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Esposito highlights 2014 NC State Athletic Hall of Fame class

Posted April 16

Jack McDowall, named the top student-athlete in the first half-century of NC State athletics after earning 11 varsity letters in four sports, is among the 10 members selected for the third class of the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame.

He is one of three posthumous 2014 inductees into the hall, which was created in 2012 with an inaugural 10-member class and will now have a total of 30 members.

Former two-time All-America football player Dennis Byrd and three-time All-America basketball player Dick Dickey were also selected for posthumous induction by the 14-member Hall of Fame Election Committee, along with former baseball and assistant basketball coach Sam Esposito, long-time Wolfpack contributor Wendell Murphy and five other former student-athletes.

Other athletes who will be inducted at the third-annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Reynolds Coliseum on Oct. 11 are men's and women's basketball players Lou Pucillo and Chasity Melvin; football and track star Danny Peebles; women's soccer All-American Charmaine Hooper; and Olympic gold medalist, two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-America swimmer Steve Rerych.

“Once again, the Committee made excellent choices for the third class being inducted into the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame,” said Director of Athletics Deborah A. Yow. “Telling the NC State story through the inductions makes the achievements come alive to those who attend the Gala. And, by the Fall of 2016, the Hall will have a new and permanent home in the Reynolds Walk of Fame and History."

Byrd, a member of the “White Shoes” defense in 1967, was the first consensus All-American and first three-time All-ACC performer in the history of Wolfpack football. The Lincolnton, N.C., native was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010 and is the only defensive player in school history to have his jersey retired. Byrd played on the 1965 squad that was the league co-champion and the 1966 and 1967 teams that finished second in the ACC. That ‘67 team ranked as high as No. 3 nationally, the highest ranking in school history. He died in 2010, just before his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Dickey, a native of Rigdon, Ind., is one of just three three-time men's basketball All-Americans in school history and is responsible for introducing the one-handed jumpshot to basketball in the south. The Most Valuable Player of the inaugural Dixie Classis in 1949, he went on to earn four first-team all-conference nods and finished his career as the Wolfpack’s leading scorer (his 1,644 points still ranks eighth almost seven decades later). He played on State’s first NCAA Final Four team in 1950 and led the Wolfpack to four consecutive Southern Conference titles. He died in 2006.

Esposito served as head coach of the Wolfpack baseball squad for 21 years (1967-87), was an assistant basketball coach in the 1970s and an academic administrator for an additional two decades. With a career record of 513-253-4, Esposito ranks second in the baseball program's history in victories. In just his second year at NC State, Esposito guided the ‘68 squad to the College World Series and led the Pack to three consecutive ACC Tournament titles from 1973-75. A former utility player for his hometown Chicago White Sox, Esposito turned out three ACC Players of the Year, seven All-Americans, 69 first- or second-team All-ACC performers and 28 players who were taken in the MLB draft.

A two-time All-American and three-time All-ACC performer, Hooper led the Wolfpack women’s soccer program to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 1988 finals, and the 1988 ACC title. She still holds the State records for goals and points in a single season and career and she led the ACC in both categories in 1988 and 1989. A native of Georgetown, Guyana, who grew up in Nepean, Ontario, Canada, Hooper played on the Canadian National team from 1994-2007 and was named the Canadian player of the year in 1994 and '95. She has been inducted into the United Soccer League Hall of Fame and the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.

McDowall was a key member NC State College's first Southern Conference football (1927) and basketball (1929) championships. A member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (1965) and the College Football Hall of Fame (1975), McDowall was also a champion performer in track and field and a member of the Red Terror baseball team. After leaving NC State, McDowall spent three decades as the athletics director at Rollins College in his native state of Florida and as a lieutenant in the United States Navy during World War II.

Melvin was a finalist for National Player of the Year and a Kodak All-American for Hall of Fame coach Kay Yow in 1998. The 1995 ACC Rookie of the Year led the Wolfpack women to four NCAA Tournament appearances in her career, culminating with the 1998 Final Four. The fourth-leading scorer and rebounder in program history, Melvin was a member of the ACC’s 50th Anniversary team and was a WNBA first-round draft pick. The Roseboro, N.C., native played for 12 years in that league with stops in Cleveland, Chicago and Washington and was a WNBA All-Star in 2001. She ranks in the top 20 in WNBA history in career rebounds.

A 51-year member of the Wolfpack Club, Murphy was a 1999 recipient of the Watauga Medal, NC State University’s highest award given for outstanding and distinguished service. Murphy served in the N.C. House of Representatives, in the state senate, on the NC State Board of Trustees and is a former president of the Wolfpack Club board of directors. In 1988, he received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, one of the most prestigious awards presented by the Governor of North Carolina. His many financial contributions to NC State athletics include the Wendell H. Murphy Family Scholarship for women’s basketball, the Advantage Wolfpack tennis campaign, the Batter Up baseball campaign, the Ronnie Shavlik Endowment and the general athletic scholarship endowment. He committed the lead gift for the Murphy Center, the football operations facility named in his honor in the south end zone of Carter-Finley Stadium.

Peebles starred on the track and the gridiron from 1984-88, earning the 1989 Kennett Award as NC State’s top male athlete. A nine-time All-American and nine-time ACC Champion, he was a member of the 1985 4x100 relay team that won an NCAA title. The Raleigh native was twice named the ACC’s most outstanding performer in track, played on two bowl teams (1986 and 1988) and was a second-round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1989 NFL draft.

Pucillo was dubbed the “Bob Cousy of the collegians” during his career, which spanned from 1957-59. He was the 1959 ACC Player of the Year under Coach Everett Case and also won the league’s Athlete of the Year award. As a senior, the Philadelphia native was named an All-American by AP, UPI, Look Magazine, the Helms Foundation and Converse. He served as a freshman basketball coach under Case and has lived in Raleigh since graduating from NC State.

Rerych is one of the most decorated swimmers in Wolfpack history while competing for the late Willis Casey and at one time owned a world record as a member of the U.S. 4X100 freestyle relay team. The Philadelphia native was a three-time All-American, an Amateur Athletics Union national champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in freestyle relays and a nine-time ACC champion. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1993. Rerych completed his medical degree at Columbia University in 1974 and has been a thoracic surgeon at both Duke University and the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Asheville.

In addition to the Friday night induction ceremony on Oct. 10, the 10 honorees also will be recognized at halftime of the NC State-Boston College football game on Saturday.

Tickets for the Induction Gala will go on sale in July on www.GoPack.com and through the NC State Athletics Ticket Office.

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