Club Sports program adding Hall of Fame this fall
June 18, 2014 | Lynchburg, Va.
As Liberty University's Club Sports program continues to grow — in numbers of teams (now 32), quality of its facilities, and success of its athletes — the time has arrived for it to establish its own Hall of Fame.
"It's a great way to honor the athletes that have come before us for their excellence," said Jake Hannon, a former NCAA Division I player at Army and ACHA Division I men's hockey player at Liberty who was an assistant coach for the Flames last season. "It will also serve as a motivator for current and future Club Sports athletes to aspire to, to be the best they can at what they're doing now, with what God's given them. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about (glorifying God). It's not about us."
Hannon introduced the initiative at the Club Sports Annual Awards Banquet, held April 24 in the Club Level of Williams Stadium. He is heading up the Hall of Fame selection committee, with guidance from Director of Athletics Marketing Kevin Keys, who has been instrumental in developing the Athletics Hall of Fame.
|Jake Hannon introduced the Club Sports Hall of Fame initiative at the Club Sports Annual Awards Banquet on April 24.|
"The NCAA Athletics program has already established a great system (and) it's definitely something that we'd like to emulate," Hannon said.
Similar to Liberty's NCAA Division I Athletics Hall of Fame, which is on display in the back concourse of the Vines Center, the Club Sports Hall of Fame will be housed in one of its busiest facilities, the LaHaye Ice Center.
The first induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Dec. 5, the night before Liberty's ACHA DI men's hockey game against Virginia Tech at LaHaye. Between three and five inductees of the inaugural Hall of Fame class and their guests will watch the game from the Sodexo suite overlooking the rink and be recognized on the ice during intermission.
"We want to have lots of media coverage, video, interviews, pictures, social media," Hannon said. "We want to make it really hyped, make it a big deal. It's a great way to connect people back to the school, to see what Liberty is doing, and to keep everybody involved, and connected."
Current and former athletes, coaches, alumni, faculty, and fans are encouraged to nominate individuals who have made a positive impact on the program and left a legacy at the university. A public form is available under the "Department" link on the Club Sports website.
"We want to gather as much information as possible on each potential candidate," said Hannon, who is in the process of tracking down former coaches from the 1980s, 90s, and early 2000s. "We'll be taking nominations all the way through the end of this summer into the early fall for this year's class, but it's going to be open year-round. You can nominate somebody at any time and we'll take them into consideration, to get them into our database and to continue to build and explore all of the options as we bring that to our committee for voting."
There will be three categories for nominees — athletes, coaches, and administrators or special inductees. The only stipulations are that (athletes) have to have played at least two years at Liberty and be five years removed from their sport and that (coaches or administrators) have had five years of continued service," Hannon said. "It's going to be the best of the best. We've had lots of great athletes come through and it will be quite an honor to be selected. Any professional or further involvement in their sport is always a plus."
Since the Club Sports program as it now exists was only started in 2007, graduates are only now starting to become eligible for nomination.
"As time goes on, there's only going to be more and more," Hannon said. "Club Sports as a department has really taken off in recent years. As it grows, there's going to be more competition for the spots."