After decades of recognizing the top athletes ever produced in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame will be moving from Portsmouth to Virginia Beach this summer. The hall officially inducted its seven-member class of 2017, marking the last class to be inducted in the hall’s original city of origin.
Dre Bly, Beth Anders, Bimbo Coles, Kim Hamilton Anthony, Jack Bogaczyk, Claudio Reyna and C.J. Woollum all took their place among the elite athletes, administrators and media members ever to call Virginia home.
Bly was an All-State defensive back at Western Branch High School, an All-American at the University of North Carolina and a Super Bowl champion after his first season in the NFL. He finished his NFL career with 20 interceptions, playing for four different teams over an 11-year career. “I played the game the right way, I wanted to have fun,” said Bly before his induction ceremony on Saturday evening.
Anders is quite possibly the most accomplished head coach in college field hockey history, having led Old Dominion to 28 NCAA Tournaments over a 30-year career. Of those 28 tournament appearances, 17 ended in the championship round, and nine of them ended with the Monarchs bringing home a national title trophy.
Coles, originally recruited to play football at Virginia Tech, instead became of the greatest basketball players in school history. He set the school and the then-Metro Conference scoring record (2,484 career points), was the first ever Tech athlete to compete in the Olympics (Seoul, Korea games in 1988), and later embarked on a 14-year NBA career.
Kim Hamilton Athony, originally from Richmond, was the first African-American to receive a full athletic scholarship to attend UCLA, where she became a 6-time All-American. She brought much of the Renaissance Hotel audience to tears and later to a standing ovation, dedicating much of her success to her mother, who passed away just a week before Kim was to be inducted.
Claudio Reyna was a star soccer player for the University of Virginia, and would later earn world-wide fame playing for four FIFA World Cup teams, including 2006 when he captained the U.S. team.
Finally, Jack Bogaczyk earned national acclaim as a sports writer in Roanoke for 28 years, while C.J. Woollum transformed the Christopher Newport University basketball program into a national powerhouse over 26 seasons.