II All-American. In 1984, Kersey was selected in the second round of the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers. He spent 11 years with the team, finishing second in Blazers' history in games played (831) and rebounds (5,078), third in blocked shots (621) and steals (1,059), and fourth in points (10,067). Kersey retired from play after an additional six years in the NBA, then coached for a brief time with the Milwaukee Bucks. Kersey was among the first class of inductees of the Longwood University Hall of Fame in 2005.

Bob Rathbun, this year's media inductee, was born in Wakefield, Rhode Island, and graduated from Catawba College in 1976. Rathbun began his career at WSTP radio in Salisbury, North Carolina, before doing play-by-play for a list of teams that included two Virginia minor-league baseball clubs, the Tidewater Tides (1980-85 and 1990-91) and the Richmond Braves (1996). He was also the play-by play voice of the Old Dominion University Monarchs. Rathburn is currently in his 12th season as the play-by-play voice of the Atlanta Hawks on FSN South, and also announces college games on FSN and the ACC/Raycom network. He is the winner of five Emmys and six Virginia Sportscaster of the Year awards, and is an inductee of the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame (2006).

Dawn Staley of Philadelphia came to the University of Virginia women's basketball program in 1989. During her time at Virginia, she won the ACC Rookie of the Year Award and racked up three Kodak All-American honors, two National Player of the Year awards, the Honda-Broderick Cup (1991), and three Final Four appearances. Staley has earned 10 gold medals and one bronze in international competition, including three Olympic gold medals (1996-2000-2004). She began play in the WNBA in 1999, making five All-Star Game appearances since, as well as earning her way onto the WNBA All-Decade team. Staley has coached Temple University's women's basketball team since 2000-01, and was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2005.

Established in 1972, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum is proud to honor Virginia's contributions to the world of sports as the Commonwealth's official sports hall of fame. Visit the museum to experience hands-on fun for the whole family.