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05/03/2013

Hall of Fame Ceremony Captures Memories of President and Others' Contributions

Quick Facts

 During DiGiorgio's tenure at Winthrop, the intercollegiate athletics program has grown from 12 to 18 teams, and new facilities have been constructed for baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and soccer.
 Former Coach Gregg Marshall explained his team's motto of "play angry" meant to play passionate, to be engaged and to be as well-prepared as possible. He urged Eagle fans to turn out in record-numbers once again at the Coliseum to “cheer angry.”

/uploadedImages/news/Articles/HallofFame2013.jpg
Lisa Mullins Wilkins,`91, front row from left; Stephanie Morris,`87; Darrlyn
Alexander, `84; Athletics Director Tom Hickman; back row, from left, former
Mens Basketball Head Coach Gregg Marshall; President Anthony DiGiorgio;
and Jason Colson, `01. Vali Arnason `04 couldn't attend.
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Retiring President Anthony DiGiorgio and former men's basketball coach Gregg Marshall headlined the Winthrop Athletics 2013 Hall of Fame Class which was inducted April 27 in the Richardson Ballroom of the DiGiorgio Campus Center.

DiGiorgio, the longest serving president in the state of South Carolina, will retire this summer after 24 years. During his tenure at Winthrop, the intercollegiate athletics program has grown from 12 to 18 teams, and new facilities have been constructed for baseball, softball, track and field, tennis and soccer.

The president told the crowd of 250 people that Winthrop had Division I athletics only about four years before he arrived. “I likened my tenure here with athletics to raising a toddler to one that is now 30 something,” DiGiorgio said. In his early years, the athletics staffing was lean, with some coaches overseeing two sports, there were a high percentage of part-time coaches and staff members handled multiple duties. Resources also were minimal for scholarships and for operational budgets.

He recalled the Coliseum seats were purple and orange, which are not Winthrop colors.

The Winthrop Coliseum has since undergone extensive renovation. DiGiorgio has been a strong supporter for intercollegiate athletics and has served two terms on the NCAA board of directors, as well as two terms as president of the Big South Conference.

He credited the success of the program due to multiple partnerships. “We’ve become the pacesetters in the Big South and others have since geared up in a big way,” DiGiorgio said. “I will take take some credit for having an idea, having a vision and being persistent if not obstinate in pursuit of it.”

DiGiorgio said he has many lasting memories from the thousands of athletes, hundreds of teams, innumerable contests, scores of championships, long and short road trips. “To cap it off this way is very special,” he added.

One coach who certainly brought plenty of attention to Winthrop was Marshall, who served as the men's basketball coach for nine years and directed the program to seven Big South Conference tournament championships and seven trips to the NCAA tournament. His last Winthrop team achieved the first NCAA first-round tournament victory for the school and Big South Conference when the Eagles defeated Notre Dame.

When Marshall left Winthrop following the 2006-07 season, he was the winningest coach in Big South history with 194 victories.

For the past six years Marshall has served as head coach at Wichita State. His Shocker teams captured the 2011 NIT Championship in Madison Square Garden and this past season, he coached his team to the NCAA Final Four as champions of the West Regional. The Shocker motto was to “play angry.”

Marshall explained the term meant to play passionate, to be engaged and to be as well-prepared as possible. He urged teachers to “teach angry” and for Eagle fans to turn out in record-numbers once again at the Coliseum to “cheer angry.”

The other 2013 Hall of Fame Class recipients were: former softball pitcher Darrlyn Alexander `84, men's soccer standout Vali Arnason `04, baseball slugger Jason Colson `01, women's basketball record holder Stephanie Morris `86 and volleyball player Lisa Mullins Wilkins `91. Arnason was not able to attend the ceremony as he is playing professional soccer in Iceland.

Colson holds the Big South career home run record and was inducted into the Big South Hall of Fame in 2012 the same time as Coach Gregg Marshall.

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