Latest Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame class announced

2019 hof top news image 1500by900 300dpi 5 30 19The 2019 class includes five All-Americans in their respective sports and a longtime administrator who worked 40 years

for Virginia Tech Athletics

BLACKSBURG – Five All-Americans and a former longtime administrator comprise the 2019 Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame class, as announced Sunday by the Virginia Tech Athletics Department.

The 2019 class of inductees includes:

Tasmin Fanning, a four-time All-American in track and field and cross country whose third-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Cross Country Championships remains the best finish in program history;

Brandon Flowers, a two-time All-America defensive back who helped the Hokies win the 2007 ACC title and who still ranks among the school’s leaders in career interceptions;

Matt Griswold, a baseball All-American and a three-time all-conference player who helped the Hokies to two Atlantic 10 team championships during his career in the late 1990s;

Dave Smith, a former sports information director who worked 40 years at the school, helping to promote the accomplishments of some of the school’s greatest coaches and student-athletes;

Brian Walter, a three-time All-Metro Conference selection and an All-American in cross country; and

Drew Weaver, a men’s golf All-American in 2009 whose biggest career accomplishment came when he won the British Amateur in 2007.

The six new honorees will be inducted at Hall of Fame dinner held at the Inn at Virginia Tech on Sept. 6, the evening before the Virginia Tech football team takes on Old Dominion. The new inductees will be introduced to fans at halftime of the Virginia Tech-ODU game. The new inductees will bring the total number enshrined to 204. The Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, which is located at the south end of the Cassell Coliseum ambulatory, was established in 1982.

Fanning grew up in Crozet, Virginia, just outside of Charlottesville, but she made a name for herself at Virginia Tech, where she became – and still stands as – one of the best distance runners in program history.

Shortly after arriving on campus, Fanning won the first collegiate race in which she competed, taking the top spot at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invite. She later would earn NCAA Southeast All-Region honors as a freshman after a 22nd-place finish – the start of four consecutive all-region honors for her.

The next year, she continued her progression as a top-flight runner. During the indoor track season, she earned All-America honors after being a part of the distance medley relay team that finished fourth at the NCAA Championships. During the outdoor season, she won a silver medal in the 1,500-meter run at the ACC Championships and later qualified for the NCAA Championships, where she came in 15th in the same event.

Her junior and senior seasons turned out to be her best ones. She earned All-America honors in cross country as a junior in 2007, coming in 12th out of 255 runners at the NCAA Championships and becoming just the fourth Tech female runner in school history to earn All-America recognition in cross country. During the indoor track season, she won the gold medal in the 3,000 at the ACC Championships, and during the outdoor season, she came in sixth in the 5,000 at the NCAA Championships, which enabled her to earn All-America honors that season.

As a senior in 2008, she finished third at the NCAA Cross Country Championships – still the highest ever finish by a Tech male or female runner at the NCAA cross country meet. She also won the NCAA Southeast Regional that year, earning the Southeast Region Cross Country Athlete of the Year honor. She also won a silver medal at the ACC Cross Country Championships.

Fanning departed Virginia Tech as a four-time All-American – twice in cross country, once in indoor track and once in outdoor track. She set school records in both the 3,000 (indoor) with a time of 9:08.77 and the 5,000 (outdoor) with a time of 15:37.73), and she still holds both of those records today. She also set program marks in the 1,000 and 1,500 and held those records for seven years following her graduation.

Fanning graduated from Virginia Tech with degrees in human nutrition, foods and exercise and also communications. Today, she lives and works in Atlanta.

Flowers is one of many in a long line of great Tech defensive backs, twice earning All-America honors and All-ACC recognition during an illustrious career from 2004-07.

The Delray Beach, Florida product burst onto the scene quickly upon his arrival in Blacksburg. In his first collegiate game, he returned an interception for a touchdown against Western Michigan, but shortly thereafter, he suffered a leg injury that resulted in him missing the season.

He received a medical hardship waiver after that season, and as a redshirt freshman in 2005, he recorded 20 tackles and an interception mostly in a backup role. The following season, he emerged as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks.

As a redshirt sophomore in 2006, he started every game and recorded 51 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss, and 3.5 sacks – big numbers for a defensive back. He also intercepted three passes and broke up a team-best 18 passes. Following the season, he earned first-team All-ACC honors and third-team All-America recognition by The Associated Press.

As a redshirt junior in 2007, he started all 14 games and finished third on the team with 86 tackles, including eight for a loss. He also led the team with five interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown. Seven of his tackles came in the ACC Championship Game against Boston College, as he played a main role in helping the Hokies to a 30-16 victory and the ACC crown.

Following his junior season, Flowers was a second-team All-ACC choice, but he earned All-America honors from three different services. He finished his career with 158 tackles, including 17 for a loss, and 10 interceptions – a number that ranks tied for 13th on the school’s all-time list.

Following the 2007 season, Flowers elected to forgo his final collegiate season and make himself available for the NFL Draft. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Flowers in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Flowers spent nine seasons in the NFL before retiring following the 2016 season. He returned to Blacksburg last year to finish up coursework toward his degree, receiving his diploma during the university’s 2018 spring commencement. Today, he lives with his family in South Florida and is attending the University of Miami in search of a master’s degree in business administration.

Griswold established himself as one of the better Virginia Tech baseball players in program history during his career in the late 1990s.

He saw extensive action as a freshman, hitting .276, with five homers and 20 RBI, but he really burst onto the scene as a sophomore in 1997. That season, Griswold hit a team-best .408, recording the highest batting average by a Tech player in 22 seasons. That average still ranks as the ninth-best in school history.

The Severna Park, Maryland product also led the squad in RBI (69), on-base percentage (.527) and slugging percentage (.697) as a sophomore. He added 13 home runs as well, which ranked tied for second on the squad.

Behind Griswold, the Hokies won the Atlantic 10 Conference championship in 1997 and earned an NCAA regional bid. Individual accolades came as well, with Griswold earning third-team All-America honors after the season.

As a junior in 1998, Griswold hit .361, and he shared the team lead with nine homers, while again leading the squad in RBI (65), slugging percentage (.607) and on-base percentage (.483). Following the regular season, he was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year.

As a senior in 1999, Griswold hit .345, with 12 homers and 49 RBI on his way to earning first-team All-Atlantic 10 recognition again and honorable mention All-America honors. He again led the team in on-base percentage (.489) and also in runs (67), but more importantly, guided the Hokies to a 43-win campaign and another Atlantic 10 Conference championship. In addition, the Hokies earned another NCAA regional bid that year.

Griswold departed Tech as an All-American, a three-time all-conference choice and a two-time Atlantic 10 all-tournament selection. He shares the school record for walks in a season (59 in 1999) and for putouts by an outfielder in a season (170 in 1999), and he is one of just three players in program history with more than 200 RBI in his career, amassing 203, which ranks third on the program’s list.

He hit .354 for his career, with 39 homers and the 203 RBI. Also, he was one of the rare baseball players to walk more than he struck out, walking 161 times in his career compared to just 125 strikeouts.

Griswold currently lives in Arnold, Maryland and is pursuing a professional career in golf, while also helping to coach baseball.

Smith, a native of Roanoke, Virginia, worked in the athletics communications office at Virginia Tech for 40 years, starting out as an assistant sports information director and working his way up the ranks to the position of associate athletics director.

Smith, who started his career as a sports information director at Ferrum College, began working at his alma mater (Virginia Tech) in 1975 working with both the men’s basketball and baseball programs and never left. As the basketball contact, he handled game notes, game recaps and interview requests and helped with the promotion of some of the sport’s greatest student-athletes, including Dell Curry and Bimbo Coles.

He wound up working with the baseball team for more than 30 years, with most of that stint coinciding with National Hall of Fame coach Chuck Hartman’s tenure and also some of that program’s greatest student-athletes, including Franklin Stubbs, Mike Williams, Brad Clontz and Joe Saunders.

Smith became the football communications contact in 1998 and handled all the interviews of another legendary coach – Frank Beamer. He also helped promote specific players, including the overseeing of a Michael Vick Heisman Trophy campaign in 1999 that played a role in Vick finishing third in the Heisman race that year.

Smith also played an integral role with the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, serving as a liaison between the athletics department and the selection committee.

Following Smith’s retirement in 2015, the College of Sports Information Directors Association (CoSIDA) named Smith the recipient of a CoSIDA Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the profession. He also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Virginia Sports Information Director (VaSID) group for the promotion of college athletics and for working in the industry for a minimum of 20 years.

Smith accomplished one of the rarest feats during his career – he earned the respect of those who worked in athletics administration, players and coaches, while also garnering the respect of the media for his professionalism.

Smith continues to live in Blacksburg and serves as the athletics department’s de facto historian. He and his wife spend their free time coming to Tech games, taking trips to Hilton Head and attending concerts of their favorite musicians.

Walter was an instrumental figure on the men’s track and field and cross country teams in the late 1980s.

The Hardy, Virginia product was a member of maybe the best cross country team in Virginia Tech history as a sophomore in 1987. That team finished fourth at the NCAA Cross Country Championships – the program’s best ever finish.

As a sophomore, Walter started coming into his own, placing 14th at the Metro Conference Cross Country Championships to earn All-Metro Conference honors. He also finished 11th in the Men’s Virginia Collegiate Race to help Tech to a tie for first place in the team competition.

As a junior in 1988-89, Walter emerged as one of the Hokies’ top runners, earning All-Metro Conference honors in cross country for the second consecutive season and finishing 19th at the NCAA regional meet to earn all-region honors. His success extended to the track as well, as he came in third in the 5,000-meter run at the Metro Conference’s outdoor track and field meet in the spring of 1989.

Walter’s senior season in 1989-90 turned out to be his best. He won the Metro Conference cross country title, becoming the fifth runner in Tech history to win a conference cross country title at the time. He also earned All-Metro Conference honors for the third consecutive year, and he finished ninth at the NCAA regional meet to earn all-region honors again.

At the NCAA Cross Country Championships, Walter finished 30th to earn All-America honors. In the spring of 1990, he won the Metro Conference championship in the 10,000.

Walter graduated from Virginia Tech in 1990 with a degree in management science. He has enjoyed a successful career as a software engineer and currently works for MAXIMUS Federal, while living in Blacksburg. He also serves as the president of the Virginia Tech Monogram Club.

Though a native of the Tar Heel State, Weaver elected to continue his golf pursuits at Virginia Tech, and the decision paid off, as he became one of the best golfers in program history.

Weaver, from High Point, North Carolina, quickly emerged as the team’s ace during his freshman season in 2005-06. In the spring of 2006, he led the team in scoring in three of six events, finishing with a team-best scoring average of 73.8. He recorded one top-10 finish that spring, coming in eighth at the General Jim Hackler Invitational held at the TPC-Myrtle Beach.

As a sophomore, he played in five events during the team’s fall schedule, leading the team in scoring in three of the five events. In the spring of 2007, he led the Hokies to a share of the ACC title – the program’s first and only ACC crown – by finishing 12th overall. He also registered a top-25 finish at the NCAA East Regional later that spring.

In the summer before his junior season, Weaver enjoyed the biggest moment of his career, winning the 2007 British Amateur at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s in England. He went into the tournament ranked No. 181 in the world, but concluded an improbable run with a 2 & 1 victory over Australia’s Tim Stewart in the match play championship final. He became the first American to win the event since 1979. He earned the right to play in The Open Championship – one of golf’s four major championships – which he did and just missed the cut by two strokes.

Weaver led the team in scoring in the fall of his junior season with a 71.5 average, and he played in all seven events the following spring, leading the Hokies in scoring in two events. His best finish was a 10th-place showing at the Administaff/Augusta State Invitational. He also competed in the Masters that spring – another perk of winning the British Amateur, and he also received invitations to play in the Memorial, the AT&T Championship and the Wyndham Championship, which he did.

Weaver played his best golf as a senior, recording four top-five finishes and seven top-10 showings. He finished second on two occasions, the first coming at the Brickyard Collegiate Championship in Macon, Georgia; and the Pinehurst Intercollegiate by Gatorade held in Pinehurst, North Carolina. He also came in fifth at the ACC Championship, where he shot 6-under-par for the tournament. Nineteen of Weaver’s 29 rounds his senior season were under par.

Weaver earned All-America honors following the season, becoming the fourth All-American in Virginia Tech history and currently one of six. He also finished second at Tech in scoring average at 73.08 behind Brendon de Jonge’s 72.60. Today, he ranks seventh on the list.

Weaver continues to play golf these days, participating on the Tour and currently ranks 19th on the points list, thanks largely to two top-10 finishes – and the top 25 in the points race earn a PGA Tour card. He and his wife reside in Atlanta.