Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Athletic department honors four Whitman athletes with induction into hall of fame

On Saturday, April 26, four former Whitman athletes were inducted into the Whitman Hall of Fame during a banquet celebrating their accomplishments. The four athletes so honored were Robert Becker, Jennifer McClure Spurgeon, Don Woodworth and Katie Rubenser Wooldridge.

“All four inductees make wonderful role models of athletic performance,” said Whitman Athletic Director Dean Snider. “I’m very pleased that our hall of fame committee selected this group.”

The footprints of all four of the athletes can still be found around campus today, especially in the record books.

Don Woodworth, class of ’68, scored over 2,019 points in his 101-game Whitman career, setting a record for the men’s basketball team that still stands today, 40 years after his graduation. He was an All-Northwest Conference selection in both his junior and senior seasons and was voted the league’s Most Outstanding Player for the 1967-68 season.

In terms of women’s basketball, Jennifer McClure Spurgeon and Katie Rubenser Wooldridge dominate the record books. Wooldridge, who played under her maiden name, Rubenser, is number one in scoring, while Spurgeon, who played as McClure, is tops in rebounding and each of them is second to the other in the category that they don’t lead. In addition, Wooldridge holds the career record in steals and Spurgeon still leads Whitman in blocked shots.

It only seems appropriate that the two giants of women’s basketball at Whitman, both members of the class of ’94, be elected into the hall of fame alongside one another. John Wilcox, their coach, was also in attendance at the banquet.

In his own category, Bob Becker was a standout three-sport athlete who started for Whitman’s baseball, basketball and football squads during his junior and senior seasons. He received all-conference honors in all three sports and is number eight on Whitman’s career scoring list for Men’s basketball.

Even with all these accolades, all of them seemed rather surprised to be elected.

“I was surprised that I was nominated to begin with,” said Becker of his reaction to being selected.

“I was shocked, and grateful, and very surprised,” said Woodworth.

Yet the feeling of gratitude wasn’t unique to Woodworth as all of the inductees expressed a thrill in being recognized.

“The thing that struck me initially was when you play, it’s meaningful at the time, but 14 years later, to have someone else tell you how meaningful it was feels, I mean awesome is an abused word, but it was truly awesome,” said Spurgeon.

The possibility for such recognition is new for Whitman athletes as this latest hall of fame class is only the sixth ever at Whitman.

With the hall of fame’s increasing success, more athletes are set to feel the way Spurgeon did upon receiving recognition.

“It is certainly boosting the morale of student athletes that attend [Whitman],” said Wooldridge of the role the hall of fame. “Whitman can excel not only in academics, which it always has, but also excel in athletics.

The induction of this year’s class was also the first time a banquet was held as part of the ceremony and inductees from the previous five classes were invited back to receive recognition along with this year’s class.

Overall, the banquet was well attended and very well received. All four athletes lauded the company, the presentation and the food.

“It was great to meet so many former players and coaches, and to learn about the formation of the “W” Club,” said Woodworth. “And asparagus in spring time in Walla Walla can’t be beat.”

Neither can these athlete’s spots in the record books and now the hall of fame.

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