Chowan Hall of Fame inducts five new members

Published 9:39 am Tuesday, November 3, 2009

MURFREESBORO – One hundred and six names now have a home in the Jim Garrison Sports Hall of Fame after five new inductees took their rightful places here Saturday evening.

The annual induction banquet, this one held in front of a capacity crowd gathered inside the Thomas Dining Hall on the Chowan University campus, saw Jennifer Murden Allen, Revis Conrad, Lawrence Edwards, Greg Hollingsworth and Dan Surface comprise the Hall of Fame Class of 2009.

While each new Hall of Fame member was deserving of the honor, it was Surface – hailed as a man “for all seasons” – who had the longest wait to be enshrined.

Surface, now in his 35th year at Chowan, has been an integral part of the overall success of the university’s Athletic and Sport Science and Physical Education departments. Along the way he has coached football, including one stint as head coach (1995-97), track, men’s and women’s basketball, tennis and golf. He has also served as Assistant Athletics Director and Associate Professor at Chowan.

“Chowan gave me the opportunity to do what I always wanted to do, to coach,” Surface said. “Coach (Jim) Garrison brought me along slowly…it was a learning experience.”

As the “Minister of Defense” on Chowan’s football powerhouses of the junior college era, Surface helped shape the careers of several players that went on to the NFL – Jody Shultz, Mike Grant, Robert Brown and George Koonce.

“That was coach Garrison’s doings, he put the right people in the x’s and o’s; then it was all about practice, practice; repetition, repetition. I believed in intensity because football is an intense game.”

In closing, Surface thanked all those who had helped him along the way.

“Thank-you Chowan University for this life-long opportunity,” Surface said. “I’m thankful and proud to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Former Chowan coach Tom Appenzeller inducted Surface, calling his friend, “a man for all seasons.”

“Dan has a 35-year commitment to one school, that’s rare in the coaching profession,” Appenzeller said. “He has dedicated his life to the students here.

“With Dan Surface you see strength and quiet determination,” Appenzeller added. “He’s the type of man you want in your foxhole; he’s got your back. He’s a good and honorable man, one of integrity and class.”

As the evening’s youngest inductee, Allen made her mark at Chowan on the softball diamond and in the classroom.

Allen is the only player in four-year history to play in every inning of every game in all four seasons and left Chowan with 1,010 career innings under her belt. As a slick-fielding shortstop, she complied a .985 career fielding and was also an offensive threat, hitting for a career average of .300.

Allen helped the program to a 125-30 record in four years.

Off the field, Allen left her mark in the classroom as a solid student on the Dean’s List and President’s List.

“Chowan College gave me a great education,” said Allen, now the Head Softball Coach at her alma mater, Norfolk Christian High School. “I was a part of one of the most successful teams in the history of Chowan.”

Murden said she was blessed to have played with some great teammates – two of which, Meredith Davies Long and Mandy McCain Vidal, are enshrined in the Chowan Hall of Fame.

“There have been so many who have guided me in life, especially my parents…they were my number one fans,” Allen said. “They also strengthened my life through Godly character.”

She closed by saying, “No matter how names or mascots change, I will always be a Chowan College Lady Brave.”

Allen was inducted by her former Chowan softball coach, Jack Goldberg.

“When I went to recruit Jennifer, I got her whole family,” Goldberg said. “The Murden’s became a part of the Chowan family.”

Goldberg said he handed Allen the nickname of “Hoover” because, “she gobbled up every ball hit her way.”

Mike Pintz had the honor of inducting Conrad, who passed away in January of this year.

He told the Revis Conrad story…that of “a man who could truly love the unlovable” and “a loyal friend, coach and leader.”

The Lexington, NC native came to Chowan College in 1962 on a football scholarship. He finished his education at Atlantic Christian College (now Barton College).

From there he served as a coach at Brunswick Academy in Lawrenceville, Va. and Kecoughtan High School in Hampton, Va. where he coached basketball, football, wrestling and swimming.

“A lot of the men who coached with Revis are here tonight,” Pintz said. “Revis loved people; he loved to touch their hearts and souls. And he loved coaching.”

Pintz said Conrad developed his passion for coaching while at Chowan.

“He wanted to be a builder of character in young men and women,” Pintz noted. “Revis was a humble man, a contented man; I think he would be pleased with what is happening here tonight.”

Accepting the Hall of Fame plaque was Conrad’s son, Shannon.

“It’s very humbling to know how my father’s life touched so many others,” Shannon Conrad said. “Thank-you Chowan University for remembering my father and my family this way.”

Conrad’s Hall of Fame ring and sized to fit his daughter, Jennifer, who was on hand to accept.

Edwards, a native of Spring Hope in Nash County, was a star on the football field for Chowan from 1965-67. The 1967 All-Conference defensive lineman and team MVP also served as the Vice President for the Chowan Sophomore class. His play on the football gridiron took him to Temple University where he was a letter winner for two years, 1967-1969. He made such an impression on the Temple coaching staff that he stayed on for the 1969 season to serve as a Graduate Assistant Coach. He earned his B.S. from Temple in 1969 and was hired by Robert E. Lee Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia as a teacher. While in Richmond he continued with his football career playing at the semi-professional level for the Richmond Saints. He returned to his native North Carolina in 1971 where he wound-up coaching for the rest of his career. His coaching stops included Andrew High School, Rock Ridge High School, Wilson Hunt High and Southern Nash High School.

Nearly driven to tears, Edwards remarked on what a wonderful night this was for him and his family.

“I am overwhelmed with joy…it feels good to look out over this crowd and see so many family and friends; it takes my breath away,” he said.

When Edwards asked his family members to stand and be recognized, coach Garrison was among them.

“You have been so special to me,” Edwards said of his legendary Chowan coach. “You have been such an inspiration in my life; I love you.”

“Thank-you to God for this life I’ve had; thank-you to Jesus Christ for saving me; and thank-you Chowan for some of the best memories of my life,” Edwards closed.

Edwards was inducted by his former Temple University coach, Earl Cleghorn, a 2000 inductee into the Chowan Sports Hall of Fame.

“I remember calling coach Garrison to see who he had that could play for us at Temple,” Cleghorn recalled. “He told me he had three that could play and Lawrence was among that group. Lawrence went on to have a great career for us at defensive tackle.”

Hollingsworth (basketball: 1983-85) played for a storied junior college program under legendary Chowan coach Bob Burke. He experienced two very successful seasons as a player for the then-Braves, helping the team in his first year to a 30-9 record and a NJCAA Final Four appearance in Hutchinson, Kansas. The Braves were 27-4 during his sophomore season, one where he averaged 17.2 points per game and dished out 132 season assists from the point guard position.

Following his graduation from Chowan in 1986, Hollingsworth was offered a basketball scholarship to the University of South Florida. There, in his final season, he put up 14 points an outing and was named Co-Captain.

“This is truly an honor; God knows how to put things in your life and for me that was Chowan College,” said Hollingsworth, a product of Hoke County where he lives today. “Thank-you Chowan for giving me the opportunity to play and earn an education.”

In particular, Hollingsworth thanked (former Chowan Chaplain) Hargus Taylor and coach Burke.

“Chap (Taylor) played such an important role in my life; he was like a little sparkplug,” Hollingsworth noted. “Coach Burke stayed on me…he saw something in me; he pushed me to the point where basketball became easy.”

“I have great memories of Greg,” said coach Burke who inducted his former player into the Hall of Fame. “He was a member of a team that put Chowan on the map. Because of him, every kid in eastern North Carolina wanted to come to Chowan and play.”

Listed as the sponsors for this year’s Hall of Fame rings were Mr. and Mrs. Warren Sexton Sr. (for Surface), Charlie Taylor (Edwards), Dennis Helsel and John Tayloe (Allen), Jim McGill (Hollingsworth) and the retired coaches from Kecoughtan High School (Conrad).