The Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame inducted seven new members Friday night to represent the Class of 2022 at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.
With the addition of two NCAA champions, two Super Bowl champions and multiple ACC honorees, the coveted club continues to grow in both prestige and heritage, elevating the hierarchy for those lucky enough to have earned a plaque that high on the walls hangs the Cassell Coliseum Hall.
The impressive Class of 2022 was selected to further delve into the pinnacle and foundation of Virginia Tech athletics. All-American weight thrower Dorotea Habazin, 2006 Dudley Award winner Vince Hall, two-time national weight thrower champion Marcel Lomnický, and six-time ACC swimming and diving champion Sara Smith.
“[This is] It’s quite an honor, especially to be standing alongside so many of the previous initiates and others who are here tonight,” exclaimed Smith, a former 2007 All-American pool honoree. “Swimming and diving represent too and to be able to represent Virginia Tech, especially with my family…it’s an honor.”
Smith excelled in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, and 200-meter freestyle relay during her time in Blacksburg, in which she broke all school records. And after putting on the goggles in her senior season, she left Tech as both the fastest swimmer in program and ACC history to cap a remarkable career.
“[To be] so honored…it’s a testament to the work that has been shown here over the years and all the hard work that has gone into it,” added Chancellor, a two-time All-Pro with the Seattle Seahawks. “If you put a lot of effort into it [that work] in your craft and in this game, it just means a lot. I am honored to be honored here at Virginia Tech.”
Chancellor recorded 208 total tackles during his time in Maroon and Orange and added four Pro Bowl appearances to a strong list of accolades after exiting the Hokies’ secondary school after a strong four-year career.
Hall, a former four-year starter while in the New River Valley, holds Virginia Tech’s record for consecutive games, which began with 44 consecutive appearances on the football field. Arians, who laced up for Tech from 1971 to 1974, spent eight seasons in the head coach’s NFL chair, including a Super Bowl championship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gentry, a member of the USA Strength and Conditioning Hall of Fame, served in 29 significant seasons in the maroon and orange colors during the growth of former head coach Frank Beamer’s program from 1987 to 2015.
Lomnický left the griddle and finished his college career as one of the most accomplished athletes in tech history, making three Olympic appearances and becoming the third hokie to win multiple NCAA titles with his 2012 weight throwing championship. Habazi’s performances on the racetrack also remain historic. The Croatian native became only the second woman to ever win a national title at Virginia Tech, winning an impressive four ACC titles during her amateur career, including three in the hammer throw and one in the weight throw.
“I think it’s fantastic to be bringing all these ex-players back to town first of all,” said Mike Burnop, a Class of 2000 inductee of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame. “This particular class is so cool because there are four football-related people. Think of the great work Mike Gentry did here with Coach Beamer. Kam Chancellor had a great career here and in the NFL, Bruce Arians… Vince Hall. But you also have athletics, swimming and diving, all [different sports]…it covers the whole range.
“It’s good to get her back. They say: this is home and it’s good to bring her back home.”
The term, this is home applies to any event related to Virginia Tech athletics. A night like this in particular is a culmination of hard work, dedication and achievement that brings everyone back into the inner circle that surrounds tech athletics and truly brings home many from near and far.
Take the words of Arians, for example. The former record-breaking quarterback and star-signal caller has been to a variety of places during his coaching career. But nights like this serve as a reminder of what’s really home for the two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year.
“[This is] somewhere [where I have] great memories that will never go away,” Arians explained. “I’ve spent seven years here, seven of the greatest years of all time. It’s always very important to come back here…it means the world. You’re a hokie for life.”
The class of seven brings the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame to a total of 218 members. Established in 1982, the Hall of Fame is located at the south end of the Cassell Coliseum Ambulatory. The seven new members will be recognized at halftime in Saturday’s football game against Georgia Tech.
For more information on the career accomplishments of the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame class of 2022 inductees, click here.