WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Gallaudet University Hall of Fame Class of 2010 was officially enshrined on Sunday, October 31, in the Ole Jim at the Peikoff Alumni House before a packed house of family, friends, Gallaudet alumni and supporters of Bison athletics. The crowd witnessed excellent speeches and funny and tearful stories from the seven new Hall of Fame inductees.
The Class of 2010 includes Darin Scott Clauson ’95 (baseball), Karen Alana Gilbert ’95 (volleyball), David Stewart Hamilton ’92 (men’s basketball), men’s soccer coach Martin G. Minter, James Alan Segala ’93 (football), Pierre Sevigny ’61 (wrestling) and football coach Robert H. Westermann.
GU Director of Athletics Michael Weinstock served as the master of ceremonies for the event. Gallaudet President Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz kicked off the event with some opening remarks.
“The athletics department has been the jewel of the University. Athletics allows our students to have a good balance as a college student. The athletic grade point average is higher than the student body,” said Hurwitz. “Now is the time to recognize all of our former athletes and coaches and the accomplishments they have received in their lives.”
Hurwitz was presented with a game ball from the Gallaudet Homecoming football win over Anna Maria College the day before as the Bison won 33-6. GU football coach Chuck Goldstein presented the President with the ball. The Homecoming win was the first for Hurwitz and Goldstein who are less than a year into their current positions at the University.
The first inductee was Clauson who was presented by his former coach Jeff Salit via a video message that was broadcasted to the group. Salit was complimentary about Clauson and his positive attitude that helped him succeed on the baseball diamond.
“I remember one of the first times I saw Darin at Gallaudet. At our first practice he was ready to go. It really showed he wanted to play baseball,” said Salit. “He was a role model for our baseball team. He was the captain for four years for us. He had great leadership skills.”
Clauson was a four-year baseball letter winner where he played over 100 games for the buff and blue and set many school records. Clauson was a three-time all-conference honoree by the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). The outfielder was named to the first-team twice (1994, ’95) and the second team once (1993). He is a four-time Most Valuable Player for the Bison baseball program. He amassed a .417 career batting average and broke school records in runs, hits, doubles and runs batted in. He also played football while at Gallaudet.
“I am getting a little choked up. This is very special,” said Clauson as he accepted his award. “I want to thank James DeStefano and Coach Salit because if it wasn’t for those two guys I wouldn’t be here today. I also want to thank Kris Gould for helping me stay on the field because of his help as our athletic trainer."
Gilbert’s induction related to family as she spoke fondly about her former coach and teammates and experiences on the volleyball court and being a student at Gallaudet. Gilbert’s coach Peg Worthington served as her presenter.
“This was my second home. Peg was like my second mom and my teammates were my family,” said Gilbert. “Winning the CAC championship was an eye opening experience.”
Worthington went into depth about the 1992 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championship the Bison won at York (Pa.) College during her presentation for Gilbert.
“She had a .709 winning percentage during her tenure. She became the first GU student-athlete to win the CAC Player of the Year award in any sport in 1992. Her accomplishments are many,” said Worthington.
Some of Gilbert’s accomplishments are still records in the CAC. Her 358 blocks and 118 service aces in a season are still CAC single-season records along with her 2.63 blocks per game average and 195 block assists. She also holds two CAC career records for matches played (182) and service aces (346). Gilbert was selected to four All-CAC first teams (1991, ’92, ’95, ’96). She was an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region second team honoree in 1992. She helped the Bison win two more CAC championships in 1995 and ’96.
One of the inductees who had the shortest playing careers at Gallaudet but made a big impact was Hamilton. He played two seasons as a key member of the Gallaudet University men’s basketball program in the late 1980’s. The NCAA Division I transfer from Southern Illinois University made an immediate impact with the Bison as he quickly netted 1,000 points in two seasons.
“Receiving this award is such a huge honor. My children, my grandchildren, my friends will always see I was a recipient of this honor at Gallaudet University,” said Hamilton. “For me at Gallaudet it wasn’t about the stats. I wanted to help Gallaudet make a name for itself. I am a team player. Our team started to bond and we started to win. I owe Gallaudet quite a bit. Gallaudet was a unique experience for me. I experience personal growth here. GU made me a better person and helped to make me as successful as I am today.”
Hamilton was presented by former GU basketball coaches James DeStefano and Mike Rosenbaum.
“David is a humble person. He is one of the most humble persons I have ever met. That is just the way he is,” said DeStefano.
The presenters showed a brief video highlight clip of Hamilton back when he played for the Bison. He helped to lead GU to its best two seasons in 83 years with a 31-22 record. Hamilton was the team’s Most Valuable Player both seasons at Kendall Green. He scored his 1,000th career point against cross-town rival Catholic University of America.
Rosenbaum explained the recruiting process for Hamilton and how important it was for the program to get a player of his caliber.
“I have to give credit to former President Dr. Lee who was the first president that allowed us to recruit. I went to California and I met with David where he was playing. We were a losing program back then so it was hard to recruit. I have seen him play and I knew he was the key for us,” said Rosenbaum
Hamilton later responded about how he tried to avoid Rosenbaum when he came out to recruit him.
“Mike was persistent. He was like a fly. I would hear he was trying to find me and I would hide. I am not going to Gallaudet. Leave me alone,” said Hamilton. “He called me, gave me the application, kept on me. I was lonely at my other school so I started to ponder about Gallaudet.”
Minter was inducted into the GU Hall of Fame posthumously as one of his former players James Tucker served as Minter’s presenter. Minter’s son Erik Minter accepted the award on his father and family’s behalf. Martin Minter’s sister Gloria Feinberg was also in attendance for the occasion.
Tucker elaborated on many great colorful stories about Minter as a coach on the soccer field and the baseball diamond. Marty, as he was better known as, coached the men’s soccer program during the 1970’s-80’s where he posted eight winning season. He maximized the talents of his players and pushed them to achieve greatness. He was a teacher, scholar and a coach. In addition to soccer he also coached the baseball program from 1968-79, 1981-83. Coach Minter passed away May 12, 1994. There is a scholarship in his honor given out each year by the GU Department of Physical Education.
Erik Minter was very sincere when accepting the award for his father.
“He is looking down right now on us. I am really happy to accept this award on his behalf,” said the younger Minter. “It is great to see all of his former players. I am thankful my Aunt Gloria is here to see this as well. He was one of the greatest dad’s a kid could ever have.”
Segala spoke during his induction speech about his challenge to come to Gallaudet because he was not raised in the deaf world. Thankfully for Gallaudet and Coach Westermann, also his Hall of Fame presenter, Segala enrolled at GU and helped to lead the Bison football program as their star quarterback.
“I was about to quit my first year because it was such a culture shock,” said Segala during his induction speech. “I was never taught sign language before I came to Gallaudet. It was hard for me to come to Gallaudet.”
Westermann had to work extra hard to recruit Segala to attend GU. During the Hall of Fame ceremony Westermann illustrated the recruiting process for his future starting quarterback. Segala responded with why he wanted to come to GU.
“I wanted to come here to be the best quarterback in Gallaudet history and also help the program win games,” said Segala.
And win he did at Gallaudet. Segala led the Gallaudet football program to back-to-back Atlantic Collegiate Football Conference (ACFC) championships in 1988 and 1989. His sophomore year (1987) he ranked seventh in NCAA Division III football for passing and was 11th in ’88 as he was named ACFC Offensive Player of the Year. The four-year starter at quarterback finished his senior year in 1989 with 1,770 passing yards to go with 17 touchdowns. He was also a star on the diamond where he played four years for the Bison baseball program.
“He would not lose,” said Westermann about Segala as he introduced him. “Congratulations on your induction in the Hall of Fame.”
Sevigny, who never wrestled before he enrolled at Gallaudet, was presented by Dr. Frank Turk.
“He inspired others to be successful. People looked up to him. Pierre is one of the best wrestlers in Gallaudet history,” said Turk. “It is hard to find somebody like him. He always thought about others before himself.”
The native Canadian started at Gallaudet in 1956 and decided to pick-up the sport of wrestling. His sophomore year, Sevigny won the 157-pound division at the Mason-Dixon championships. Sevigny helped to draw crowds to the Hughes Gymnasium as Gallaudet locked up with some big Division I schools in the region. At one point in his four-year wrestling career Sevigny won 13 consecutive matches. The team captain earned the Thompson Clayton award for leadership and dedication.
“I want to thank you and thank Gallaudet because if it wasn’t for this University I would have been still in Canada,” said Sevigny.
The last and final inductee of the day was Westermann who was presented by Gallaudet’s sixth President Dr. Jerry Lee via video.
Lee discussed the process he went through to get Westermann to coach football at Gallaudet and how he changed the program around.
“I was very impressed with Coach Westermann and his attention to detail,” said Lee. “I wanted the Bison football team to compete and I wanted them to win. He completely redesigned the football program. But most importantly Bob taught his players the importance of citizenship.”
Westermann, who was very honored on being selected, explained why he came to Gallaudet.
“Jerry was the reason why I came here to Gallaudet. I was very lucky to be hired at the Model Secondary School for the Deaf and start the new football program there. We started and had success. Jerry called me, and was an aggressive guy, he wanted me to come here and coach Gallaudet. I learned so much about business from him. He gave us all of the support we needed to be successful. This University supported us 125 percent.”
In four years as the Gallaudet football coach Westermann posted a stellar 27-13 record from 1985-88 and left with the second most victories in program history behind Charles Ely (1891-96, ’98-1901, ’03) and Frederick Hughes (1918-35) who both won 46 games in their respective tenure. Westermann’s .675 winning percentage is the best in the program’s 117-year history. The 1986 Bison team posted a 7-4 record to give the Bison their first winning season since 1930. He also coached the program’s only NCAA Division III All-American first-team selection offensive lineman Shannon Simon. Coach Westermann went out a champion as the Bison won his final game in 1988 when Gallaudet took down St. John Fisher, now a NCAA Division III power, 21-17 to win the Atlantic Collegiate Football Conference championship. Westermann also served as GU’s Athletic Director while at Kendall Green.
Westermann finished the event with a quote all of the inductees would agree upon when looking back at their playing and coaching days at Gallaudet.
“You have changed my life for the better, 100 percent!”