Hall of Fame announced

First class to be honored for their contribution to the Club Sports program

Liberty University’s Club Sports announced its first class of Hall of Fame inductees to be honored for their involvement in athletic programs spanning the ice of the hockey rinks to the wooden courts of volleyball.

President Jerry Falwell, who has played a vital role in developing the Club Sports program, Dr. Gary Habermas, men’s hockey team coach from 1985 to 1994, and Johnathan Willis, former men’s volleyball player and headcoach and current assistant coach of the NCAA women’s volleyball team, will be the first three to be inducted into the Club Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place Dec. 5 in the Hancock Welcome Center.

coach — Johnathan Willis is a former volleyball player.  Photo credit: Jordan Crossingham

Coach — Johnathan Willis is a former volleyball player. Photo credit: Jordan Crossingham

The inductees will also be honored during the men’s hockey game against Virginia Tech Dec. 6 during intermission at the LaHaye Ice Center. At that time, the three inductees’ Hall of Fame plaques will be placed in the lobby of the LaHaye Ice Center.

“I am definitely honored to be inducted into the hall of fame,” Willis said. “I did not play or coach to receive any type of recognition. I simply wanted to be the best that I could be as an athlete and as a coach and to bring God glory. I loved every moment as a player and as a coach of the men’s volleyball program, and I will cherish every memory that was made here.”

According to Willis, the athletes that play in club sports play for the love of the game rather than for fame and glory.

“So many athletes give all of their time while here on campus to play club sports year around,” Willis said. “This Hall of Fame provides a tangible record for those who have excelled in one way or another and have given their all to represent this great university at a high level. What this means for Club Sports as a whole is pretty huge.”

Falwell, Habermas and Willis were voted to be members of the inaugural class through a committee of nine people and a ballot process. Derek Young, coordinator of business operations for Club Sports, presided over the ballot process. The three inductees were chosen for their contributions and dedication to Club Sports.

Doctor— Gary Habermas formerly coached hockey. Photo credit: Les Schofer

Doctor— Gary Habermas formerly coached hockey. Photo credit: Les Schofer

“Club Sports has expanded to 32 teams and around 500 athletes,” Club Sports Hall of Fame Director Jake Hannon said. “We’ve had some excellent athletes come through Club Sports throughout the years, and we wanted to develop a way to formally recognize their accomplishments. We believe our club sports program is outstanding and exceeds expectations of a normal club sports program.”

Part of Hannon’s job is to plan the ceremony, coordinate events and invite guests. Hannon said each year, most likely in the beginning of December, more Club Sports athletes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“We modeled the Club Sports Hall of Fame after the current Hall of Fame that Liberty has in place for all its NCAA athletics teams,” Hannon said. “We’re adding professionalism to something that’s already very professional. … I’m thrilled that I have the opportunity to help get this thing off the ground.”

Hudson is a news reporter.

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