Wednesday, October 10, 2012
By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor
FERRUM -- Kevin Sherman, an assistant football coach at Virginia Tech and a standout performer on three NCAA Division III playoff teams at Ferrum College, headlines a five-person class of inductees into this year's Alumni Sports Hall of Fame.
Joining Sherman in the Class of 2012 are Rahsul Burney (men's basketball), Matt Cross (football), Julie Shifflett Thomas (softball, volleyball) and the late Dr. Frank McCue (special citation).
The quintet will be inducted into Hall of Fame, which has been renamed in honor of former football star and HOF member Ed George, Saturday morning at the college and it will be cited at halftime of the Panthers' USA South Athletic Conference contest against North Carolina Wesleyan College.
With the induction of the five new members, the HOF, which was chartered in 1994, will have 117 members.
The HOF is housed in the Hank Norton Center.
Thomas is the first softball player to be inducted.
Sherman, who was named team captain in 1990 and was the recipient of Ferrum's Big Green Award that year, was a teammate of Panthers head coach and HOF member David Harper and Ferrum assistant coaches Cleive Adams and Chris Warren.
Sherman played for Ferrum teams in 1988 and 1989 that won South Region championships and advanced to the NCAA Division III national semifinals.
Both of those squads finished one win shy of reaching the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the NCAA Division III national championship game, which has been played in Salem since 1994.
The Panthers fell to Ithaca (N.Y.) College, the eventual national champion, in 1988, and to Union (N.Y.) College in 1989 in a game played at C.I. (Cy) Dillon Stadium-Fred M. Brown Memorial Field.
Sherman's last Ferrum team suffered a first-round playoff loss to Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) College. The game was Ferrum's last postseason one until 2005 when it claimed the USA South automatic qualifying bid.
Prior to his arrival at Virginia Tech, Sherman coached at Methodist (N.C.) University, Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Ohio University and Wake Forest University.
At Ohio and Wake Forest, Sherman served under former Ferrum player and Hall of Fame member Jim Grobe.
While at Virginia Tech, Sherman has coached in seven bowl games: the Chick-Fil-A Bowl twice, in 2006 versus Georgia and 2009 versus Tennessee; the Orange Bowl three times, in 2007 versus Kansas, in 2008 versus Cincinnati and in 2010 versus Stanford; and the Sugar Bowl last year against Michigan.
•Besides softball, Thomas, who resides in Shenandoah, played volleyball at Ferrum so she also has the distinction of being the first volleyball player inducted.
In softball, Thomas, who played at Ferrum from 1993-1996, earned all-conference and all-state accolades. Years later, she was selected to the USA South's Silver Anniversary Team.
•Burney's career bridged Ferrum's final junior college and initial Division III years; he played men's basketball for the late Grant Hudson and Bill Pullen from 1982 to 1986.
In his first year, Burney, a resident of Greensboro, N.C. led Region X of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in rebounding and ranked fifth nationally.
Burney finished his rookie college campaign with a "double-double' -- he averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds a game.
In his final Ferrum season, Burney led the Panthers in rebounding.
•Cross, who resides in Mechanicsville, played on the 1968 NJCAA national championship football team and served as an assistant coach on the 1974 national title squad, the school's third of four national championship teams led by Norton.
•McCue is most noted for his professional tenure at the University of Virginia where he. served as a orthopedic surgeon and head of the Sports Medicine Department for 41 years.
During his tenure, McCue, a member of the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Hall of Fame, served high and college student-athletes throughout the commonwealth.
When Ferrum played for the national championship in the Shrine Bowl at Savannah, Ga. in 1965, 1966, and 1968, McCue, who passed away in July, traveled at his own expense to be with the team.
"In the early years when Ferrum was a junior college, (Ferrum) was my winning team. At that time, Virginia was having considerable difficulty in winning,' McCue said at a retirement banquet for Norton held in November 1993 at Franklin County High School.
"When I came to Ferrum, I was treated like a family member. I was welcomed and anything that I did was appreciated. I felt comfortable. I felt at home,' McCue said.
Ferrum's game Saturday kicks off at 2 p.m. at W.B. Adams Stadium. The college is celebrating Homecoming this weekend.