WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2014 was officially enshrined on Friday, July 11, in the Kellogg Conference Hotel before nearly 180 family, friends, Gallaudet alumni and supporters of Bison athletics. This year’s Gallaudet University Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in conjunction with the 150th reunion.
The Class of 2014 includes Laurie Anderson Achin ’03 (women’s volleyball), softball head coach Sarah Burton Doleac ’82, dedicated athletics staffer Kris O. Gould ’87, Dyan Kovacs ’98 (women’s volleyball), Wayne Langbein ’96 (men’s track and field), Ronda Jo Miller ’01 (women’s volleyball) and Gregory Warren ’82 (men’s cross country).
Gallaudet Athletic Director Michael Weinstock served as the master of ceremonies for the event. The crowd witnessed moving speeches from both the presenters and the inductees. Unfortunately, three of the honorees (Achin, Langbein, Miller) were unable to attend but shared their thanks through taped video messages.
Former player and assistant coach Deanna Scott was the presenter for Doleac, who coached the softball program for 26 years where she won 224 NCAA victories in over 600 games played. In 20 seasons in the CAC, Doleac coached 23 all-conference players.
“I remember her passion for softball. She wanted to see us succeed and grow together. She worked hard to make the program better for us,” said Scott.
Doleac thanked her family and friends, who were in attendance, and her mentors and long-time assistant coach Russ Perkins for their support and help along the way.
“It has always been my pleasure to coach at Gallaudet University and to coach my players, each student-athlete is special to me,” said Doleac.
Three women’s volleyball inductees (Kovacs, Miller and Achin) were presented by their former head coaches Peg Worthington and Pat O’Brien. Worthington, who was unable to attend, taped a video with O’Brien for each individual.
Kovacs was the first to be inducted. The four-year letterwinner still holds the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) career mark for service aces per game/set (0.82 per set). She was named the 1995 CAC Player of the Year, earned two All-CAC first team selections (1994, ’95) and two American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) all-region accolades (1994, ’95).
“Dyan’s determination in volleyball led her to the many accomplishments she achieved,” said Worthington. “She was one of the best leaders we ever had.”
Kovacs was a member of two CAC championship teams (1992, ’95) but she never made it to the NCAA tournament.
“I was heart broken for Dyan that we didn’t get to the NCAA tournament during her time here,” said O’Brien. “We were blessed to have Dyan on the team.”
Kovacs joked during her induction speech that she helped to turn Worthington’s hair gray; “that was because of me.” She thanked her older brothers for making her tough and her family for their support.
“I always wanted to do what was best for the team,” said Kovacs. “I also want to thank Peg and Pat for helping me finish my degree and serve as a student-assistant coach my fifth year here.”
Miller, the most decorated student-athlete in Gallaudet University history, was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame for women’s basketball in 2008 but was not officially recognized for her women’s volleyball achievements until this induction.
“She was amazing and very gifted. Her statistics and numbers are phenomenal,” said O’Brien. “Ronda Jo brought a lot of publicity to our team and athletics department. She helped to put Gallaudet University on the map.”
She was a three-time CAC Player of the Year (1996, ’97, ’99) in women’s volleyball and a three-time AVCA all-region honoree (1996, ’97, ’99). She became the first women’s volleyball player to earn CAC Player and Rookie of the Year in the same season (1996) and a four-time All-CAC first team selection.
“It is a huge honor to be recognized,” said Miller, who taped her speech while traveling in Italy. “Thank you Gallaudet University for instilling values into me and I am thankful for being a part of the women’s volleyball program.”
She finished her career with a NCAA record 3,579 kills (tops in Division I, II, III) on 7,117 attacks (.389 hitting percentage) in 583 sets played.
Achin had a chance to go to a NCAA Division I school out of high school but opted to attend Gallaudet University where she flourished as a women’s volleyball student-athlete. The three-year letterwinner helped the Bison capture the 1999 CAC championship and a NCAA tournament appearance. She was a three-time all-conference honoree, twice on the second team (1999, 2000) and once on the first team (2001). She was named the 2001 CAC Player of the Year as the Bison posted a 17-16 record and lost in the conference tournament semifinals.
“I am so grateful for this amazing honor,” said Achin via taped message, days before she gave birth to a new baby. “This is a honor for myself and all of my teammates and coaches.”
Langbein’s former head coach Thomas Withrow presented him as Langbein had to send a video since he couldn’t attend.
“I was very fortunate to coach Wayne here at GU and to be a part of his life,” said Withrow. “He is a special individual anyone would love to have on their team. Wayne never gave up in his efforts. He was one of our best throwers, ever.”
Langbein was a three-time All-CAC first team honoree in discus, hammer and shot put. He finished first in those events at the 1991, ’92 and ’93 CAC men’s outdoor track and field championships. Langbein was the first back-to-back CAC Men’s Track and Field Player of the Year (1992, ’93), a feat that has only happen three times (twice by Bison student-athletes) in the 23-year history of the conference.
“Thank you Gallaudet’s athletics department for honoring me and thank you to Thomas for being my coach,” said Langbein. “I am very honored!”
Warren is one of Gallaudet’s top harriers in program history. His top four 8K times are still the best in GU men’s cross country team history. His former head coach Steve Heffley had the honor to present Warren.
“Greg was a hard worker and a great spirit. He excelled against his teammates. He was a natural runner,” said Heffley, who coached Warren all four years he ran for GU.
Warren made three appearances at the NCAA Division III cross country championships (1977, ’78, ’79).
“I am still in shock for receiving this recognition,” said Warren, who flew in from western Canada. “I still look at Steve as my coach. He taught me well and trained me well. Steve, you will always be my coach.”
Cliff Geffen presented Gould and nearly brought down the house with his stories about his former co-worker.
“People that do not know Kris, need to shake his hand. Students on campus respect Kris. He is such a caring person. He gives students such great support. These students are successful because of Kris,” said Geffen. “Kris is the ‘Energizer Bunny’ as he works and lives Gallaudet athletics 24/7 (24 hours, seven days a week).”
Gould has been a part of Gallaudet University athletics for over 30 years. He joined the GU athletics department in 1991-92 and has held many different positions including head coach, assistant coach, athletic trainer, game management, equipment manager to his current post of Facility and Equipment Coordinator.
“Thirty years and I am still here,” quipped Gould. “I am not used to talking in front of people but I have many people to thank for this honor.”
Gould went on to thank former coaches, student managers and athletic directors that he has served under along with sharing some nice photos of his family and the sacrifices they have made over the years.
The seven new inductees increase the Athletics Hall of Fame membership to 126 members.