May 26, 2005
Two national player of the year athletes and two athletes who ranked among the top 50 female athletes for the first 50 years of the ACC highlight the 2005 Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame class. The class will be inducted at halftime of the Clemson vs. Miami football game at Clemson Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2005.
The class includes Charles Warren, the only Tiger golfer in history to win the NCAA Championship and the 1998 National Player of the Year, baseball pitcher Kris Benson, the 1996 Unanimous Player of the Year in college baseball, and two-time All-America defensive back Donnell Woolford.
Greg Buckner, who led Clemson to a record three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances between 1996-98 and currently a starter with the Denver Nuggets, Cindy Stern-DeMartino, the first All-American in ACC volleyball history, and Gigi Fernandez, Clemson's first NCAA finalist in women's tennis, are also former star athletes in the class. Dr. Byron Harder, Clemson team physician for 33 years who will retire this summer, and former NCAA Faculty Representative Ken Vickery, are two administrators named to the noteworthy eight-person class.
Benson was named the National Player of the Year in College Baseball in 1996. He was a Unanimous first-team All-American that year when he posted a 14-2 record and a record 204/27 strikeout/walk ratio. He was not only named the ACC Player of the Year, he was named the ACC Athlete of the Year for all sports for the 1995-96 academic year. He is still the only Clemson athlete in any sport to win that award.
After his junior year at Clemson, Benson was the number-one selection of the Major League Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, the only Clemson athlete in any sport to be chosen number-one in any draft. He was also a pitcher on the United States Olympic team that year. In 2003 he was named to the ACC's 50-Year Anniversary baseball team. He is currently a starting pitcher with the New York Mets.
Woolford was a first-team All-America cornerback in 1987 and 1988, and joins Terry Kinard as the only two-time All-America defensive backs in Clemson history. Woolford is still Clemson's career leader in pass deflections with 44. The native of Fayetteville, NC was a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award in 1988 and was a first-round pick (11th overall selection) of the Chicago Bears in 1988. He was named to Clemson's Centennial Team in 1996. Woolford played in the NFL between 1989 and 1998 and was a Pro Bowl starter in 1993 when he played for the Chicago Bears.
Buckner became the first Tiger men's basketball player in history to start for three NCAA Tournament teams and four postseason tournament teams. He was Clemson's leading scorer for four straight years, just the fifth player in ACC history to accomplish this feat. He concluded his Clemson career ranked fourth in scoring with 1754 points. Buckner was an All-ACC player in 1996-97 when he led the Tigers to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and a number-eight final ranking by USA Today. He was also an All-ACC player as a senior in 1997-98, the last year Clemson advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
` A starter in a Clemson record 122 consecutive games, Buckner was named ACC Rookie of the Year in 1994-95, the only Clemson basketball player to win that award. A second-round draft choice in the NBA after his senior year, he was a starter for the Denver Nuggets this past year, his sixth season in the NBA.
Warren won the 1997 NCAA Championship in men's golf, the only Clemson golfer in history to win that tournament. He also finished second in 1998, his senior year, when he won the Dave Williams Award as the outstanding senior golfer in the nation. The native of Columbia, who is the son of a former University of South Carolina cheerleader, won the ACC Championship in 1997 and 1998, the only Clemson golfer to win that tournament twice. He is the only ACC golfer in history to win the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Championship in the same year.
A three-time All-ACC player and three-time All-American, Warren was named the IPTAY Athlete of the Year for the 1996-97 academic year and was named to the ACC's 50-year Anniversary men's golf team in 2003. Warren won two Nationwide Tour events in 2004 and is currently playing on the PGA Tour.
Fernandez played just one season of women's tennis for the Lady Tigers, but what a season it was. As a freshman she compiled a 40-7 record in singles play and a 30-9 ledger in doubles play. The 40 singles victories still rank third best in Clemson history, while the doubles victory total is the second most for a season in school history. She was the number-two singles champion in 1983 and advanced to the NCAA Finals, the only Clemson women's tennis player in history to reach the national finals.
A medallist at the Pan American Games in singles and doubles in 1983, Fernandez went on to win Olympic Gold Medals for the United States in 1992 and 1996 as a doubles player. She was also a member of the 1990, 1991 and 1992 United States Federation Cup Team. Also a three-time doubles champion at Wimbledon, she was named to the ACC 50-Year Anniversary women's tennis team in 2003. She is currently the head women's tennis coach at the University of South Florida.
Stern-DeMartino is the most decorated women's volleyball athlete in Clemson history. She led Clemson to the ACC regular season championship in 1999 when the Tigers posted a 31-3 record. She was named the ACC Player of the Year and was named an All-American, the first volleyball All-American in ACC history. She was named to the USA National team in 1997. In 2003, Stern-DeMartino was named to the ACC's 50-Year Anniversary volleyball team and was named one of the top 50 Women' Athletes in ACC history.
Harder has been Clemson's team physician since 1972, the longest tenure for any Clemson team physician in school history. He provided the medical needs for all four of Clemson's National Championship teams and supervised medical needs of over 10,000 Clemson student-athletes in his career. The 1964 Clemson graduate, served the United States in Viet Nam in 1971.
Vickery served as Clemson's Registrar from 1955-70 and was the Dean of Admissions and the University's Registrar between 1970-82. Vickery served the University from an athletics standpoint from 1971-82 when he was the NCAA Faculty Representative. During his final academic year at Clemson the school won the National Championship in football. He was also the President of the Atlantic Coast Conference during the 1976-77 academic year.
Vickery was the recipient of Clemson Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award, in 1977. Clemson's Academic Learning Center for Athletes, Vickery Hall, was dedicated in his honor in 1991.