2023 HoF

2023 Hall of Fame

Brenda Johnson Hamilton (Women's Basketball, 1974-77), former head coach Danny Williamson (Track & Field/Cross Country, 1987-2016), and Gary Ayers (Broadcaster, Catamount Sports Network – 1985-present) make up the 34th class to be selected by the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame committee.


2022 Hall of Fame

A pair of individuals including one former student-athlete and one head coach, as well as one honored team comprise the 2022 induction class into Western Carolina's Athletics Hall of Fame, it was announced this week. Skip Nelloms (Baseball, 1985-88), former head coach Steve Lott (Women's Golf, 1998-2010), and the 1995-96 Catamount men's basketball team comprise the 33rd class to be selected by the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame committee.
WCU's 2022 Athletics Hall of Fame weekend is scheduled for Nov. 18-19 surrounding the Catamounts' home football game against Southern Conference opponent Chattanooga at 1 p.m. Complete details of the weekend's ceremonies will be made available closer to the event.


2021 Hall of Fame

Western Carolina today proudly announced the selection of three for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2021. Football student-athlete alum Harvey Walker (1969-71; 1975-76), baseball's Paul Menhart (1988-90), and Gerald Austin (1964-69), a two-time WCU graduate and well-known football official have each been selected as the 32nd class inducted into the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame.


Three former student-athletes representing two different sports comprise the Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2020 announced today as the hall of fame celebrates its 30th anniversary since its inception in 1990. Beth Crisp (Women's Basketball & Softball, 1977-81), Joe C. Love (Football, 1964-69), and David Rathburn (Football, 1971-74) have each been elected as the 31st class inducted into the WCU's Athletics Hall of Fame.


-The 2019 WCU Athletic Hall of Fame Class-  

Two of the most recognizable figures from Catamount Athletics during the 2000's decade comprises the 2019 induction class into the Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame unveiled today. Former Catamount men's basketball standout and 12-year NBA veteran Kevin Martin (2001-04) and former women's soccer student-athlete Jordan Howell Dunn (2000-03) will be enshrined into the Hall's 30th class.

Martin joins an elite fraternity of 22 inductees that had a direct relation with the WCU men's basketball program all-time, the first hoops inductee since the late Charlie McConnell in 2015. Dunn becomes just the second women's soccer individual to be enshrined in the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame, joining a former teammate – and 2011 WCU Hall of Fame inductee – Nardia Moore, who was the program's first-ever signee and its all-time leading scorer.


-The 2017 WCU Athletic Hall of Fame Class-   

Former Western Carolina football student-athlete and longtime football coach Don Powers has been selected to be enshrined into the Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame. The Hall's 28th induction class will be honored the weekend of Nov. 10-11, coinciding with the Catamount football regular season home finale against Southern Conference opponent, Mercer. 

Powers played for the Purple & Gold from 1963-67 under head coach Dan Robinson, and had two different coaching stints at his alma mater spanning 18 years. Beginning as a graduate assistant under Robinson, Powers first coached at WCU from 1968-83, where he served most extensively under legendary head coach Bob Waters, and again later on Kent Briggs' staff in 2006-07. While at Western Carolina, Powers was associated with some of WCU's most prolific teams and coached some of the greatest players in school history.


-The 2016 WCU Athletic Hall of Fame Class-

Fred Cantler                                                                                                                    Mike Biggerstaff

Fred Cantler (Administration, 1978-2012) - Few individuals have had more impact on the evolution of the Western Carolina Athletics Department than Fred Cantler (Administration, 1978-2012). Cantler devoted over 33 years of his career in athletics administration at Western Carolina, coming to Cullowhee in 1978 as an athletic trainer -- WCU's first full-time employee in that role. He retired from WCU in 2011 as a senior associate AD. Cantler was a staple around WCU athletic events for over three decades, serving as athletic trainer for 17 years before moving on in athletic administration. He was ultimately asked twice to serve as the interim Director of Athletics in both 2004 and again in 2011, coming out of retirement to return to the department for just over two months. In his role of senior associate athletic director for internal relations, Cantler was the primary sport supervisor for football, women's soccer, men's basketball and baseball. In addition, he served as the department's NCAA Compliance Officer, a duty he held from 1995 until his retirement. He also was responsible for game-day management, scheduling and supervising the maintenance of athletics facilities, organizing and scheduling athletics summer camps, serving as a liaison between athletics and other departments on campus, and overseeing the training, weight and equipment rooms. During his career as a sports administrator, Cantler helped develop the Catamount women's soccer program from scratch in 1999 including hiring its first head coach in Debbie Hensley. Two years later in 2001, the program captured the first of its three Southern Conference tournament championships. Also, the Catamount baseball team won both the regular season and tournament titles in 2003 and won the regular season in 2007, advancing to the NCAA regional tournaments with Cantler as its supervisor. A 1978 graduate of Western Kentucky University, Cantler also served on the conference's official committee and the basketball tournament committee - serving for many seasons as the floor director at the championship tournament - along with sitting on numerous NCAA committees. In May of 2012, Cantler was selected as one of 12 recipients of the Southern Conference's Distinguished Service Awards. Cantler is married to the former Katrina Hipp of Charlotte, who retired as a teacher at Sylva's Smoky Mountain High School. The couple has two children -- Natalie Cantler Canter, who is married to Matt Canter, and Clay Cantler -- and two grandchildren, Emery and Tripp.

Mike Biggerstaff (Football, 1966-69)  - A four-year letter winner, Mike Biggerstaff started his playing career as a walk-on at Western Carolina before earning a football scholarship. He played on both sides of the football through his junior season, playing offensive and defensive guard before finishing his career as a linebacker. Biggerstaff, a team co-captain in both 1968 and 1969, collected All-Carolinas Conference plaudits from 1967 - 1969, and tallied All-NAIA District 26 honors and was an honorable mention NAIA All-America selection as a senior. He was also selected to the 1969 Collegiate All-State team following the 1969 season. Originally from Marion, N.C., Biggerstaff concluded his playing career as a standout linebacker on Western Carolina's first-ever nationally-ranked football team in 1969. He was named the team's Defensive MVP that season, helping guide the Catamounts to a 9-1 record and a national ranking of eighth in the final NAIA national polls. WCU's defense led the nation in turnovers in '69 with 24 total interceptions and 26 fumble recoveries. Following his graduation from Western Carolina in 1970, Biggerstaff embarked on a solid prep coaching career. As a head coach, he secured 144 career victories over 19 seasons between three different North Carolina high school programs -- R-S Central in Rutherfordton, N.C.; West Caldwell High in Lenoir, N.C.; and East Burke High in Connelly Springs, N.C. In the fall of 2015, the football field at West Caldwell High in Lenoir was named for its former coach in Biggerstaff who served the school from 1979 until 1987. Under his leadership, the WCHS football team won six Big Six Conference championships and a state semifinal appearance in 1987. During his coaching career, Biggerstaff was chosen to coach both the North Carolina -- South Carolina Shrine Bowl and the 1985 East-West All-Star Game. Biggerstaff was out of the coaching profession for 14 years during which time he was a marketing and sales manager, and part owner of Key Risk Management Services, a company started in 1986 by his brother, Bob Biggerstaff. Key Risk Management became the largest provider of Workers Compensation for employers in the state of North Carolina including all state employees, minus the Department of Transportation. Biggerstaff additionally served on the Board of Directors for the Carolinas Electrical Contractors Association (CECA) and served as the president of the CECA Associate Membership. He was also on the Board of Directors for the Associated Building Contractors (ABC) of North and South Carolina. Through his contributions as a coach at the high school level, Biggerstaff has been twice inducted into hall of fames. In 1999, he was enshrined in the Caldwell County Sports Hall of Fame, and most recently in February of 2015, he was inducted into the East Burke High Hall of Fame, finishing his coaching career as the Cavaliers' second-winningest head football coach all-time. He posted a .621 win percentage from 2002-09 with seven North Carolina 4-A state playoff appearances. Biggerstaff has remained involved with WCU, serving as a member of the Catamount Club Board of Directors. He and his wife, Sandee, have one son, Joe Don Biggerstaff, who is also a WCU alum. He also has two grandchildren, Madison and Eli.-


-The 2015 WCU Athletic Hall of Fame Class-      
   Courtesy CatamountSports.com  

Tom Broadwater (1957-60) was a four-year letter winner who received overwhelming support for his induction into WCU’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Broadwater was a part of what was billed the “Million Dollar Backfield” with fellow Hall of Fame member, quarterback Tobe Childers, fullback Jamie Wilkes and running back Boggy Bass. 

A quarterback by trade, Lonnie Galloway (1990-94) concluded his four-year Catamount career as WCU’s all-time leader in total offense with 6,832 yards – a mark which stands entering the 2015 season. He led the Catamounts in total offense from 1991-93, holding two of WCU’s top seven single-season total offense yardages. Galloway also finished his career ranked as WCU’s all-time second-leading passer, amassing 5,545 career yards through the air on 355 career completions – the seventh-most in program history. At the time of his induction, Galloway continues to rank on eight of WCU’s season and career top 10 offensive categories. 

A beacon in the Western Carolina community, Charlie McConnell, Jr. (1962-66) was a four-year letter winner and a two-year starter for the Catamount men’s basketball team. He helped WCU to an 81-35 record during his playing career including two, 20-win seasons and never endured a record below .500. McConnell started in the backcourt alongside another WCU Hall of Famer, Henry Logan, for two seasons and was credited by their head coach – hall of famer Jim Gudger – as a key factor in Logan’s legendary career. 


 -The 2014 WCU Athletic Hall of Fame Class-

The Western Carolina's 2002-03 women's golf team and former football player Leroy Holden comprise the silver anniversary class, and will be enshrined in the Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame on the weekend of November 14-15 with a special on-field recognition during the Catamounts home football game against returning Southern Conference member, VMI, on Nov. 15.

WCU's 2002-03 women's golf team was the first women's team to advance to a NCAA post-season tournament. The Catamounts ended the nine-year run of the Furman Lady Paladins, carding a SoCon record-low 54-hole score of 894 that still stands today. WCU's 2002-03 roster featured Rebecca Twiner Hastings; Danish-born Line Cordes; Tumba, Sweden native Johanna Lundberg; and Hendersonville, N.C., product, Meredith Beck. Freshmen on the 2002-03 squad included Brandy Andersen, Ashley Hovda and Jennifer Palmer.

Leroy Holden lettered four years at wide receiver for the Catamount football team from 1963-66. He recorded 78 career receptions including 10 receiving touchdowns, amassing 1,310 yards. His best season came in 1966 when he tallied 38 receptions for 656 yards and five scores. In 1965, he returned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown against Lenior-Rhyne. During his career, Holden was named player of the year four times and received three game balls for outstanding individual game performances.


  -The 2013 WCU Athletic Hall of Fame Class-

The 2013 Western Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame class includes five former student-athletes and the first Patron Award recipient since 2005. 

The 24th induction class includes, Christy Attebery Kennelly (Volleyball, 1998-2001), Al "Mutt" DeGraffenreid (Football, 1974-76; Coach, 1977-96), Frankie King (Men's Basketball, 1993-95), David L. Jones (Men's Basketball, 1957-60), George "Ronnie" Scott (Football, 1964-66). This class also includes the 11th Patron Award recipient, Mr. Alden McCracken

Photo Courtesy WCU Athletics
Al "Mutt" DeGraffenreid 
(Football, 1974-76; Coach, 1977-96)

No one individual has had the same impact on or been a bigger part of the Western Carolina football program over the past 40 years than Al "Mutt" DeGraffenreid.

A three-year letter winner from 1974-76 and a two-year starter in the defensive secondary, the undersized DeGraffenreid, who converted from wide receiver to defensive back, epitomized the fighting spirit WCU legendary coach Bob Waters embodied.

DeGraffenreid was a member of the 1974 WCU defensive unit that finished the season ranked fourth nationally, and helped the Catamounts finish the 1976 season ranked second in pass defense. He was also on the '74 squad that made WCU's first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Credited with the first-ever tackle made on the artificial playing surface at Whitmire Stadium in 1974, DeGraffenreid, who played at Reynolds High in Asheville, went on to earn the football team's Intrepid Award as a senior in '76.

Following his playing career, DeGraffenreid latched onto the WCU coaching staff in 1977 as a graduate assistant and embarked on an incredible coaching career that spanned the better part of 20 years. In 1980, "Coach Mutt" became a full-time assistant and spent the next 16 seasons under three different head coaches including the late Waters, Dale Strahm (1989) and Steve Hodgin (1990-96). DeGraffenreid spent time as the wide receivers and defensive backs coach, as well as the offensive coordinator.

DeGraffenreid additionally holds the distinction of being WCU's first-ever women's track & field head coach.

Many former WCU student-athletes - football and others alike - can trace their path and reasons for bringing their talents to Cullowhee back to Coach Mutt. He mentored 10, first team All-Southern Conference student-athletes during his time on the football staff including former NFL wide receiver - and three-time Super Bowl Champion, David Patten, as well as all-time great receivers Kerry Hayes, Craig Aiken, Eric Rasheed and Otis Washington.

Following his career at WCU, DeGraffenreid served as a coach and administrator locally at both Smoky Mountain and Cherokee High Schools, retiring in 2006. He was one of the first-ever African-American head high school football coaches in Western North Carolina upon his hire at Cherokee High in 1999.

His wife, Pam, has been a staff member at WCU for over 20 years. The couple have two children, Cetera, who played collegiate women's basketball at the University of North Carolina, and Al who is enrolled at WCU and works with the Catamount men's basketball team.


George "Ronnie" Scott 
(Football, 1964-66)

George "Ronnie" Scott was a three-year letter winner and three-time team most valuable player for Catamount football teams that posted winning records in three-consecutive seasons between 1964 and 1966. He recorded over 100 tackles in each of his three seasons as a linebacker, earning All-Carolinas Conference plaudits in 1965 and '66 while also tallying All-NAIA District 26 linebacker honors three times and was listed as a honorable mention All-America selection.

Beginning his career as a walk-on, Scott played both offense and defense while the captain of the 1966 squad that recorded three-consecutive shutout victories over Elon (34-0), Mars Hill (62-0) and Newberry (40-0), and led the Carolinas Conference in total defense. In 1965, Scott and the Catamounts finished 7-2 - with both losses coming by a combined six points; 18-13 loss to Catawba and a one-point, 14-13, loss to Lenoir-Rhyne. That same defensive unit held two opponents - Elon and Appalachian State - to minus yardage, while also only allowing eight touchdowns in nine games and paced the nation in rushing defense at 50.4 yards allowed per game.

Scott went on to have a highly successful and distinguished 35-year career at DuPont, an American chemical 
company based out of Wilmington, Delaware, as a leader in management and logistics. He also developed several design and inventions that were patented while with the company. He later served as a commissioner for the Port of Richmond in Richmond, Va.


Christy Attebery Kennelly 
(Volleyball, 1998-2001)

Christy Attebery Kennelly becomes just the sixth former Catamount volleyball player to be enshrined in the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame.

One of just two WCU players to ever earn All-Southern Conference accolades in three different seasons, Attebery holds the distinction as both WCU's and the Southern Conference's all-time leader in kills, setting the school record in her junior season.

The Las Vegas, Nev., native ranks as the only Catamount to ever eclipse the 2,000-career kill barrier, amassing 2,109 kills to continue hold both records. She averaged an astonishing 4.50 kills per set and continues to hold three of WCU's top 10 records for kills in a single-season. 

Finishing her four-year career atop the school's all-time digs leader board, Attebery concluded her career in first - and currently ranks second - all-time in program history for career digs with 1,682. Also, her 159 career service aces rank her second in the program's ledgers. 

Attebery, who served as the president of WCU's Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) during her career, is one of just two Catamounts to earn American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region accolades, doing so in 2001 to join fellow Hall of Fame member, Regina Brown. She was a four-time SoCon Player of the Week during her career and thrice earned all-tournament team honors for the Catamounts. All told, WCU boasted an 84-51 record with her in the lineup. 

During her WCU playing career in 1999, Attebery was one of 22 players chosen to represent the United States on the under-20 All-Star team competing in the Sibillini Italian Tournament in Rome, claiming the gold medal in the tournament.


Frankie King 
(Men's Basketball, 1993-95)

Frankie King played just two seasons for Western Carolina under head coach Benny Dees in the mid 1990s. Yet his name factors prevalently among the all-time greats to have ever worn the Purple & Gold.

A transfer from Brunswick Community College where he twice earned Georgia Junior College Player of the Year plaudits and was the scoring champion, King was a unanimous two-time, first team All-Southern Conference performer who twice claimed the SoCon's scoring title. He also landed on the SoCon All-Tournament team two times including MVP honors in 1995. King is also the only Catamount men's basketball player to ever claim SoCon Player of the Year honors more than once, garnering the media's top honor in 1994 and the coaches' top player honor in 1995. 

King scored 752 points as a junior in 1993-94 to rank fourth on WCU's single-season ledgers for points in a season, and followed it up with 743 as a senior in 1994-95, the sixth-best year in school history. His 1,495 career points in just two seasons continues to rank 12th in school history. King recorded 30-or-more points in 22 games over his two seasons in Cullowhee. He ranked inside the top three nationally in individual scoring average both seasons including third in scoring in 1993-94 (26.9 ppg) and ranked second his final season at 26.5 points per game. 

All told, King's name remains on four of Western Carolina's single-season charts and is on three of the career ledgers. He was also featured as one of 12 players listed on WCU's All-20th Century team. 

In 1995, King was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the eighth pick of the second round, 37th overall. He opened a 12-year professional career by playing in the NBA with both the Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers from 1995 through 1997. King additionally played professionally in several European countries including Spain, Greece, Germany, France and Turkey, as well as in Israel and Venezuela. He returned  stateside for a season with the CBA's Gary (Ind.) Steelheads in 2003-04 before retiring in 2007. 

A 1991 graduate of Appling County High School, King returned in the winter of 2011 to see his jersey No. 24 retired by the school.


David L. Jones 
(Men's Basketball, 1957-60)

David L. Jones enjoyed a very solid playing career at the then-named Western Carolina College, averaging double-digit scoring and rebounding for three seasons while starting 90 games for teams that posted a 77-38 (.670) overall record.

A four-year letter winner, He was thrice named to the post-season, all-tournament team during his career, and helped lead the 1958-59 Catamounts to a then school-record 24 victories as a part of a 24-4 overall record, claiming the North State Conference championship. One year later, Jones earned All-North State Conference plaudits in 1960. 

Jones paced the Catamounts in scoring for back-to-back seasons in 1958-59 with a 13.5 point per game average, following it up with by scoring at a 17.0 point per game clip as a senior in 1959-60. He additionally led the team - and the North State Conference - in rebounding in the two aforementioned seasons, averaging 10.5 and 14.6 boards per game with the latter continuing to rank second in WCU's single-season record books. His 395 rebounds in his final season continue to rank tied for fifth in WCU's single season ledgers. 

All told, Jones scored 1,324 career points during his career in Cullowhee, a mark which was third at the time of his graduation and remains 21st in the current ledger. Jones played alongside and with current WCU Athletics Hall of Fame members Harris Pryor (1956-69), Gaston Seal (1959-63), Bruce Peterson (1960-64) and Mel Gibson (1960-63). He was also selected to the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, an honor selected by WCU faculty. 

Following his graduation in 1960, Jones spent 40 years teaching, coaching and administration. He taught and coached in Windfall, Ind., Sylva, and at Hunter Huss High in Gastonia, N.C. He additionally was a physical
education instructor at Mars Hill College. He moved into secondary school administration in Chesterfield County Virginia where he spent 30 years as both a middle and high school principal. 

Jones retired from education in 2000 and now lives with his wife of 51 years, Audrey, in Pinehurst, N.C. 


Alden McCracken 
(11th Patron Award recipient)

Alden McCracken becomes the 11th person in WCU history to receive the Patron Award, which the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame Committee periodically awards to an individual that has made outstanding contributions which have enriched the athletics program. 

A native of Waynesville, N.C., McCracken served four years in the United States Air Force before returning to the mountain region. A two-year letter winner on the Catamount football team, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Carolina in 1958. 

McCracken's distinguished professional career includes working for the Chrysler Corporation in their space and missile division; at Clemson University as an associate vice president for business affairs and secretary/treasurer for the research foundation. McCracken was also employed by the South Carolina Universities Research Education Foundations as the chief financial officer, and as the director of the Office of Contracts and Grants Administration for Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 

Throughout his career, his passion for Western Carolina University and Catamount Athletics has remained steadfast. McCracken has been a member of the Catamount Club Board of Directors, as well as the President of WCU Alumni Association in 1985. He has remained a loyal and generous supporter of the Catamount Club for nearly 35 years and has been a long-time season ticket holder for baseball, basketball and football. In 2013, McCracken became a Trophy Club member in the Catamount Club, which represents a full out-of-state scholarship. 

Most recently, he established an endowed scholarship - the Linda and Alden McCracken Endowed Scholarship Fund - to benefit Catamount student-athletes. 


  -The 2012 WCU Athletic Hall of Fame Class-
Bill Stanley                Laura Tieszen           Eric Johnson
Three former student-athletes representing four different sports comprise the 2012 Western Carolina University Athletic Hall of Fame class.

Bill Stanley (Football, 1964-69), Eric Johnson (Football & Baseball, 1995-99) and Laura Tieszen Kamarainen (Women's Track & Field, 2002-05) make up this year's induction class.

The 23rd induction class in school history will be placed into the Athletics Hall of Fame on the weekend of November 2-3 with special on-field recognition during the Catamounts' home football game against Southern Conference foe, Chattanooga.


Bill Stanley (Football, 1964-69)

Bill Stanley enjoyed a solid four-year career as both an offensive and defensive lineman for the Catamount football team under head coach Dan Robinson.

Stanley was a part of three-consecutive, non-losing teams at WCU from 1964-66. Playing for WCU in the old Carolinas Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (CIAC aka Carolinas Conference, member from 1933-1976) - Stanley became the first - and only - Catamount to win the Kirkland Blocking Trophy in 1967.

The post-season accolades continued in '67 as Stanley was named to the NAIA District 26 squad and tabbed All-NAIA along the offensive front. He was additionally tabbed All-Carolinas Conference as a defensive tackle becoming the last Catamount to earn honors on offense and defense in the same season.

Stanley went on to a career in education including a 27-year career at Halifax Community College (HCC) in Weldon, N.C. He began as the evening director in 1973, quickly progressing to serve as the college's Associate Dean of Evening Programs, the Dean of Continuing Education and the Vice President of the College in 1989.

In 1999, Stanley was honored as the "Administrator of the Year" on-campus. Under his direction, notable accomplishments of HCC include the establishment of the HCC Small Business Center and industrial training programs. He established firefighter training programs and provided the campus leadership in the statewide restructuring and reengineering process, mandated by the North Carolina Community College System.

One of his most recognized accomplishments was the organization and successful implementation of the HCC Pulp & Paper Technology Program - the only one of its kind in the state community college system. An avid golfer, Stanley set a course record of 63 at Carolina Shores Golf and Country Club.

Stanley remains very active within the Catamount Club, having served on the Board of Directors numerous years as well as serving on various Catamount Club and athletic department committees.

Courtesy WCU Sports Information


Laura Tieszen  (Women's Track & Field, 2002-05)

Laura Tieszen - Kamarainen captured 13 All-Southern Conference accolades during her outstanding four-year Western Carolina track & field career between the pole vault, javelin and the pentathlon/heptathlon events.

She was a six-time SoCon champion in the women's pole vault including three individual crowns split equally between both the indoor and outdoor seasons, while also claiming individual championships in the outdoor heptathlon and the indoor pentathlon in 2005.

Tieszen, who continues to hold both the league and school pole vault record of four meters (13'1.48") set in the 2004 SoCon outdoor championship, was a three-time SoCon Most Valuable Field Performer, earning the recognition in both the 2004 indoor and outdoor championships and again in the `05 outdoor championships. Also during the 2004 outdoor championship event, Tieszen collected a runner-up finish in the 2004 javelin throw en route to being named field MVP at the meet. She was also tabbed as WCU's Female Student-Athlete of the Year at the year-ending awards banquet in '04.

A native of Rapid City, South Dakota, Tieszen also dominated the SoCon's indoor pole vault competition from 2003-05, winning the event three consecutive seasons. She additionally competed in the pole vault at the junior national level as a true freshman in 2002. Also, Tieszen held WCU's record in the indoor pentathlon from 2004 until 2010, collecting 3,102 points.

Combined, Tieszen was a three-time SoCon Athlete of the Week selection between both the indoor and outdoor seasons, while also garnering numerous Student-Athlete of the Week honors recognizing both performance athletically and in the classroom. She was also tabbed the league's track & field athlete of the month in February of 2005.

Courtesy WCU Sports Information


Eric Johnson (Football & Baseball, 1995-99)

Eric Johnson was a two-sport athlete at Western Carolina from 1995-98, playing both football and baseball for the Catamounts.

A two-time All-America selection in 1997 and '98, Johnson is one of just two former Catamount football players to earn consensus first team All-America accolades, joining Kerry Hayes (1993).

Johnson was a two-time, first-team All-Southern Conference selection on defense for the Catamounts, while also garnering first team league plaudits in baseball. He is only one of five student-athletes in Southern Conference history to be named first team All-SoCon in football and baseball in the same year, doing so in the 1998-99 academic year. Additionally, as a rookie, the Shallotte, N.C., native was named to the SoCon All-Freshman team.

 \Johnson remains tied for third in WCU career history for tackles, amassing 326 total hits including 219 solo stops. He also holds two of the top 10 single-season tackle totals including fourth with 128 hits in 1997 and ninth with a team-best 118 tackles in 1998. In 2000, he was named a defensive back on WCU's 20th Century Football Team.

On the diamond, Johnson was a first team All-SoCon selection in the 1999 season, pacing the squad with a school single-season record 83 runs scored on 100 base hits - the latter a mark which remains fourth in school single-season history. Once on base, the speedy Johnson remained a threat, collecting a school-record 46 stolen bases in '99 - which remains tied for sixth in the SoCon record books.

Johnson remains fifth in program history with 59 combined stolen bags. He was a two-time SoCon All-tournament team honoree, earning the plaudits in 1998 and '99. All told in 1999, Johnson ranked first in the SoCon in runs scored (83) and ranked in the top 10 in batting average (.388), hits (100), home runs (10) and stolen bases (46). He continues to rank fifth in the SoCon single-season record books with his 83 runs scored while his 46 steals remain tied for sixth all-time. He additionally earned a SoCon Player of the Week accolade once during 1999.

He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians following the season, selected in the third round with 107th overall pick - the highest for a Catamount baseball player since 1993. He remained in the Indians organization for three years, progressing to the Class A Kinston (N.C.) Indians before returning to the gridiron, making the practice squad with the Chicago Bears as a defensive back in 2001.

He again returned to the diamond in 2003-04 with the Boston Red Sox organization, progressing to the Sox's Double-A affiliate in Portland. Johnson returned to finish his degree from WCU in 2004.

Courtesy WCU Sports Information