Friday, November 08, 2013

Catchings Inducted Into Lady Vol Hall of Fame

The 13th group of inductees was formally welcomed into the Tennessee Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame Friday night in a private ceremony held in front of family, friends and UT Athletics administrators at the Knoxville Hilton downtown.

"These women and their accomplishments are worthy of this special recognition," UT Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Dave Hart said. "Two members of this year's class are Olympic medalists; all four have earned All-America honors and their addition to this prestigious group of women is a testament to our history in women's athletics."

The four inductees in the Class of 2013 represent five different sports. The honorees are Valerie Bertrand Bachmann (cross country/track & field), Vilmarie Castellvi (tennis), Tamika Catchings (basketball) and Rhian Wilkinson (soccer). Athletes are eligible for inclusion 10 years after they have graduated from the University, while administrators may be admitted to the Lady Vol Hall of Fame five years following their last service to UT.

In addition to Friday night's enshrinement activities, the inductees will be introduced during an on-field presentation at the Tennessee versus Auburn football game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Throughout the 37-year history of Lady Vol student-athletes, 1,947 women have donned the Orange and White Tennessee uniform. With the addition of the four individuals in the 2013 class of the Lady Vol Hall of Fame, membership now has reached 74 in this very elite Hall, including 65 former UT student-athletes.

A member of the basketball team from 1997-2001, Tamika Catchings was on Tennessee's famed 39-0 NCAA Championship team of 1997-98, earning NCAA All-Final Four honors that season as well as USBWA and SEC Freshman of the Year accolades. Along with fellow Lady Vol Hall of Famers Chamique Holdsclaw and Semeka Randall, the talented trio became known as the "Three Meeks" during that magical campaign. Averaging 16.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest during her career, Catchings ranks fourth in career scoring (2,113) and rebounding (1,004) at UT. One of only two four-time WBCA All-Americans in Lady Vol history, Catchings helped Tennessee win four SEC titles, was a three-time first-team All-SEC selection and was named AP, Naismith, USBWA and WBCA Player of the Year in 2000 as a junior and surely would have raked in more accolades as a senior if not for a season-ending knee injury 17 games into her final year. That malady only served as a speed bump, as she embarked on a post-collegiate career that saw her win gold medals with the United States at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. She still plays professionally and is a perennial all-star for the Indiana Fever, who drafted her with the third overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft.

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