Madison Watkins, Staff Writer
After Armstrong’s final season of Division II sports ended this past spring, it has announced this year’s inductees for the final Sports Hall of Fame.
The inductees were not made up of athletes that participated in the 2016-2017 season, but rather consisted of administrators, head coaches, and student-athletes from as far back as the 1985-1986 season. This year’s class contains over 100 new inductees. They were selected into four separate categories (service citation, administration, head coaches and student-athletes) by a committee.
The service citation recipients are Dr. Linda Bleicken and her husband, Carl Blacken, Chad Jackson, Will Lynch and Lynn Roberts.
Dr. Bleicken and her husband are being recognized for attending countless home and away athletic events during her tenure as president. Jackson worked as the Director of sports Communications from 1999-2017 and began the process of live-streaming home games on the Internet. He now works as the Director of Athletics Communications for Georgia Southern.
Will Lynch was the Faculty Athletic Representative since 2000 and is currently head of the chemistry and physics departments. Lynn Roberts was a student-athlete, women’s tennis head coach, and Senior Woman Administrator. She also helped create the Student- Athlete Advisory Committee and was a part of the Armstrong family for over 30 years.
The sole inductee of the administrative category is former Athletic Director Lisa Sweaty who worked as the Athletic Director for six years and helped establish the BJ Ford Scholarship Fund. During her tenure as AD Armstrong won five NCAA national championships and had 46 NCAA Championship appearances.
Sweany was humbled to find out that she had been inducted this year.
“I was so surprised and excited when Chad Jackson showed me the final list of inductees! I am also very excited to see and honor all of the other inductees. When you develop a personal connection with the student-athletes it makes it more special.”
She is now the Deputy Athletic Director at Georgia Southern. While she misses Armstrong, Sweany is glad that the transition from Savannah to Statesboro has been going smoothly.
“The staff on campus and the athletic department have been very welcoming along with the other employees that came from Armstrong.”
There are seven head coaches among this year’s hall of fame class. Some of them include softball coach Marty McDaniel, men’s and women’s tennis coach Simon Earnshaw, and volleyball coach Will Condon. McDaniel was head coach from 1998 to 2004 who started the fast pitch program here from the ground-up and had a .771 winning percentage.
Earnshaw led the women’s team to six Division II national titles and the men to three and was named the Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year 19 times. He coached from 2000-2014. Condon coached from 2008-2016, led his team to four PBC regular season titles, and had the most wins out of any volleyball coach at Armstrong with 252.
There are 32 student-athletes in this year’s hall of fame. There are 10 from men’s and women’s tennis, including Remko Jansen, Georgi Rumenov, Clara Perez and Lena Lutzeier. There are five from baseball including Eric Chavez, David Harriman and Ethan Bader. There are three from volleyball and they are Rindy Vidovich, Brittany Wolf and Jessica Santaniello. There are three from women’s soccer and they are Morgan Mitchell, Courtney Cawley, and Nadima Skeff. There are six from softball and among them are Shelby “Snooks” Duff, Peyton Roth, and Hannah Reppert. There are three from men’s and women’s golf and they are Jenna “Wylie” Birch, Kristen Sammarco and Shad Tuten. Henning Schein is being inducted for men’s cross-country. Brigitta Barta is being inducted for women’s basketball.
The Induction Ceremony will be on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 pm in the Armstrong Center. Tickets will be available to the public for $40 each and you can purchase them by contacting Becky Smith.
To access the full list of inductees and their accomplishments go to armstrongpirates.com.