Six inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame

Photo by Alex Davidson | The six Athletic Hall of Fame inductees (from left to right): Steve Ward, Rachel Schroeder, Carl Meyer, Leslie Burnside, Derek Drage, and Keith Parks.

Photo by Alex Davidson | The six Athletic Hall of Fame inductees (from left to right): Steve Ward, Rachel Schroeder, Carl Meyer, Leslie Burnside, Derek Drage, and Keith Parks.

Alex Davidson

Staff Writer

Six former athletes and Parkland faculty members were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Steve Ward was honored for his achievements on the 1973 and 1974 baseball teams, Leslie Burnside for her volleyball records set in 1994 and 1995, Derek Drage for his role on the 2002 and 2003 baseball teams, which placed in the top 5 of the World Series National Championship, Keith Parks, for his 24.5-points-per-game average, and faculty members Carl Meyer and Rachel Schroeder for their contribution to the Athletic Department.

The ceremony took place at half-time during the men’s basketball game. Each inductee was presented with a plaque as their name and accomplishments within the Parkland College Athletic Department were announced over the speakers.

The Athletic Hall of Fame is a program that honors accomplished athletes and faculty that have had a positive impact on the athletic department. Twice every year, as many as seven people are chosen for induction.

Inductees are often student athletes or faculty members, but not always.

“Some of these past honorees are coaches,” said Ellen Schmidt, current Executive Director of the Parkland College Foundation. “But some of them are actually folks who have financially helped to support athletics.”

Getting in is a prestigious honor. To do so, one must meet certain guidelines as well as be an exceptional athlete or faculty member.

“We do take nominations from previous coaches, from people in the Hall of Fame already, from all kinds of different sources…[and] they’ve got to wait five years from their accomplishment,” says Rod Lovett, Director of the Athletic Department.

Many of the past inductees have gone on to equally significant achievements after their time at Parkland. Many Hall of Fame inductees from past years have become professional athletes, with several even winning other prestigious awards.

“There are some people [in the hall of fame] who have played Major League Baseball,” says Lovett. “[Some] have been in the Olympics and won medals…Shane [Heams] was actually a gold medalist on the Olympic [Baseball] team… Kenny Banks was an Olympic-level track athlete.”

Inductees are people that current athletes can look up to as examples of what their achievements at Parkland can lead to. 

“I’m just excited that these people, who were once in my shoes, are being awarded with such an amazing honor,” said Katie Kuska, a current Parkland student and softball team member.

Athletics are not the only thing that members are known for. They are also known for being upstanding members of society. Parks is the gang specialist for the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Department in S.C., and Burnside currently works for the Early Autism Project of Horry County in Myrtle Beach, S.C., according to Lovett.

The Athletic Hall of Fame was founded in 2007 by Meyer, one of the faculty members inducted Saturday, during his time as Parkland College Foundation Executive director. He retired from the position in 2013.

The Athletic Hall of Fame is run by the Athletics Department and the Parkland College Foundation.