VALDOSTA, Ga. - The largest class in the 18 year history of the Valdosta State Athletics Hall of Fame will be inducted as part of the 2014 Class as seven former student-athletes, one administrator and one booster will join the Hall of Fame in February of 2014.
The class represents a diverse group of former Valdosta State athletes as the seven players are from seven different sports. The class of nine inductees is one more than the previous high of eight, established with the Hall of Fame's initial class in 1997.
"We are happy to honor these nine people who have represented our university so well, whether it be in their arena of play or as contributors to our program," said VSU Athletic Director Herb Reinhard in making the announcement. "We have always prided ourselves in putting only the very best qualified nominees into our Hall of Fame, and as such, have had smaller classes. However, over the last several years, the number of eligible nominees has grown so significantly that we felt it the right time to increase our class size."
The seven inductees include:
Softball's Alex Acosta: A member of the 2007 and 2008 Blazer softball teams, Acosta earned All-America honors both seasons she played for VSU. She led Valdosta State with a .360 batting average in 2007 while earning GSC East Player of the Year honors and had 12 home runs and 61 RBI that season while scoring 43 runs. Acosta was also the GSC East Player of the Year as a senior in 2008 during which she batted .376 with 13 home runs, 64 RBI and 52 runs scored. On her career, Acosta batted .369 and had 25 home runs, 125 runs batted in and 95 runs scored and earned Academic All-America honors both years.
Men's Basketball's Kenny Alston: A star for the Blazers from 1971 through 1975, Alston played in 77 career games and scored 1,446 career points, the 10th most in school history. He averaged 18.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for his career. Alston averaged 15.7 points and 11.7 rebounds as a freshman, 15.4 points and 11.5 rebounds as a sophomore, 23.5 points and 8.2 rebounds as a junior and 24.6 points and 10.9 rebounds as a senior and owned a career field goal percentage of 52.3 percent. His 18.8 points per game ranks third-best all-time at Valdosta State.
Baseball's Wayne Fugett: Fugett was a four-year letterwinner and two-time All-America as he starred for the Blazers 1980 through 1983. Wayne finished his career with a .335 career batting average. He batted .379 with 13 doubles, a triple and 10 home runs as well as 46 runs scored and 57 driven in while earning All-America honors in 1983. Wayne also earned All-American status in 1982 after batting .340 with 13 doubles, two triples and 15 home runs to go along with 55 runs scored and 67 RBI.
Booster Shirley McCully: McCully first became a fan of Valdosta State during the 1960's when her husband, VSU Athletics Hall of Fame member Ray McCully, played basketball for the Valdosta State College Rebels. The couple returned to Valdosta in 1984, at which time they became adamant supporters of all Blazer Athletic teams. Their generosity has touched an untold number of VSU student-athletes. Shirley's ever-present smile can be seen at a number of events, both home and on the road. The induction of Shirly McCully gives Valdosta State its first pair of married honorees.
Men's Tennis' Jay Penny: Penny played for the men's tennis team from 1978 through 1980. He was the No. 1 player on a pair of Blazer teams that won South Atlantic Conference championships and earned All-American honors in 1980. Penny reached the quarterfinals of the 1980 national tournament and the round of 16 of the 1979 national tournament.
Football's Sherard Reynolds: Reynolds is the only VSU football player to three times be named an All-America as he starred for Valdosta State from 2005 through 2008. He played wide receiver as a freshman and was named to the All-Gulf South Conference team, before moving to safety the following year. Reynolds was named an All-American during each of his last three seasons, during which he tallied 243 career tackles. He is second all-time in VSU history with 14 interceptions and broke up 18 passes on his career. Reynolds was also a threat in punt returns as he is second all-time in punt return yardage at 13.8 yards per return. In four years, he returned 68 punts for 937 yards and holds the VSU single season record for punt return yardage with 16.5 yards per return in 2006. Reynolds is also sixth on that list with 13.3 yards per return in 2007 and owns both the first and second highest single game punt return games in school history, having tallied 168 yards against Arkansas Tech and 154 versus Southern Arkansas, both during the 2006 season. He also owns two of the school's top 10 longest punt returns of all time as well as the eighth-best single season kickoff return average. He ranks 10th all-time in VSU history in career kickoff return yardage and also ranks among the top 10 in single season passes broken-up, standing fifth with 12 in 2007, and in interceptions in a season, as he is third with seven in 2007.
Administrator Bobby Tucker: Tucker first came to the Blazers as a men's basketball coach during the 1970's before leaving the school to pursue a degree in Athletic Training. He returned to Valdosta State in the early 1980's and worked as both an Athletic Trainer and professor for the school. He later took on the job of Faculty Athletic Representative for the Athletic Department before also becoming the Department's Compliance Director, all while continuing to teach for the University and serve as an Academic Advisor. Tucker retired from the University this past year, but continues to help out in the Athletic Department as an advisor.
Golf's Tevis Upton: A member of the golf team in 1997 through 1999, Upton earned All-America honors in both 1998 and 1999. He played 68 rounds as a Blazer and saw his score count in 53, or in 78 percent of his rounds. He owned a career stroke average of 75.2 and registered 10 top 10 career finishes and 13 rounds of par or better. Upton led Valdosta State to a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Championship as a senior in 1999 and a sixth-place showing as a junior in 1998. His top career finish came in the 1999 Florida A&M Springtime Invitational as he won the event with a one-over 145 for the two round event. He averaged 75.4 strokes per round his senior season after averaging 74.3 per round as junior. Upon graduating from Valdosta State, Upton went on to a have a successful amateur career.
Women's Basketball's Diedre Williams: Williams starred for the Lady Blazers from 1992 through 1996, during which she played in all 106 games and made 30 starts. She earned All-America honors and first team All-Gulf South Conference as a senior in 1995-96 after averaging 19.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, a season in which she led the nation in field goal percentage and set a VSU record as she made 219-of-288 field goal attempts, or 76.0 percent of her shots. On her career, Diedre averaged 11.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game and finished her four-year career 13th in career points at Valdosta State with 1,188. She holds the VSU career field goal percentage record at 67.6 percent as well as the Lady Blazer single game field goal percentage record having made all 10 of her shots in a game during her senior season. Williams averaged 10.2 points and 6.1 rebounds a game as a junior, 6.1 points and 5.7 rebounds as a sophomore and 8.2 points and 6.8 rebounds as a freshman.
The 2014 Valdosta State Athletic Hall of Fame class will be inducted at a lunchtime ceremony on Saturday, February 1. For ticket information, please contact the Valdosta State Special Events office at 229-333-5998 or the Athletic Department at 229-333-5890.