The glory days on the fields and courts of athletic competition fade quickly for many student-athletes, but 30 Cavaliers have earned a place in history and have been inducted into the statewide Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth. Here’s a look at their achievements.
William “Pappy” Gooch
At UVA: 1915-16*
Claims to fame: As quarterback, Gooch led UVA to wins over teams like Yale, UNC and Vanderbilt. Later became a prep coach and longtime athletic director at William and Mary.
Eugene “Buck” Mayer
Sports: Football, track
At UVA: 1912-16
Claims to fame: Mayer is credited with five UVA records: most points scored in one game (36), most touchdowns in one season (21), most points in one season (142) and most career touchdowns (48). He also was the first player from a Southern school to earn the equivalent of first-team All-America honors.
C. Alphonso Smith
At UVA: 1927-30, 1980-81
Claims to fame: Smith is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for winning boys’ and seniors’ national doubles titles, 55 years apart, with the same partner. He also won the grand slam of all four national doubles champions for men 65 and older.
Sports: Track, basketball
At UVA: 1926*
Claims to fame: Conn coached basketball and track teams at Newport News High School for more than 40 years and was named National High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1968.
Sports: Baseball primarily, also golf, tennis, basketball
At UVA: 1912-14*
Claims to fame: Rixey held the National League record for most wins for a left-hander (266) until 1962. During his record-setting career of 21 seasons, he compiled 266 wins and 251 losses with a 3.15 ERA; he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963.
Sports: Track, football
At UVA: 1926-33
Claims to fame: Winner of the National Pentathlon Championship in 1927, Flippin held the record for 60-yard indoor high hurdles and 70-yard indoor low hurdles.
Sports: Boxing, football, basketball, baseball, track
At UVA: 1928-32
Claims to fame: The first first-year to earn varsity letters in four sports, Bryant was an All-American honorable mention in football and won the Southern Conference boxing title his first season as a boxer.
Sports: Football, baseball
At UVA: 1936-40
Claims to fame: Gillette was the first Cavalier to be drafted in the NFL draft (signed with Green Bay); he was named to the All-Pro team in 1945, when he scored the game-winning touchdown for the Rams in the NFL championship.
William Talley Thomas
At UVA: 1929-31*
Claims to fame: Named to College All-State team three times, Thomas was national All-American honorable mention in 1930; he gained 1,921 yards over three seasons and turned down a pro offer to study law at UVA.
At UVA: 1939-42, 1950
Claims to fame: Dudley is the only football player in the history of the sport to win Most Valuable Player honors in collegiate, armed forces and professional competition. UVA’s first true All-American, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers and led the NFL in rushing two seasons.
Harold “Hal” Burrows
At UVA: 1942, 1950*
Claims to fame: Burrows won several state championships while a Cavalier and was named to the Davis Cup Team with doubles partner Straight Clark (the team was ranked in the top 10 for five years).
At UVA: 1941-44, 1947
Claims to Fame: Covered sports for the Richmond News Leader beginning in 1948, and in 1964 was named Virginia Sportswriter of the Year.
At UVA: 1947-52
Claim to fame: Considered the best defensive guard in UVA history, Palumbo was in 1951 named first-team All-American, Virginia’s Athlete of the Year and Outstanding Defensive Lineman by the Touchdown Club of Washington, D.C.
Melvin “Mel” Roach
Sports: Baseball, football, basketball
At UVA: 1951-55
Claims to fame: As a place-kicker on the UVA football team, Roach shared the record for most extra points (37). Playing with the Milwaukee Braves, he hit .309 until a knee injury in 1958 sidelined him temporarily.
Thomas C. “Tommy” Scott
Sports: Football, baseball, basketball, lacrosse
At UVA: 1950-53
Claims to fame: Voted the best all-around athlete in Virginia history, Scott earned 10 varsity letters while at UVA and was the first Cavalier to earn All-American honors in two sports. He played in four NFL championship games and earned a place in the College Football Hall of Fame.
W.H. “Hank” Norton
Sport: Football (coach)
At UVA: 1953-56
Claim to fame: Norton coached the Ferrum College Panthers for 34 years, earning numerous conference Coach of the Year awards. His final record of 244-77-11 is one of the best in collegiate football.
At UVA: 1951-55
Claims to fame: In 1955 Wilkinson set the all-time season record for scoring in the ACC for a single season at 32.1 points per game; he also set a conference career record at 28.6 points per game and led the nation in scoring in 1955.
Sport: Football, wrestling
At UVA: 1953-57
Claims to fame: All-ACC and All-State on the football team and ACC champion in wrestling, Jordan is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, largely for his 11 years as defensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers.
Sports: Football, basketball, track
At UVA: 1954-59
Claims to fame: An honorable mention All-American for leading the nation in kickoff returns and receiving his senior year, Randle played in the NFL and was voted to the Pro Bowl four times. He was UVA’s head football coach in 1974-75.
At UVA: 1969-75
Claims to fame: An All-American each of his four years at UVA, Duquette finished his collegiate career as the Cavaliers’ all-time scoring leader with 107 goals. He played for the U.S. team that won the world championship in 1974.
Position: Men’s basketball coach
At UVA: 1974-90 (as coach)
Claims to fame: The winningest basketball coach in Cavalier history, Holland compiled a 326-173 record and led UVA to an NIT championship in 1980 as well as nine trips to the NCAA tournament. Twice named ACC Coach of the Year, he later became UVA’s athletic director.
At UVA: 1969-73 (as student)
Claims to fame: Named ACC Player of the Year and Athlete of the Year in his third year, Parkhill compiled a career average of 18.2 points a game and a total of 369 assists. He played professionally and in 1992 returned to UVA, where he has held several development roles.
Position: Coach, athletic director
At UVA: 1971-81
Claims to fame: A lacrosse star at Duke, Corrigan coached at UVA, served as the University’s athletic director for 10 years and later became commissioner of the ACC and president of the NCAA.
At UVA: 1979-83
Claims to fame: Sampson led UVA to the NIT championship in 1980. A three-time national and ACC Player of the Year as well as four-time All-American, he set school career records for rebounds (1,511), most field goals made (899), most blocked shots (462) and most dunks (253). He played nine years in the NBA.
Position: Football coach
At UVA: 1982-2000 (as coach)
Claims to fame: Welsh steered UVA to national prominence, including 12 bowl appearances during his 19-year career. He was named ACC Coach of the Year five times, National Coach of the Year three times and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
At UVA: 1981-85
Claims to fame: First-team All-American in 1984 and twice All-ACC, Dombrowski was two-time recipient of the ACC’s best offensive lineman trophy. He played with the New Orleans Saints for 11 seasons and has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Sports: Football, track
At UVA: 1987-91
Claims to fame: Two-time All-American in football and holder of UVA’s high-jump record, Moore set school and ACC records, including most receiving yards in one season (1,190). In the NFL, he was selected for four Pro Bowls and set an NFL record in 1995 with 123 receptions.
At UVA: 1988-92
Claims to fame: Stith finished his UVA career as all-time leader in scoring (2,516 points), minutes (4,391) and free throws made (690). He was selected in the first round of the 1992 NBA draft and averaged 10 points per game over 10 years in the NBA.
At UVA: 1988-92
Claims to fame: ACC Rookie of the Year and twice national Player of the Year, Staley led UVA to three NCAA Final Four appearances. She played on three Olympic gold-medal teams and as a pro was voted to the WNBA All-Decade Team. As a coach at Temple University she was twice voted conference Coach of the Year.