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Five Added to Hall of Fame Class for 2014
Five new members will be inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony in September. The Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 will include representatives from football, men's basketball, men's track & field/cross country and women's track & field.
The five-member class, the sixth to be inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame, will be honored during special ceremonies surrounding Liberty's football match up with Bryant on Sept. 20 at Williams Stadium.
The five-member class includes Mike Decker (men's track & field), Wayne Haddix (football), Matt Hildebrand (men's basketball), Jake Matthes (men's cross country/track & field coach) and Delethea Quarles (women's track & field).
The Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Sept. 19 on the Club Pavilion level of the Williams Stadium Tower, while the five-member class will receive special recognition during the Bryant game the evening following the ceremony.
The Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame celebrates the best of the best, honoring those who helped shape the face of Liberty Athletics. The Hall of Fame's now 32 members have each played a key role in helping Liberty grow from an NCCAA program in 1972 to its current status as a thriving NCAA Division I program today.
Men's Track & Field: 1999-2001
Mike Decker exploded onto the scene at Liberty as a sophomore and quickly dashed his way into Liberty's record books, setting standards the current members of the track & field program are still chasing today.
Decker is one of four track & field athletes in program history to earn three or more All-America honors during their careers, earning All-America distinctions in the 400 meters twice at indoor nationals (2000 and 2001) and once at outdoor nationals (2000). He was also a U.S. Olympic Trials 400-meter dash participant in 2000.
The native of Buena Vista, Va., was a three-time Big South Men's Track & Field Athlete of the Year (1999, 2000 and 2001), as a 20-time Big South champion (12 individual events and eight relays). As a senior, he won every race he competed in during the Big South and IC4A seasons (both indoors and outdoors).
During his career, he netted Liberty 142 career points at Big South Track Championships and 113 at IC4A Championships and is the program's current record holder in the 200-meter (indoor) and 400-meter (indoor and outdoor) dash events.
Wayne Haddix provided Liberty with its first standout defensive back when he came to Lynchburg from Middletown, Tenn., in 1983. Four years later, Haddix left his mark on Liberty's record books with 151 career tackles (85 solo, 66 assisted), while adding five forced fumbles and eight passes defended.
Haddix's standout career on Liberty Mountain was recognized on the national scene when he became the first player in program history to get an invitation to the Senior Bowl and the second to participate in the Blue-Gray game.
His speed allowed him to excel in the return game, as he led the Flames in punt returns three of his four years and still holds the program's single-game punt return record.
Haddix extended his playing career when he became the 10th player in program history to sign a free agent professional contract (New York Giants - 1987). He played five seasons in the NFL, spotlighted by his 1990 campaign where he recorded seven interceptions for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, earning him a trip the NFL Pro Bowl game (first alum in program history).
Men's Basketball: 1991-94
Matt Hildebrand helped usher the Flames' basketball program into a new era when Liberty joined the Big South Conference during his sophomore season (1991-92). By his senior year, the Sturgis, Mich., native had the Flames on the national scene and pushing the No. 1 team in the country in the 1994 NCAA Tournament.
Hildebrand started every game he played during his stellar 116-game career, finishing with 1,515 career points scored, 3,729 minutes played and 207 career three-point field goals. A steady hand at the charity stripe, he finished with an 88.2 career free throw shooting percentage (398-of-451), which ranks in the top 25 in the all-time NCAA Division I record books.
During his senior campaign, Hildebrand led the Flames to the program's first-ever Big South title and earned the program its first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Liberty faced No. 1 seed North Carolina in the contest and led the Tar Heels with 10 minutes left to go in the game thanks to his 20 points and five assists.
Hildebrand is one of four players in program history to have his jersey retired and he still holds single-game, season and career records, including the program mark for best career three-point field goal shooting percentage (42.9 – 207-of-483).
Men's Cross Country/Track & Field Coach: 1976-91
Jake Matthes was the initial architect of one of the most successful athletics programs during the first four decades of Liberty's athletics department.
He started the men's cross country program in 1976 and the men's track & field teams following year. During his tenure as head coach, Liberty won the 1981 NCCAA men's track & field national title, five Mason-Dixon men's cross country championships and eight men's cross country regional titles.
Matthes, who coached Liberty at four different levels of competition (NCCAA, NAIA, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division I) helped 18 student-athletes at the NCCAA level earn All-America honors, four at the NAIA level and three more as NCAA Division II competitors.
The native of Mansfield, Ohio, earned numerous coaching awards during his 15 years of coaching, including 1981 National Christian College Coach of the Year for men's track & field and the 1985 NCAA Division II South Regional Coach of the Year for men's cross country.
Matthes, who also started the women's track & field and cross country programs in 1977, had Liberty's home outdoor track facility named after him in 1991. The facility (Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex) pairs his name with Ron Hopkins, who took over the women's programs shortly after Matthes helped get them off the ground.
Women's Track & Field: 1987-89
After transferring to Liberty following her freshman season, Delethea Quarles helped the Lady Flames start a dominant run in the Mason-Dixon Conference and jumpstart the program's success at the Division I level.
The native of Covington, Va., helped Liberty claim indoor and outdoor track conference championship titles during her junior and senior campaigns (1988 and 1989), thanks to her standout performances in the heptathlon. She earned All-America honors in the discipline in 1987 and 1988, placing fifth in the heptathlon at the NCAA Division II national championship.
Quarles was the first student-athlete in program history (men's or women's) to score more than 200 points in a season and one of only 11 in program history to do so at the any level of competition (227.5 points as a senior). The 1989 Penn Relays 100-meter hurdles champion held the program record in the event for more than 20 years before it was broken in 2010.
She served as an assistant coach on Liberty's staff for eight years (1990-97), before joining the coaching staff at South Carolina where she has helped more than 20 student-athletes earn All-America honors.
Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame
Class of 2009 (Inaugural Class)
Dr. Jerry Falwell (founder/former University chancellor)
Arthur L. Williams (athletics financial supporter)
Elena (Kisseleva) Bengds (women's basketball)
Bob Bonheim (wrestling and football coach)
Sid Bream (baseball)
Kelvin Edwards (football)
Karl Hess (men's basketball)
Class of 2010
Theresa Bream (women's basketball/volleyball)
Gina Gibson (women's track & field)
Lee Guetterman (baseball)
Chip Smith (football)
Al Worthington (baseball coach and athletics director)
Class of 2011
Paul Annan (men's soccer)
Fred Banks (football)
Bill Bell (men's soccer coach)
Jerry Edwards (radio play-by-play)
Heather (Sagan) Zealand (women's cross country/track & field)
Class of 2012
Jesse Castro (wrestling)
Mark Chafin (men's basketball)
John Sanders (football)
Sharon Snodgrass (women's basketball)
Ryan Werner (men's track & field)
Class of 2013
Anthonia (Akpama) Oyedele (volleyball)
Bailey Alston (men's basketball)
Brenda Bonheim (volleyball and women's basketball coach/SWA)
Nancy (Davis) White (women's soccer)
Robby Justino (football)
Class of 2014
Mike Decker (men's track & field)
Wayne Haddix (football)
Matt Hildebrand (men's basketball)
Jake Matthes (men's cross country/track & field coach)
Delethea Quarles (women's track & field)