Four inducted into University of Dallas Athletics 'Hall of Fame'
IRVING, Texas - On Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011, the University of Dallas Athletics Department enshrined four new members into the Athletics 'Hall of Fame.'
Three of the four 2011 inductees -- Sister Mary Gretchen Hoffman, R.S.M.; Coach James Vilade; and Elena Yates -- were on-hand along with a nice gathering for the ceremony held at the University's Rathskeller dining area. Unfortunately, the health of Jerome Vanier -- the fourth honoree -- labeled him unable to attend.
The presentation of awards was as follows: Coach Flores Safford presented honoree Sister Mary Gretchen Hoffman, R.S.M.; Athletics Director Dick Strockbine spoke on behalf of honoree Jerome Vanier; Tony Gallizzi presented honoree Coach James Vilade; and Coach Harry Hall presented honoree Elena Yates.
With the inaugural class inducted in 1998, these four deserving members respectively increased to 47 the number of Athletics 'Hall of Fame' inductees, at a university where an emphasis on 'student-athlete' reigns supreme.
For a complete list of University of Dallas Athletics Hall of Fame members, please click here.
Sister Mary Gretchen (Megan Hoffman), R.S.M.
Megan Hoffman’s arrival to the University of Dallas ushered in a new era of volleyball for the Crusaders. Her freshman season produced the first winning record in 25 years. In her sophomore year, the team qualified for the American Southwest Conference (ASC) tournament for the first time. In her junior campaign, the team was the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Champion, and in her senior year, they won 22 games, which stood as the 'best ever' at Dallas until 2010. On the individual level, Hoffman led the ASC in aces in the 2000 season, which proved good enough for 6th in all of NCAA Division III. Furthermore, she holds the school season records for aces (104) and aces per game (.83), and is the school career record-holder for games played (503), while boasting career rankings such as: 2nd in aces, aces per game and block assists, 3rd in kills and assists, 4th in total blocks, 5th in assists per game, 6th in digs, 9th in hitting percentage, and 10th in block solos. She was selected a USCAA 'All-American' in 2001 and 2002, and USCAA 'Academic All-American' in 2000, 2001 and 2002. She is now Sister Mary Gretchen, R.S.M.
Remarks from Sister Hoffman:
"For those of you that don't know, as a Sister of Mercy, I was asked to study medicine. I just graduated in May (2011) from medical school at George Washington University, and started my internship in internal medicine at the University of Tennessee in June."
"I can't thank you enough for the honor that this is, to be a part of the Hall of Fame. For me, really, it was an honor just to play here and to have gone to school here, and be an alumnus of the University of Dallas. This was my family; this was my home away from home. It formed me to be who I am, and enabled me to do what I'm doing now."
In 1979, Jerome Vanier led the University of Dallas men’s tennis team to unprecedented heights. In the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) tournament, the left-handed Vanier was runner-up for the singles championship, and with his doubles partner Bastian Vaan Drager, finished as a quarterfinalist. Vanier's success resulted in his being named an NAIA All-American in tennis. After leaving the University of Dallas, Vanier played on the men’s professional tour in the United States Open Championship, held in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., and in a number of European professional events as well.
Coach James Vilade
In 1997, when the University of Dallas decided to reinstate the baseball program, a fortuitous thing happened; the university hired James Vilade to head up the program. He was young, enthusiastic and passionate about baseball; voila, success. Coach Vilade was instrumental in the hire of famed baseball groundskeeper Jim Anglea, whom was sought to build a first-class field, and as they say in the movies, “Build it, and they will come." They certainly did with James Vilade as the coach. The first edition of Vilade’s Crusaders went 25-17, at a time when few Dallas teams could produce in the win column. In year two, the team finished with a record of 26-16 and the first of three consecutive American Southwest Conference (ASC) East Division Championships as well as participation in ASC postseason tournaments. The 2000 squad won 34 games, a mark which presently stands as the school record for wins in a season. When Vilade left after four seasons, the scorecard under his tutelage read 118 wins and 52 losses, for a .694 winning percentage. In addition, he produced numerous all-conference and all-region selections, 'Coach of the Year' recognition for himself, and four players which were drafted into Major League Baseball.
Remarks from Coach Vilade:
"My big job is to say 'thank you.' All the coaches who put in time with the players; I thank you. All the players who put on uniforms here at the University of Dallas; I thank you."
"Coach Strockbine, thank you for everything you've taught me. Coach, you taught me more than I could ever thank you for; I appreciate it. (Coach Strockbine) had these phrases that were unbelievable. A lot of the coaches that have come after me at the University of Dallas, I say make sure you listen to Coach Strockbine. You can want anything, but take care of what you have; we did, and we were great because of that."
"I was asked by a reporter two years ago about what the most important things were in being a coach. Take care of your players; work hard every day, and be a keeper of the game."
"I'm humbled. I'm honored. I'm inspired. Thank you so much, everybody."
Elena Yates graduated from the University of Dallas as the holder of six school records in cross country and four more in track, which still stand today. She won nine cross country races in her career -- a school record -- including the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Championship in 2002, and was a USCAA 'All-American' in 2002 and 2004. She holds the fastest three times in school history at 6,000 meters, with 24:12.04 being her best at the NCAA championship distance. In track, she holds school records in the mile, 3,000 meter steeplechase, 5,000 and 10,000 meters. She won eight of the 29 track events in which she competed, attaining USCAA Championships in the 5,000, 10,000 and 3,000 steeplechase in 2003, and a repeat in the 3,000 steeplechase in 2004. These feats helped propel her to USCAA 'All-American' recognitions in 2003 and 2004. Elena was the University of Dallas 'Scholar-Athlete Award' winner in 2005 and 2006, and was a USCAA 'Academic All-American' in 2004.
Remarks from Elena: