NEWARK, Del. -- The 2009 University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame induction class, featuring high-scoring All-Americans, former professional athletes, record-breakers, and a long-time track and field coach, was announced Thursday.
The 13th induction class will be honored in a private ceremony on Friday, Nov. 6 at the Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium and will be introduced on the field at halftime of the Delaware vs. Hofstra football game on Saturday, Nov. 7 at Delaware Stadium.
The eight inductees in this year's class, which features five men and three women representing 10 different Blue Hen sports programs, brings the UD Athletics Hall of Fame total to 111 former UD greats.
The Class of 2009 includes all-time leading soccer goal-scorer Mike Biggs, All-American field hockey standout Jodi Byrd, record-setting softball pitcher Patty Freeman, the first UD women's soccer Hall of Fame inductee in high-scoring forward Beth Hatt, former UD baseball slugger and current head coach Jim Sherman, longtime National Football League standout Ivory Sully, long-time men's cross country and track and field head coach Dr. Ken Steers, and former golf and track and field standout Ron Watson. Steers and Watson will be honored posthumously.
Below are biographies of the inductees.
*MIKE BIGGS (Men's Soccer)*
The most prolific scorer in University of Delaware men's soccer history, Mike Biggs could always be counted on to consistently provide the Blue Hens with an important goal during his three-year varsity career in 1968-70. A native of Wilmington, Del., he played for head coach Loren Kline and helped lead the Blue Hens to a cumulative mark of 27-10-3, two Middle Atlantic Conference runner-up finishes, and NCAA regional berths in 1968 and 1970. He still holds school records for goals in a season (17), goals in a career (47), points in a career (99), and is one of just two players in school history to score four goals in a single game.
A 1971 Delaware graduate, he tallied 17 goals as a sophomore in 1968, 14 as a junior in 1969, and 16 as a senior in 1970 when he served as co-captain. He scored 47 of the team's 99 goals during that stretch. He was named the Middle Atlantic Conference West Section Most Valuable Player in 1970 and earned a spot on the All-Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware regional team in both 1968 and 1970. Following graduation, he played soccer with the Philadelphia Inter and with the Delaware Wings of the American Soccer League. Biggs and his wife, Susie, reside in the Phoenix, Ariz. area and have one daughter. He worked for 30 years at Delaware Tech on the Student Services staff and is an accomplished photographer who has published seven books.
*JODI BYRD HOLLAMAN (Field Hockey)*
One of the most decorated players in University of Delaware field hockey history, Jodi Byrd was a four-year starter in 1995-98 who led the Blue Hens to an impressive run that included consistent national Top 20 rankings, four winning seasons, and three conference tournament appearances for head coach Carol Miller. She was a three-time All-America East conference selection, earned Mid-Atlantic Region honors three times, and was a second team NFHCA All-American as a senior in 1998. She was named the America East Player of the Year in 1998 and was selected as the UD Outstanding Senior Female Athlete of the Year in 1999. A native of Pocomoke, Md. and a 1999 Delaware graduate, Byrd led the Hens to a four-year record of 52-27 and conference tournament appearances her final three seasons. As a senior, the Hens were ranked No. 6 in the country thanks to a record of 15-6. A two-year captain, she played in 78 career games - all starts - and scored 79 points on 35 goals and 9 assists. She earned her master's degree in post-secondary education from Salisbury University in 1999 and taught physical education and coached field hockey for nine seasons at Parkside High School in Salisbury, Md. She led the field hockey team to the 2005 state title. She currently teaches and served as head field hockey coach at Delmar (Del.) High School. She resides in Salisbury with her husband, Brian, and their daughters Josie and Jordyn.
*PATTY FREEMAN O'NEILL (Softball)*
A dominating pitcher for the Blue Hens in 1982-85, Patty Freeman hurled a gem almost every time she stepped into the circle during her four-year career. Playing for head coach B.J. Ferguson, she led the Hens to a four-year record of 66-51 as Delaware won the East Coast Conference title in 1984, tied for the regular season championship in 1983, was runner-up in 1985, and finished third at the EAIAW regionals as a freshman in 1982. She set virtually every school pitching record during her career and many of the marks lasted for nearly 20 years. A native of Philadelphia, Pa., she posted a career record of 37-29 with an earned run average of 1.24 and among her school records were career strikeouts (168), strikeouts in a game (14), wins in a season (14), season and career shutouts, and season and career complete games. She also pitched three no-hitters during her career and earned first team All-ECC honors in 1983 and 1985. Following her playing career, the 1985 Delaware graduate joined the coaching ranks and served as an assistant softball coach at Temple and Drexel and as head coach at Drexel in 1993-99, earning league Coach of the Year honors in 1996. She received her master's degree in sports administration from Temple in 1992. She currently is in her 11th year teaching health and physical education at Springfield Township High School in Erdenheim, Pa. and remains active as a youth softball coach. She and her husband, Shawn, have four children.
BETH HATT BURKHARDT (Women's Soccer)*
A four-year standout midfielder, Beth Hatt becomes the first Blue Hen women's soccer player to be inducted into the UD Athletics Hall of Fame.
A scoring threat who was equally adept on defense, she led Delaware to a four-year record of 48-25-3, three conference tournament appearances, and two league runner-up finishes for head coach Scott Grzenda in 1993-96. After earning America East Rookie of the Year honors in 1993, the Downingtown, Pa. native continued on and was selected to the America East all-conference team and the All-Mid Atlantic Region squad three straight years. She set school records for goals in a game (4) and career (43), points in a game (8) and career (106), and tallied an incredible 16-game winning goals during her time as a Blue Hen. She also led the league in scoring in 1995 with 30 points. An outstanding student and a 1997 Delaware graduate with a degree in dietetics, she was named to the CoSIDA District 2 All-Academic team twice, was the America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1996, and was Delaware's ECAC/Robbins Scholar Award winner as a senior. Following graduation, she attended Yale University School of Medicine and became a registered dietician, working in hospitals and community settings and as a consultant. She currently teaches science in the Downingtown Area School District and is pursuing a master's degree in science education. She resides in Romansville, Pa. with her husband, Tom, and daughter Catherine, and has served as a youth and high school soccer coach.
*JIM SHERMAN (Baseball)*
Few people in University of Delaware history have meant as much to the Blue Hen baseball program as Jim Sherman. A slugging outfielder in
1979-82 for Hall of Fame coach Bob Hannah, he later joined Hannah's staff and has succeeded him as UD head coach. A native of New Castle, Del. and a 1982 Delaware graduate, Sherman enjoyed an outstanding player career for the Hens and is one of only four players in UD history to earn first team all-conference honors all four years. He led the team to three NCAA Tournament appearances, was drafted by the Houston Astros, and set school records for career home runs (46), home runs in a season (15), RBI in a season (68), total bases in a season (209), and total bases in a career (489). He was also named the 1982 UD Outstanding Senior Male Athlete of the Year. He played five years in the Astros'
farm system and reached the AAA level before joining the college coaching ranks. He led Wilmington (Del.) University to two NAIA World Series appearances and was inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. He also was inducted into the Delaware Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008. Now in his 10th season as head coach at Delaware, Sherman has posted a record of 273-222, led the Blue Hens to the 2001 America East title and an NCAA Tournament berth, and led the squad to five Colonial Athletic Association Tournament appearances. He resides in New Castle, Del. with his sons Cody and Matthew.
*DR. KEN STEERS (Men's Cross Country, Track & Field)* For nearly 25 years, Dr. Ken Steers played an integral role at the University of Delaware as both head coach of the Blue Hen men's cross country and track & field teams and as chairman of the UD Physical Education Department (1945-69). He led the cross country squad for 20 years in 1946-65, posting a 75-50-1 dual record and leading the harriers to the 1962 Middle Atlantic Conference team title and a 1954 runner-up finish. In outdoor track & field, he guided the Blue Hens for 15 seasons in 1946-60 with the team winning 44 dual meets and posting three top five finishes at the MAC championship meet. He led his teams to six undefeated seasons. A University of Delaware track & field scholarship is awarded in his name each year. A successful high school coach in several sports in Delaware before coming to UD, he was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in 2003. A native of Creston, Iowa, he earned degrees from Illinois, New York University, and Temple and earned the Bronze Star with the U.S. Army in World War II. He passed away in 1986 at the age of 78.
I*VORY SULLY (Football)*
An elusive running back for head coach Tubby Raymond's powerhouse Blue Hen football teams in 1976-78, Ivory Sully followed a spectacular college career at UD with a solid nine-year tenure in the National Football League that included playing in Super Bowl XIX. A native of Leonia, N.J., Ivory was a three-year standout in the UD backfield and on special teams and helped lead Blue Hens teams to a combined mark of 24-10-2, two ECAC Team of the Year Awards, and a runner-up finish at the
1978 NCAA Division I championship game. He led that 1978 team in rushing with 730 yards and four touchdowns and finished his career ranked among the school's all-time leaders with 1,359 yards. He signed a free agent contract with the Los Angles Rams following the 1978 season and played with the team in 1979-84. He became the first UD football player to participate in the Super Bowl when the Rams played the Steelers in 1980.
He also played two seasons with Tampa Bay and one with Detroit. He served as co-captain and special teams captain for the Rams and led the team to four NFL playoff appearances and served as a Pro Bowl alternate in 1984. He currently resides in Anaheim, Calif with his wife Sylvia, daughters Amber and Megan, and son Jacob. He has served as Vice-President of Licensing and International Business for Pelle Pelle, Inc., a clothing manufacturer, since 2001.
*RON WATSON (Men's Outdoor Track, Men's Basketball, Golf)* A three-sport athlete, Ron Watson was a standout in golf and track & field for the Blue Hens, played two seasons of basketball, and was named the University of Delaware Outstanding Senior Male Athlete of the Year in 1953. A native of Wilmington, Del. and a 1953 chemical engineering graduate of Delaware, Watson was a three-year standout for the golf team, won all but one dual match during his career in 1951-53, and held the lowest round record (69) and lowest season average (73.0). He was the team's No. 1 player as a senior when he served as team captain for coach Fred Emmerson's squad that went 8-2. He also competed two seasons in track & field as a long jumper and hurdler and was the top dual meet scorer for a team that went undefeated and placed seventh at the Middle Atlantic Conference championships for coach Ken Steers, who also is a member of the 2009 UD Athletics Hall of Fame class. Watson also was co-captain for the junior varsity basketball squad for two seasons. He enjoyed an outstanding amateur golf career in Delaware after graduation and also was a standout table tennis player. He served as a pilot in the U.S. Army for over 20 years and served tours Germany, Korea, and Vietnam. He passed away in 1987 at the age of 56.