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Lenoir-Rhyne Sports Hall of Fame to Induct Members on September 30

Lenoir-Rhyne will add eight members and one team to its Sports Hall of Fame as the class of 2023 is set to be inducted on Saturday, September 30 at 10:30 a.m. in P.E. Monroe Auditorium. Tommy Deal, Fred Goldsmith, Rex Harrison, Elizabeth Hawes, Larry Lentz, Roger Maxey, Kat Rivers, Marcus Shuford and the 1960 NAIA National Championship Football Team will make up the class.

The 1960 football team will be the first of the newly formed “Team of Distinction” to be inducted. The LR Sports Hall of Fame Committee established the Team of Distinction recognition in order to recognize teams who have demonstrated notable athletic success and have made exemplary contributions to the LR campus and community. The recognition falls under the auspice of the LR Sports Hall of Fame and will be recognized collectively versus individually for their contributions.

Tommy Deal and Roger Maxey will be inducted as contributors, another newly-formed category. Deal and Maxey will be just the second and third contributors to be enshrined, following Jerry Shaw last year. A contributor is defined as any individual, living or deceased, who has made unique and extraordinary contributions to the Lenoir-Rhyne University athletics program. These inductees may include coaches and athletic staff members, distinguished alumni, friends of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics, and other individuals who are not necessarily eligible as a Student-Athlete Inductee.

The eight inductees along with the 1960 NAIA National Championship Football team will also be honored at halftime of Lenoir-Rhyne’s football game against UVA Wise which begins at 2 p.m. at Moretz Stadium.

Tommy Deal (contributor)
Deal (’71) is one of the greatest LR supporters in history. Deal served as the Tournament Director of the Hanley H. Painter Bear Memorial Golf Tournament for 30 years from 1989-2019 and is a member of the Bears Club Council from 1984-present, nearly 40 years. Deal was recognized by the Bears Club Council with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 for all his contributions and also received the Opal Moretz Alumni Award by the Alumni Association for Service to the Community. Deal is recognized is the author of the, “What Time is It, Bear Time” chant used at every home football game and Bears Club event. Deal also served as the President of the Catawba Country Club Board of Directors.

Fred Goldsmith (coaching contributor)
The success of today’s football program is tied directly to the contributions of Fred Goldsmith’s run as the program’s head coach from 2007-10. Goldsmith inherited a program that won 31 games over a 10-year span and turned them into SAC championship contenders. Goldsmith increased the win total of the team in each of his four years, culminating in a 7-4 record in 2010. That seven-win season was the most since 1994, a span of 16 seasons. Goldsmith added future head coach Mike Houston to his staff as defensive coach and turned the reigns of the program over to Houston when Goldsmith retired. Houston would go on to win 29 of 37 games as head coach, win three SAC championships and take the 2013 Bears to a National Championship game.

Rex Harrison (football)
One of the best tight ends in the 102-year history of LR football, Harrison (’90) was a Third Team NAIA All-American in 1988 and a three-time All-SAC selection from 1987-89. Harrison is the second tight end in the modern history of LR Football to be named an All-American, joining fellow Hall of Famer Craig Keith who went on to play in the NFL. He is the all-time leader at LR in receptions as a tight end with 78 and yards 1,102 while adding 11 touchdown grabs. Harrison was a key component of LR’s top-ranked offense that led the SAC in total offense for three consecutive seasons and was a member of LR’s second SAC Championship team in 1988.

Elizabeth Hawes (soccer)
Hawes (’12) made quite an impact in her three years with the women’s soccer team, winning two SAC regular season championships, one SAC tournament an advancing to a pair of NCAA Tournaments. Hawes helped the 2010 team to an Elite 8 appearance in the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament. Individually, Hawes was a two-time All-American and a 2009 First Teamer. She was twice named All-Conference and All-Region and was the 2009 SAC Player of the Year as well as the league’s Freshman of the Year that same season. On top of her standout work on the field, Hawes was a 2011 Capital One Second Team Academic All-American.

Larry Lentz (basketball)
Lentz (’93) is in an exclusive club at Lenoir-Rhyne as one of just five men’s basketball players to ever be named an All-American. Lentz helped the Bears to a 25-7 mark in 1992-93 while being named NAIA Honorable Mention All-American. That year, the Bears were SAC Tournament and District 26 Champions and made it to the NAIA National Quarterfinal. During his career, Lentz’s teams posted an 88-30 record and won at least 20 games each year. Lentz scored 1,035 career points and his 57.7 percent shooting for his career ranks second in program history. He led the 1992-93 squad in both scoring and rebounding and shot 61.4 percent from the field and is considered one of the premier big men to ever play at LR.

Roger Maxey (contributor)
Maxey (’71) has spent over 45 years volunteering his time to the Bears Club Council in support of Lenoir-Rhyne and has had a tremendous impact on the LR community. Maxey served as the Bears Club Council Vice President as well as serving two terms as Bears Club Council President. He has currently and consistently served on the Executive Council for over 20 years and is one of the founders of the Hanley Painter Memorial Golf Tournament where he has served over 30 years on the committee. Maxey started the Bears Club Raffle and still serves on the raffle committee and established the Gala and Auction. He also chaired the Bears Club annual dinner event and has maintained strong relationships with many key stakeholders.

Kat Rivers (softball)
Rivers (’11) has her name spread throughout the LR softball record book. Rivers’ LR teams boasted a 178-46 record and she helped the Bears to back-to-back NCAA Super Regional appearances and four straight NCAA Tournament trips. LR was SAC Champs in three of Rivers’ four seasons and twice were one game from advancing to the World Series. Her individual accolades include 2010 NFCA First Team All-American honors and a four-time All-SAC selection. Rivers was the 2010 SAC Player of the Year when she hit .437 with a program record 90 hits, 23 HR and 64 RBI. Her 23 HR are five more than any other player in LR softball history and still stand as a SAC record as do her 179 total bases. Rivers ranks second in program history in career batting average, fourth in hits, home runs, RBI and doubles, first in triples and total bases and was the 2011 SAC Tournament MVP. Rivers also owns the LR record for most all-time hits, RBI and HR in NCAA Tournament games.

Marcus Shuford (football)
Shuford (’11) played under fellow 2023 inductee Fred Goldsmith and also had a huge hand on the turnaround of the program. One of the few players in program history to ever be named team captain for three seasons, Shuford was the 2010 SAC Defensive Player of the Year. During that season, Shuford had 78 tackles, 11 passes defended and three interceptions to go with a blocked kick. For his career, his 12 interceptions rank ninth in program history as do his 145 interception yards. Shuford had two games with multiple interceptions and was a three-time All-SAC selection. Shuford also ranks fourth in program history with his 40 career passes defended.

1960 NAIA National Championship Team (football)
In the 102-year history of LR Football, only one team won a National Championship. With that sort of history, the 1960 team was an easy choice as the first-ever Team of Distinction accolade. Legendary Head Coach Clarence Stasavich led the 1960 Bears to a 11-0-1 unbeaten record in his 15th season at the helm. LR took down Humboldt St. by a final score of 15-14 in the National Championship game and advanced to that contest in controversial fashion. In the semifinal, LR and Northern Michigan tied 20-20. According to NAIA regulations, the criteria for breaking a tie is total yardage. Nearly 6,500 people huddled around the press box right after regulation to await the announcement. After numerous re-totals, a winner was declared: Lenoir-Rhyne. The Bears out-gained Northern Michigan by 25 yards: 294 to 269. In the National Championship, the Bears trailed 14-12 late in the fourth quarter when freshman Marion Kirby kicked what would be the game-winning field goal. Three players from that team earned All-American accolades and Stasavich would be named National Coach of the Year.