Frederick M. Kovner, the "finest all-around outfielder" at Old Dominion University in at least 32 years, twice earned first-team All-American honors before graduating in 1965 with 13 team records.
Fred led the Monarchs to NCAA Eastern championships in 1963, and 1964, and to runner-up honors in 1965. His batting averages of .315, .330, 380 and .415 helped bring All-American recognition in 1964 and 1965 and a Chicago White Sox contract in 1965.
Kovner's speed, batting prowess and powerful arm helped Old Dominion to an 82-17 record during his four years on campus. He appeared destined for a major league career before an automobile injury cut short his professional playing time while he was at Lynchburg in Class A ball.
"Fred was the finest all-around outfielder that Old Dominion had from 1948 to 1980, " said former Monarch baseball coach Bud Metheny. "He had the arm, speed and power needed for a long career in the major leagues. That injury was the only thing that stopped him."
The baseball records owned by Kovner, a math major who also regularly played the cello in the Norfolk Symphony, include: Most runs batted in (7) and most hits (5) in one game, most home runs (7) and most consecutive h ome runs (3) in one season, most consecutive hits (7) and most consecutive times (12) on base, most hits (44) and most runs (31) in a season, most stolen bases (16) and most total bases (72) in a season, most career home runs (15), and total bases (197), and most runs scored (91) in a career.
The impact he made on opponents during the 1965 season is shown by his .415 batting average, 44 hits, 31 runs scored, 16 stolen bases and 72 total bases in only 28 games.
Despite his batting leadership, Kovner is remembered as well for his throws, catches and inspirational play. Coach Metheny said of one throw to the plate in one NCAA Eastern title game, "That run would have beat us. In that game, he also reached third one time by upending a guy and then scored on a ball hit to the infield. He had a great game. He had a lot of them. Fred came to play."