Wake Forest to Induct Six into Hall of Fame
Sept. 12, 2008
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Five Wake Forest University graduates and a former head coach will be inducted into the Wake Forest University Sports Hall of Fame on the weekend of Sept. 26-27. The induction class includes former basketball stars Randolph Childress '95 and Tim Duncan '97, Olympic triathlete Hunter Kemper '98, former Deacon golfer Len Mattiace '90, ex-New York Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi '63 and former basketball coach Dave Odom.
The six new members of the Hall of Fame increases the membership to 112. This marks the largest class of inductees in the 38 year history of the Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremonies will include a dinner on Friday, Sept. 26 at the Benton Convention Center. The class will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during halftime ceremonies of the Wake Forest football game against Navy on Saturday, Sept. 27.
Accorsi spent 36 years in the National Football League and built one of the league's strongest franchises in the New York Giants. As the Giants' senior vice president and general manager, Accorsi was responsible for putting together most of the roster that contributed to the Giants' victory in Super Bowl XLII in February, 2008.
Accorsi was not a student-athlete at Wake Forest but served as the sports editor of the Old Gold & Black and as the sports director for WFDD. Following graduation, he served on active duty in the U.S. Army in 1964 and then became a sports writer in Charlotte, Baltimore and Philadelphia where he broke the story of Wilt Chamberlain's trade from the 76ers to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1968.
After stints in the sports information departments at St. Joseph's University and Penn State, Accorsi joined the NFL in 1970 as the public relations director for the Baltimore Colts. Following a position in the office of NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, Accorsi returned to the Colts in 1977 and became the general manager in 1982 where he selected John Elway with the first pick in the draft. Accorsi became the executive vice president/football operations for the Cleveland Browns from 1985 to 1992 as he engineered the drafting of Bernie Kosar. Kosar would lead the Browns to four AFC Central titles and five playoff appearances.
Accorsi joined the Giants in 1994 as the assistant general manager to George Young and then succeeded Young in 1998. Accorsi helped the Giants to the Super Bowl following the 2000 season and the NFC East title in 2005. Perhaps the most significant transaction of his career came in 2004 when he executed a blockbuster trade by shipping first-round draft choice Philip Rivers to the San Diego Chargers in return for the No. 1 overall selection, quarterback Eli Manning.
In his final 16 years as a general manager with the Browns and Giants, Accorsi had nine playoff teams including six division champions. In 2005 he was named the NFL Executive of the Year by USA Today, the New York Post, the Dallas Morning News and the San Francisco Chronicle. He was one of only five general managers in history who had teams play in four championship games, won a conference championship and had a team play in the Super Bowl.
Mattiace was a Deacon golfer from 1986-89 and earned first team All-ACC and third team All-America honors in 1987. A member of Wake's 1986 NCAA Champion team and the 1989 ACC Championship team, Mattiace was named to the ACC's 50th Anniversary men's golf team in 2003. He was also a member of the 1987 Walker Cup team.
After turning pro in 1990, Mattiace won his first two PGA Tournaments in 2002, claiming the Nissan Open and the FedEx St. Jude Classic. He recorded six top-25 finishes in 2001 and fired a final round 65 in the 2003 Masters to earn a spot in a playoff before falling to Mike Weir. Mattiace has a foundation called "Len's Friends" that aids Jacksonville, Fla. charities with a series of golf events.
Childress is best remembered for his role in leading Wake Forest to the 1995 ACC Basketball Tournament Championship. The senior guard was named the ACC Tournament MVP by scoring a tournament-record 107 points in three games (40 vs. Duke, 30 vs. Virginia and 37 vs. North Carolina). He broke the tournament scoring record when he hit the game-winning shot, a 10-foot jumper, with just four seconds remaining in an 82-80 overtime win over North Carolina in the championship game. Childress concluded his collegiate career with 2,208 points, the second-most in school history. He finished as Wake's all-time leader and second in ACC history with 329 three-point field goals and became one of just 12 players in ACC history to score 2,200 or more points in a career.
Following his senior season, Childress was named a first team All-American and was one of five finalists for the Wooden Award. He twice earned first team All-ACC honors before being drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 1995 NBA Draft. He spent two seasons in the NBA with Portland (1996) and Detroit (1997). He has had an outstanding playing career overseas where he has most recently played in Italy.
Duncan was a four-year letterman at Wake Forest who led the Deacons to four straight 20-win seasons from 1994-97. A three-time All-American, Duncan played in more games than any other player in Wake Forest history. The 6-11 Duncan earned first team All-ACC honors three times and was twice named the ACC Player of the Year. A phenomenal shot blocker, Duncan garnered at least one rejection in 127 of 128 career games and is second in NCAA history with 481 career blocks. His 87 career double-doubles is a school record, and he became just the 10th player in NCAA history to record 2,000 points and 1,500 rebounds.
The No. 1 overall selection in the 1997 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, Duncan was named the Rookie of the Year in 1998 and has led the Spurs to four NBA championships. Duncan was twice named the NBA Most Valuable Player and earned NBA Finals MVP honors three times. He has been a 10-time NBA All-Star and a member of the NBA All-Defensive Team 11 times.
Internationally, Duncan was MVP of the World Championships three times and represented the USA in the 2004 Olympic Games.
Kemper recently returned from Beijing where he finished seventh in the triathlon at the 2008 Summer Olympics. An eight-time letterwinner on the Wake Forest cross country and track & field teams, Kemper has been a force in triathlon on both the national and international levels for the last decade. The Longwood, Fla. native was the U.S. Pro National Champion in the triathlon in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2003 and was named the U.S.O.C. Triathlete of the Year five times in 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005. After taking a silver medal in the 2000 Pan Am Games, he was the top U.S. male finisher in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He returned to the Olympic Games in 2004 and placed ninth in Athens. Kemper finished the 2005 season as the No. 1 ranked triathlete in the world and became the first U.S. male to finish first in both the World and the International Triathlon Union World Cup rankings.
In 2007, Kemper won the Great Colorado Triathlon and the Treasure Island Triathlon in San Francisco and also became the first triathlete to be featured on a Wheaties box. He was named the U.S.O.C. Sportsman of the Year in 2005.
As a collegian, Kemper was a four-time member of the ACC All-Academic Team and earned All-ACC honors after finishing second in the 10,000 meters in 1997.
Odom, who recently retired as the head coach at South Carolina, spent 12 years as Wake Forest's head basketball coach from 1989 through 2001 and posted a record of 240-132. During his tenure at Wake, Odom was the named the National Coach of the Year in 1995 and earned three ACC Coach of the Year awards. After a 12-16 record in his first season in 1989-90, Odom led the Deacons to 11 straight postseason tournaments including seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments from 1991-97. Odom guided Wake to ACC Tournament Championships in 1995 and 1996 and top 10 poll finishes each year from 1995 to 1997 including a trip to the Elite Eight in 1996. He owns the Wake Forest record with 101 all-time ACC victories. During his tenure at Wake, Odom coached Tim Duncan, Randolph Childress and Rodney Rogers.
A 1965 graduate of Guilford College, Odom earned his masters degree at East Carolina in 1969. He began his collegiate coaching career with the Pirates from 1979-82, compiling a record of 38-42. In seven seasons at South Carolina, Odom was 128-104 and finished his career with an all-time record of 406-278. While with the Gamecocks, Odom won a pair of NIT Championships and was named the SEC Coach of the Year in 2004.