Multiple classes to be inducted into WVWC Hall of Fame

WVWC Athletic Hall of Fame 2022. The Record Delta Staff

BUCKHANNON — West Virginia Wesleyan College will hold a banquet and ceremony to induct both the class of 2020 and 2021 to the WVWC Athletic Hall of Fame on Thursday, April 21 as part of the school’s Homecoming festivities.  

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony was pushed back to April after West Virginia Wesleyan College rescheduled its 2021 Homecoming until the week of April 22, due to rising COVID-19 cases in Upshur County and West Virginia around the time of the originally scheduled date. 

The 2020 WVWC Athletics Hall of Fame class being recognized consists of Ian Burgess ‘95 (men’s soccer), Scott Gasper ‘99 (football), Lisa Thompson Carter ‘94 (softball), Stephanie Hatfield McCollam ‘05 (track & field, cross country), Nick DiPietro ‘67 (football) and John Esposito ‘69 (men’s soccer). 

DiPietro, a member of the WVWC Class of 1967, was an All-WVIAC selection in football during the 1964 and 1965 seasons, leading the Bobcats’ backfield with 732 rushing yards in 1965. After a stint in the Army as a military police officer, Pietro received several looks on the professional level before choosing to play for the Virginia Sailors of the Atlantic Coast Football League, the developmental affiliate of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.  

Esposito was a member of the WVWC Class of 1969. An early standout for the WVWC men’s soccer program, Esposito earned a selection to the All-WVIAC team in 1968, after firmly establishing himself as one of the best players in the Mountain State for the Bobcats. During his four years on-campus, Esposito helped the Bobcats collect two conference championships in the 1965 and 1966 seasons before going on to enjoy a professional soccer career.  

Thompson-Carter, a member of the WVWC Class of 1995, earned WVIAC Pitcher of the Year honors in 1992 and 1994 for her accomplishments outstanding season on the mound for the Bobcats. In four years, the Ripley, W. Va. native compiled an overall record of 52-13 for an 80% career winning percentage.  

Burgess was the team captain for the 1994 WVWC men’s soccer team. Burgess helped guide his team to the national championship that year, on top of earning WVIAC Player of the Year honors, as well as a selection to the NSCAA All-American team. In his time at WVWC, Burgess was a four-time all-conference honoree and was a part of three conference championship winning teams. Individually, Burgess wrapped up his Bobcat career with 25 goals and 35 assists.  

Gasper was one of the best signal-caller to ever grace the field for the WVWC football program. Gasper was a part of the Bobcats’ 1995 WVIAC Conference championship winning team. Gasper holds a total of nine WVWC passing records and was pick as the WVIAC All-Conference First-Team’s Quarterback in the 1998 season. In his four seasons with the Bobcats, Gasper showed off his accurate arm, efficiently distributing the balls to his teammates en route to compiling the seventh-best passer rating in the nation among eligible players that season. After a stint in professional football with the Norfolk Nighthawks and the Rochester Brigade and the Arena Football League, Gasper joined the coaching ranks. After acting as director of player personnel at Indiana University and East Mississippi Community College, famous for its depiction in the Netflix series Last Chance U., he is currently an offensive recruiting coordinator at WVU for Mountaineer Head Coach Neal Brown.  

Hatfield-McCollam was a five-time WVIC champion and an academic All-American during her time with the Bobcats’ cross country program. Individually, she racked up all-conference selections in all four years with the Bobcats, one of only five women in the history of WVWC to do so. Hatfield-McCollam holds the WVIAC records in the 3,000-meter, 5,000-meter and the 10,000-meter events. 

Headlining the WVWC Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2021 is the recently passed legend, Coach Gavin Donaldson. The former WVWC soccer coach is joined by: Stacy Brown Harlan ‘99 (Swimming), Chris Patella ‘79 (Football), Eugene Rall ‘62 (Football) and Jim Wilkinson ‘60 (Basketball).  

Over the course of 36 seasons as a head coach, Donaldson accumulated 402 total careers wins, 260 of which came during his 31-year stint at WVWC. In 1994, Donaldson led the Bobcats to an NAIA national tile en route to NAIA and NSCAA National of the Year. The West Virginia Wesleyan men’s soccer coaching staff was named Division II National Staff of the Year by United Soccer Coaches for the 2020 season (played in the Spring of 2021).  

Brown Harlan competed on the WVWC Swimming team for four years from 1995-1999. She was the team captain from 1997-99. In her four years of competition, she did not lose a dual meet in the 100-meter or 200-meter backstroke. Brown Harlan is the only WVWC women’s swimmer to qualify for the NCAA National Championships. She qualified for the NCAA Championships in 1996 and 1997 for the 100-meter backstroke. Brown Harlan was named an NCAA Division II All-American in the 200m backstroke (1998) and the 50m freestyle (1999). 

Patella was a two-time first-team All-WVIAC honoree. He was a team captain for the 1977 and 1978 seasons. Patella was named to the 1976 All-WVIAC Honorable Mention team and was awarded honorable mention honors as an All-American in 1977. Patella recorded 87 tackles in 10 games his junior season. 

Rall was a wide receiver and a placekicker on the WVWC football team from 1958-1961. He was co-captain of the 1961 WVIAC championship team that posted an 8-1 record. Rall led the Bobcats in receiving yards his senior year and averaged 14.4 yards/reception. He received WVIAC honorable mention accolades. Rall was awarded the Murmurmontis Sportsmanship Award. 

Wilkinson was named co-captain of the WVWC basketball team in the 1958-59 season. He led his team to a WVIAC tournament championship and an NAIA district championship. Wilkinson was the captain of the Wesleyan baseball team for the 1959 season. After his athletic career at WVWC, Wilkinson accumulated over 400 wins as a high school basketball coach in Pennsylvania. 

The event will be held in the Benedum Campus Center Social Hall with doors opening for a meet and greet at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony to follow shortly after, around 7 p.m., with Bob Skinner as the Master of Ceremonies. Guests need to make reservations through the WVWC Alumni Office with dinner costing $25 per person. Limited seating will be available to the public.

Reservations must be made in advance for the ceremony. Cost of the induction ceremony and the dinner is $25 per person. Reservations can be made by contacting Josh Stump at (304) 437-8600 or by email at [email protected] The ceremony will also be live streamed on mountaineast.tv/wvwc.  

The meet and greet will begin at 5 p.m. and dinner will start at 5:30 p.m. followed by the induction ceremony.

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