LEXINGTON, Va. -- Washington and Lee University has announced the 27th class to be inducted into its Athletic Hall of Fame in a ceremony the weekend of October 17-18, 2014.
The 2014 class includes former lacrosse players Whitney Parker Kestner ’98 and Pope Hackney ’01, former basketball player Jessica Mentz Fitzgibbons ’02, former soccer player Paul Wallace ’02 and longtime administrator and coach Chuck O’Connell.
The class will be formally inducted at the Athletic Hall of Fame dinner on Friday, October 17 and will be recognized at halftime of the Generals’ football game against Randolph-Macon on Saturday, October 18.
Whitney Parker Kestner ’98 was a four-year starter for the women’s lacrosse team, serving as a team captain for her senior campaign. As a midfielder, she was a three-time All-ODAC honoree, including a first team selection following each of her final two seasons. A Second Team All-South honoree as a sophomore, she earned First Team All-South laurels as a junior and senior. Parker Kestner also garnered All-America honors twice, posting second team accolades as a junior and first team laurels following her senior season. She started all 60 games in which she played and finished with 91 points on 77 goals and 14 assists, to go along with 194 ground balls. Parker Kestner was named the W&L Pres Brown Outstanding Senior Female Athlete in 1998.
Pope Hackney ’01 was a four-year letterwinner and two-year team captain for the men’s lacrosse team. A midfielder, he was a three-time First Team All-ODAC selection and the 2001 ODAC Player of the Year. He was also a three-time All-America choice, garnering second team recognition as a sophomore and first team laurels as a junior and senior. He also received USILA Scholar All-America honors following the 2001 season, when he was also named a North-South All-Star after leading the Generals to the No. 1 ranking in Division III. Hackney played in all 64 games of his collegiate career, and still ranks eighth all-time at W&L in goals (112) and 13th in points (160). Following his senior season, Hackney received a tryout for the U.S. National Team.
Jessica Mentz Fitzgibbons ’02 was a four-year starter for the women’s basketball team, serving as a team captain for her senior campaign. The forward was a three-time All-ODAC honoree, including a two-time first team selection en route to garnering ODAC and VaSID State Player of the Year honors as a senior. Twice she earned First Team All-State honors, while also receiving First Team All-South and Honorable Mention All-America honors as a senior. Additionally, she was named the South Region Rookie of the Year in 1999. Mentz Fitzgibbons played in all 101 games during her four seasons, starting 95 of them. She graduated holding 21 school records, including career scoring (1,742) and career rebounding (973). Mentz Fitzgibbons was named the W&L Outstanding First-Year Female Athlete in 1999 and the Pres Brown Outstanding Senior Female Athlete in 2002.
Paul Wallace ’02 was a four-year letterwinner and a two-year captain for the men’s soccer team. As a midfielder and defender, he was a three-time First Team All-ODAC honoree, despite missing much of his sophomore season due to injury. Wallace received the ODAC Rookie of the Year award in 1998 and the ODAC Player of the Year award in 2001, and he was named to the ODAC All-Tournament team in 2000 and 2001. Additionally, he notched First Team All-State and First Team All-South Region accolades as a junior and senior, and he was named the 2001 VaSID State Player of the Year. Wallace is the only men’s soccer player in program history to earn All-America honors twice, garnering second team honors as a junior and third team laurels as a senior. Wallace played in 64 career games, starting 61 of them. He tallied eight goals and 10 assists, and helped the defense allow an average of just 0.84 goals per game over his final two seasons. He was named the 1999 W&L Outstanding First-Year Male Athlete and the 2002 co-winner of the Pres Brown Outstanding Senior Male Athlete Award.
Chuck O’Connell served the University as a coach and administrator for more than 35 years after arriving in the fall of 1973 as assistant professor of physical education and assistant coach of football and lacrosse. O’Connell served as assistant lacrosse coach until 1983, helping W&L to six NCAA Division I Tournament berths and mentoring 36 players to All-America honors during that span. He coached football until 1990, serving 13 seasons as the team’s defensive coordinator. During his time with the program, W&L won two ODAC titles and 16 players earned First Team All-ODAC honors. O’Connell was named assistant athletic director in 1983 and he assumed duties as director of physical education in 1991, before being promoted to senior assistant athletic director in 2002. He later served as the school’s interim athletic director for the 2006-07 school year, before spending the 2007-08 school year as an athletic department advisor and department point man on the Wilson Field project. O’Connell’s contributions do not stop there, however. He volunteered his time for many seasons as a goalie coach with the women’s lacrosse program and he remains a volunteer coach with the Generals’ men’s lacrosse program even in retirement. O’Connell is also a member of the Denison University Hall of Fame and the Ohio Lacrosse Hall of Fame from his playing days.
The Washington and Lee University Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1987 by the W&L Alumni Association. The Hall of Fame was designed to honor and memorialize those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Washington and Lee athletics and have helped bring recognition, honor, excellence and distinction to the University and its intercollegiate athletic program. Including this year’s honorees, the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame has enshrined 127 former athletes, teams, coaches, and administrators.