The new members of the N.C. State Athletic Hall of Fame gathered in front of a temporary display filled with the mementos and biographies of all three classes on Friday afternoon before the gala ceremony on campus.
It was just the inductees and their families and it was a very 2014 moment. Cellphones were out, pictures were taken and the group posed for digital posterity.
In another two years, the hall of fame will have a permanent home at a renovated Reynolds Coliseum. Lou Pucillo, a point guard who helped put ACC basketball on the map in the 1950s for legendary coach Everett Case, was in awe of how far N.C. State has come in the past six decades and honored by his place in its history.
“The only thing permanent is change,” Pucillo said.
And more change is coming for the school and the hall of fame. Friday’s ceremony was held at the Talley Student Union, a $120 million project which has given central campus a major facelift.
The $35 million renovation of Reynolds will start in March and is expected to be completed by August 2016. Reynolds will house the Walk of History and Fame and will give the hall of fame, which athletic director Debbie Yow started in 2012, its own home.
This year’s group of inductees, the last of the 10-member classes, plumbs into the school’s rich athletic history, going back to Jack McDowall – a four-sport standout in the 1920s – and up to the 1990s with women’s soccer star Charmaine Hooper and All-ACC women’s basketball player Chasity Melvin.
Pucillo, the 1959 ACC player of the year, and Dick Dickey, a three-time All-American from 1946 to ’50, were the newest members from the men’s basketball program.
Defensive tackle Dennis Byrd, the first All-American in football in 1967, and receiver Danny Peebles, also a track standout for the school in the 1980s, were the newest inductees from the football program.
Longtime baseball coach Sam Esposito and swimmer Dr. Steve Rerych were also honored Friday night. Wendell Murphy became the first inductee who wasn’t a coach or former athlete. Murphy, who has donated millions of dollars to the school’s facility improvements and is a former member of the school’s board of trustees, never thought he would be included in the hall.
“I’m very reluctant to be honored,” said Murphy, 76. “I was absolutely shocked by it. I’m humbled by it and I’m very grateful for it.”