WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University athletics department will retire two women's volleyball jerseys on Friday, Oct. 26, during Homecoming 2018 festivities. A special event to honor Tamijo Foronda Coleman, '08 and Ronda Jo Miller Donatucci, '02 will take place from 12:30-2 p.m. in the Field House on Padden Court. This will be a ticketed event with lunch being served after the ceremony. More information about the event will be shared and announced at a later date.
Foronda and Miller will become the first Gallaudet women's volleyball student-athletes to have their numbers retired. Foronda wore No. 9 while Miller wore No. 6 during their playing careers.
For Miller, this is her second number being retired as a Gallaudet student-athlete. On Feb. 8, 2014, her No. 23 women's basketball jersey was retired.
"This is a tremendous honor for me, as it is the most meaningful honor I have received in my athletic career," said Foronda. "My experience as a Gallaudet women's volleyball student-athlete has been one of my best memories of my life. This type of honor wouldn't be possible without my teammates. We had a special bond together. We came in as teammates but we left as family. I want to thank my coaches and teammates for contributing in this honor."
Foronda is the most accomplished women's volleyball player in school history. She was inducted into the Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame in October of 2017. Foronda played five seasons (2002-07), after being sidelined with an injury in 2005, the team went 84-65 with her in the line-up. She helped the Bison win the 2003 Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) championship during her sophomore season and guide the Bison to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament during the 2006 season. Foronda was a two-time CAC Player of the Year (2004, '06) and was a three-time All-CAC first team selection (2003, '04, '06). GU has had several players earn American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American honorable mention honors over the years but Foronda was the first and only Bison to make one of the three teams when she was selected to the third team (2006). Foronda was named the 2006-07 CAC Female Scholar Athlete of the Year, the first in school history. Foronda was one of seven Gallaudet women's volleyball players named to the CAC Silver Anniversary Team in 2014-15.
Miller was inducted into the Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame for women's basketball in 2008 and in 2014 for women's volleyball. 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. Miller helped the Bison win their third and fourth CAC championships (1996, '99) and make two NCAA tournament appearance. Her four single-season kill totals rank first (1,038 in 1999), second (896, '97), third (845, '98) and fifth (720, '96) in CAC history and are in the Top 10 in Division III history. 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.
"What an incredible honor. I look back at my time at Gallaudet with fondness and nostalgia. I was fortunate to be coached by two amazing coaches, Pat O'Brien and Peg Worthington, during my time on the Gallaudet women's volleyball team," said Miller. "For a small-town girl from Little Falls, Minn., I am grateful for the opportunity that athletics has given me. I wouldn't be the person I am today without the support and investment from my coaches and teammates along the way. Thank you Gallaudet!"
For a Gallaudet student-athlete to have their number retired they must meet six of the following criteria to be considered; graduate of Gallaudet University, inducted into the Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame, athletic All-American as decided by proper coaches group (1st, 2nd, 3rd) only [no honorable mention], conference Player of the Year, finish season in top 1 percent in a NCAA statistical category, hold a major career or season statistical record while a student-athlete at Gallaudet, the student-athlete must have brought prominence to Gallaudet and/or his/her sport in the professional athletic ranks. The Gallaudet Athletic Council reviews and approves this recognition.