In 2006, Assistant Athletic Director Jimmy Williams ’97 was in the middle of spring workouts with the Seattle Seahawks when he got word that he was to be inducted into the Episcopal Athletic Hall of Fame. He remembers his coach instantly advising him to return home for the ceremony. He recalls his teammates congratulating him and telling him that being selected to your school’s Hall of Fame is truly an honor. They said Hall of Fame recognition means people remember your contribution and you have left a lasting legacy.
The Episcopal Hall of Fame celebrates the legacy of outstanding athletes and non-athletes who have provided significant support to Episcopal athletics. There are currently 23 Knights among this elite group. Some of the high school standouts have gone on to become professional athletes. Meghan O’Leary ’03 is a World Cup medalist, a National Selection Regatta Champion and an Olympic rower. Williams and fellow 2006 inductee Van Hiles ’93 both went on to play football in the NFL. Episcopal Hall of Fame inductees, such as Dr. Rubin Patel ’90, have earned athletic scholarships to top-tier universities. These Knights are leaders in their communities. They are ambassadors for their school. “This is a prestigious honor,” says Episcopal Athletic Director Randy Richard. “It means you were one of the best and you continue to represent Episcopal well.”
Being a student athlete can be challenging. Richard says students spend a full day at school, attend practice for as long as three hours a day and then return home to complete homework and prepare for exams. During the summer, many athletes dedicate themselves to the strength and conditioning program, as well as summer leagues to continue to hone their skills. "The planning and communication that a student has to commit to is multiplied when a student participates in multiple activities,” says Richard. A spot in the Episcopal Hall of Fame is a way to recognize the hours and the effort. “It validates all the work,” says Williams. “For me it was bigger than winning a state championship.”
The Episcopal Hall of Fame is about more than records and championships. For an athletic program to truly be successful there must be a community of supporters who may never wear a blue and gold uniform, but nonetheless have a tremendous impact. The Hall of Fame committee recognizes these contributions and includes noteworthy supporters. One example is former Episcopal math teacher Kay Fenton, who was chosen for the Hall of Fame in 2009. While she was not an athlete or a coach, the athletics staff recognized the tremendous support Fenton provided to student athletes. “She wasn’t a coach, but she might as well have been,” says Williams. “She was special.” Williams says students always knew that Fenton would be in attendance when they took the field or the court. “It means a lot when faculty are there in the stands,” he says. “I don’t think they realize how much it means to our students.” Richard says Fenton was also recognized because she understood the challenges that student athletes face when juggling athletics and academics. “She was dedicated to making sure our athletes succeeded the right way in the classroom,” he says.
Another inductee who did not play for the Knights is longtime Episcopal supporter LaRon Phillips. Richard says Phillips has been an overwhelming source of support for Episcopal athletics over the years and he continues that commitment even now with his support of the new field house. In addition, Richard says last year’s inductee, Althea “Chinkie” Cointment, was recognized for her efforts in bolstering female athletics at Episcopal. She was also a key catalyst in establishing a successful girls Middle School athletics program.
Like inductees in years past, this year’s honoree will be invited to speak at the spring athletic ceremony in May. This is a special occasion for those being honored and the students who get to spend time with them. “The Hall of Fame serves as a compass that points to people who were successful in the past,” says Williams. “It also provides a way to merge the athletes of the past with the next generation.” Williams says it makes an impression on the young athletes when a professional offers them words of advice and wisdom. It is especially meaningful when those words are coming from someone who worked out in the same locker rooms or played in the same gym. “It makes it tangible and gives students a sense of history,” he says.
Williams wants his fellow inductees to know that they are serving as an example for today’s students. He regularly fields questions from students about the people listed on the honorary plaques in the gym. “It gives them a bar to work toward,” he says. Richard hopes student athletes gain inspiration from past successes. “I hope they think about the future and continuing to represent Episcopal,” he says. “I hope they reflect on the influence they have on future generations with what they are accomplishing today.”
We invite you to recognize someone who has made a significant contribution to Episcopal athletics by nominating them for the Hall of Fame. You can submit your nomination online by clicking here and scrolling to the nomination form. Completing the form is quick and easy. The deadline to submit your nomination is Friday, February 28th.
Whose contributions will you recognize?
Congratulations to members of the Episcopal Athletic Hall of Fame
2019 – Althea “Chinkie” Cointment
2018 – April Brown ’95
2017 – P. Holden Spaht Jr. ’92
2016 – Andrew G. Loupe ’07
2015 – Shelby Seger Vickers '83
2014 – Meghan O’Leary ’03
2013 – Joseph Finley Clark '78
2012 –Charles Sentrell Kennon Jr. '88
Robert Louis Sindelar II '86
2011 – Neil Abramson '85
2009 – Kay Fenton
N. LaRon Phillips
2008 – David Abramson '84
Mark Elliott '84
Nikki Seger '80
2007 – Stephen Underwood '94
Rubin Patel ’90
Baker Vinci '80
2006 – Frances Compton
Fran Teeter Flory '80
Van Hiles ’93
Jennifer Meade McCarthy '94
Jimmy Williams ’97