It was a star-studded Saturday night at the Sandler center as the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame welcomed its eight newest inductees, and maybe its most prestigious class ever.
Frank Beamer, Michael Cuddyer, Thomas Jones, Kara Lawson, Rick Mahorn, Megan Silva Shultz and Doug Doughty were all enshrined among the elite in Virginia sports history.
Beamer, the headliner of the group, won 238 games as the head coach at Virginia Tech. Under the man who made “Beamer Ball” a house-hold name, the Hokies ascended to national prominence, winning four ACC titles and making an appearance in the 2000 national championship game.
He also helped build the “Hokie Nation” from the ground up. “You (the fans) made Thursday night football, you made College GameDay, you changed those things around, and you made jumping okay,” said Beamer, who retired in 2015.
“You truly made Blacksburg home.”
Michael Cuddyer went from first-round pick out of Great Bridge High School to 15-year major leaguer. Twice named an all-star, Cuddyer won the National League batting title in 2013, and also tried to champion his hometown.
“I tried to represent this state, I tried to represent this area as best I could as I went along,” said Cuddyer, who played for the New York Mets, the Colorado Rockies and the Minnesota Twins. “So, a reward and a recognition like this not only solidifies what I’ve done well, but it also solidifies that you all have done well too.”
Jones went on to set 10 ACC records as running back at the University of Virginia, where he is still the all-time leading rusher. Upon graduating frm Charlottesville, Jones went on to a 12-year career in the NFL, earning All-Pro honors in 2009.
While on stage, Jones became emotional, thinking of when he asked his father if anyone would ever know his name. “He (my father) wold say just do the hard work, and the rest will take care of itself.
“Dad, you were right, because tonight I’m a Virginia Sports Hall of Famer,” said Jones.