Chowan inducts hometown heroes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 4, 2006

MURFREESBORO – A homegrown Hertford County athlete and an Outer Banks transplant who now calls Murfreesboro home were two of the five most recent additions to the Chowan University Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Class of 2006 n which also included Michael Moore, Faith Amore Reed and retired NFL punter Mark Royals n were enshrined during a banquet held Saturday evening at Chowan’s Thomas Cafeteria.

On the local level, those in attendance were pleased to see two hometown heroes take their place in the Hall of Fame n All-American football standout Greg Harrell of Harrellsville and Currituck County native and current Murfreesboro resident Meredith Davies Long, a basketball/softball star athlete.

“I give all the honor to God,” Harrell said at the outset of his acceptance speech after being inducted by his older brother, former NFL standout Sam Harrell.

Greg Harrell, who played professionally with the San Diego Chargers and later with the Los Angeles Raiders, admitted he was a late bloomer as an athlete.

“I was the number one benchwarmer at Ahoskie High School,” he recalled. “Then I came here to Chowan where coach (Jim) Garrison worked with me and gave me an opportunity to compete. As I matured as an athlete, my playing time increased.”

Harrell, who finished his collegiate career at the University of Maryland where he helped the Terrapins win a pair of ACC titles, said his success all boiled down to believing in himself.

“I just never let anybody outwork me,” he noted. “That work ethic carried me to the NFL and to a spot on the U.S. Olympic bobsled team. That foundation was built right here at Chowan University. Thank-you Chowan for believing in me.”

Now residing in the Washington, D.C. area with his wife and four children, Harrell works as a mortgage broker and a motivational speaker.

While at Chowan, Long held her own on the basketball court, but it was on the softball diamond where she left the most lasting impression. Playing for coach Jack Goldberg’s Lady Braves, Long was a four-year fixture in centerfield where she helped the program win 107 games, including an all-time Chowan single-season record of 36 victories.

Long still holds Chowan records for career batting average (.413) and career fielding percentage (.976).

“I humbly accept this honor from a university that factored into the equation of my life,” Long said. “I thank those who helped me mature as an athlete, a student and a coach.”

After graduating from Chowan, Long taught for three years at Willis Hare Elementary School in Pendleton. She made her way back to Chowan in 1999 where she accepted the position of head softball coach. Since that time, she has accepted additional responsibilities as Chowan’s Sports Information Director and Senior Woman Administrator. She is also an instructor in Chowan’s Sports Science and Physical Education Department.

Long resides in Murfreesboro with husband, Mark n a former Chowan football standout who is now an assistant gridiron coach for the Hawks n and daughter, Dakota.

Goldberg performed the honor of formally inducting his star player.

Sharing the spotlight with these local hometown heroes were three other deserving inductees.

Helping the Lady Braves to a 104-61 record, Reed was a volleyball standout for Chowan from 1990-94. She was team captain during her junior and senior seasons.

“This just blows me away,” Reed said upon her induction. “I knew I wasn’t a great student, but I wanted to play volleyball and Chowan gave me that chance. While here, it was people like Dr. Jane Markert and Scott Cokely who turned it around for me academically. But that’s what makes Chowan such a great place to go to college because of the caring relationship between students and professors.”

Reed, who lives with her husband and daughter in Newark, Ohio, was inducted by Dr. Markert.

Moore’s selection to the Hall of Fame was based upon his patronage of Chowan. He played tennis at the university from 1990-92, but it is his legacy of giving back to Chowan that led him to the Hall.

“When they told me I had been selected to the Hall of Fame, I cried,” Moore admitted. “The Lord blessed me with an opportunity to attend Chowan and I’ve loved this school ever since. I’m so humbled to be a part of this night.”

A Business Management grad from both Chowan and Virginia Tech, Moore is now a successful real estate agent in Chester, Va. where he resides with his wife and two daughters.

He has served on Chowan’s Alumni Board and Board of Trustees. In 2005, Chowan honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award.

Moore was inducted by Ralph Thurston.

Royals is perhaps one of Chowan’s most famous football alumni, having spent 15 seasons in the NFL as one of the league’s premier punters. During his pro career, Royals punted for Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Detroit, New Orleans, Miami and Jacksonville. He retired after the 2003 season.

“I had a dream of playing in the NFL since age 8,” Royals said during his acceptance speech. “But nobody gets to that level without help. Coach Garrison was a big part of the player I became. I’ve always aspired to be like him.”

Royals left the audience with a lasting thought when he said, “Everyday when we wake up we have a chance to make a memory. Today, that memory is of Chowan University, a memory I will forever cherish.”

Royals resides in Tampa, Fla. with his wife and two daughters. There, he is active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. He also does local TV and radio spots in Tampa as well as working part time in a real estate investment firm.

He was inducted by coach Garrison.

Founded in 1985, the Chowan Sports Hall of Fame now contains 92 members.