BLACKSBURG, Va. - Former Blacksburg High School track & field standout Katie Ollendick, who went on to earn athletic and academic All-America honors on the collegiate level, is one of five individuals selected for the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.
Joining Ollendick as 2008 inductees are:
- Jim Beard, a record-setting right-handed pitcher who was instrumental in helping Virginia Tech earn its first bid to the NCAA Baseball Championships in 1954.
- Eugene Chung, who became a starter on Tech's offensive line as a freshman, earned All-America honors in 1991 and went on to become the first Hokie offensive player to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
- Eric McClellan, a four-year standout and two-time MVP in soccer for the Hokies from 1989 through 1992 who still stands as the school's all-time leader in goals scored and total points.
- Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr., a highly honored Tech professor and Civil War historian who took time to help shape Tech's athletic history as Faculty Chairman of Athletics from 1979-1991.
The five new honorees will be inducted at a Hall of Fame dinner on the Tech campus on Friday, Nov. 21, the evening before Tech's home football game against Duke. Each of the inductees also will be introduced to fans at halftime of the football game.
The new inductees will bring the total number enshrined to 141. The Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1982 and is currently located near the Bowman Room on the fourth floor of the Jamerson Athletic Center. Hall of Fame plaques engraved with portraits of all the members are displayed there. Under Tech Hall of Fame guidelines, persons are not eligible for induction until they have been out of school for a period of 10 years.
Beard helped give the Tech baseball program a much-needed lift with his pitching talents. After spending his first season on the freshman team, he joined the varsity in spring 1952 and went on to become the winning pitcher in 14 of the Hokies' 24 victories during a three-year span.
Beard was one of the bright spots on a sophomore-dominated team that finished 4-9 in 1952. The right-hander from Fredericksburg, Va., picked up all four wins in a season that saw the Hokies lose eight games by three runs or less, including five one-run decisions. Beard was the winner in a 3-2 victory over Richmond, which won the Northern Division of the Southern Conference. He also pitched 11 innings and scored the winning run in a victory against VMI.
After getting just three days of practice outdoors due to weather, the 1953 squad improved to 6-7 overall and finished second in the Virginia Big Six college standings. Beard won three games and was selected to the Big Six first team in voting by Big Six coaches and state sports writers. He allowed just three hits over 10 innings in a win over Richmond. He struck out 16 batters and allowed just four hits and one earned run during a one-run loss to George Washington University that saw the Hokies commit five errors.
As seniors, Beard and his classmates led the Tech baseball program to it first NCAA bid. The Tech ace won six games during the regular season as the Hokies won the Big Six and Southern Conference championships. Tech advanced to the 1954 NCAA District 3 playoffs where it swept two games in a best two-of-three series with ACC champ Clemson. In the decisive game against the Tigers, a record crowd of 2,500 fans looked on in Blacksburg as Beard held Clemson to six hits and one ninth-inning run in a 7-1 victory.
The Hokies lost the district championship series against Rollins College, but their accomplishment still ranks among the best in school baseball history. Beard finished the season with a 7-3 record, a 3.54 earned run average and 68 strikeouts in 83.2 innings pitched. His wins, strikeouts and innings pitched were all school records that stood well into the 1970s when the Hokies played twice as many games.
Beard, who was named All-Southern Conference and selected captain of the Big Six team in '54, had tryouts with four major league teams after graduation, but honored a commitment with the U.S. Air Force. That commitment turned into a 27-year career. Beard, a member of the Arnold Air Society his senior year, flew 334 combat missions during three tours of duty in Vietnam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit and 13 air medals. He retired with the rank of Colonel in 1981 and currently runs his own farm in Fredericksburg.
Chung, who played his high school football at Oakton High School in Northern Virginia, moved into the starting lineup at Virginia Tech as a redshirt freshman in 1988. After opening the season as a tackle, he moved to the split guard position where he drew the starting assignment for the final four games of the season.
A year later, Chung started every game after moving back to tackle. He played 638 offensive snaps that season and was voted the Hokies' most outstanding offensive lineman. During the summer of 1990, he showed his athletic prowess and agility when he won a gold medal in the heavyweight, brown-belt judo competition at the first Virginia State Games.
Despite missing a game with a bruised leg, Chung played 643 of 791 plays in 1990, allowing just one quarterback sack. He was voted the team's best offensive lineman for the second straight year and was selected first-team All-South Independent. Along the way, he also set a state powerlifting record (at the time) with a hang clean of 381 pounds.
Chung was one of the top linemen in the nation his senior season, earning first-team All-America honors from The Football Writers Association of America. He started all 11 games, earning a spot in the Winners' Circle nine times, and allowing just one sack, while playing 94.8 percent of the team's offensive plays. He was rated the top offensive lineman in the 1992 NFL draft by The Sporting News and was picked 13th in the first round of the draft by the New England Patriots. He became the first Virginia Tech offensive player and second Tech football player overall to be selected in the first round of the draft. Chung was also the first Korean-American player to be taken in the first round.
Chung, who started 30 of 32 games during the first two seasons of a three-year stint with New England, played five seasons in the NFL. He is currently working in the real estate development business in Jacksonville, Fla. For the past four years, Chung has also been working with the Jacksonville Jaguars Personnel Department and serving as president of the National Football League Retired Players Union for North Florida.
McClellan joined the Tech soccer program in 1989 as an offensive-minded midfielder with the ability to become one of the Hokies' best players ever. It was an opportunity he didn't waste.
As a freshman, McClellan scored seven goals and added three assists to tie past Hall of Fame inductee Ray Crittenden for second place on the team in points with 17. He was voted the team's Rookie of the Year.
A year later, McClellan was named the Hokies' most valuable player after doubling his goal output to 14 and contributing 30 points, both team highs. Four of his goals came in the Metro Invitational Tournament, including three in a championship game win over Cincinnati. His play earned him second-team All-South Atlantic Region honors, as well as team MVP recognition.
McClellan was also voted the Hokies' MVP in 1991 when he totaled 33 points on 13 goals and seven assists. Both totals led the Metro Conference, earning him all-league honors. He was named the most valuable offensive player in tournaments at Florida Tech and Towson State. By the end of the season, McClellan had become the Hokies' all-time leader in goals and total points.
As a senior, the business major from Rockville, Md., posted 10 goals and eight assists on the way to first team All-Metro Conference honors. He had two game-winning goals during the season and established new school career records for assists, games played and starts.
McClellan returned to Tech in 1994 and worked two seasons as a graduate assistant coach for the men's team while earning a master's in finance. He played soccer professionally from 1992 until retiring in 2000. McClellan, his wife, Lisa, and three children currently live in Willsonville, Ore., where he works for TransCore, a transportation logistics information technology corporation. He has served as the varsity soccer coach at Tualatin High School for the past seven years.
Ollendick was a hometown star at Blacksburg High School who attended the University of Virginia for a year before returning home to enroll at Tech. After sitting out a year due to the transfer, she began competing for the Hokies during the 1995-96 school year, establishing herself as the top high jumper in the Atlantic 10 Conference and setting Tech records in the pentathlon and high jump.
During the 1996-97 season, Ollendick won conference indoor and outdoor titles in the high jump. She was named the A-10 Indoor Track & Field Performer of the Year, and went on to compete in the high jump at the 1997 NCAA Indoor Championships.
As a senior, Ollendick became the Hokies' first female track & field athlete to earn indoor and outdoor All-America honors in the same season. She placed 12th overall, and eighth among American-born athletes, to earn A-A honors in the high jump at the 1998 indoor championships. During the spring, she placed eighth in the heptathlon to gain outdoor A-A honors. Along the way, Ollendick set Tech and Atlantic 10 indoor and outdoor records in the high jump, established new marks in both the heptathlon and pentathlon and was a member of the Hokies' A-10 record-setting 4x400-meter relay team. Her Tech high jump records still stand.
Ollendick matched her excellence in athletics with equally impressive academic accomplishments. She maintained a perfect 4.00 grade point average on the way to a double major in psychology and exercise science. Ollendick's efforts earned her first-team GTE Academic All-America recognition in 1997 and '98. Following the 1998 outdoor track & field season, she was named the GTE Academic Athlete of the Year for the spring and was one of four student-athletes to receive a postgraduate scholarship from the A-10.
Ollendick went on to earn a master's in physical therapy from the University of North Carolina following her graduation from Tech. She currently works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist at Duke University Medical Center and is currently in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UNC.
An Alumni Distinguished Professor and a nationally renowned Civil War scholar, Robertson is best known for his work as a historian. While serving as Tech's Faculty Chairman of Athletics and President of the Virginia Tech Athletic Association from 1979-1991, he took a turn in shaping history. During that time, Robertson played an important role in many of the decisions and actions that formed the groundwork for Tech's recent history of success in athletics.
Robertson chaired the search committees that selected Dutch Baughman and Dave Braine as athletic directors, and Frank Beamer as head football coach. Robertson later teamed with Braine and Minnis Ridenour as the point men who opened the door for Tech's admission to the BIG EAST Football Conference. Beamer would later call Tech's move into the conference a key factor in vaulting the Hokies' football program into national prominence.
Robertson worked closely with the late Paul Gunsten in establishing at Virginia Tech what is regarded as one of the best intramural programs in the nation. In the 1970s, when the College Football Association was created to strengthen the role of the Division I-A football schools in the NCAA, Robertson served as Chairman of the Faculty Representatives before being elected to three consecutive terms as the CFA's Secretary-Treasurer.
During his tenure as Tech's faculty representative, Robertson also served two terms as President of the Metro Conference and was a longtime member of the conference's Executive Committee. In 1989, he received the Metro Joint Committee Award for "invaluable contributions" to the league.
After Tech was placed on NCAA probation for rules violations during the mid-1980s, Robertson chaired the Blueprint Committee on Virginia Tech athletics that established new guidelines for Hokie varsity sports. Those guidelines still remain in place.
Robertson, who was also an ACC football official for 16 years and worked nine bowl games, retired from athletics in 1991. He continues to teach his Civil War Era class at Tech, the largest of its kind in the nation.
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