In any given year, there are roughly 500 Denison students competing in varsity athletics. Some do it for a year or two. Some become team captains and four-year letter winners. Some even become All-Americans. Only the smallest percentage of Denison student-athletes enter the Hall of Fame.
Denison’s Varsity D Association celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014, and all Hall of Fame members were invited back to campus for this year’s Big Red Weekend festivities, which took place in September.
Friday’s induction dinner featured a crowd of nearly 200 inside Mitchell Fieldhouse. After President Adam Weinberg’s opening remarks, keynote speaker and 2006 inductee John Robic ’86 addressed the crowd. Robic is beginning his sixth season as assistant men’s basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. A veteran of the Division I men’s basketball coaching since his graduation from Denison, Robic has had stops at Kansas, Massachusetts, Memphis, and Youngstown State, where he was head coach from 1999 to 2005. In his 27-year coaching career, Robic has spent 17 seasons as an assistant to current Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
After Robic’s talk, it was time to recognize the class of seven new inductees into the Varsity D Association Hall of Fame. They are Steve Garnett ’97 (football and men’s lacrosse), Lauren Gerlach ’04 (women’s tennis), Dana Grandmaison- Gilligan ’02 (women’s soccer), Grant Jones ’88 (football), Adam Mandel ’04 (baseball), Peter Royer ’02 (men’s lacrosse) and Tamara Carty Tenney ’03 (women’s swimming).
To close the night, all Varsity D Association members who were in attendance at the event were presented with a framed replica of the Hall of Fame plaque that is featured prominently in the renovated Mitchell Center.
On Saturday, the hall-of-famers attended various alumni functions and were recognized at halftime of the Denison- Ohio Wesleyan football game. The Big Red didn’t let their alumni athletes down—they took down the Battling Bishops with a score of 34-31.