A pair of All-Americans, an ACC Player of the Year, a national Player of the Year, a Super Bowl champion, an Academic All-American and 15 All-ACC honorees comprised the 41st annual induction class of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame.
The six honorees were inducted into the Hall of Fame during a dinner on October 23.
The class consists of five former student-athletes including former ACC and National Player of the Year Kelly Dostal in field hockey, a seven-time All-ACC honoree in track and cross country in Annie Bersagel, a Super Bowl champion in defensive tackle Fred Robbins, an ACC Rookie of the Year in women's basketball in Tracy Connor, and an All-Southern Conference basketball forward in Stan Najeway. Former ACC Coach of the Year George Greer, Wake Forest's all-time leader in baseball victories, rounds out the class.
Stan Najeway (pronounced NAY-WAY) was the Hall of Fame Committee's Heritage nominee this year for athletes who last competed at least 50 years prior. A native of Arnold, Penn. (Ford City HS), Najeway came to the old campus in 1927 as a 22-year old freshman, having served in the Merchant Marines where he was a member of the base championship team and team MVP. A four-year starter for the Demon Deacons from 1948-51, Najeway was considered the best frosh on the team during the 1947-48. After averaging 8.6 points per game as a sophomore, he was selected to the All-Southern Conference Tournament team in 1950 and was a starting forward in the SoCon All-Star game in 1951. A second team All-Southern Conference pick in 1949 and 1950, Najeway was considered one of the top 50 players in the country.
Kelly Dostal is the third Wake Forest field hockey athlete to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the last three years, highlighting the club's three consecutive national championships from 2002 through 2004. Dostal was the national Player of the Year in 2004, one of just eight athletes in school history to earn the honor. A first team All-American in 2003 and 2004, Dostal was a three-time first team All-ACC pick and the league's offensive Player of the Year in 2004. She was named the ACC Tournament MVP in 2002, the same year she was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team. Selected for the Marge Crisp Award as Wake Forest's female athlete of the year in 2005, Dostal earned the honor by leading the ACC and setting a school record with 79 points and 30 goals in 2004. She finished her career as Wake Forest's career leader in both points (204) and goals (84).
George Greer was Wake Forest's head baseball coach for 17 seasons from 1988 through 2004, winning the ACC Championship three times while earning ACC Coach of the Year honors in 2002. Greer compiled a career record of 608-382-4, a winning percentage of .614, the highest of any Demon Deacon baseball coach. He led Wake Forest to the ACC Championship in 1998, 1999 and 2001. Greer posted five straight seasons of 40 or more victories from 1998 through 2002 while reaching five NCAA Regional Tournaments and one Super Regional. His 608 career victories at Wake Forest remains the ninth-highest total at an ACC school.
Tracy Connor starred in women's basketball for Wake Forest from 1993-97. A native of Landis, N.C. (South Rowan HS), she finished her career with 1,619 points and 906 rebounds, ranking her sixth in scoring and third all-time in rebounding. She is third in the single season records lists for points (576) and rebounds (316) set during the 1992-93 campaign. Connor continues to hold the single game rebound mark with 22 vs. NC State in 1993 while posting 42 career double-doubles. She ranks among the top 10 in career scoring average, rebounding average, field goal percentage and free throw attempts. Connor led the Demon Deacons in both scoring and rebounding in each of her four seasons. She broke into the Wake Forest line-up as a freshman, averaging 20.6 points and 11.3 rebounds while earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors along with a Freshman All-America nod. Connor was a first team All-ACC pick in 1996 and a second team honoree in 1993.
Wake Forest Athletics held the fourth annual Black & Golden Globe awards on Saturday, April 30, to honor student-athletes and coaches for athletic excellence and achievements throughout the 2015-16 academic year.
The annual event featured a red carpet as student-athletes, coaches and athletic department staff arrived at Benton Convention Center in Downtown Winston-Salem. While honoring athletic excellence, various other awards were also handed out, including the best team video and best on social media, among others.
Jessie Merckle has won two events in the javelin throw, winning each time by a sizable margin. IN her senior debut, Merckle won at the Wake Forest Open with a toss of 52.02m to out-distance the field by more than 20 feet. To follow it up, the All-American launched a school-record 56.91m throw to win the title at the High Point VertKlasse meet earlier this month. The throw at the High Point meet broke her own previous school record by nearly three meters and was 4.44m further than the event's runner up. On the national scale, Merckle's school-record toss ranks third nationally this season.
Jack Harrison broke onto the college soccer scene with a bang in the fall of 2015 in scoring eight goals to go with 11 assists for 27 points. Harrison helped lead the Deacs to a 17-3-2 season and an appearance in the Elite Eight. Along the way, the freshman was named the first player in ACC history to earn Offensive Player and Freshman of the Year in the same season. At season's end, he was also named a NSCAA First Team All-American, the first men's soccer All-American for the team since 2008, while also being named a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy.
In her first season with the Demon Deacons, Ariel Stephenson finished second on the women's basketball team with 12.7 points per game while appearing in all 33 games with 25 starts on the year. Throughout the season, Stephenson led the team with 24 double-figure scoring games and was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team by both the Head Coaches and Blue Ribbon Panel, becoming the first Demon Deacon to be named to the team since Sandra Garcia in 2010. After the season, Stephenson was honored for academic performance in being named to the ACC All-Academic Team.
In a league full of freshman standouts, Bryant Crawford was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team at season's end in 2016 after averaging 13.8 points per game during his first season with the Demon Deacons. Crawford shined throughout the season in leading all ACC freshmen with 133 assists and 52 steals on the season. During the year, Crawford became the sixth ACC freshman since 2000 to amass 400 points, 125 assists and 50 steals in a season. Crawford had five 20-point games on the year, including when he became the first Deacon in 11 years to have a 20-point, five-rebound, five-assist, five-steal game at Pittsburgh. To open the year, Crawford scored at least 20 points in two of the first three contests, becoming the first Deacon freshman to accomplish the feat since Rodney Rogers in 1990-91.
In his first season at the helm of the men's soccer program, Bobby Muuss guided the Deacs to a 17-3-2 record with the regular-season ACC title and an appearance in the Elite Eight. To go with the outstanding overall record, Wake Forest went 6-0-2 in ACC play, which marked just the third unbeaten ACC season in program history. In the NCAA Tournament, Wake Forest earned the No. 1 overall seed and led the Demon Deacons to their deepest run in the tournament since 2009. At season's end, Muuss was named the ACC Coach of the Year over NSCAA National Coach of the Year Mike Noonan of Clemson.
Concluding his fifth year with the Demon Deacon coaching staff, Dane Brenner was named the NSCAA's National Assistant Coach of the Year in December after helping guide the Deacs to a 17-3-2 record on the season. Also named the NSCAA South Region Assistant Coach of the Year, Brenner coached goalkeeper Alec Ferrell to a career year, as Ferrell gave up just 12 goals on the season while posting an 0.66 GAA throughout the season.
Wake Forest women's tennis started the 2016 season with nine wins in a row, the longest streak to start a season in program history, and didn't look back from there. Finishing the regular season and ACC Tournament with a 19-9 record, the Demon Deacons have posted their highest win total since 2002 when they won 18 matches. This season, Wake Forest posted seven ACC victories, which marked the most since winning eight conference matches in 2000. Eight of the team's wins overall this season have come against ranked opponents and the team beat then-No. 10 Virginia last month for its first win over a top-10 opponent since 2007. This week, the team awaits its NCAA Tournament fate as it looks to return to the Big Dance as an at-large selection.
Wake Forest men's tennis has already set a program record with 29 victories on the year to just five losses. Along the way, 16 of the team's victories have come against nationally-ranked foes. Entering the year with five wins over top-10 opponents since 2001, Wake Forest has more than doubled that mark thanks in part to road wins over then-No. 2 Oklahoma, then-No. 1 North Carolina. In the ACC Tournament, Wake Forest captured its first-ever ACC Tournament title with a 4-3 victory over No. 1 Virginia. As the ACC's automatic qualifier thanks to the tournament championship, the Deacs are looking to host a NCAA Regional for the second season in a row this year.
Mrs. Deacon: Caroline Wootten - Women's Soccer
Mr. Deacon: Ryan Janvion - Football
ACC Top 6 For Service: Luisa Fernandez (Women's Tennis, Hayden Partain (Men's Soccer), Meghan Murphy (Field Hockey), Krysta Wangerin (Field Hockey), Dezmond Wortham (Football) and Caroline Wootten (Women's Soccer)
Morgan Judd Award: Victoria Maness
Best on Social Media: P.J. Howard IV (Football)
Best Dressed: Victoria Maness (Cheer)
CHAMPS Cup Champions: Men's Soccer and Women's Soccer
Wake Forest golf hosted its biennial Pro-Am weekend October 18-19, 2015. Men's golf alumni Bill and Jay Haas, fresh off their victory with Team USA at the 2015 Presidents Cup in South Korea, headlined the Wake Forest Golf Pro-Am Dinner Celebration on Sunday night. The next day, 36 amateurs and nine Wake Forest pros participated in the main event. In addition to Bill and Jay Haas, Len Mattiace, Laura Diaz, Scott Hoch, Nannette Hill, Gary Hallberg, Jay Sigel, and Leonard Thompson were also on hand for the event which raised more than $100,000 for the Wake Forest golf programs.Read More Here
One of the highlights of the summer of 2015 for the Wake Forest football program was the annual women's football clinic at BB&T Field. Over 250 women attended the 2015 event last July, which provided instruction and knowledge of the sport and allowed the participants to go through the gameday experience.
After the women prepared for the evening by putting on a jersey and eye-black, they listened to opening remarks from head coach Dave Clawson and an entertaining monologue from assistant coach Adam Scheier. Offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero and then linebackers coach Warren Belin followed with presentations on the basic philosophies and terminologies used on offense and defense.
Players from the team modeled the latest Nike gear during a fashion show before Scheier got the ladies ready for action with a pregame speech in the locker room. The participants took to the field just like the team on gameday, running through the gate led by the Demon Deacon on a motorcycle.
An hour of drills allowed participants to test their skills in a number of areas, including tackling, causing fumbles, passing and receiving. The night concluded with a social hour in Bridger Field House.
Over 100 women participated in the second annual Danny Manning Women's Basketball 101 Clinic on September 13, 2015 at the LJVM Coliseum. The women got to go through offensive and defensive drills with the Demon Deacon players and coaching staff, listen to head coach Danny Manning give a scouting report, and tour the locker room and weight room.