NC Sports Hall of Fame announces Class of 2024

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2023

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors announces its 2024 induction class.

The new members, listed alphabetically, are Randolph Childress, Sheila Ford Duncan, Caroline Lind, Bob McKillop, Jim Nantz, Pettis Norman, Shea Ralph, Don Skakle, Steve Smith Sr., Marilyn “Que” Tucker, and Ron Wellman.

The group of 11 will be enshrined during the 60th annual Induction Celebration on the evening of Friday, May 10, 202, at the Charlotte Convention Center, starting at 5 p.m. Their induction will bring the total number of Hall of Fame members to 411.

“This year’s class joining the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is dynamic in many ways,” said Dr. Jerry McGee, president of the hall’s board of directors. “Not only are they part of a milestone group, given that this is the 60th induction celebration, they are representative of the reach throughout the Charlotte community, the state of North Carolina, the United States and beyond.”

A brief biography of each 2024 inductee follows. Skakle is being inducted posthumously.

Randolph Childress starred at Wake Forest University from 1991 through 1995. He was the ACC Male Athlete of the Year in 1995 after earning ACC Tournament MVP honors with a 40-point game against Duke University and a 37-point performance against the University of North Carolina. Childress ranks second in career scoring at Wake Forest with 2,208 points (18.4 average) and is tied for fourth in 30-point games (7). He’s a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame and was selected as an ACC Tournament Legend in 2012. Childress was selected 19th overall in the 1995 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons; he played 16 seasons professionally, including two with the Pistons and one with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Sheila Ford Duncan was named the 1984 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Player of the Year as she led the University of North Carolina Asheville to the NAIA national championship. She scored 41 points and had 19 rebounds in the semifinals and then followed with 26 points and 21 rebounds in the championship game to earn MVP honors. Duncan was the first player in women’s collegiate history to score over 2,000 points (2,442) and grab more than 2,000 rebounds (2,200). She holds 18 UNCA records and earned first-team All-American honors as a senior. The Clarkton native played professionally in Spain and was inducted into the UNCA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.

Caroline Lind rowed in the 7 seat and won gold medals in the women’s eight in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. The victory in Beijing was the first for the Americans since 1984, and Lind and her teammates were inducted into the U.S. Rowing Hall of Fame in 2014. The same year, Lind was ranked the No. 1 female rower by the International Rowing Federation and named the Athlete of the Year by the New York Athletic Club. The Greensboro native, who was a Princeton University standout, was also a part of six world championships gold and 21 international medals.

Bob McKillop led Davidson College to 23 conference championships (15 regular season and 8 tournament titles), 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and 634 wins, During the 2021–22 campaign, McKillop led the Wildcats to their second-most wins in a single season, going 27–7 overall, which included a program-best 15–3 mark in the Atlantic 10. McKillop’s Wildcats reached postseason play 19 times. They also played in eight National Invitation Tournaments and the 2011 College Basketball Invitational. The 2007–08 National Association of Basketball Coaches National Coach of the Year led Davidson to the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional Championship game with victories over three nationally-ranked opponents.

Jim Nantz, a Charlotte native and CBS broadcaster, is a three-Emmy Award winner and five-time National Sportscaster of the Year. Nantz anchors the golf telecasts on CBS and is the lead play-by-play announcer for the network’s NFL broadcasts. He also spent 32 years as the lead play-by-play announcer for NCAA basketball coverage on CBS. Nantz received the 2011 Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award and the 2002 Curt Gowdy Media Award given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He also partnered with Houston Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center to create the Nantz National Alzheimer Center.

Pettis Norman, who grew up in Charlotte, played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1962 to 1970 and the San Diego Chargers from 1971 to 1973. He was regarded as one of the league’s top blocking tight ends, starting 122 of his 162 career games and finishing with 183 receptions for 2,492 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was the Chargers cocaptain in 1972 and runner-up for the NFL’s Man of the Year. Norman started four seasons at Johnson C. Smith University, earning All-CIAA and Currier All-American honors as a senior. The top male and female student athletes at his alma mater now receive the Pettis Norman Award.

Shea Ralph, a standout basketball player at Fayetteville’s Terry Sanford High School, averaged 39.1 points per game as a junior in 1995 and held 17 state records when she graduated in 1996. She played collegiately at the University of Connecticut where she led the Huskies to the NCAA Women’s Championship in 2000 and was named the Final Four MVP. In 2000, she was the Big East Player of the Year, won the Honda Award and was named Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year. Now the head women’s basketball coach at Vanderbilt University, she finished her career with 1,678 points despite overcoming five ACL injuries and a struggle against anorexia nervosa.

In 22 years under Don Skakle, the University of North Carolina men’s tennis teams won 16 ACC championships outright and tied for two others. His teams posted a 418–55 overall record and had a 132–14 mark in league play. His 1970 and 1971 teams won five of the ACC’s six singles titles and all three doubles crowns. Skakle also played at UNC and had an individual record of 60–1. He died unexpectedly of a heart attack on the eve of the 1980 ACC Tournament. He is a member of the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, as well as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame.

Steve Smith Sr, selected in the third round of the 2001 NFL draft, Smith played 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers and is the team’s all-time leader in touchdowns (67), receptions (836) and receiving yards (12,197). Smith also played three years with the Baltimore Ravens. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro, he led the league in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns in 2005. He is one of just 54 players in NFL history to have garnered over 10,000 receiving yards, and he had more than 1,000 all- purpose yards 11 times in his 16 NFL seasons. He was inducted into the Panthers Hall of Honor in 2019.

As commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA), Marilyn “Que” Tucker has overseen tremendous growth in participation for female athletes, as well as increased recognition for female and minority coaches and administrators and additional competitive opportunities for its 427 association members. She is a charter member of the Mars Hill College Athletic Hall of Fame after leading the Mountain Lions in scoring for two seasons. She earned a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina Greensboro in 1977 and coached at the high school level for a decade before joining Kay Yow’s staff at N.C. State University. She joined the NCHSAA in 1991 and became its first female and first African American commissioner in 2015.

Ron Wellman served as the athletic director at Wake Forest University for 28 years (1992–2019). During his tenure, Wake Forest won 22 ACC championships along with five team and seven individual national titles. In his 28 years in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest raised more than $400 million in philanthropic support for athletics. In 2008, Wellman was recognized as the Collegiate Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal. Wellman was the chairman of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship committee in 2013–14.

He is a former president of the Division I-A Athletic Directors’ Association[AR1] .

Tickets are on sale now for the induction ceremony. Visit www.ncshof.org.

The N.C. Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1962. A permanent exhibit, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is located on the third floor of the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh and features more than 200 significant objects and memorabilia donated by inductees.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.