Five student-athletes, one former coach to be inducted into Women's Athletics Hall of Honor
AUSTIN, Texas -- A class of five former female University of Texas standouts and one distinguished former Longhorns coach will be inducted as members of the eighth class of the UT Women's Athletics Hall of Honor, as announced Monday by the Hall of Honor Committee.
Both the UT Women's Hall of Honor and UT Men's Longhorn Hall of Honor will hold their induction ceremonies the weekend of Friday-Sunday, Nov. 9-11. UT Women's Athletics will hold its 2007 Hall of Honor luncheon and ceremony on Friday, Nov. 9 at UT's Frank Erwin Center, beginning at 11:30 a.m. in the Lone Star Room.
Ceremonies will be held in conjunction with the Texas-Texas Tech football game (Nov. 10) where all the women's and men's Hall of Honor inductees will be introduced.
The six inductees were nominated in the spring of 2007, and selection was conducted by the 21-member UT Women's Athletics Hall of Honor Selection Committee.
The Class of 2007 inductees are:
Fran Harris (basketball, 1982-86), who starred on the 1986 NCAA Championship basketball squad (34-0) which was the first team in Division I women's basketball history to go undefeated ... Harris was named to the Southwest Conference All-Decade Team, was the 1984-85 SWC Player of the Year, and was twice named Texas team MVP (1985, 1986) ... She also starred internationally, earning gold medals for USA Basketball at the 1986 Goodwill Games and World Championships and at the 1987 Pan American Games before embarking on a professional career overseas and as a member of the WNBA championship Houston Comets franchise (1997, 1998) and the Utah Starzz (1988-99) ... currently, Fran is a business entrepreneur and author who resides in Culver City, Calif.;
Whitney Hedgepeth (swimming, 1991-94), a two-time USA Olympian who earned an amazing 21 All-America honors and was a three-time NCAA champion at Texas (twice in the 200 back in 1992 and 1994, and the 200 free relay in 1992) during her three-year Longhorn career ... the versatile Hedgepeth helped lead UT to the 1991 NCAA national championship and was team MVP ... a seven-time USA Swimming national champion in seven different events (freestyle, IM, back and butterfly), Whitney held the American record in the 200 yard back for 11 years (from 1992-2003) ... She competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in the 200 IM, placing eighth, before earning three medals at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (gold in the 400 relay, silver in the 100 and 200 back events) for Team USA ... Whitney resides with her family (husband Mark Luther, daughter Dakota and sons Sage and Payton) in Austin, Texas;
Vera Ilyina (diving, 1996-98), who established herself as a prominent scholar-athlete during her two-year University of Texas career ... The two-time NCAA National Female Diver of the Year as a junior (1997) and senior (1998), Vera won four NCAA championships, winning the 1-meter diving crown and the 3-meter diving crown both years ... the international business major from Moscow, Russia excelled in the classroom ... In 1998, she earning GTE National Academic All-America honors, was named the NCAA Woman of the Year for the State of Texas, and received the elite NCAA Today's Top VIII Award, singled out as one of the top eight student-athletes across all sports for achievement in athletics, academics and leadership ... Vera continues to enjoy great success at the Olympic level as well, representing Russia at four Olympics and World Championships (1992, 1998, 2000, 2004) ... As an Olympian, Vera earned gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in 3-meter synchronized diving and silver at the 2004 Athens Olympics in springboard synchronized diving ... Vera resides in Houston, Texas and plans to pursue her MBA at the University of Houston this fall;
Demetria "Dee" Sance (volleyball, 1995-98), a standout All-America and Olympic volleyball talent who was just the eighth Division I player to earn All-America honors in each of her four collegiate seasons ... The 1995 National Freshman of the Year, Dee is the only Longhorn volleyball star to earn First Team All-Conference and NCAA All-Regional Team honors all four years as well ... elected to the seven-member Big 12 "10th Anniversary Team" in 2005, she finished her career as UT's all-time leader in kills (2,013), attacks (4,783) and digs (1,614), and current ranks second in career kills ... she was a member of the 2000 USA Olympic volleyball team which placed fourth in Sydney ... currently, Dee resides with her family in San Antonio where she teaches and coaches volleyball at Wagner High School; and
Christa Williams (softball, 1998-99), a 1996 and 2000 USA Olympic gold medalist who brought the young Longhorns softball program to national prominence during her three-year tenure at UT ... Williams transferred to her native Texas and to UT for her final two years of college competition from UCLA, where she had been an All-American ... in her first year (1998) at Texas, she led the second-year Longhorns program to the elite eight-team Women's College World Series, where 49-16 UT placed seventh ... Christa then led Texas to its second NCAA tournament in 1998 ... A three-time All-American, earning First Team honors in 1998 and Second Team plaudits in 1997 and 1999, she also was a five-year member of the USA National Team (1996-2000) ... in her two Longhorn seasons, Christa compiled a 51-15 record and a sparkling 0.71 ERA, with 27 shutouts and 678 strikeouts ... she resides in Austin.
"This eighth group of inductees, like all the other Hall of Honor classes, represents the best in University of Texas women's athletics," noted Chris Plonsky, Texas Women's AD and Director of Men's and Women's Athletics External Services. "There is a great cross-section of sports represented, from the early era to the modern era of competition. This is an Olympic-caliber class, as Whitney Hedgepeth, Vera Ilyina, Dee Sance and Christa Williams all were Olympians, and Fran Harris earned gold medals on three USA Basketball teams in international play. Additionally, Terry Crawford led the 1988 USA Olympic track and field team and her string of national championships here at Texas in the 1980's put our cross country and track and field program on the national map.
"Each of these individuals brought tremendous national recognition to both our athletics program and university. They are a distinguished group, and we are extremely proud to recognize them as our newest class of honorees," Plonsky concluded.
The Women's Athletics Hall of Honor Committee is chaired by Dr. Isabella Cunningham, the Ernest A. Sharpe Centennial Professor in Communication and a professor in the department of advertising at UT. In addition to Cunningham and Plonsky, the other members of the Women's Athletics Hall of Honor Committee are as follows:
Trisha Benson (Austin); Brad Buchholz (Austin); Dr. John Butler (Austin); Dave Cody (Austin); Lynn Davis Pool (Austin); Dr. Jim Deitrick (Austin); Doug English (Austin); John Fainter (Austin); Dr. Linda Ferreira-Buckley (Austin); Mary Herman (Austin); Jan Hughes (Austin); Howard Nirken (Austin); Dr. Robert Prentice (Austin); Wally Pryor (Austin); Dr. Randa Ryan (Wimberly); Martha Smiley (Austin); Sue Tottenham (Austin); Lynn Wheeler (Austin); and Joan Whitworth (Austin).