(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) - The USA South Athletic Conference is pleased to announce its inaugural Hall of Fame Class. The 2010 class includes six former student-athletes, three coaches and one administrator. The inductees will be officially honored and recognized during the final day of the USA South Basketball Tournaments at Christopher Newport University on February 27, 2010.
USA South Commissioner Rita Wiggs stated, "The USA South Athletic Conference (formerly the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) was established in 1963. A strong tradition of exciting teams, outstanding student-athletes and stellar coaches and administrators has filled the 46 years of the Conference’s history. Establishing this Conference Hall of Fame gives us a platform to honor those outstanding individuals who played, coached and guided the Conference administratively through the years. This inaugural class is comprised of exceptional student-athletes and coaches and one of the founding fathers of the Conference. We look forward to a moving and memorable induction ceremony."
The 2010 USA South Hall of Fame inductees:
Karen Barefoot was a three time All-American during her
basketball career at Christopher Newport University (1990-94). She
also was a four-time First Team All-Dixie Conference performer and
earned Player of the Year honors as a sophomore and senior.
Barefoot became the first player in NCAA history at any level, male
or female, to score at least 2,000 points and have 1,000 assists in
a career. She remains CNU’s all-time leading scorer and holds
seven various Conference records. Since her time in Newport News,
Barefoot has held head coaching positions in all three NCAA
divisions and is currently the head coach at Elon
Elena Blanina was a four-year letter winner and two-time National Singles Champion for the Methodist University (2000-03) women's tennis team. She was a four-time Dixie Conference Player of the Year and the Rookie of the Year in 2000. An All-American and ITA Senior Player of the Year in 2003, Blanina earned ITA Regional Singles and Doubles Championships twice during her career. Upon graduating, Blanina spent time working for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and is currently working on Wall Street in New York City.
Chad Collins is one of just three Methodist University (1997-2001) men's golfers to earn First Team All-American honors four times. He helped the Monarchs to their last two National Championships in 1998 and 1999, including four Conference crowns. Collins was a three-time NCAA Division III Individual Champion and a two-time Dixie Conference Individual Champion. He earned First Team All-Conference honors each of his four seasons. Collins has competed in 25 Professional Golfers Association (PGA) events over the past three years and is currently on the Nationwide Tour.
Eric Owens was a two-time All-American and the 1992 NCAA Division III National Player of the Year during his baseball career at Ferrum College (1990-92). He was a three-time First Team All-Dixie Conference performer and earned Conference Player of the Year honors in 1992. Owens helped the Panthers reach the NCAA Tournament in each of his three seasons. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1992 Major League Baseball (MLB) amateur draft and spent time with five teams during his professional career. Owens is currently a hitting instructor with the Anaheim Angels.
Lamont Strothers was a three time All-American during his basketball career at Christopher Newport University (1987-91). He was named the National Player of the Year by Basketball Times Magazine as a senior and remains the third leading scorer in Division III history. Strothers was a four-time All-Dixie Conference performer and earned Conference Player of the Year honors twice. He currently holds eight various Conference records. Strothers became just the seventh Division III player ever to be selected in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, and the highest choice ever, when he was taken by the Golden State Warriors in the second round in 1991. He played with the Portland Trailblazers and Dallas Mavericks during his time in the NBA. Currently, Strothers runs youth clinics and camps in the Newport News area.
Billy Wagner was a star on the baseball diamond for Ferrum College (1991-93) and earned All-American honors in 2003. That same year, Wagner collected All-State, All-Conference and All-Region accolades. He helped the Panthers to two Conference titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances. Wagner holds the Conference record for lowest career earned run average and is the NCAA Division III record holder for strikeouts per nine innings. He was selected in the first round of the 1993 Major League Baseball (MLB) amateur draft and is a six-time All-Star. Wagner won the MLB Relief Man of the Year Award in 1991 and is currently with the Atlanta Braves.
Tom Austin is currently in his 30th season as the head coach of the Methodist University (1980-present) baseball program. He holds a record of 929-384-9 and became the eighth coach in NCAA Division III baseball history to reach the 900-victory plateau. Austin ranks fourth amongst active Division III head baseball coaches in wins. He has led the Monarchs to 13 Conference titles, 20 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances and sixNCAA Division III South Regional titles. Austin led Methodist to its best finish in the 1995 season as the Monarchs finished as national runners-up. He has earned nine Conference Coach of the Year honors and seven NCAA Division III South Region Coach of the Year accolades. A total of 27 players under Austin have garnered NCAA Division III All-American honors, while 120 have been selected as first team All-Conference members.
Steve Conley is currently in his 23rd season as the head coach of the Methodist University (1987-present) men's golf program. He has led the Monarchs to nine NCAA Division III National Championships plus three national runner-up finishes. Under Conley, Methodist has captured 19 Conference titles. He has earned Conference Coach of the Year honors 17 times, NCAA Division III Region III Coach of the Year accolades 13 times, and NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year honors four times. Conley has produced nine individual national champions, 48 All-Americans and 11 Academic All-Americans. In 2007, at age 44, he was the youngest coach to be inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Hall of Fame.
Mike Fox led the North Carolina Wesleyan College (1983-1998) baseball program for 15 seasons. He compiled a 540-141-4 record, good for an .800 winning percentage. His 540 wins ranks 15th all-time in NCAA Division III baseball. Foxled the Bishops to ten Conference titles, 14 NCAA Division III Tournament appearances, eight NCAA Division III Regional crowns and the 1989 National Championship. He earned seven Conference Coach of the Year honors, eight NCAA Division III South Region Coach of the Year accolades and one national Coach of the Year honor. A total of 29 players under Fox garnered NCAA Division III All-American honors, while 55 were selected as first team All-Conference members. Currently, he is in his 12th season as head baseball coach at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Fox was named Baseball America's National Coach of the Year in 2008.
Don Scalf taught for 36 years, coached for 18 years and served as Athletic Director for six years at North Carolina Wesleyan College. During his coaching career, Scalf's teams won Conference championships in basketball (1966) and golf (1970, 1971, 1972, 1973). He earned Conference Golf Coach of the Year honors on four occasions. In addition to his role as the first coach in both Bishop basketball and golf history, he also served as head coach for the College's inaugural women's volleyball team in 1974. A founding father of the USA South (then the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) in 1963, Scalf served as its Secretary-Treasurer for 25 years. For this reason, the conference presents its prestigious Don Scalf Award to one deserving male and female student-athlete on a yearly basis.
2010 USA South Hall of Fame Class
|Tom Austin, Methodist University|
|Karen Barefoot, Christopher Newport University|
|Elena Blanina, Methodist University|
|Chad Collins, Methodist University|
|Steve Conley, Methodist University|
|Mike Fox, N.C. Wesleyan College|
|Eric Owens, Ferrum College|
|Don Scalf, N.C. Wesleyan College|
|Lamont Strothers, Christopher Newport University|
|Billy Wagner, Ferrum College|