UTC Announces Class of 2014 Athletics Hall of Fame

Monday, January 27, 2014
UTC Diamond Stars (l-r) Tommy Sparks, Robert Smith, Tommy Lee ... Sparks is part of the class of 2014 UTC Hall of Fame
UTC Diamond Stars (l-r) Tommy Sparks, Robert Smith, Tommy Lee ... Sparks is part of the class of 2014 UTC Hall of Fame
- photo by UTC Sports Information

"There is no way to put into words how proud I was to be able to play for UTC in the great baseball cathedral named Engel Stadium. That was truly an honor that I will never forget.  It was a pitcher's paradise; a place where long fly balls went to die thanks to great outfielders like Mark Longley (Baylor) and Jim Starling (East Ridge)."

-- Tommy Sparks, member of UTC class of 2014 Athletics Hall of Fame

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Athletics Department and the Office of Alumni Affairs announced the Class of 2014 Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees today.  Included in this group are three All-Americans, a Southern Conference Athlete of the Year and one of the best baseball student-athletes in school history. 

This year’s crop of five new members includes Alex Anderson (women’s basketball), Rob Castorri (men’s tennis), Michael Keefe (wrestling), Tommy Sparks (baseball) and Matt Vick (football).  They will be inducted at the annual banquet on Friday, March 29, at the Chattanooga Country Club. 

“This list includes some of the greats to ever wear a Mocs uniform, and I look forward to celebrating their induction into the Hall of Fame,” stated UTC Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics David Blackburn.  “Their accolades are amazing and we are excited to honor what they accomplished during their careers at UTC.”

The banquet is open to the public but seating is limited and reservations are required. The cost is $30.00 per person which includes dinner. Payments and RSVP's can be submitted to the UTC Office of Alumni Affairs (423) 425-4785).  For more information, email Jayne-Holder@utc.edu.

The UTC Athletics Hall of Fame was established to formally recognize outstanding contributions to the heritage and tradition of the university's intercollegiate athletic program.  A total of 194 individuals have been inducted into the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame during special ceremonies held each year.

Below is a brief biography on each member of the 2014 class. Be sure to check back to GoMocs.com over the next month for a more in-depth look at each inductee, as well as photos from their days at Chattanooga.

Alex Anderson – Women’s Basketball – 2005-08
Alex Anderson was a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Year from 2005-08.  She graduated as the No. 5 all-time leading scorer at UTC with 1,732 career points.  She is also No. 2 in career rebounds with 1,010.

The 2008 SoCon Female Athlete of the Year, Anderson guided the Mocs to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances and was twice named the SoCon Tournament MVP.  She led the league in scoring and rebounding as a junior and senior, including a school record 677 points in 2007.

Following her collegiate career, Anderson was taken by the San Antonio Silver Stars with the 39th pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft.  She has played professionally in Israel, Turkey, and Spain, and is currently with Catz in Finland, where they are going for their third straight Cup Championship. 

Rob Castorri – Men’s Tennis – 1974-77
Rob Castorri is a two-time All-American men’s tennis player for the Mocs from 1974-77.  He was a team MVP all four years of his career and is the ninth member of the men’s tennis program to be inducted into the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame.

Castorri played 1-4 singles throughout his career and was a No.1 double player for all four years.  He teamed with Haroon Ismail to earn doubles All-American honors as a sophomore in 1975 and again as a junior in 1976.

He graduated with a degree in Business in 1977 and turned professional in 1978, winning 18 national team and doubles championships. He has worked in professional tennis since his playing days and is currently the President of Castorri & Associates. He has also served as the President of the Georgia Professional Tennis Association and the Executive Director of the Ivan Lendl Tennis Academy.

Michael Keefe – Wrestling – 2004-07
Michael Keefe was an All-American wrestler for the Mocs from 2004-07.  A four-time qualifier for the NCAA Championships, he is UTC’s career wins leader with a four-year record of 134-40.  He was also a three-time All-Southern Conference performer and graduated with the most wins in league history. 

Keefe earned All-American honors in 2005, finishing fifth at the NCAA Championships at 141 pounds.  He was a two-time SoCon Champion at 141 pounds and led the Mocs to three consecutive league titles from 2005-07. 

Keefe had 36 wins as a junior in 2006 and 35 as a sophomore in 2005.  Those rank No. 4 and 5 on UTC’s single-season wins list, respectively.  His .814 winning percentage in 2005 is ninth all-time at Chattanooga. 

Tommy Sparks – Baseball – 1968-71
Tommy Sparks is widely considered one of the best baseball players to ever suit up for the Mocs.  He won UTC’s opening game at Engle Stadium all four years of his collegiate career and guided Chattanooga to the NCAA Tournament as a senior in 1971. 

Sparks put up some gaudy numbers during his final year, posting a 9-0 record in 15 appearances as a left-handed pitcher.  He added to those school records by topping UTC’s single season charts for strikeouts (102), innings pitched (97), complete games (6), shutouts (4) and ERA (1.81).

Sparks also holds school records with 19 career wins, 247 career strikeouts, 14 complete games and 47 appearances.  

"I am very honored and excited about being selected for the UTC Hall of Fame," said Sparks who helped McCallie School win a Mid South title in 1966.

"It feels good to know that your efforts are appreciated by your school. I will accept this honor for all of the great players that surrounded me. They are the reason that I have this honor."

Matt Vick – Football – 1997-00
All-American Matt Vick handled the Mocs kicking duties from 1997-00.  He is Chattanooga football’s all-time leading scorer with 242 career points and was a member of the Mocs’ All-Century Team. 

Vick connected on a school-record 22 field goals and scored 97 points as a senior in 2000.  He was named First Team All-American by the Sporting News and Football Gazette, while the Associated Press gave him a second team nod.  His 44 field goals are the most in school history and his 73.3% (44/60) career accuracy is second all-time at Chattanooga.

A two-sport athlete, Vick was also on the Mocs golf team.  He is currently the general manager at the Beacon Ridge Golf Club in Pinehurst, N.C., and was a contestant on the Golf Channel’s “The Big Break: Mesquite” reality TV show.

Special Award Winners
Herb Adcox - The Gordon Davenport Award is given annually by the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame to a person who has shown outstanding commitment to the Chattanooga Mocs athletics program.  Herb Adcox has been a longtime supporter of Chattanooga Athletics through UTC’s courtesy car program and as a fan, Mocs Club member and season ticket holder.    

Don Lepard - The Joe Morrison Award is given annually by the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame to a former student-athlete or coach for notable accomplishments and life experiences.  As President and CEO of Global Green Lighting, Lepard has built an industry leader in sustainable, low energy lighting solutions for both commercial entities and governmental organizations.

Laura Herron - The Harold Wilkes Award was established to recognize a volunteer, coach, staff member or University administrator who has demonstrated exemplary leadership in furthering the Vision of Chattanooga Athletics - To establish comprehensive excellence as the UTC Standard.  Herron’s leadership and service as Interim Athletics Director during the 2012-13 academic year exemplified the meaning of this award given in honor of Coach Wilkes. 

Jordan Britt – Women’s Golf - The A.C. "Scrappy" Moore Award is presented to a current UTC student-athlete who best personifies the athletic department's mission of comprehensive excellence, academically, athletically and socially.  A senior member of the women’s golf team, Britt has guided the Mocs to the Southern Conference title in each of the last three seasons, earned Medalist honors at the 2012 SoCon Tournament, is a WGCA All-American Scholar and serves as co-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC).   


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