Feb. 11, 2013
WASHINGTON - When former Georgetown University men's basketball coach John Thompson Jr. stepped to the podium on Saturday night at the Leavey Center during the Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony of five former student-athletes and one official, he told the crowd they should not have given him a microphone.
But before introducing long-time men's basketball athletic trainer Lorry Michel, he made a point to mention how impressed he was, not only by the accomplishments on the fields of play by the former student-athletes, but by their success in life after graduation.
"I want to say this to the recipients, that a lot of times people come up and talk about the number of graduates that we had in the basketball program," Thompson said. "That's irrelevant to me. Truthfully I don't know the number, but what is far more significant to me is what they do with their education. It just makes me feel so damn proud that some of the players that are in here can not only hear and understand what you folks did on the field or the court, but what you're doing with your lives because to educated and not use it is totally irrelevant."
And on this night, the Georgetown Department of Athletics, Hoyas Unlimited and the Georgetown University Alumni Association honored Michel, as well as track and field champions Christi Constantin Ireland (C' 93) and Steffanie Smith Jasper (C' 93), record-setting football wide receiver Christopher Murphy (B'93), All-America lacrosse defender Edward McCabe (C'95), and men's soccer standout Timothy Keegan (B'94).
Master of Ceremonies Rory F. Quirk (C'65, G'71, L'80) welcomed the crowd gathered for the 22nd edition of the Athletics Hall of Fame Induction and, after opening remarks and dinner, short video tributes were shown of each recipient.
Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia (C'79, G'95) said what a privilege it was to be able to recognize their accomplishments and that it "reminds me of what it means to come together as a University."
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Lee Reed, along with DeGioia, presented each Hall of Fame inductee with their medals. The evening also included a surprise video message from former men's basketball All-American Allen Iverson, who sent his congratulations to Michel.
Constantin was among the nation's top cross country performers, earning All-America accolades in each of her four years at the NCAA Championships. A nine-time All-America honoree, she captured the 10,000m titles at the BIG EAST and Penn Relay Championships.
"I feel like I have a gold medal and I'm at the Olympic Stadium," she said. "I'm proud to be a Hoya."
A six-time All-America performer, Smith was one of the fastest sprinters ever to run for the Hoyas. A six-time BIG EAST champion, she set school records in the 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 meter distances and was a key member of several record-breaking relay teams.
"Now I'm part of a legacy," she said. "I couldn't have imagined this when I came here. We didn't set out to be trailblazers, we were just out to run and be good."
Murphy set all-time career records on the Hoya gridiron in receiving yards, total receptions and touchdown receptions. A three-time academic All-America selection, he earned Kodak All-America honors and was presented the Timmie Award by the Touchdown Club of Washington, D.C. Murphy caught 146 passes for 1,938 yards and 20 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons, dominating the Georgetown stat charts and earning All-America honors in 1991. Murphy graduated in 1993 with a total of 205 receptions, 2,817 yards, and 26 touchdown receptions.
"It was four years on the field and a lifetime of experience," Murphy said. "I'm grateful to Coach (Scotty) Glacken and all of the coaches, who volunteered their time and gave us a love for the game. It was a family and made it fun. None of my life experiences were possible without my Georgetown experience."
The anchor of a formidable defense, McCabe started in each of his four years, twice earning All-America recognition. Team captain and MVP, he was selected to play in the North-South All-Star game as a senior after leading the Hoyas that year with a school-record 7.2 in goals against average.
"I'm proud of what I did and give a lot of thanks to Coach (Dave) Urick," said McCabe, who joked that Urick used to say he was on a Booeymonger Diet. "It's an honor and a special evening for me and my family."
A three-time first team all-BIG EAST selection, Keegan was named twice to the All-South Atlantic team. A recipient of team outstanding offensive player honors, he graduated as Georgetown's all-time leader in assists and total points. A two-time captain, he led his team in 1994 to its best record in school history and first-ever berth in the NCAA tournament.
Keegan accepted his induction to the Hall of Fame "with extreme gratitude and humility." He paid special thanks to his former coach, Keith Tabatznik, and said that "part of me thinks my (late) father gave you the words to guide me through my career."
The final inductee to speak was Michel, who began her career at Georgetown as an assistant trainer in 1977, working with all student-athletes. Four years later, she became head trainer for men's basketball. For the next 30 years, she labored tirelessly to keep all Hoya men's basketball players healthy and ready to compete, day in and day out. Michel has represented the United States in several international competitions, including the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the 1991 World University Games in England and the 1990 Summer Olympics Festival. Her service to Georgetown athletics has been exemplary.
"Coach Thompson, I can't thank you enough," Michel said. "He could have picked anybody he wanted and when he asked me, I told him that would be the biggest honor. To him, I'm grateful. If you love your job, it's not work, and I definitely loved my job. It's my life."
Reed closed the evening with a thank you to everyone for attending while also recognizing the special group of inductees.
"This has truly been inspirational," Reed said. "If you have any agenda other than helping kids and making things better, if you have any agenda that conflicts with that, then you're in the wrong room. Because if you can't tell by tonight that this is what this place is truly about. We can talk about leagues, about building and things. At the end of the day, when you look around, the people in this room have made Georgetown what it is today and I'm proud to be part of it.