Seven Colonials Inducted into GW Athletic Hall of Fame
Feb. 25, 2003
The George Washington University's Department of Athletics welcomed seven 2003 electees from seven sports to its Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Feb. 14, at the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom on GW's campus.
A gathering of more than 180 persons, including family and friends, alumni and fans, former coaches and teammates, and University athletic officials, were in attendance, despite the threat of heavy snow, which arrived two days later in the form of the 'Blizzard of '03'.
Following dinner, Colonials ranging from the classes of '79 through '96 were introduced by their nominators, accepted induction plaques from Jack Kvancz, Director of Athletics and Recreation, and then reflected on their respective GW athletic careers.
Those honored were: Shannon Higgins-Cirovski, women's soccer coach, 1991-97; Dr. Jim Goss '79, baseball; Sonni Holland '93, men's basketball; Wade Hughes '85, wrestling; Lisa Shafran '95, women's tennis; Dr. Karin Vadelund '90, women's basketball, and Svetlana Vtyurina '96, volleyball. (See Bios of Inductees Below)
Inductions of the seven increased membership of the Hall to 111. Nominations of new candidates for possible induction in 2004 are being accepted through Sept. 15, 2003. To receive a nomination form for 2004 consideration, contact Ed McKee at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.994.5778. His mailing address is: GW University, 600 22nd St., NW, Washington, DC 20052.
Shannon Higgins-Cirovski, is the eighth former GW coach to gain admission into the University's Athletic Hall of Fame. She coached Colonials women's soccer from 1991 through '97 and significantly elevated the program's competitive quality during those years. Though lacking a true GW 'home field' during the '90s and while playing against an upgraded schedule, her teams were 69-59-11 overall in seven years and an excellent 27-4-3 in five seasons ('93-97) of Atlantic 10 Conference play.
Higgins-Cirovski earned A-10 Coach of the Year in both 1994 and '96. Her 1996 team, rated 18th during the season by Soccer Times, made the University's first women's soccer appearance in an NCAA Tournament while her '94 team also managed to achieve a No. 15 national ranking by Soccer America. Three of her mid-'90s players won A-10 awards (Tanya Vogel, current Colonials coach and the first women's soccer electee to the GW AHOF, was A-10 Player of the Year in '96; Chemar Smith and Jane Andersen were back-to-back A-10 Rookie of the Year winners in '94 and '95.)
A world-class midfielder in her own right at North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Higgins-Cirovski was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame last October, only the third women's player to achieve that distinction. She starred on Lady Tar Heels teams which won four consecutive NCAA titles ('86-90) and rolled up a 89-0-6 mark during those years. She won numerous individual awards during her playing career, topped in both '88 and '89 when she was chosen "National Player of the Year" by Soccer America magazine.
After one season as a GW assistant coach (in 1990 under fifth-year head coach Adrian Glover), Higgins-Cirovski became one the youngest Division I head coaches in the nation 1991 at the age of 22. Seven years later and following her successes with the Colonials, Higgins-Cirovski left to become head coach of the United States National U-18 Program in 1998-99. She is now in her fifth year as head soccer coach at the University of Maryland where she has been voted the ACC Coach of the Year twice ('99 and 2002) in the past four years.
The 34-year-old Higgins-Cirovski gained her bachelor's degree in Industrial Relations at UNC in 1990. An 1986 graduate of Mt. Rainier High School in Kent, Wash., she now resides in Columbia, Md., with her husband, Sasho Cirovski, head coach of the Terps' men's soccer team, and their three daughters, Hailey (8), Karli (6) and Ellie (four months).
Dr. James A. Goss was an outstanding baseball player at GW for four years ('75-79). He came to the Foggy Bottom campus from nearby Potomac, Md. and Churchill High School. According to his Colonials coach (and Athletic Hall of Famer) Mike Toomey, Goss was the "first and most influential player in the 'rebirth' of the GW baseball program in the '70s". The Colonials, which won 91 games during Goss's four seasons, steadily improved during his college playing career.
A shortstop for his first three years, Goss moved to third base for his senior season. While he was solid defensively, he especially excelled at the plate. He hit .415 as a junior, 12th highest batting average in the nation in '78 (earning the team's MVP Award), and followed it up with a robust .390 average as a senior. He also displayed deceptive speed on the basepaths, ranking 10th in the nation in triples (6) and 17th in stolen bases (24) in '78.
GW won 25 games in '78, then recorded the winningest campaign in school history in '79 when the Colonials notched a 35-16 mark, including their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 20 years! That season, many accolades came Jim's way, including: GW Outstanding Men's Senior Athlete, first team All-East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC), first team All-East Region and second team Academic All-America honors.
Goss, 45, earned his bachelor's degree in geology in '79 at GW, his medical degree in 1992 from the Medical College of Virginia and his orthopedic surgeon residency in 1997 from the University of Tennessee's Campbell Clinic in Memphis. He is now an orthopedic surgeon with Orthopaedic Associates of Johnson City, Tenn. A resident of Gray, Tenn., Goss is married to the former Cindy Toomey (no relation to Mike). The couple has two daughters, Nikki (18) and Sherri (16).
Sonni A. Holland was a four-time letterwinner in basketball for the Colonials between 1989 and '93. He ranks 12th on the all-time GW men's basketball scoring list with 1,467 points and started at forward on the University's first two men's teams to compete in postseason competition in 30 years.
As a sophomore in 1990-91, Holland and his teammates, coached by newly-appointed coach Mike Jarvis, narrowly missed winning the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament championship (losing at Penn State in the finals), but earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament and finished the season 19-12. That season he was named the team's MVP and earned second team All-Atlantic 10 Conference honors.
Two years later, Holland captained the Colonials to a 21-9 campaign, which included a a pair of NCAA Tournament victories (over New Mexico and Southern at Tucson, Ariz.) and a "Sweet 16" matchup against eventual NCAA finalist Michigan and its talented--but tainted--"Fab Five" at Seattle's Kingdome.
Holland, who played five seasons of pro ball in Europe and South America ('93-98), finished his playing career in 1998 and took a job with the Boys and Girls Club of America as Director of Operations in Paterson, N.J. Two years later, he joined the Charles Hayden Foundation, a New York-based charitable organization which focuses on youth groups in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, as its Community Development Officer.
In 2001, Holland was selected to the 23-player GW All-Century Men's Basketball Team. Now 32, Sonni and his wife, the former Halene DeHart, reside in Piscataway, N.J., with their infant daughter, Janeva.
Wade A. Hughes was a four-year wrestling letterwinner at GW from 1981 through '85 for coach Jim Rota, himself a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame. Not only does Hughes have the most victories (182) vs. only 17 losses in George Washington's 20-year wrestling history, but he also has more career victories than any collegiate wrestler in NCAA history! (His mark as a senior in 1985 alone was a spectacular 57-4.)
Throughout his Colonials career, Hughes won 20 individual tournament titles, including two NCAA regional crowns, and he finished third in the 126-pound weight class at the 1985 NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla. His only loss was to a 1984 Olympic silver medalist (Barry Davis of Iowa) in the tournament semifinals. In addition, he was selected for the prestigious East-West All-Star Meet in '85 and won his 130-pound match in that event held at Logan, Utah.
Following his GW years, Hughes trained with United States national team for two years as an assistant coach at Northern Michigan University and represented the U.S. in several international tournaments. Upon returning home to the D.C. area, he started his own business, but remained involved with wrestling. He was assistant coach at Howard University for 11 years ('89-2000) and then served as head coach of the Bison for two seasons (2001 and '02).
Hughes, 39, who earned a bachelor's degree in Economics, was named GW Athletics' Outstanding Men's Senior Athlete in 1985. He has been president of his own computer firm, Innovative Technical Solutions Inc. (ITSI), for the past 11 years. A Washington native and a 1981 graduate of Archbishop Carroll High School, he now lives in Silver Spring, Md., and has one son, Chandler (5).
Lisa B. Shafran, a four-year tennis standout and letterwinner ('91-94 and '96), is the first women's tennis player to be elected to the University's Athletic Hall of Fame. In a women's tennis program that began in 1975, she is the winningest women's player in GW history with 82 singles victories in 107 matches. Shafran played at No. 1 singles in every match during her illustrious GW career!
As a four-year captain the team, Shafran was a key player for the most successful women's tennis teams (to date) when the 1992 and '93 Colonials, coached by Joe Mesmer, earned back-to-back Atlantic 10 Conference women's championships. In '92, Shafran, 25-4 in singles, was ranked 73rd in the nation and earned A-10 Freshman of the Year honors as well as being a first team All-Atlantic 10 selection in both singles and doubles. She and her teammates posted a 20-3 dual meet season enroute to the '92 conference crown. She improved as a sophomore in '93, finishing 30-4 in singles and moving up to No. 46 in the nation. Again the team won the A-10 title and she earned first team all-conference in both singles and doubles.
As a junior, Shafran suffered a shoulder injury, but still posted a 15-9 singles record and led the team back to the Atlantic 10 Conference finals in '94; this time, however, GW was runnerup to Temple. Despite earning first team all-conference in both singles and doubles in the spring, she had reconstructive surgery on her right shoulder in August of '94. Sitting out her fourth year, she competed in her fifth year, notching a 12-9 singles record while playing a limited schedule. As a senior, she was named to the 1996 GTE CoSIDA Academic All-America third team with a 3.93 GPA.
Shafran, 29, a native of Oceanside, N.Y., graduated from GW in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in marketing and a year later, while playing her fourth year for the Colonials, she earned a her MBA from the University. Now residing in New York City, she has been a project manager at McKinsey & Co., a New York consulting firm, since 1998.
Dr. Karin L. Vadelund won four letters in women's basketball between 1986 and '90. Though the 5-foot-5 point guard was called upon to distribute the basketball and provide leadership, she also managed to score 1,400 points in her outstanding career. She ranks ninth in points and 10th in points-per-game average (12.8), as well as sixth in career assists (382) and 13th in steals (183).
In addition to her swift hands and ballhandling skills, she had an accurate eye from both the field and foul line, ranking third in career free throw percentage (.812 on 324 of 404 attempts) and eighth in career 3-point accuracy (.394 on 112 of 284). And all of this was done with enthusiasm and flexibility as she played for three coaches in four seasons: Linda Makowski ('87 & '88), Jennifer Bednarek ('89) and Joe McKeown ('90). Through it all, she was an Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection as a freshman as well as second team All A-10 in both her junior and senior years.
Another dimension of Vadelund's Colonials career was her academic side. She was able to balance this impressive academic excellence along with her athletic prowess and competitiveness. Majoring in biology, she maintained better than a 3.5 GPA and in doing so earned numerous Atlantic 10 honors. Among them, she was first team Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference three straight years ('88-90) after being named honorable mention as a freshman in '87. As a senior, she was the recipient of the Abbie Oliver Smith Award, recognizing the women's basketball player who best exemplifies both academics and athletes.
Vadelund, 34, a native of Rockville, Md., and a 1986 graduate of Magruder High School, used her biology studies well. She went on to medical school at Wayne State University and is now an emergency room physician at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She resides in Falls Church, Va.
Svetlana Vtyurina is the most decorated volleyball player to ever wear the Buff & Blue. A four-time standout volleyball letterwinner from 1992 through '95, to say she was a dominate player is a vast understatement. Vtyurina, the Colonials' only volleyball All-American (in 1994 by the AVCA), owns both the NCAA record for "kills" in a match (56) and in a career (3,043).
Due to a recent change in the format for which college volleyball matches are "rally scored," Vtyurina's NCAA records for kills may never be broken. Her name appears in the GW volleyball record book nearly 30 times and she is the only GW student-athlete to hold all-time NCAA records in two statistical categories (career kills and single match kills.)
A 6-foot-4 outside hitter, she is the only student-athlete in Atlantic 10 history to be named Player of the Year as a freshman, an award she also garnered as a senior. While she earned A-10 All-Tournament honors as a freshman (in '92), she was named the A-10 Tournament's MVP three straight years ('93-95)! Coached by Susie Homan, teams on which she played had a spectacular overall record of 118-28 and participated in three NCAA Tournaments, advancing to the second round in each, and one National Invitational Volleyball Classic.
Academically, Vtyurina's 3.67 GPA in finance three times earned her GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors (in '93-95). As a senior, she was named the 1996 Lynn George Outstanding Senior Woman Athlete Award winner for academic and athletic excellence. Two years later, she earned her MBA at GW and was a prestigious Presidential Administrative Fellow postgraduate student.
Vtyurina, 28, born in Moscow and the daughter of a Russian diplomat, now lives in Arlington, Va. She has been employed for the past four years by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as assistant to the executive director of the Russian Federation.