BLACKSBURG – Angela Tincher O’Brien, a record-setting pitcher who led the Virginia Tech softball program to its only Women’s College World Series appearance and was a national player of the year in 2008, is one of six former student-athletes who will be inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame later this fall.
The 2018 class of inductees includes:
Jessica Botzum Cockrill, a five-time All-American as a swimmer and a two-time ACC Swimmer of the Year during her career from 2005-08;
Billy Holsclaw, a three-time letterman as a quarterback and safety in the late 1950s and the first player ever at Tech to throw for more than 1,000 yards in a season on his way to breaking Southern Conference single-season records for passing and total offense;
Patrick Nyarko, the only All-American in Tech men’s soccer history who led the program to a College Cup appearance in 2007 before departing to play professionally; and
Eddie Royal, a receiver and return specialist during his career from 2004-07 who still holds two school records and went on to play nine seasons in the NFL;
Darryl Tapp, a first-team All-America football player as a senior in 2005 who recorded 21.5 sacks and 40 tackles for a loss in his career and later played 12 years in the NFL; and
Tincher O’Brien, a three-time All-American as a pitcher who still holds 57 school records, including those for career wins, career strikeouts and career ERA.
The six new honorees will be inducted during a Hall of Fame dinner on the Tech campus on Friday, Nov. 16, the evening before Tech’s home football game against Miami. The inductees will be introduced to fans at halftime of the football game. The new inductees will bring the total number enshrined to 198. The Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, which is located at the south end of the Cassell Coliseum ambulatory, was established in 1982.
Royal made a name for himself as a playmaker both from his receiver position and as a return specialist during his playing days from 2004-07. The Alexandria, Virginia native scored touchdowns in four different ways during his career – via reception, rushing, passing and punt return.
As a receiver, Royal’s 119 career catches ranked third on Tech’s all-time
list when he departed and still stands ninth. Today, his 1,778 career receiving yards rank 11th on the all-time list.
Royal, who graduated with a degree in sociology, was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He went on to spend nine seasons in the NFL with three different teams.
Today, Royal lives in Northern Virginia. He retired from pro football in 2017.
Like Royal, Tapp burst onto the scene as a true freshman, and the Chesapeake, Virginia native became one of the football program’s all-time best defensive ends during a career that spanned from 2002-05.
Tapp really made a name for himself as a junior in 2004, helping the
Hokies to their first ACC championship. He started all 13 games and finished with 60 tackles, including nine for a loss and 8.5 sacks. Following the regular season, he earned first-team All-ACC honors as a defensive end.
He finished his career with 187 tackles (94 solo), including 40 for a loss, and 21.5 sacks. He also registered 78 quarterback hurries in his career, including 35 his senior season.
Tapp, who graduated with a degree in marketing, was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He went on to spend 12 seasons in the NFL with six different teams. He retired in 2017.
Today, Tapp, who lives with his wife and children in Northern Virginia, is
pursuing a career in coaching.
Tincher dominated in the pitcher’s circle like no other in the relatively brief history of the Tech softball program and ranks as not just one of the best softball players in program history, but one of the best athletes in Virginia Tech history.
Tincher, a relatively lightly recruited player out of James River High School in Buchanan, Virginia, became the Hokies’ ace as a freshman in 2005. Despite missing three weeks with an injury, she still finished 21-9 overall, with an ACC-leading 1.06 ERA. She struck out 349 batters in 204.1 innings, leading the ACC and coming in third in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings (12.0).
Tincher was USA Collegiate Player of the Year and the Honda Softball Player of the Year in 2008 in addition to being named the ACC Player of the Year. She still holds nearly every pitching record at Tech, including career wins (123), career ERA (0.78), career strikeouts (2,149), career shutouts (54), career no-hitters (14), career opponent batting average (.116), career starts (150), career appearances (186), and career innings pitched (1,116.1).
In addition to excelling on the field, Tincher performed tremendously in the classroom, earning academic All-America honors on three occasions. She graduated in 2008 with a degree in finance.
In 2008, Tincher was the third overall selection in the National Pro Fastpitch senior draft by the Akron Racers. She played two seasons for the Racers and she also played a season in Japan before embarking on a coaching career. Her coaching stops have taken her to Syracuse and Maryland before she returned to her alma matter as the pitching coach of the Hokies, a position she held for five seasons.
Tincher and her husband, former Tech baseball player, Sean O’Brien, live in Blacksburg with their children.