Kirk, Wommack Highlight SoCon Class of 2011

SPARTANBURG, S.C. --- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is well represented in the Southern Conference Hall of Fame Class of 2011 announced today by the league office. The class includes a past Wimbledon and U.S. Open Champion, an NFL Pro Bowler, NCAA All-Americans and a pair of coaching legends.

The 2011 class features six of the most accomplished student-athletes and coaches to ever compete in the Southern Conference.  Inductees include Dexter Coakley (Appalachian State), Lefty Driesell (Davidson), Regina Kirk (Chattanooga-women's basketball), Robert Neyland (Tennessee), Vic Seixas (North Carolina) and Shannon Wommack (Chattanooga-cross country/track).

"This year's class is another outstanding group of athletes and coaches," said John Iamarino, Commissioner of the Southern Conference. "We're looking forward to a truly special ceremony in Charleston."

The inductees will be honored at a ceremony on May 24 at the Marriott in Charleston, S.C., prior to the start of the league's baseball championship. 

Kirk, a two-time American Women's Sports Foundation All-American, a second-team member and AWSF Freshman All-American, still holds the Lady Mocs' record for most career points with 2,376 and career rebounds with 1,086. She holds the single game record for most points scored with 45 against North Alamaba on Dec. 18, 1987 and holds three more spots in the Top 10 of the list. She has three of the top five most points scored in a single season including second place with 657. Her 22 rebounds against East Tennessee State on February 8, 1987 are second most in school history.

Kirk, from Oak Ridge, Tenn., is one of only four players in the Southern Conference to be named to the league's all-conference first team four times. She helped lead the Lady Mocs to a share of the 1986 regular season SoCon title and the league tournament title where she was selected MVP. Kirk was named to the league's 1980's All-Decade Team and in 2008 was selected to the SoCon's 25th Anniversary Team.

Wommack, a five-time All-American, is Chattanooga most decorated student-athlete. In 2006, she was named the Southern Conference Female Athlete of the Year and was a three-time Cross Country Runner of the Year (2002, 2004, 2005) and was the 2001 Cross Country Freshman of the Year after finishing second at the championships. In 2005, Wommack claimed the NCAA South Region championship title and advanced to her third NCAA Cross Country National Championship.

Wommack was named the SoCon's Indoor Female Track Athlete of the Year all four years she competed and earned the same award at the league's Outdoor Championships twice (2005, 2006). In 2005, Wommack was fifth in the NCAA in the 3000 meter Steeplechase, despite a splashdown in one of the water jumps. The next year she finished third in the event earning All-America honors both years.

Wommack was named a CoSIDA Academic All-American twice and earned the same award all four years from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Student-athletes who competed for a minimum of two seasons in the Southern Conference were eligible for consideration, along with coaches and administrators who spent at least five years in the league.  A pool of over 250 candidates from the conference's current and former member institutions were nominated for consideration.  The pool of former student-athletes, coaches and administrators was cut down to 40 individuals who comprised the final ballot.  A voting panel of 20 media members and league administrators made the selection of the induction class.

Dexter Coakley, Football (Appalachian State, 1993-1996) - The only player to win the Buck Buchanan Award in back-to-back seasons, Coakley was a three-time All-American at Appalachian State.  He was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year three straight seasons after being named Freshman of the Year in 1993.  Coakley helped the Mountaineers capture the 1995 Southern Conference Championship.  It is ASU's only undefeated, untied regular season in school history.  A third-round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1997, Coakley enjoyed a 10-year NFL career and made three Pro Bowls.

Lefty Driesell, Men's Basketball Coach (Davidson, 1960-69) - Driesell completed nine seasons at Davidson and posted an overall record of 176-65, including a record of 73-27 in SoCon games.  He was named the league's Coach of the Year in four consecutive seasons (1963-66) and guided the Wildcats to five regular season championships and three SoCon Tournament titles.  After Davidson advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1966, Driesell guided the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in 1968 and 1969.  He finished his career with a record of 786-396 over 40 seasons with stops at Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State.

Gen. Robert Neyland, Football (Tennessee, 1926-52) - Neyland compiled an overall record of 173-31-2 as head coach of the Volunteers.  He posted a record of 61-2-5 from 1926-32, including a league record of 41-2-5 when the Tennessee competed in the Southern Conference.  Tennessee won a share of the conference title in 1927 and 1932.  He coached the Volunteers to four national titles and was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956.  Tennessee's Shields-Watkins Field was renamed Neyland Stadium in 1962.

Vic Seixas, Tennis (North Carolina, 1947-49) - A 1948 All-American, Seixas finished the year 19-1 and was the Southern Conference champion and NCAA runner-up in singles competition.  The following season Seixas was the league's runner-up in singles play and won the doubles competition with Clark Taylor.  Seixas came in third at the 1947 NCAA Championships and earned an eighth-place finish in 1949.  In 1953 he won the Wimbledon singles championship over Kurt Nielson and captured the U.S. Open title in 1954.  Seixas made three other Grand Slam finals appearances in singles play and won five doubles championships.  

2009 Induction Class - Inaugural Year
Megan Dunigan, Women's Tennis
Dick Groat, Men's Basketball & Baseball
Sam Huff, Football
Charlie Justice, Football
Melissa Morrison Howard, Track & Field
Arnold Palmer, Golf
Adrian Peterson, Football
Frank Selvy, Men's Basketball
Jerry West, Men's Basketball
Valorie Whiteside, Women's Basketball

2010 Induction Class
Everett Case, Men's Basketball
Mary Jayne Harrelson, Women's Track & Field/Cross Country
Fred Hetzel, Men's Basketball
"Hot" Rod Hundley, Men's Basketball
Banks McFadden, Football & Men's Basketball
Wallace Wade, Football & Commissioner
J. Dallas Shirley, Special Contributor

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