Wesleyan to Create Athletics Hall of Fame

Brian Katten ’79, sports information director, stands in the Warren Street Lobby, home to Wesleyan’s future Athletics Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will honor top athletes, coaches, trainers, teams and athletic contributors throughout Wesleyan’s 144-year athletic history.
Posted 01/15/08
In 1864, Wesleyan began its rich history participating in intercollegiate sports.

Wesleyan scholar-athletes have won Olympic medals, NCAA championships, regional titles and participated on teams that won New England titles. And many Wesleyan coaches and alumni have been major contributors on professional teams, in athletic associations, in promoting a sport, or as innovators in the evolution of a sport.

To celebrate and honor Wesleyan’s 144-year athletic history, the Department of Athletics is establishing an Athletics Hall of Fame to recognize members of the Wesleyan community for outstanding achievement as an athlete, coach or for service to sports.

“It is important for a university with Wesleyan’s stature to celebrate its past,” explains John Biddiscombe, director of athletics and chair of the Physical Education Department. “The athletic hall of fame will provide a link for our current students, faculty and staff to Wesleyan’s rich athletic history. By knowing our past we better understand the foundations that were laid to support today’s programs.”

The Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame will recognize members of the Wesleyan community for outstanding achievement as an athlete, coach, or for service to sports. Members of the Wesleyan community include, but are not limited to, alumni, coaches, and trainers.

Approximately four individuals will be inducted annually. However, in the first two years this number will be doubled. The recipients will receive a commemorative plaque and their names will also be displayed prominently in the Freeman Athletic Center Warren Street Lobby.

The inaugural Hall of Fame class will be inducted during Reunion & Commencement Weekend 2008.

“What Wesleyan is undertaking is relatively unprecedented among our NESCAC peers,” says sports information director Brian Katten ’79. “Only two of the 11 NESCAC members currently sponsor a Hall of Fame. As someone who has witnessed a lot of Wesleyan sports history as a student, alumnus and veteran sports information director, I appreciate what our athletes, coaches and teams have accomplished. A Hall of Fame is one more way of providing a permanent place for these outstanding achievements to be highlighted.”

The Department of Athletics and Office of Alumni and Parent Relations are seeking nominations for the Hall of Fame. At this time we are not accepting self-nominations or nominations for club sports.

A qualified candidate must be a degree holder from Wesleyan University or a member of the Wesleyan community. Candidates must be at least 10 years post-graduation or, in the cases of non-Wesleyan bachelor degree holders, candidates must have been a member of the Wesleyan community for at least five years. Teams with major accomplishment will also be selected annually.

Nomination categories include: Athlete – candidates nominated in this category must have displayed extraordinary ability while participating in athletics; Coach – candidates nominated in this category must have made outstanding contributions to the field of athletics through coaching and/or with professional coaching organizations; Contributor – outstanding contributor to athletics/sport through clinics, writing, organizations, support of Wesleyan athletics, as an administrator, volunteer work, professional athletics or international sport organizations; and Team – outstanding record or accomplishments such as NCAA championship or finalist, ECAC champion, or undefeated season.

A nominee stays active for five years. If not inducted after the five years, candidates must wait three years before being nominated again. Individuals in any category may be deceased. However, if an individual becomes deceased at least two years must elapse before that individual may be considered.

The Athletics Hall of Fame Selection Committee will only accept nominations submitted using the official nomination form. Additional statements of support received via phone, letter, email or in person cannot be considered. The form is available online here.

Completed forms can be e-mailed to halloffame@wesleyan.edu, or mailed to Kelly Roos, associate director of alumni and parent relations, at 330 High Street, Middletown, CT 06459. Nominations received after Feb.1, 2008 will not be considered for the first class, but will be considered for future classes for up to five years.

For assistance in gathering information on a nominee, contact Brian Katten at bkatten@wesleyan.edu or 860-685-2887.

“It is our hope that by recognizing the accomplishments of Wesleyan athletes through an athletic hall of fame, we will help relight the love that athletic alumni have for the university,” Biddiscombe says.

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor and Brian Katten, sports information director