NC State honors history in new Hall of fame class

jgiglio@newsobserver.comApril 16, 2014 

— There is an educational element to the third class of N.C. State’s Athletic Hall of Fame, which was announced Wednesday.

With most of the obvious coaches and star athletes going in the first two classes, the committee dug deeper into school history for the new, 10-person class.

Jack McDowall, who played four sports – the last of which was in 1929 – headlines a diverse class that includes the Hall’s first women’s soccer player, Charmaine Hooper, and the first special contributor, Wendell Murphy.

Two of the best men’s basketball players for legendary coach Everett Case – Dick Dickey and Lou Pucillo – are in the class, as is Chasity Melvin, the star of N.C. State’s only women’s basketball team to make the Final Four.

Longtime baseball coach Sam Esposito, football great Dennis Byrd, swimmer Dr. Steve Rerych and Danny Peebles, a standout in track and football, round out the class which will be honored Friday, Oct. 10 at a gala celebration at Reynolds Coliseum.

“Once again, the committee made excellent choices for the third class being inducted into the N.C. State Athletic Hall of Fame,” N.C. State athletic director Debbie Yow said in a statement released by the school.

“Telling the N.C. State story through the inductions makes the achievements come alive to those who attend the gala.”

McDowall is one of the most accomplished athletes in school history. He played football, basketball, baseball and ran track. He led N.C. State to a Southern Conference title in football in 1927 and another in basketball two years later. McDowall is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

Case was part of the inaugural class in 2012, and Dickey and Pucillo are the second and third of his former players to join him in the N.C. State Hall of Fame. Ronnie Shavlik was inducted last year.

Dickey was a three-time All-American, one of three in school history, and led the Wolfpack to four straight Southern Conference titles, from 1946 to 1950. Pucillo, a point guard, was the ACC Player of the Year and an All-American in 1959.

Melvin helped legendary coach Kay Yow and the Wolfpack women reach the Final Four in 1998 and played for 12 years in the WNBA.

Esposito won 513 baseball games in 21 seasons and led the 1968 team to the College World Series. He’s only the second coach, from outside the basketball program, to be elected to the hall.

Byrd, an All-American defensive lineman, led the Wolfpack’s “White Shoes” defense to a No. 3 ranking – the highest in school history – in 1967. The Lincolnton native is also in the College Football Hall of Fame.

Hooper led the women’s soccer program to its only ACC title in 1988 and a spot in the national title game that same season. She was an All-American in 1989 and ’90 and is the leading scorer in school history.

Rerych was a three-time All-American swimmer in the 1960s, nine-time ACC champion and won two gold medals at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Peebles, a prep star at Broughton, was a nine-time All-American and nine-time ACC champion in track in the 1980s. He was on the 4x100 relay team that won the 1985 NCAA title. A receiver for the Wolfpack football team, he was a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1989 and spent three seasons in the NFL.

Murphy’s name is synonymous with N.C. State’s athletic program. He has donated millions of dollars in financial support to the school, notably for the construction of PNC Arena and also the Murphy Center, the football operations facility next to Carter-Finley Stadium.

The hall of fame will have a permanent home in August 2016 after the renovation of Reynolds Coliseum is scheduled to be complete.

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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