July 20, 2010
Cullowhee, N.C. - Six former athletes with ties dating back to the 1950s through the present day comprise the 2010 Western Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame class which was announced this week. The 21st such grouping in WCU history which includes former student-athletes from three different sports will be placed into the Athletics Hall of Fame during festivities surrounding the final Catamount football home game on the weekend of Nov. 12-14.
Tom Bodine (Football, 1991-94), Tobe Childers (Football, 1957-60), Kerry Hayes (Football, 1991-94), Anquell McCollum (Men's Basketball, 1992-96; Assistant Coach, 2004-present), Gaston Seal (Men's Basketball, 1959-63) and Rebecca Twiner Hastings (Women's Golf, 2000-04)
Tom Bodine (1991-94) was one of three linebackers named to the Western Carolina All-20th Century team in 2000 and becomes the third such defender to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame joining counterparts Louis Cooper (1981-84) and Steve Yates (1971-74). The all-time leader in tackles in Catamount football history with 453, Bodine led the Catamounts in total hits from 1991 through 1993 to be the only Catamount dating back to 1976 to have led the squad in tackles for three-consecutive seasons.
A native of Pickens, S.C., Bodine was a two-time Southern Conference Player of the Week (1992 and '93) and was twice selected as the NCAA Division I-AA National Defensive Player of the Week. Against East Tennessee State in 1992, Bodine tallied 22 tackles including 17 solo stops, two pass break-ups a sack and caused a fumble to garner the recognition. One year later, he recorded 11 tackles and blocked two field goal attempts to again earn the honor.
Bodine finished with 30 tackles for loss, seven sacks and three interceptions, starting 44 games during his four-year career. He was a three-time, All-Southern Conference linebacker, garnering first team accolades in both 1993 and '94. In the latter, Bodine was selected both the preseason Southern Conference and NCAA I-AA National Defensive Player of the Year, earning honorable mention as a 1994 All-America selection by The Sports Network.
Tobe Childers (1957-60) involvement with Western Carolina spans over half a century from his playing days as a quarterback for the Catamount football team to a benefactor and fundraiser for student-athletes ever since. One of his most vocal and visible accomplishments was the founding of "the Herd" - an unofficial football support group comprised of football alum with membership numbers totaling over 120.
In a game where passing was the exception not the norm, Childers completed 72-percent of his pass attempts, only tossing four interceptions in his four-year career. He was instrumental in WCU's 7-2-1 overall record in 1959, also guiding the school to a winning record (6-5) in 1960.
In recent years, Childers has been a driving force behind several athletics fundraising initiatives through the Catamount Club. As the Club's only two-term president from 2006-08, Childers was successful in backing numerous auction and golf tournament events; starting the ICAT donation level; procuring the initial monetary pledge of $250,000 from the Sun Trust Bank towards Catamount student-athlete scholarships; and was a catalyst in the Dale & Diane Hollifield Football Locker Room project.
For his tireless efforts, Childers received the 2007 Southern Conference Distinguished Service Award for Western Carolina.
Kerry Hayes (1991-94) was one of the best all-around athletes in Western Carolina football history as a wide receiver and kick returner. With 975 yards on punt returns (16.8 yds/ret), 2,058 yards on kickoff returns (28.2 yds/ret) and 2,608 receiving yards (14.9 yds/rec), he continues to hold the WCU all-purpose yard career record with 5,617 while also holding the markers for most yards per play in a game (47.5), season (21.8), and career (19.2).
Hayes is one of just six Catamounts all-time to have garnered first team All-Southern Conference accolades three-or-more times in their WCU career, doing so in 1992, '93 and '94. He was also a two-time All-America recipient from the Associated Press (3rd, 1992; 1st, 1993) AFCA (1993) and The Sports Network (1st, 1993), becoming the first of only two WCU football players to earn a consensus selection to the honorary squad.
Additionally, Hayes was a three-time SoCon Freshman of the Week, including garnering the honor after catching four passes for 86 yards and a score and also returning a punt 95 yards - the second longest punt return in school-history - for six in a come-from-behind win over Chattanooga. He also garnered league Offensive Player of the Week plaudits in 1994 after amassing 275 all-purpose yards including 110 through the air and a touchdown in the 53-15 Homecoming win.
In 2000, the Camden, S.C., native was selected to WCU's All-20th Century team as a kick returner. He led the team in both kickoff and punt return yardage from 1991 through '94, setting seven SoCon and four NCAA FCS (then I-AA) records for kick returns including scoring seven touchdowns on returns.
Anquell McCollum (1992-96) has been the face of the modern era for Western Carolina men's basketball since the early 1990s. The recognized and highly honored leader of WCU's first-ever Southern Conference Championship men's basketball team in 1996, McCollum returned to Cullowhee in 2007 as an assistant coach - a role he continues today.
McCollum was a two-time, first team All-Southern Conference selection in both 1995 and '96, while also garnering all-freshman plaudits during the 1992-93 season. He is one of just four former Catamounts to have ever garnered SoCon Player of the Year accolades - earning both coaches and media honors - and one of only two to have captured player of the year and SoCon Tournament MVP honors in the same season, doing so in 1996 to join former teammate, Frankie King, who accomplished the feat in 1994.
During the magical 1996 season - which saw the Catamounts rebound from a 3-10 start to win 14 of their final 16 games and nearly shock No. 1 seeded Purdue in the NCAA Tournament - McCollum led the SoCon in scoring and ranked sixth nationally with a 25.0 point per game average.
McCollum, who is the only Catamount to have earned all-tournament team honors three times during a career, finished his four years as Western Carolina's all-time career 3-pointers made leader with 245 - a mark which was surpassed in 2009-10 by Jake Robinson while he watched from the Catamount bench as an assistant coach. In 2000, the Fayetteville, N.C., native was selected to the WCU All-20th Century team and currently ranks on six WCU career charts including sixth among the program's 1,000-point scorers with 1,777 points
Gaston Seal (1960-63) was a four-year starter on the men's basketball hardwood from 1959-63 as a part of Catamount teams that combined to win 70 games. He was among the starting five on teams that won the Carolina's Conference Championship in 1962 with a 21-8 record. Suffering an injury prior to his senior season, he returned to start for the team that won a school-record 28 games and advanced to the NAIA National Championship in 1963, finishing as the national runner-up with a 28-7 ledger and earning Hall of Fame induction in 2003.
Seal, who continues to rank sixth in the school's record books with 681 career rebounds, will join former teammates Danny Tharpe (1991), Mel Gibson (1992), Tommy Lavelle (2000) and Darrell Murray (2006) in the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame.
A resident of Glenville, N.C., Seal has remained a significant financial contributor to WCU and is a longtime supporter of Catamount athletics through the support of the Catamount Club where he has served on the Board of Directors for the past 12 years.
Rebecca Twiner Hastings (2000-04) is the first-ever Western Carolina women's golfer to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame. She was instrumental in initiating the success the WCU women's golf program has enjoyed over the past 10 years.
The Crystal River, Fla., native was among the first women's golfers to break the 70-seasonal scoring average barrier and continues to rank 11th on WCU's all-time career scoring charts (78.87). She additionally holds the seventh-best, 54-hole score in school history with a 218 at the 2002 East Carolina Lady Pirate Intercollegiate, while three of her four career seasonal stroke averages continue to rank in the school record books.
A team leader and All-Southern Conference selection on the Catamounts' first SoCon Championship in 2003, Twiner was the first women's golfer since 1997 to win a multi-round tournament, taking individual medalist honors at the Belmont Lady Bruin Invitational in September of 2001. She additionally picked up All-SoCon honors in 2004 on a team that finished second in the league championship.
Twiner, who earned the team's player of the year honor after her rookie season in 2000, finished in the top 10 in 12 career events including twice claiming individual tournament titles for the Catamounts. She also finished inside the individual top 15 in all four SoCon Women's Golf Championships including a career-best eighth in 2004. She also garnered SoCon Golfer of the Week accolades in March of 2004 - one of just five different WCU players to earn the honor all-time.