Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Announces 2023 Inductees, Including Two W&M Standouts

Coach Jimmye Laycock poses alongside a miniature Pittsburg Steelers helmet. Laycock said he's become a fan of the team ever since William & Mary graduate Mike Tomlin took over as had coach. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)
Coach Jimmye Laycock poses alongside a miniature Pittsburgh Steelers helmet. Laycock said he’s become a fan of the team ever since William & Mary graduate Mike Tomlin took over as head coach. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2023 and Distinguished Virginian Award recipient on Monday, with two William & Mary legends and several who have ties to the Peninsula among the honorees.

The class, as selected by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors and Honors Court Committee, features athletes, coaches, and contributors that have enjoyed success at all levels of sport. 

“What excites me most about this class is how it truly represents all of Virginia,” says Will Driscoll, Executive Director of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. “You have the Hampton Roads, Central, Northern, Southwest, and Southside regions all with representation among this year’s honorees. It truly is a class worthy of our 50th Induction events.”

Among the nominees is former Tribe quarterback and coach Jimmye Laycock, and William & Mary football legend Joe Montgomery was honored with its Distinguished Virginian Award. The 50th Induction Weekend will be held April 21-22 in Virginia Beach.

Headline photo - Joe and Linda Montgomery accepting the Gerald R Ford Legends Award
Joe and Linda Montgomery accepting the Gerald R Ford Legends Award. (File)

Established in 1972, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame honors Virginia’s contributions to the world of sports and honor athletic excellence. It also serves as a nonprofit resource highlighting philanthropy through sports, with the goal of inspiring sports fans through its programming and engaging entertainment.

Class of 2023

DeAngelo Hall of Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake became a first-team All-American at defensive back for Virginia Tech Football in the early 2000s. Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the eight overall pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft, Hall played 14 seasons with Atlanta, the Oakland Raiders, and the Washington franchises. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, recorded 43 interceptions, forced 11 fumbles, and scored 10 defensive touchdowns over the course of his career. He was previously inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame and has been recognized as one of the Commanders 90 Greatest Players of All-Time. 

Jimmye Laycock, originally from Hamilton in Loudoun County, Laycock attended Loudoun Valley High School, earning 12 varsity letters before heading to the William & Mary, where he would quarterback the Tribe football team in the late 1960s. After a decade as an assistant coach, Laycock returned to Williamsburg in 1980, leading the football program for the next 39 seasons, amassing 249 wins, seven conference championships, and ten NCAA FCS playoff appearances. Laycock was previously inducted into the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame. 

Francena McCorory, of Hampton and Bethel High School, starred in indoor and outdoor tracks, setting numerous VHSL indoor and outdoor track and field records. Running for her hometown Hampton University Pirates, McCorory would win three NCAA Championships in the 400-meter dash, and be named a four-time NCAA All-American. Following college her career she continued on the international level, representing her country in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games, bringing home the gold both years as a member of the 4×400 meter relay teams. 

Shawn Moore, a Martinsville native who attended Martinsville High School before committing to play football collegiately at the University of Virginia. During his three seasons under center for the Cavaliers, Moore rewrote the offensive record books, and finished his career in 1990 holding 41 school, ACC, and NCAA individual records. His 83 total touchdowns still stand as a school record. The 1990 ACC Player of the Year led the Cavaliers program to its first-ever national No. 1 ranking and finished fourth in Heisman voting in 1990. His career statistics include 6,629 passing yards and 55 touchdowns, and 1,268 rushing yards to go along with 28 touchdowns. 

Jerry Ratcliffe has been a media fixture covering sports in Central Virginia, with a focus on UVA athletics, over four decades at the Daily Progress. Ratcliffe was selected as Virginia Sportswriter of the Year four times, and and has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors Association, the Virginia Press Association, the Football Writers of America, and the United States Basketball Writers of America. Ratcliffe has also been recognized for his golf coverage with the Earle Hellen Sports Media Award by the Middle Atlantic Section of the PGA of America. Since 2018, he has covered UVA Athletics through his website, JerryRatcliffe.com 

Bob Rotanz came to Roanoke College in the mid-’70s. A three-time All-American during his time at Roanoke, Rotanz is one of just two players in school history to earn National Player of the Year honors,in 1978. The same year, Rotanz also took home National Defensive Player of the Year and helped lead Roanoke College to the NCAA Championship, scoring the winning goal in the title game. Rotanz is also a 2022 recipient of the Roanoke College medal, the highest honor awarded by the institution. 

Sheila Trice-Myers of Louisa County High School in Mineral rewrote the Christopher Newport University and NCAA record books. During her four years on the Peninsula, Trice was one of the most decorated athletes in NCAA Track and Field history, finishing her career with 32 All-American honors and 15 national championships. Her first national title came in 1987 as part of CNU’s winning 4×100m relay team, and she won four more national titles in 1988, six in 1989, and four in 1990. She remains the NCAA Division III record holder in the 55-meter indoor hurdles. 

Ryan Zimmerman of Virginia Beach found success at all levels of baseball. The University of Virginia Baseball Hall of Fame inductee ranks in the top ten in multiple offensive categories in Cavaliers history. A 2005 All-ACC and All-American selection, Zimmerman became the first draft pick in Washington Nationals history when the franchise selected him fourth overall in the 2005 MLB entry draft. After 16 seasons, Zimmerman would retire as the franchise leader in hits (1,846), home runs (284), RBI (1,061), and games played (1,799). “Mr. National” was also a two-time National League All-Star and would help lead Washington to its first World Series title in 2019. His No. 11 jersey has been retired by the club. 

Distinguished Virginian Award

The Hall of Fame will also present William & Mary football legend Joe Montgomery with its Distinguished Virginian Award, presented to an individual “who, by personal example, exemplifies the best ideals and purposes of sport exhibiting superior leadership qualities in education, athletics, business and in the community.” 

Joe Montgomery of Brookville High School in Lynchburg was a standout center for William & Mary football in the 1970s. The 1973 All-American and 1985 William & Mary Athletics Hall of Fame inductee has experienced success both on and off the field. The Hall of Fame noted his commitment to his alma mater and greater community has seen him appointed to the William & Mary Board of Visitors, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Virginia Retirement System Board of Trustees, among others. In 2017, Montgomery was honored with the Rimington Trophy as the Gerald R. Ford Legends Award recipient, presented to a former collegiate or professional center that, in addition to a standout football career, has also made significant contributions to the football and/or business communities, or through philanthropic endeavors. 

The Hall of Fame noted it resumed normal voting procedures this year, it’s first full vote since 2019. It voted on a modified Class of 2022, which was inducted with the Class of 2020, in April. 

Tickets, sponsorship, and advertising opportunities for the 50th Induction Weekend are available now. Event and ticket information can be found at the Hall of Fame’s website, vasportshof.com. Questions regarding Induction Weekend events should be directed to Will Driscoll at driscollw@VaSportsHOF.com 

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