Smith College Athletics Announces Inaugural Hall of Fame Class
(Courtesy of Smith College Athletics)
NORTHAMPTON, Mass--Four different national champions. The founder of women's basketball. The winningest volleyball team in school history. All of these and more highlight the inductees in the inaugural class of the Smith College Pioneer Athletic Hall of Fame, which was announced recently.
The 12 individuals and one team that make up the class will be
officially inducted in a gala to be held at the Smith College
Alumnae House on October 20, 2012. Chosen from over 75 nominees,
the class spans alumnae from 1916 to 1992, representing several
different sports and reflecting the rich history of athletics and
physical education at Smith.
The Hall of Fame is composed of five different categories - coaches and administrators, teams, contributors, Athletes from 1896-1971, and Athletes from 1971-2002. The separate athlete categories are to distinguish contributions from the era of varsity athletics, which began in 1971, and the rich era of sporting tradition which preceded that.
Often known as the woman who brought the game of basketball to Smith, Senda Berenson made numerous other contributions to the development of physical education at Smith. As the Head of Physical Education at Smith, she focused on the health benefits of physical education and gymnastics, a sport that had helped her conquer her hatred for sports as well as her persistent illness as a young woman. When she heard of the development of basketball in nearby Springfield, she saw its potential for health benefits and went on to initiate a female version of the game at Smith. This led her to write the official guide for women's basketball and to become the first female inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame.
Coaches and Administrators
Smith's first ever national champion in any sport, Barbara King Briggs '83 was a five time All-American in the 1-meter and 3-meter dive. Briggs recorded 40 first place finishes in her three years at Smith, and won both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives at the 1983 NCAA Championships. As the Division III champion, who had also hit the Division I qualifying scores, Briggs was allowed to compete at the Division I championships at the University of Nebraska.
Another national champion from the pool is Maureen McMahon '84. McMahon was a 14-time All-American, specializing in the freestyle and butterfly events. McMahon still holds the school record in the 100 fly with a time of 58.36, a mark which, at the time, set a national record. She also captured the NCAA Championship in the 100 fly as a senior in 1984.
A third national champion from the swimming and diving team - Monique Fischer '86 was also a 14-time All-American, who excelled in the backstroke, butterfly, and individual medley. Fischer's name still appears in the Smith record books, in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:10.88. Fischer became Smith's third NCAA national champion in the 200 backstroke in 1983.
Smith's fourth national champion was also Smith's first Olympian - Gwyn Hardesty-Coogan '87 captured the NCAA Championship in the 3000 meter run in 1986. It was the second consecutive year that Hardesty-Coogan had won the event, but the first time winning it for Smith (she had spent a year as an exchange student at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, where she still holds several of the top 10 marks for 800m, 1500m, 3000m, and 5000m). At Smith, her name is also all over the record books, where she still holds the indoor marks in the 1,500 meter run (4:42.62), the 1-mile (5:06.08), and the 3,000 meters (9:52.54), as well as the outdoor marks in the 1,500 meters (4:33.51) and the 3,000 (9:36.80). Post-graduation, she trained for and competed in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, where she finished 13th in the 10,000 meter race. She also was an alternate for the women's marathon in the 1996 Games in Atlanta, Ga.
On the field hockey field, Paola Prins '86 set records that still rank among the highest in NCAA Division III history. A sophomore on the first field hockey team at Smith to compete in the NCAA tournament, Prins is still Smith's all-time leader in goals (89) and points (187), and holds the two highest single season goal totals at 33 and 31, respectively. Twice a Field Hockey Coaches Association All-American, her career goal totals still rank in the top-15 in the record books of NCAA Division III, while her career point totals still rank in the top 25.
A four year member of the Smith College basketball team, as well as a member of the novice crew and squash squads, Victoria Murden McClure '85 was a standout on the court. As a sophomore, McClure's team finished 16-9, setting what was at the time, a record for wins in a season. That year, McClure went on to set what were Smith College records for average rebounds per game (11.3) and field goal percentage (44.6%). McClure went on to become the first woman to complete a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean, making the 2,962 mile trek in 81 days.
An outstanding member of both the field hockey and lacrosse
teams at Smith, Cheryl Plummer '92 was twice named
as NEW8 Player of the Year in Field Hockey. Her career points total
ranks in the top seven in Smith College history, while her career
assistant total still holds in the top five. Plummer received
All-Conference honors four times in field hockey and three times in
lacrosse (missing out on a fourth only because the league did not
sponsor the sport in her first year). Her sophomore team earned the
field hockey program's second ECAC tournament berth, while as a
junior in 1990, she led the Pioneers to a NEW 8 tournament
championship. Plummer was named as an IWLCA All-American three
times in lacrosse, and a New England Division III Field Hockey
Coaches Association All-American twice in field hockey.
An alumna who has truly dedicated her life to the advancement of women's athletics, Agnes “Aggie” Bixler Kurtz '62 began her lacrosse, squash, and field hockey careers at Smith participating in various class and all-Smith teams and joining the Athletic Association as a representative her senior year. Post graduation, she established and coached the women's athletic programs at Vassar College, the University of Delaware, and Dartmouth College, serving as the Director of Women's Athletics at Dartmouth from 1972-1989. She also was a member of the National Touring Teams for lacrosse and squash, playing abroad for several years. Kurtz is already a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and the National Squash Hall of Fame, as well as the New England chapter of the Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
An outstanding squash player, Jane Slocum Deland '69 also played field hockey, tennis, and lacrosse at Smith. In 1969, she won the National Intercollegiate Women's Squash tournament, now known as the Ramsay Cup, and was the youngest member of the United States Women's Squash team that played against Great Britain in the Wolfe Noel Cup her junior year. Beginning play at the age of eight, she received special training from Ed Serues of Amherst College and Jack Barnaby of Harvard, and after graduation, won the 1973 New England Squash Championship and was ranked as high as fourth nationally.
Gloria Heath '43 was a competitive and
dedicated 3-sport athlete at Smith College, going on to compete
nationally and internationally in professional lacrosse. Playing
basketball, ice hockey, and lacrosse as an undergraduate at Smith,
she was a member of the US Reserve Lacrosse team, as well as a
member of the touring team that went to Great Britain in 1951. She
also served as the President of the U.S. Women's Lacrosse
Association, and was elected to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame
in 2006. Away from the fields at Smith, Heath also founded the
Smith College Flying Club, and was one of the 1,803 women accepted
to the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II, and flew
a B-26 Bomber for pilot gunnery practice.
The 1988 volleyball team set a record for wins that may never be touched. The Pioneers went 41-4, advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament. A smaller roster saw seven players take part in 90% of the 45 matches. On offense, Nancy Satchwill '89 and Kelly Bates '90 were particularly prolific, with the former averaging 6.1 kills per game, and the latter registering 4.0. A defensive wunderkind, the Pioneers averaged 38.2 digs as a team, and Reggie Ossolinski '89 topped the stat sheet with 8.1 digs per game, while Satchwill added 6.9 and Bates at 6.5. Smith often employed a 6-2 setup, with two setters allowing the Pioneers to control long rallies.
Smith's only losses were to eventual national third place team Juniata (twice), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Williams College. Smith also beat Williams and MIT that season, stringing together 21 straight wins from September 17 to October 14. Smith also won 15 straight matches from October 15-29. The Pioneers' win over MIT on November 5 sealed the programs' first NEW 8 Championship, and Smith also captured their own Smith Invitational, the Eastern Connecticut State University Invitational, and the Seven Sisters Championship.
Head coach Bonnie May was named the NEW 8 Coach of the Year and the New England Women's Volleyball (NEWVA) Division III Coach of the Year. Katie Henderson was a NEWVA All-New England Honorable Mention, while Bates and Satchwill were both named to the NEW 8 All-Conference Team and the NEWVA All-New England First Team. Satchwill was also named NEW 8 Player of the Year for the team, which finished ranked first in New England and third in the Eastern Region.