WWU Introduces Inaugural Athletics Hall of Fame Class
FULTON, MO -- Three outstanding names in the history of Owls athletics comprise the inaugural class of the William Woods University Athletics Hall of Fame, as announced Monday by the school. Fulton native and Olympic champion Helen Stephens, former athletic director and winningest coach in WWU history Roger Ternes, and all-time leading scorer for Women's Basketball Lana Unnewehr-Brooks were selected as the inductees for the class of 2013.
"I think Helen, Roger and Lana comprise an excellent inaugural Hall of Fame class," said Jason Vittone, director of athletics. "The task of assembling this first class was challenging. William Woods is blessed to have a large pool of quality candidates for this honor. This class has set the standard of excellence for others to follow."
"We talk to our student-athletes about leaving a legacy behind," he added. "Helen, Roger, Lana and many others have done that. I expect our Athletics Hall of Fame to grow rapidly as we move forward."
The induction ceremony will take place on April 20, 2013, as part of the William Woods University Alumni Awards ceremony. The event will take place at 10 a.m., with the Owls hosting a reception that evening at the Helen Stephens Sports Complex.
The inaugural class was selected from a pool of nominees submitted by the Hall of Fame Nomination Committee, including suggestions from members of the public. Each of the members of the inaugural class received 75 percent of the vote or better from the Hall of Fame Voting Committee members.
"I am honored and proud to have played a part of this process," continued Vittone. "One of the great things about a Hall of Fame is the debate about who should be inducted. This process has brought back so many people that we have not had much contact with for a while."
"Hopefully the debate will continue and interest in the Hall of Fame, and our department, will grow," he added. "While some may be disappointed that an individual, team, coach, administrator or contributor was not in this class, my hope is that passion and interest will carry over for the years to come."
Stephens is perhaps the most well-known athlete in Fulton's history. She was named the 1936 Associated Press Athlete of the Year after winning gold medals in the 100-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay, setting a record in the 100-meter dash that would stand for 24 years. She won 14 AAU track and field titles, and retired from amateur sports having never lost a footrace. Following her retirement from the Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center, she served as an advisor to the William Woods College track and field program and served on the board of directors of the Senior Olympics Programs.
Ternes served as athletic director for 20 years, also serving as head coach for the Owls women's basketball and softball teams during that span. In addition to helping during William Woods' transition to university status, he also oversaw the addition of men's sports as WWU became a coeducational institution and presided over the construction of WWU's baseball/softball complex. As a coach, he guided William Woods to seven NAIA National Tournament appearances - six for softball and one for women's basketball - and is the winningest coach in WWU history for both sports. He boasts a 249-115 record in women's basketball and a 594-237 mark in softball. He is currently the athletic director at University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
Unnewehr-Brooks was a four-year standout for the Owls women's basketball team and her name continues to dominate the WWU record books. The all-time leading scorer (2,450 points) and rebounder (1,278 rebounds) in WWU history, she is also in the top five in blocks (3rd-176) and field goal percentage (4th-.624) for the Owls, and holds three of the top five single-season scoring marks for the WWU, led by her 710-point sophomore campaign. During her four years at WWU, the Owls compiled a record of 86-30, and she was a three-time first-team NAIA All-District 16 selection and a two-time NAIA Scholar Athlete. She also holds four single-game records for the Owls; points (49 - Feb. 19, 1990 vs. Lincoln Univ.), blocked shots (9 - Dec. 2, 1988 vs. Fontbonne College), field goals made (20 - Jan. 6, 1987 vs. Principia College) and free throws made (15 - Feb. 19. 1990 vs. Lincoln Univ.). She currently works for the Missouri Department of Education.