INDUCTION JUNCTION

The Athletics Hall of Fame will welcome six new members this fall

By DANIEL HOOKER ’01

Six former Catamount athletes with ties dating from the 1950s through the present make up the 2010 Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame class, which will be inducted during festivities surrounding the final Catamount football home game, Saturday, Nov. 13. The 21st such grouping in WCU history includes former student-athletes from three sports.

Tom Bodine ’95

Tom Bodine ’95 (1991-94), one of three linebackers named to the Western Carolina All-20th Century team in 2000, becomes the third such defender to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame, joining counterparts Louis Cooper ’87 (1981-84) and Steve Yates (1971-74). The all-time leader in tackles in Catamount football history with 453, Bodine led the Catamounts in total hits from 1991 through 1993 to be the only Catamount dating back to 1976 to have led the squad in tackles for three consecutive seasons.

A native of Pickens, S.C., Bodine finished with 30 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks and three interceptions, starting 44 games during his four-year career. He was a three-time All-Southern Conference linebacker, garnering first-team accolades in 1993 and 1994. During his senior year, Bodine was selected preseason Southern Conference and NCAA I-AA National Defensive Player of the Year, earning honorable mention as a 1994 All-America selection by The Sports Network.

Tobe Childers

The involvement of Tobe Childers (1957-60) with WCU spans more than a half a century, from his playing days as a quarterback for the Catamount football team to a benefactor and fundraiser for student-athletes ever since. One of his most vocal and visible accomplishments was the founding of “the Herd,” an unofficial support group composed of football alumni with membership totaling more than 120.

During an era in which passing was the exception, not the norm, Childers completed 72 percent of his pass attempts, tossing only four interceptions in his four-year career. He was instrumental in WCU’s 7-2-1 overall record in 1959, also guiding the school to a winning record (6-5) in 1960. In recent years, Childers has been a driving force behind several athletics fundraising initiatives through the Catamount Club, serving two terms as president. For his efforts, Childers received the 2007 Southern Conference Distinguished Service Award for Western Carolina.

Kerry Hayes ’96

Kerry Hayes ’96 (1991-94) was one of the best all-around athletes in WCU football history as a wide receiver and kick returner. With 975 yards on punt returns, 2,058 yards on kickoff returns and 2,608 receiving yards, Hayes continues to hold the WCU all-purpose-yards career record with 5,617 while also holding the markers for most yards per play in a game (47.5), season (21.8) and career (19.2).

Hayes is one of just six Catamounts all-time to garner first-team All-Southern Conference accolades three or more times, doing so in 1992, ’93 and ’94. He also was a two-time All-America selection by the Associated Press. In 2000, the Camden, S.C., native was named to WCU’s All-20th Century team as a kick returner. He led the team in both kickoff and punt return yardage from 1991 through ’94, setting seven SoCon and four NCAA I-AA records for kick returns, including scoring seven touchdowns on returns.

Anquell McCollum ’01

Anquell McCollum ’01 (1992-96) has been the face of the modern era for WCU men’s basketball since the early 1990s. The leader of WCU’s first-ever men’s Southern Conference Championship basketball team in 1996, McCollum returned to Cullowhee in 2007 as an assistant coach, a role he continues today.

McCollum was a first-team all-conference selection in 1995 and ’96, also winning all-freshman plaudits in 1993. He is one of just four former Catamounts to have ever earned SoCon Player of the Year accolades. During the magical 1996 season – which saw the Catamounts rebound from a 3-10 start to win 14 of their final 16 games and nearly shock top-seeded Purdue in the NCAA tournament – McCollum led the SoCon in scoring and ranked sixth nationally with a 25-points-per-game average. He finished as WCU’s career 3-pointers leader with 245, a mark surpassed in 2009-10 by Jake Robinson ’10 while Assistant Coach McCollum cheered him on.

Gaston Seal ’64 MAEd ’72

Gaston Seal ’64 MAEd ’72 (1960-63) was a four-year starter on the men’s basketball hardwood from 1960-63 as a part of Catamount teams that combined to win 80 games. Seal was among the starting five on teams that claimed the Carolina’s Conference Championship in 1962 with a 21-8 record. He also started for the team that won a school-record 28 games and advanced to the NAIA National Championship in 1963, finishing as national runner-up with a 28-7 ledger and earning Hall of Fame induction in 2003.

Seal, who continues to rank sixth in the school’s record books with 681 career rebounds, will join former teammates Danny Tharpe ’65 (1991), Mel Gibson ’63 MAEd ’67 (1992), Tommy Lavelle ’64 (2000) and Darrell Murray (2006) in the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame. A resident of Glenville, Seal has remained a significant financial contributor to WCU and is a longtime backer of Catamount athletics through the support of the Catamount Club.

Rebecca Twiner Hastings ’04

Rebecca Twiner Hastings ’04 (2000-04) is the first women’s golfer to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame. Twiner was instrumental in initiating the success the WCU women’s golf program has enjoyed over the past 10 years. The Crystal River, Fla., native was among the first women to break the 70-seasonal scoring average barrier and ranks 11th on WCU’s all-time career scoring charts (78.87).

A team leader and All-Southern Conference selection on the Catamounts’ first SoCon championship squad in 2003, Twiner was the first women’s golfer since 1997 to win a multiround tournament, taking individual medalist honors at the Belmont Lady Bruin Invitational in September 2001. She additionally picked up All-SoCon honors in 2004 on a team that finished second in the league championship. Twiner, who earned the team’s player of the year honor after her rookie season in 2000, finished in the top 10 in 12 career events, including twice claiming individual tournament titles.