Coach Norm Sloan, who guided Citadel basketball to its heyday in the late 1950s with the
famous "Blitz Kids," highlighted a list of five inducted into The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame at Homecoming on November 9.
Also inducted into the 2002 Hall of Fame were football players Bob Carson '73 and Joe Pipczynski '83, baseball player Jeff Barkley '82, and wrestler Bruce Schwanda '65. The new inductees were recognized in ceremonies at McAlister Field House and during halftime of The Citadel-Chattanooga football game. The five new additions increases the Hall's membership to 118.
About the inductees
Norm Sloan: Sloan coached the Bulldogs for four seasons, from 1957-60, andhad a 57-38 (.600) record. After Sloan's first season, the U.S. Rubber Company named The Citadel the "Most Improved Team" in the country and presented the Bulldogs with the George Mikan Award.
Named the 1959 Coach of the Year by the South Carolina Sportswriters Association, Sloan guided Citadel teams to 11-14, 16-11, 15-5 and 15-8 records. The 11-14 mark in 1957 was the school's best in 18 years and The Citadel improved from being the 750th best team in America to No. 34. In 1959, The Citadel made its lone appearance in the Southern Conference Championship game, losing to West Virginia, 85-66, and the Mountaineers' standout performer, Jerry West.
Under Sloan, the Bulldogs played in the school's first-ever television appearance, a 60-57 Citadel victory at Clemson. The "Blitz Kids," a nickname given to the exciting team by members of the Corps of Cadets, included Hall of Fame members Ray Graves, Art Musselman, Dick Wherry and Gary Daniels. Cadets would regularly miss evening mess in order to secure the best seats in the Armory to watch Sloan's teams.
After Sloan's four years at The Citadel, he coached at Florida and then moved to N.C. State where the Wolfpack captured the 1974 NCAA Championship and featured National Player of the Year David Thompson. Sloan, the 1974 National Coach of the Year, eventually returned to Florida to coach the Gators.
During his storied career, Sloan was recognized as coach of the year in the Southern, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences.
Bob Carson: Carson, a native of Virginia Beach, VA, started his football career at The Citadel as a walk-on and was awarded a full scholarship after his freshman year. Playing for coach Red Parker, Carson was the 1972 team captain who was also voted the team's most valuable player.
For 24 years, Carson held the school record for the longest run from scrimmage (95 yards, broken in 1994 by Travis Jervey's 96-yard run), and accumulated six games in which he rushed for more than 100 yards. Carson's personal high was 205 yards that came in a 52-35 win over Chattanooga at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
The Associated Press recognized Carson as a second-team All-Southern Conference performer and as an honorable mention All-American. The S.C. Coaches Association pointed to Carson as the runner-up for the Jacobs Blocking Award.
Joe Pipczynski: Pipczynski, who hails from Riverhead, NY, played offensive tackle for Art Baker-coached teams and served as team captain in 1982. He earned All-Southern Conference honors in 1982 and was honorable mention all-conference the previous year.
A Dean's List student, Pipczynski was recognized as an all-state performer his senior year and was listed as an honorable mention all-American in 1982. That same season, he was a member of the "Leonard's Losers All-American Team" and captured the Joe Miser Outstanding Offensive Lineman Award. At one time, his bench press of 550 pounds was a state and school record.
After playing at The Citadel, Pipczynski signed as a free agent with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and upon his release, he returned home and coached at Mercy High School, his alma mater. He was given another opportunity and signed with the New York Jets in 1984, only to have a career-ending injury.
He starting coaching the local Police Athletic League teams and has won three county championships.
Jeff Barkley: Barkley, who came to The Citadel from Hickory, NC, was a pitcher on Chal Port-coached baseball teams from 1979-82. Twice named first-team all-Southern Conference, Barkley continues to hold school record for complete games in a season (9) and career (23).
During a career in which he recorded 24 wins, Barkley pitched 280.2 innings with 38 starts. His 237 strikeouts and five shutouts continue to rank among the best in school history. Barkley played on two Southern Conference championship teams (1979 and '82), and was the winning pitcher when the Bulldogs defeated North Carolina, 9-4, in the 1982 NCAA East Regional in Columbia.
Barkley signed a professional contract with the Cleveland Indians and was called up during the 1984 and 1985 seasons. He played for the Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies' AAA affiliates, and was named to the Winter League All-Star Team in Puerto Rico in 1986.
An interesting sidebar on Barkley is that he is the first major leaguer ever to record a strikeout on his first-ever pitch. Playing for Cleveland in September 1984, Barkley entered a game in Oakland with two outs, two runners on base and a 0-2 count to left-handed hitter Mike Davis. Barkley's first pitch was a forkball for a swing and a miss to end the inning.
Bruce Schwanda: Schwanda compiled a 34-4 overall record as a wrestler, winning the Southern Conference championship in the 147-pound class in 1964 and 1965. Serving as team captain, he was a co-winner of the 1965 Outstanding Wrestler Award. Also, in 1965, he won the Carolina AAU Tournament and was again selected as the Outstanding Wrestler.
Off the mats, Schwanda also excelled as evident by his serving as Company 1st Sergeant as a junior, Cadet Company Commander his senior year and member of the Block "C" Club. He was named to "Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities," and held membership in the school's International Relations Club and was the treasurer of the Semper Fidelis Club.
After graduating from The Citadel, Schwanda served in the United States Marine Corps and was a Marine Officer Instructor at The Citadel during which time he was the Officer Representative to the wrestling team. He was a decorated Marine pilot who served in Vietnam, reached the rank of Colonel and retired after 28 years of service.
The Formation of The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame
They couldn't remember if it was sunny, cloudy or rainy but they did recall meeting in Athletic Director Eddie Teague's office on the second floor of McAlister Field House. They were certain, however, that it was hot outside.
Forgive these aging men if they can't recall minor items like the day's weather. After all, it was a quarter century ago.
On June 11, 1977, five volunteers from The Citadel Brigadier Club and two ex-officio committee members left Coach Teague's air-conditioned office with papers in hand. Gen. George Siegnious, The Citadel's president, had endorsed the volunteers' work and the hard-nosed Teague was pleased. Even the school's attorney had given it his blessing.
What those men walked away with on that suspected warm and humid day 25 years ago was the formation of The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame. They brought a unique way to honor, recognize and keep the legacy alive of those who proudly wore the blue and white and who excelled on a higher plane on the various athletic fields, courts, rings, pools, ranges and tracks of competition. These celebrated combatants were clearly the best of the best. And they still are.
"I don't remember how the idea came about, but several of us talked to Les McElwee (then Executive Director of The Citadel Brigadier Club) and he urged us to go ahead with it," recalls Herbie Wilcox '51, who, as a volunteer, chaired the Hall of Fame Steering Committee. "We got a group together and called it a 'steering committee,' sat down, and came up with the plans for The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame."
The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame Steering Committee consisted of Wilcox, his late brother, John Wilcox '56, Bob Daniel '49, Bob McDowell '55 and Stan Hurteau '64. Jimmy Jones '58 was the ex-officio member from the Brigadier Club and Jim Dodson '55 represented the Association of Citadel Men. One of the first orders of business was that the Hall was to be jointly coordinated and operated by the Association and the Brigadier Club.
"We batted the (Hall of Fame) idea around and determined that we didn't need to re-invent the wheel," Wilcox said. "We contacted a few other schools who already had a hall of fame and created ours from the better points of theirs."
"We got information from Clemson, South Carolina, the University of Virginia and several others and we put ours together," remembers McDowell. "I remember looking at other schools' makeup of their halls of fame," said Hurteau, then a downtown Charleston banker who is now the Executive Director of The Citadel Brigadier Foundation.
"We took the best parts from a lot of other halls, and if one were to put our by-laws next to those from William & Mary's, I suspect that he'd see a lot of similarities."
While creating the by-laws for the Hall of Fame was one chore, having correct information on those nominated was another. "I remember that Col. (David) McAlister was a very big resource person for us since he had been at The Citadel for what seemed like forever," McDowell added. "He remembered a lot of the star players from the early years and actually knew every cadet who was nominated."
"Jake Burrows was instrumental to us, too," recalls Daniel, a former co-owner of the local Coca-Cola Bottling Company who has been labeled as The Citadel's best cheerleader. "He was a wealth of information, and still is."
Gen. Seignious, whom Wilcox said was "receptive" to the idea and whom McDowell recalls as having endorsed the concept "wholeheartedly," had the school's attorney, Ben Scott Whaley, review the proposed by-laws. With the attorney's eventual approval, Gen. Seignious permitted the committee to proceed.
"I remember going to Gen. Seignious' office (to get the paperwork)," Wilcox said. "He came out of his office and handed the file to me. Gen. Siegnious didn't make much conversation, so I said to him, 'Sir, this will be a good thing.' He looked me in the eye and said, 'Y'all did a good job.' I took it that he was pleased."
Gen. Seignious was indeed correct in saying that the committee did a good job. Twenty-five years later, the initial formats for nominating and inducting are still the same. The site may have changed, but the process works.
One benefit of membership in The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame is receiving two free tickets to every home athletic event for life. Evidently, that perk was something that Teague, a hawk of a businessman, was reluctant to give away. "Eddie was tight," Daniel remembers, "though he didn't have much to start with. But I say with all sincerity that I was blessed that I was able to work with Eddie Teague. He was a wonderful man who was somewhat embarrassed to ask for anything, but he got things done." Teague eventually relented, and the tradition of each Hall of Fame member owning two lifetime passes to all home athletic events continues.
The first Hall of Fame induction ceremonies took place in Jenkins Hall and remained there until they were moved to McAlister Field House in the mid-1990s. The format for the ceremonies pretty much remains the same. The original class included Cecil Johnson '11, Richard King '29, W.F. "Gunner" Ohlandt '51, Paul Maguire '60 and John Small '70.
"I remember that 'Gunner' was the first one to be voted in," McDowell admitted. "He was our best athlete ever."
It would seem that politics might enter the room as one classmate may try to sway a committee member to get his friend or teammate in the hall, but the original group denies that politics were a factor. "We tried to keep politics out," Daniel remembers. "There initially wasn't much politicking involved since in the early years we had the cream of the crop from which to choose." Wilcox agrees. "There wasn't much politicking at all. People would submit nominations and I don't recall politics involved at all. It was a good and sincere effort."
Today, there are 113 members in The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame, of which 47 are deceased. Membership encompasses the sports of football, basketball, baseball, track and field, wrestling, soccer, boxing, rifle, tennis, golf and swimming. Although the school no longer offers boxing and swimming, all current sports - with the exception of women's sports - are represented in the Hall of Fame.
Those steering committee members were somewhat surprised that the Hall of Fame is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In his own way, each takes pride in having been involved with it. "It was a rewarding experience," McDowell admits. "It was something that needed to be done and I was glad to have been a part of it."