Longwood Inducts Second Athletics Hall of Fame Class
Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations
LU Athletics Hall of Fame (from left): Dennis Hale, Kevin Jefferson, Charlaine Coetzee Hirst and Troy Austin.
Longwood University inducted its second Athletics Hall of Fame Class on November 10, 2007 in Dorrill Dining Hall. The Class included Church Road native and former baseball star Dennis Hale, ’91, an All-American both on the field (NCAA 2nd-Team) and in the classroom (CoSIDA/GTE 1st-Team); former women’s golf All-American Charlaine Coetzee Hirst, ’95, a three-time National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) Division II National Champion (1993-95) and winner of the 1995 Today’s Top Eight Award; along with Petersburg native and former men’s basketball standout Kevin Jefferson, ’90, the school’s career leader in points (1,806).
Dennis Hale, ’91
Hale (1988-91) capped a spectacular four-year pitching career in 1991 with his selection to the NCAA Division II All-America 2nd-Team, as well as being named to the 1991 CoSIDA Academic All-America 1st-Team. He was also the 1991 South Atlantic Region Pitcher of the Year and Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) College Division Player of the Year, compiling a 13-2 record and a 2.48 ERA through 123.2 innings pitched as the Lancers finished a school-record 41-8 while advancing to the Division II World Series. Hale still holds school records for career wins (33), consecutive wins (19), and winning percentage (.846, 33-6), and has school season-records for wins (13), complete games (10), innings pitched (123.2), and winning percentage (1.000, 11-0, 1990). Hale tossed one no-hitter during his career, against Mount Saint Mary’s in 1988, and also ranks second in career ERA (2.99), as well as third in career strikeouts (224) and innings pitched (283.0).
“It is a very humbling honor to be recognized with the group of athletes that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame thus far and to be recognized in light of all the great athletes, coaches and programs that have come before and after me at Longwood,” said Hale. “I also know that this recognition was not just about me but about all of the family, coaches, teammates and supporters that helped me along the way. This recognition has to be especially inclusive of the team members that I played with at Longwood, particularly the 1991 World Series Team which I feel made it possible to accomplish what I did.”
Hale is a 1991 summa cum laude graduate as a physics major. He and his wife Barbara, an occupational therapist, have two sons (Austin, 10, and Aaron, 4), and now live in Church Road where Hale serves as Chief of Fire & EMS for Dinwiddie County.
Charlaine Coetzee Hirst, ’95
Coetzee Hirst (1992-95), perhaps the most honored student-athlete in school history, capped-off her college career when she was selected the first female student-athlete from a Virginia college to earn Today’s Top Eight award, the highest NCAA honor chosen by the NCAA Honors Committee. The three-time NGCA Division II National Champion received three major awards in 1995, including the prestigious Today’s Top Eight, along with being voted the Honda/Division II Athlete of the Year and the Virginia NCAA Woman of the Year, and was honored on back-to-back nights at the NCAA Convention in Dallas, Texas in January 1996. Coetzee Hirst was a four-time NGCA All-American (1992-95), as well as a three-time NGCA All-Scholar Team (1993-95) honoree, leading the Lancers to NGCA National Championships in 1993 and 1995. She still holds the school-record for 54-holes (71-71-70-212), established while winning the 1994 national title, and her Longwood career scoring average of 79.15 ranks fourth all-time. A Honda Sports Award nominee for three straight years, Coetzee Hirst qualified for the 1998 United States Women’s Open Golf Championship, and also played on the FUTURES TOUR for nine years (1996-2004).
“Returning to Longwood is always like coming home,” explained Coetzee Hirst. “It is a very special place to me that holds very fond memories. It was an incredibly emotional evening for me; to remember the incredible journey that brought me to Farmville and Longwood from South Africa. Leaving my family behind and yet being welcomed almost immediately into the extended Longwood family. The induction into the Hall of Fame was an honor to me, my family and everyone who ever influenced my journey – I thank them all. I would never have achieved anything without the love and support of my family and friends and for that I am forever grateful.”
A native of Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa, Coetzee Hirst is a 1995 magna cum laude graduate as a history major. She is married to retired Air Force Lt. Col. Jay Hirst, now a charter/corporate pilot, and the couple have one daughter (Alexandra, 17 months), and now live in Pinehurst, N.C. where Coetzee Hirst serves as director of golf schools at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club and is a teaching professional as a member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals Division.
Kevin Jefferson, ’90
Jefferson (1986-90) is the all-time leading scorer in men’s basketball with 1,806 career points, a record that has stood since 1990, to go along with 467 career rebounds. He continues to hold 10 school records, including career points (1,806), season scoring average (25.6), career field goals (746), season field goals (285, 1989-90), career field goal attempts (1,422), season field goal attempts (547, 1989-90), career dunks (107), season dunks (47), single-game dunks (6), and Willett Hall single-game field goals (15, 1989-90). The 1990 Longwood Male Athlete of the Year and two-time Team MVP (1989-90), Jefferson also earned All-South Atlantic District honors in 1990 and was a two-time VaSID College Division All-State selection (1989-90). He scored a career-high 38 points against Dowling College during 1987-88, the fifth-best single-game point total all-time, and also ranks second in career scoring average (20.3).
“Being inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame was truly a blessed and unexpected accomplishment,” stated Jefferson. “My main goal when I entered Longwood in 1986 was to earn a college degree. With the support of my parents and playing basketball at Longwood, I was given the opportunity to accomplish that goal. This award is very important to me because after 17 years, I was still remembered and honored based on my athletic ability and the impact I made to the athletic program. Being inducted into the second class says a lot after coming behind such a talented and professional group of athletes in the first class. I share my induction with all my former teammates and coaches from 1986-1990 that I had the pleasure to play with.”
A native of Petersburg, Jefferson is a 1990 graduate as a business administration major. He and his wife Tonya, who works for Verizon, have a daughter (Skye, 11), and now live in Ruskin, Fla., where Jefferson owns a mobile auto detail shop (Skye Shine Mobile Auto Detailing). Jefferson is a retired school teacher.