Amber Campbell and Alan Connie Inducted Into Big South Hall of Fame
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Two track & field stalwarts and two women's basketball stars have been elected for enshrinement in the Big South Conference Hall of Fame, it was announced today by the league. Former Coastal Carolina women's track & field All-American Amber Campbell, former Chanticleer women's track & field/cross country coach Alan Connie, former UNC Asheville women's basketball player Vicki Giffin and former Liberty women's basketball player Katie Feenstra comprise the 2016 Big South Conference Hall of Fame Class.
The four will be officially inducted on Thursday evening, June 2, 2016, during a special ceremony as part of the Big South's annual spring meetings at the Marriott Resort in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
The Big South Hall of Fame, created in 2003 as part of the League's 20th Anniversary celebration, now totals 61 former Big South Conference student-athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors with the addition of this year's class. Below is a look at the 2016 enshrinees:
Amber Campbell, Coastal Carolina Women's Track & Field Athlete, 2000-04
Campbell was a 16-time Big South champion -- seven titles in indoor track & field and nine crowns in outdoor track & field. She won four individual titles in the indoor weight throw and three in the shot put, and was crowned champion four times in the discus. Campbell also won the outdoor hammer throw three times and the shot put twice. A five-time All-American, Campbell was voted the Big South's Female Athlete of the Year in 2000-01 and 2002-03 -- becoming the first two-time winner of the award. Campbell was also voted the Most Outstanding Field Performer following six Big South Championships (three each in indoor and outdoor track & field). She set the American collegiate record in the weight throw and hammer throw during her career with the Chanticleers. Campbell still holds the Big South indoor weight throw record for overall (22.24m / 72-11.75) and the conference championship meet (21.64m / 72-00.75), established in 2004.
Her distance of 67.25m / 220-7 in the hammer throw at the 2004 NCAA Regionals remains the league's all-time top performance as well. The only three-time recipient of the Big South's Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year award, Campbell still owns the school records in the weight, indoor shot put, outdoor shut put, discus and hammer throws. She was voted to the Big South's Women's Track & Field All-Decade Team for 2000-09.
Since departing Coastal, Campbell has represented Team USA in several global competitions. She is a two-time Olympian (2008, 2012) in the hammer throw, and is attempting to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games in the same event. Her mark of 69.93m / 229-5 in the hammer during the 2012 Olympics was the best-ever Olympic performance by an American at the time.
She competed for the USA at the IAAF World Championships (2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015) in the hammer, and won Gold in the hammer at the 2015 North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships. Campbell placed third in the 2011 Pan American Games and second in 2015, and is a three-time USATF outdoor champion in the hammer throw, winning in 2010 (71.52m / 234-8), 2012 (71.80m / 235-6) and 2015 (72.36m / 237-5). She is a six-time USA indoor champion in the weight throw with gold in 2007 (24.54m / 80-6.25), 2008 (23.23m / 76-2.25), 2009 (24.43m / 80-2), 2010 (24.70m / 81-0.5), 2011 (24.18m / 79-5.25) and 2012 (24.78m / 81-3), and owns the third-farthest indoor weight throw in American history. Campbell was inducted into the Coastal Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.
Alan Connie, Coastal Carolina Women's Track & Field/Cross Country Head Coach, 1986-2014
Connie retired in 2014 as the Big South's all-time leader with 13 women's cross country championships and second overall in most championships across the three running sports with 28. Coastal Carolina's head coach from the inception of the cross country program in 1986 and indoor track & field program in 1998, Connie's 28-year career at the helm featured 33 Big South Coach of the Year honors (13 in women's cross country, 11 in women's indoor track & field and nine in women's outdoor track & field).
He was named the 2004 Southeast Region Coach of the Year for indoor track & field, and led the Chanticleers to the Big South women's cross country/track & field "Triple Crown Championship" four times (2003-04, 2005-06, 2008-09 and 2013-14). Connie's women's cross country runners won 15 individual Big South championships and was subsequently named the conference's Runner of the Year, while a total of 85 earned All-Conference accolades. In addition, 17 earned NCAA All-Southeast Region selections and nine qualified for the NCAA National Championship -- with two earning All-America honors. He also coached 11 Big South Rookies/Freshmen of the Year. The Chanticleer cross country program ended the 1996 regular season ranked 24th nationally, and ranked as high as 20th in 1997 and 30th in 2002. Furthermore, his squads earned 17 consecutive All-Academic Team honors from the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
In track & field, Connie coached student-athletes to 10 All-American honors, as well as 91 Big South indoor champions, 115 Big South outdoor champions, and a combined 543 indoor and outdoor All-Big South honors. He also coached fellow Big South Hall of Fame inductee Amber Campbell.
The Chanticleers ended the 1998 indoor season ranked 26th nationally and earned 12 consecutive USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honors as well in track & field. In 2007, Coastal was sixth out of 327 Division I track & field programs with a 3.421 cumulative team GPA and in 2008 ranked 21st nationally with a 3.319 cumulative GPA. Four of his student-athletes earned Academic All-America honors. Most notably, Felicitas Mensing earned the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year "Triple Crown" in the sports of cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field in the 2007-08 season -- only the third athlete in Big South history to accomplish the feat.
Connie was voted the Big South Coach of the Decade in cross country (1990s and 2000s), indoor track & field (2000s) and outdoor track & field (2000s). Connie was inducted into Coastal Carolina's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014, and joins Campbell and his former runners Jolene Williams and Catherine Conder in the Big South Hall of Fame.
Vicki Giffin, UNC Asheville Women's Basketball Player, 1993-97
Giffin capped her four-year career as the Big South Women's Basketball Player of the Year in 1996-97, and was also the Women's Basketball Scholar-Athlete of the Year that season -- the first player in league history to win both awards in the same year. She completed her career as UNC Asheville's third-leading scorer and seventh all-time in Big South history with 1,703 (now 14th in conference annals). Giffin also grabbed 540 rebounds in her career to become just the seventh player at the time with 1,500 points and 500 boards (now one of 15).
She finished with 448 career free throws, third-most in Big South history at the time (now seventh) and she averaged 15.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in 109 career games. Giffin's career totals also include 343 assists and 243 steals, and she was just the second Big South player with 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 300 assists and 200 steals when she graduated (now one of five players).
The 1993-94 Women's Basketball Rookie of the Year, Giffin led the Big South that season with a 59.7 field goal percentage. She was a three-time First-Team All-Conference selection (1995-96-97) and led the Bulldogs to their first-ever winning records as Big South members -- both overall and conference -- in her senior season of 1996-97, as the squad went 14-13 and posted a third-place standing in league games at 8-6 for its highest Big South finish at the time. She still holds Asheville's single-season records for field goal accuracy and steals (71), as well as the all-time career marks for free throws made, steals and free throw percentage (74.1), in addition to the single-game record for steals (8).
Named UNC Asheville's Female Athlete of the Year in 1994 and 1997, Giffin was a two-time Academic All-District honoree (1996, 1997), and was voted to the Big South Women's Basketball All-Decade Team for 1990-99. She moved into coaching as an assistant at Nicholls State for two years before four more at Marietta College where she was head coach her final three years. Giffin was inducted into UNC Asheville's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 and currently resides in her hometown of Coshocton, Ohio, where she co-owns Vicklynds Conesville Store in Conesville, Ohio.
Katie Feenstra, Liberty Women's Basketball Player, 2001-05
Feenstra was a two-time Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American (2004 and 2005), and was the catalyst behind Liberty's run to the NCAA "Sweet Sixteen" in 2005, becoming the first Big South basketball program -- men's or women's -- to reach the Regional Semifinals. Feenstra helped the Lady Flames win four straight Big South titles, became the first player in conference history to earn three consecutive Player of Year honors in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and was voted the Big South Tournament MVP those same three years as well.
She was voted the Richmond Times-Dispatch State of Virginia Player of the Year in 2004 and VaSID State Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. A four-time Big South All-Tournament Team honoree and three-time First-Team All-Conference selection, Feenstra earned All-Freshman Team accolades in 2002. She led the nation in field goal percentage in back-to-back seasons in 2004 and 2005, and was the only player in the country to rank in the top 15 in field goal percentage (1st), points (10th), rebounds (10th) and blocked shots (15th) as a junior in 2003-04.
She still holds Liberty's career records for field goals made (764), field goal percentage (62.2 -- Big South record) and blocked shots (257). The tallest player in Liberty and Big South history at 6-foot-8, Feenstra's current single-season records include points (674), field goals made (291 -- Big South record) and field goal percentage (67.1 -- Big South record), as well as the program's Division I record for blocked shots (83).
She ranks fourth in program history and ninth in Big South annals for career points (1,845) and is second in program history and fifth in league history with 1,033 career rebounds. Voted to the Big South's 2000-09 Women's Basketball All-Decade Team, Feenstra helped Liberty to a 100-26 overall record, including 54-2 mark in regular-season Big South games, plus a perfect 12-0 in four career Big South Tournament appearances.
The Big South's Female Athlete of the Year in both 2003-04 and 2004-05 -- the second two-time winner in league history after Amber Campbell, Feentra was selected No. 8 overall in the 2005 WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun, becoming the highest draft pick in Liberty history in any professional sport. She was traded to the San Antonio Silver Stars that same year, finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting and was a unanimous WNBA All-Rookie Team selection. Feenstra helped the Detroit Shock reach the WNBA Finals in 2007, starting three of the five Finals games, and spent five total seasons in the league (2005-09), scoring 1,000 points in 150 career games. She also spent time playing professionally in China.
Feenstra was part of the USA Basketball Women's National Team in 2007-08 and helped the American team earn a silver medal at the 2007 FIBA World League Tournament in Russia. Following her time on the court, she returned to her hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2012-13 to become the head women's basketball coach at Cornerstone University. She led her team to a 19-12 record during her first season at the helm, and has recorded a pair of 20-win seasons in her four years with the program, including an appearance in the NAIA Tournament in 2014. She was inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame in 2012 and into Liberty's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.