When it came time to choose the 2009 inductees into Vanderbilt’s Athletic Hall of Fame, there was little – if any – consideration given to how much time had passed since a person’s athletic achievements at the university ended.
That’s because given that this year’s class is just the second and that VU’s athletic history dates back more than a century, athletic department officials are still trying to make up for lost time.
As it turned out, nine were chosen to join the initial class of 10 inductees who christened the Hall of Fame a year ago. The 2009 class included athletes and coaches who competed in every decade from the 1940s to the current one. It encompassed six sports and included two posthumous honorees and two others who currently compete at the professional level.
“From a staff point of view it’s an exciting thing that we do and the whole process is really difficult because you kind of decide you only want to have a certain many every year,” vice chancellor David Williams said. “One of the things we’re sort of wrestling with right now is sort of, What is the time frame outside of the university before you’re eligible for it and how do we measure that?”
The nine named this year officially will be honored with a banquet on Sept. 4 and recognized publicly at Vanderbilt’s season-opening football game the next day.
They were chosen from an initial list of publicly submitted nominations in three categories: ‘Commodore Greats,’ those recognized for their athletic achievements as student-athletes; ‘Distinguished Lettermen,’ those who earned varsity letters at Vanderbilt but made significant contributions to the world following graduation; and ‘Lifetime Achievement,’ non-student-athletes who made a notable impact on the university’s athletic program.
“We’ve been producing some pretty good athletes and certainly there are others,” Williams said. “I think you’ll probably see another couple years of classes this size and then you’ll probably see a (decrease). I think there are still a lot of good people we’ll be wanting to honor.”
Members of Vanderbilt’s 2009 athletic Hall of Fame class are:
• Football player Jim Arnold (1979-82), the first VU football player to earn four consecutive All-SEC honors and a first-team All-American.
• Basketball player Charles Davis (1977-81), a two-time all-conference selection, an eight-year NBA veteran and founder of the Charles Davis Foundation.
• Tennis player Julie Ditty (1998-01), led the team to the national championship and became a top 100 professional.
• Football and baseball player Charles Hawkins (1952-54), VU’s first All-SEC baseball player and a benefactor for whom the baseball stadium is named.
• Swimmer Ming Hsu Robinson (1980-84), an NAIA and NCAA All-American who competed in four national championships.
• Football player Herb Rich (1946-49), two-time leading rusher for the Commodores and a starter at safety in the NFL.
• Basketball player Wendy Scholtens Wood (1987-91), VU’s first-women’s basketball All-American and single-season scoring record holder.
• Basketball coach Roy Skinner (1959, 1962-76), the winningest men’s basketball coach in Vanderbilt history, had eight teams ranked in the top 10.
• Golfer Brandt Snedeker (1999-2003), a four-time all-conference performer who ws SEC Player of the Year and a first team All-American as a senior.