Five Named To Tech Hall Of Fame
Former Football Head Coach Jerry Claiborne joins four former Tech student-athletes
August 3, 2003

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The late Jerry Claiborne, who coached Virginia Tech football teams to 61 victories and two Liberty Bowl appearances during the 1960s, joins four former Tech student-athletes in the latest class elected to the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.

    The other newly-elected members are:

  • Ron Davidson, an outstanding defensive back who helped the Hokies to two bowl appearances in the mid-1960s and still holds a prominent spot in the Tech record book for pass interceptions.

  • Anne Jones Thompson, a key contributor to the Virginia Tech women's tennis program as both a player and a coach.

  • Wayne Robinson, a star big-man on Tech basketball teams of the late 1970s who helped Tech to its only Metro Conference Tournament title and went on to play in the NBA.

  • Dennis Scott, who set numerous records on the way to All-America honors as a sprinter in track and also started as a running back and wingback on Tech football teams in the late 1970s.

The five new honorees will be inducted at a Hall of Fame dinner on the Tech campus on Friday, Sept. 26, the evening before Tech's home football game against Connecticut. Each of the living inductees and families of all the inductees will also be introduced to fans at halftime of the football game.

Claiborne's Tech teams were known for their work ethic, as well as for strong defense and a well-schooled kicking game. Tech led the Southern Conference in total defense and pass defense in 1961 and 1962. In 1963, the Hokies were second in the nation in pass interceptions. Claiborne was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year in '63 after Tech won its only outright league title.

From 1963-67, Virginia Tech was the 12th winningest football program in the country under Claiborne. With 36 wins, 13 losses and one tie, the Hokies were ranked right behind Notre Dame. Claiborne guided Tech to the Liberty Bowl in both 1966 and 1968, becoming the first Tech coach to take the Hokies to two bowl games. The bowl experience left an indelible mark on at least one of Claiborne's players. Frank Beamer, a starting defensive back from 1966-68, would return to lead Tech football to unprecedented success.

Claiborne continued his coaching career at Maryland, where he was the head coach from 1972-81, and Kentucky, where he served as head coach from 1982-88. He retired with an overall coaching record of 179 wins, 122 losses and eight ties.

In 1965, Davidson was one of the most productive members of the Tech freshman squad. He even handled most of the punting and kicking chores that year, along with playing in the secondary. Davidson was the only sophomore starter in the Hokies' 1966 season opener against Tulane. He helped Tech limit its '66 opponents to a combined total of six touchdown passes, only one of which covered more that 10 yards. His game-saving tackle in the final seconds at Kentucky preserved a 7-0 Tech victory over the Wildcats that season.

Davidson ranked second nationally in interceptions during the 1967 season when he picked off nine passes. He played a key roll in a 20-7 win at West Virginia, intercepting two passes and returning a punt 73-yards to set up a touchdown. Later in the season, he set a Tech single-game record with three interceptions at Florida State. That mark has been tied 11 times, but never broken. Davidson's nine interceptions established a school season record that still stands today, 35 seasons later.

During his senior season in 1968, Davidson took over the Hokies' punt return duties and helped out on kickoff returns. He also picked off four more passes to establish a Tech career mark for interceptions (13) that stood until 1978. He capped his senior season by contributing 10 tackles and an interception in Tech's Liberty Bowl game against Mississippi. Davidson served as a captain on the 1968 team along with Beamer and Waddey Harvey, another Tech Hall of Fame member.

As a player, Jones lettered all four seasons at Tech, winning the Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Championship in 1979 and finishing as a runner-up in Metro Conference singles competition in 1981. Jones finished with a career winning percentage of .640 in both singles and doubles, which still ranks her among the top 15 in both categories.

While earning a master's degree in exercise physiology from Tech, Jones served as assistant coach for the women's team. After coaching at the high school level during the spring of 1984, the War, WVa., native was named the head women's tennis coach at Tech in 1985. She held that position for 16 years before retiring after the 2000 season.

In the 16 years Jones coached the team, the Hokies won 260 matches and lost 159, making her the winningest women's tennis coach in school history. The team finished third in the Metro Conference six times, won the Eastern Collegiate Invitational in 1988, claimed the Atlantic 10 Conference title all five years the Hokies were in the league and captured the 1998 ECAC Team Tournament Championship. During that span, the Tech program produced its first two nationally ranked women's tennis players, as well as 18 regionally ranked players, eight All-Metro selections and 27 All-Atlantic 10 picks. Jones was named A-10 Women's Tennis Coach of the Year for the 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000 seasons.

Jones' teams also excelled in academics. The Hokies were named an Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-America Academic Team each of Jones' last four seasons as head coach. Tech also had 52 women's tennis players named to the Metro Conference Commissioner's List for Academic Excellence and 20 players named to the Atlantic 10 All-Academic team during Jones' tenure.

Robinson was a central figure in Tech's drive to that Metro Conference Tournament title. When leading scorer Dale Solomon was forced to miss the opening game of the tournament against Cincinnati and star center Pat Cummings, Robinson took charge. The Tech junior was the hero of the day, outplaying Cummings and finally fouling out the Bearcat star on a dunk in the closing minutes. Robinson finished the 80-74 Tech victory with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He went on to lead the tourney in rebounds (27), blocked shots (7) and steals (9). He was named to the all-tournament team and finished second in the voting for MVP behind Solomon.

Robinson was Tech's leading rebounder each of his three years as a starter. He averaged 12.4 points and 9.2 rebounds in 1977-78, 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds in 1978-79 and 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in 1979-80. He shot 51.7 percent from the field for his Tech career and 74.4 percent from the free throw line. Robinson ranked fourth among the Hokies' career rebound leaders and 10th among the school's scoring leaders when he graduated. His 852 career rebounds currently rank seventh at Tech, while his 1,283 career points now stand 19th. He also ranks fifth in career blocked shots and seventh in career field goal percentage.

Following his senior season, Robinson was named the MVP for the winning Atlantic Region All-Stars in the Shoney's All-Star Classic. He scored 17 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to help the Atlantic Region team to a win over the Southeast Region All-Stars. Robinson was the first pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 1980 National Basketball Association Draft. He went on to play for the Lakers and Detroit Pistons in the NBA and also spent seven years playing professionally in Europe.

Scott became just the second Tech track and field competitor ever to earn All-America honors when he finished fifth in the 60-yard dash during the 1978 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. The Tech junior proved his mettle by beating Olympian Harvey Glance in the semifinal heat.

The All-America honors capped a fine indoor season for the Jesup, Ga., native. Scott won championships that season at the East Coast Invitational, the N.C. State Invitational and the Last Chance Relays in Murfreesboro, Tenn. During a semifinal heat at the East Coast meet, Scott turned in a school-record clocking of 6.0 seconds in the 60, which at the time was just two-tenths of a second off the world record (hand-timed).

Scott won the outdoor Virginia Collegiate championship in the 100 meters as a freshman and sophomore. He was also a state indoor title-holder in the 60. Scott set school marks in the 100 meters (10.2) and 200 meters (21.2), as well as in the 60. His times still rank among the top five in all three events. He was also a member of several record-setting relay teams, including 4x100 indoor and outdoor teams that still hold Tech marks.

On the football field, Scott started as a running back in Coach Jimmy Sharpe's wishbone formation in 1977, then move to a starting wingback slot when Bill Dooley took over as the head coach in 1978. Scott rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 56 carries his junior year. He led the Hokies in receptions the following year as a wingback, catching 21 passes for 300 yards and one TD. He also rushed for 182 yards and a TD on 19 carries. His 74-yard touchdown reception against VMI was Tech's longest reception of the '78 season.

Scott currently lives in North Canton, Ohio where he is a district manager with Merial Limited, a Merck & Aventis Company.

Enshrined earlier in the Tech Hall of Fame were: Carroll Dale, Chris Smith, George Preas, Bob Schweickert, Johnny Oates, Allan Bristow, Leo Burke, Tim Collins, Madison Nutter, Don Strock, John Wetzel, Harry Bushkar, Howie Wright, Dickie Beard, Glen Combs, Tom Beasley, Brandon Glover, Mike Widger, George Foussekis, Stuart Johnson, Leland Melear, Bill Buchanan, Jerry Gaines, Ken Whitley, Bill Grossman, Jack Burrows, Wendy Weisend, Mac Banks, Lewis Mills, Franklin Stubbs, Keith Neff, Howard Pardue, Lucy Hawk Banks, Roy Beskin, Bill Matthews, Jack Prater, Dale Solomon, Ginny Lessmann Stonick, Neff McClary, Mike Johnson, Linda King Steel, Tony Paige, Bruce Smith, Louis Ripley, Dell Curry, Connie Sellers, Dick Arnold, Frank Beamer, Renee Dennis, Cyrus Lawrence, Rick Razzano, Jim Stewart, Sterling Wingo, Robert Brown, Berkeley Cundiff, Don Divers, Loyd King, Kenny Lewis, Ken Barefoot, Bob Phillips, Steve Taylor, Ted Ware, Mike Burnop, Bimbo Coles, Ken Edwards, Ki Luczak, Bobby Smith, Lori McKee Taylor, Amy Byrne Feathers, George Canale, Don Oakes, Ricky Scales, Margaret Soulen Gilbert, Sherman VanDevender, Gene Breen, Mickey Fitzgerald, Bob Grossmann, Chuck Hartman, Judy Williams; and the following persons who are deceased: C.P. (Sally) Miles, Frank Moseley, Frank Loria, Hunter Carpenter, Frank Peake, Herbert McEver, Greene (Red) Laird, Paul Dear, Monk Younger, Henry (Puss) Redd, Mel Henry, George Parrish, Hank Crisp, Ed Motley, Sonny Utz, Wilson Bell, Herb Thomas, Bob Ayersman, Dick Esleeck, Al Casey, Joe Moran, William Grinus, Jr., Earl (Bus) Hall, H.V. (Byrd) Hooper, James Franklin Powell, Bucky Keller, Milton Andes, Richard Bullock, Waddey Harvey, Frank Teske, George Smith and Eddie Ferrell.