Fond Memories Shared at CofC Athletics Hall Of Fame Brunch
CHARLESTON, S.C. - It was a special day for four of the newest members of the College of Charleston Athletics Hall of Fame - former men's basketball star and 13-year NBA veteran Anthony Johnson (1994-97), former Director of Athletics Jerry Baker (1991-07), former sailing All-American Kara Shadwick-Museler (1992-95) and former men's soccer All-American defender Luiz Vieira (1987-90).
All recalled special memories and the paths that led them to The College during their induction speeches. One, his love and pride for his alma mater, which led to three decades of service as an administrator. Another, through his older brother, who also donned the Maroon and White on the hardwood, and a young sailor, who first competed as a 10-year-old and knew that CofC was the premiere school to continue her love of the sport. And last, a foreign exchange student from Brazil, who followed his dream of playing what is known as 'the beautiful game' around the world.
Long-time CofC supporter, Tap Johnson, introduced Jerry Baker, who was beloved by his student-athletes, coaches, fans and supporters during his time as Director of Athletics. A 1974 graduate of The College, Baker thanked former CofC Head Men's Basketball Coach and then-Athletics Director John Kresse for hiring him for his dream job back at his alma mater in 1984.
During Baker's tenure, the athletics programs at the College of Charleston experienced unparalleled success. In the mid-1980s, the College was a national powerhouse in many sports at the NAIA level. The Cougars later transitioned into NCAA Division I status and continued to be successful under his watch. Baker's continued impact also included raising the overall athletics budget from $1 million annually to over $8 million along with many facility upgrades.
When introducing Anthony Johnson, Kresse said this of his former star point guard. "There were many players in my 38 years of coaching, but in the categories of leadership, development and character, he is on the top of my list. It started with Anthony dreaming big dreams and reaching for the stars. His desire, commitment and dedication were amazing to watch. He always wanted more repetition in practice and was always the last player in the gym."
Johnson, who was the College's first NBA Draft Pick selected 40th overall by the Sacramento Kings in 1997, still remains the school's all-time career assists leader (520). During Johnson's four-year career, the Cougars compiled an impressive 101-17 overall record including four TAAC championships, two NIT and two NCAA Tournament appearances including the program's first-round victory over Maryland in the NCAA Southeast Regional. He followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Steven Johnson, who also played for Kresse in the late 80s and was inducted into the CofC Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.
CofC Head Men's Soccer Coach Ralph Lundy got emotionally as he introduced Luiz Vieira, who was his first recruit at The College, after accepting the head coaching job with the Cougars from Erskine College. Vieira was always on his radar, after seeing the young foreign exchange student play in Greenville, S.C. Lundy credits Vieira's signing as giving him, 'the confidence to schedule incredibly difficult teams' for the then-NAIA program, prior to its move to NCAA competition.
Vieira became the first men's soccer player to be selected to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas NAIA Division I All-America First Team in 1988 as a sophomore. Additionally, in that particular season, he was named an NAIA Third Team All-American and led the Cougars to a 17-5-2 season including notable wins over Notre Dame and Wake Forest as well as a tie versus defending national champion Clemson in the program's final NAIA year.
"It is an honor to be part of this year's induction class," Vieira said. "Years ago, I was watching a movie. In it, this guy who was responsible for firing people was asked, 'how are you going to tell their children?' He said, 'do you know why children like and admire professional athletes so much?' To which they replied, 'because they have money or fame?' He said, 'no, it's because they follow their dreams.' I tell you this, because I, just like all children, had the dream of being a professional soccer player and athlete. I think athletes are able to move people and make people happy. They change the environment. That was my objective when I was real young - to follow my dream - which I did by playing soccer at the College of Charleston."
Former Director of Sailing and 2012 CofC Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee George Wood introduced his former four-time All-American in Shadwick-Museler, who he described, "laid the ground work for three years of Top 5 national championship performances for our women's teams."
One of only two women in the storied tradition of the College of Charleston sailing program to be named an All-American all four years, Shadwick-Museler and three-time All-American Tyler Moore helped the Cougars place second in the Leonard M. Fowle Trophy competition for three-straight years from 1993-95, which is awarded annually to the best overall collegiate team in the nation. Sailing A-Division, she also led CofC to a second-place finish at the Women's Dinghy National Championship as a freshman and sophomore as well as Top 5 finishes at nationals during her junior and senior years.
"It was only natural that I would gravitate to a college that had an amazing sailing program, even until this day and 20 years ago," said Shadwick-Museler, who like Johnson and Vieira, are all business administration graduates of CofC. "My competitive nature was honed and harnessed at the College of Charleston by excellent coaching and a history of amazing sailors. People often ask, why I don't race at that level today. I feel that I feed that competitiveness through my work and career in the financial industry. My experience at the College of Charleston prepared me for the transition."