This year’s East Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame class consists of six individuals, including former Pirate Club president and philanthropist Bill Clark and former football player and coach Ruffin McNeill.
Kelly Wernert (Krainiak), a two-time all-conference performer, becomes the first volleyball specific-player elect. The three others are former softball pitcher Toni Paisley and infielder Keisha Shepperson (Stewart), who both earned All-America accolades in their careers, and Jacob Smith, who was a member of the Pirates’ 1959 NAIA national championship men’s swimming team.
They will be inducted Nov. 5 at the 43rd annual installment ceremony inside Harvey Hall as part of the annual Hall of Fame/Letterwinners’ Weekend. The inductees also will be recognized publicly inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium as a part of the halftime festivities during the Nov. 6 football game against Temple.
Clark (ECU ’66) has an extensive history of philanthropic acts with the Pirate Club. He committed the lead gift of $1.5 million in support of the construction on a new baseball stadium, which honors both Clark’s generosity and the legacy of former Pirate head coach Keith LeClair.
McNeill (ECU ’80) was a three-year starter at defensive back for East Carolina who was named head coach of the Pirates in January of 2010. He went 42-34 in six seasons, highlighted by ECU’s second 10-win season in school history in 2013. He also went 8-5 in 2012 and ‘14 before his ouster after a 5-7 mark in 2015.
The Pirates haven’t posted a winning season since 2014.
Paisley (ECU ’10) is the most decorated player in the history of Pirate softball. She was named Conference USA pitcher of the year in three consecutive seasons (2009, ’10, ’11) and finished with 118 victories, 23rd-most in NCAA history, while leading ECU to consecutive conference titles in 2010 and 2011.
Shepperson (ECU ’01) earned NFCA All-America accolades in 2000 and 2001. She was a Big South freshman of the year, and she holds program career records for runs, hits and doubles.
Smith (ECU ’60) collected All-America honors in five events during the 1959 NAIA nation championship meet, earning the silver medal in the 100-yard freestyle and the bronze in the 50 free. He also swam leadoff for the 1959 national championship 400 free relay team.
Wernert (ECU ’07) received first team All-Conference USA honors as a junior and senior, ranking third in the league in kills per game in 2007. She helped the Pirates register consecutive winning seasons for the first time in a quarter century in 2005 and 2006.
An interactive video listing and capsules of the entire Hall of Fame membership is located inside the lobby of the Smith-Williams Center, which opened in 2013.
Football coverage on reflector.com
The Daily Reflector’s full East Carolina-Charleston Southern football preview content was in Friday’s print edition and also is available on reflector.com. Kickoff at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is at 6 p.m.
Game coverage will be available on social media and reflector.com.
Soccer skid reaches five
The East Carolina women’s soccer team lost its fifth straight match, 2-0, to SMU at Johnson Stadium on Thursday night. The Pirates (4-7, 0-2 American) had their losing streak extended despite a 20-13 advantage in shots against the No. 17 Mustangs (7-1, 1-0).
SMU scored once in each half. Lindsey Whitmore had a goal and an assist.