RALEIGH, N.C. – Seven highly accomplished athletes and three revered coaches make up the inaugural class of the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame, director of athletics Deborah A. Yow announced on Tuesday.
Led by a number of the best players ever to represent the Wolfpack in men’s and women’s basketball, football, women’s track and field/cross country and men’s soccer, it also includes the transformational coaches of Everett Case, Jim Valvano and Kay Yow. Five of the seven athletes are North Carolina natives.
“The efforts of the hall of fame selection committee and chair Chris Kingston are very much appreciated,” said Deborah A. Yow. “We look forward with great anticipation to the inductions and the celebration of achievements by 10 extraordinary men and women.”
The class will be celebrated at the 2012 NC State Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on Oct. 5 in Reynolds Coliseum.
David Thompson, the high-flying forward who led the Pack to the 1974 NCAA Championship, will represent men’s basketball in the class, while all-time leading scorer Genia Beasley will represent women’s basketball.
Thompson, a native of Shelby, N.C., led the Wolfpack to the 1973 and ’74 ACC titles and helped Norm Sloan’s team break UCLA’s streak of seven consecutive national titles by beating the Bruins in double overtime of the 1974 semifinals in Greensboro, N.C. Two days later, the Wolfpack beat Marquette to secure the first team championship in school history.
Beasley, a native of Benson, N.C., scored more points (2,367) and had more rebounds (1,245) than any women’s basketball player in school history, while leading Kay Yow’s squads to the 1978 and ’80 regular-season ACC titles and the 1980 ACC Tournament Championship.
Seven-time national champion Julie Shea, perhaps the school’s most decorated female athlete, was the top finisher on the 1979 and ’80 cross country teams that won NC State’s and the ACC’s first national championships in women’s sports. In addition to her two national individual cross country titles, she won five national track and field championships in the 3,000 meters, the 5,000 meters and the 10,000 meters, including all three at the 1980 championship meet.
Three football players are in the first class, including the ACC’s all-time rushing and scoring leader, tailback Ted Brown, whose amazing records have stood the test of time since he played his last game in 1978. He is joined by teammate and center Jim Ritcher, one of the most accomplished offensive linemen in college and professional football history. Ritcher was the winner of the 1979 Outland Trophy, provided to the best college football interior lineman in the nation.
The third football inductee, Roman Gabriel, was a two-time All-American as a quarterback in 1960 and ’61. He was also a 1961 Academic All-American while at NC State. In 1969, he was selected as the NFL Player of the Year for the Los Angeles Rams. The Wilmington, N.C., native also played baseball and freshman basketball for the Wolfpack.
Tab Ramos, one of the top players in the history of American soccer, was a three-time All-American at NC State before his successful post-collegiate career, which included three World Cup teams and a starting position on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team.
Case brought big-time college basketball to the South when he was hired in 1946. He won nine conference championships in his first 10 seasons with the Red Terrors/Wolfpack and is still the winningest coach in school history with 377 career wins. He also won 726 games and four state championships as a legendary Indiana high school coach.
Yow was the first full-time women’s college coach at a North Carolina school. In 34 years at NC State, she led the Wolfpack to 680 wins, 20 NCAA Tournament appearances, 11 Sweet Sixteens and the 1998 Final Four. She also led Team USA to gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1986 World University Games in Moscow.
As both men’s basketball coach and athletics director, Valvano is one of the most recognizable figures in NC State history. He guided the Pack to both the 1983 ACC and NCAA championships in just his third year as head coach. In addition to winning regular-season ACC titles in 1985 and 1989, he also won the 1987 ACC Tournament and was selected 1989 ACC Coach of the Year. He guided the Wolfpack to seven NCAA tournaments, four Sweet Sixteens, three Elite Eights and one Final Four.
Thompson, Case and Yow are already enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Gabriel and Ritcher are in the College Football Hall of Fame and Ramos is in the United States National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Nine of the 10 selections have been inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.