BRISTOL, Tenn. – The King College Athletic Hall of Fame will welcome three new members on Satuday, April 21, 2012. The class of 2012 will include Coach Susie Toomey (volleyball/administration), Larry Sharrett ‘99 (men’s basketball), and the NCCAA National Champion 1987 baseball team.
King Athletics will officially introduce its newest members of the class as a part of the College’s annual Dogwood Weekend festivities. The induction ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Complex gym and include an array of light appetizers, desserts, and beverages.
Biographical sketches of each of the three inductees are below.
1987 King Tornado Baseball
Head Coach Jerry Opp
The King College teams of the 1980’s had made a mark in college baseball finishing strong perennially throughout the decade while being recognized as one of the strongest NAIA programs in all of East Tennessee. But none made the impact for King College than the 1987 squad that won the College its first National Championship in school history that year.
The Tornado of 1987 entered the year with an NAIA national preseason ranking of 17th overall. King started the year strong by going a perfect 7-0 in the Cocoa Beach Tournament, including a win by forfeit over Boston University who submitted after the Navy and Scarlett had a 22-run lead at the time. Their successes continued throughout the course of the season as they steadily progressed up the rankings, peaking at No. 9 in the country, the highest ranking of any King baseball team.
After finishing the regular season 25-6 (.806), the Tornado earned runner-up honors at the state tournament before being upset in the championship game by David Lipscomb.
The magical season did not end there. King received a bid to the National Christian College Athletic Tournament and entered the tournament with a No. 10 national ranking. Continuing their winning ways, King advanced to the finals and on May 2, 1987 won the College’s first-ever National Championship in a 3-2 (F/9) victory over former Major League pitcher Todd Worrell and Biola University (Calif.). The Tornado ended the season with a 32-8 (.800) overall record and improved to ninth in the country.
Head Coach Jerry Opp on the 1987 team…
“I am just so incredibly proud of those guys. We were a team predicated on pitching a defense, but we were truly an offensive juggernaut. You had to see them to really appreciate their play but that season and that team was incredibly special to me and King College.”
Dr. Errol Rohr on the 1987 team…
“There were fabulous! They possessed such an enthusiasm and confidence in their play and a special energy while at bat. They were all true baseball guys, great athletes, and some very good students. They were truly fun to be around and provided some great memories.”
LARRY SHARRETT (men’s basketball, 1994-1998) As one of King’s most prolific scorers in Men’s Basketball history, Larry Sharrett has solidified himself in the Tornado record books in a variety of offensive categories. Sharrett rests with the fifth-most points in school history after he amassed 1,612 points over his four-year career with the Tornado. During his tenure, he helped the Tornado to a 15-win turnaround from his freshman to senior seasons.
He highlighted his career as a senior when he scored 574 points (sixth-most in a single season) in 1998, averaging 16.9 points per game, and leading his team to a 20-14 overall record. He served as a major three-point shooting threat having made the second-most threes in a single season (100), hitting nearly 43 percent of all his long-range shots that year. That season, Sharrett and the Tornado went on to win the TVAC championship and play in the NAIA National Tournament. Following the season, he was named to the NAIA All-American Third Team.
In his last three seasons, Sharrett shot better than 40 percent from both field-goal range and three-point range while totaling more than 400 points each year. As his career matured, his defensive play improved. In both his junior and senior seasons, he tallied double-digit block totals and in his last three years he had 35 or more steals, topping the charts with 42 during his senior campaign.
Sharrett has and continues to serve as a Christian missionary in Bulgaria after a playing professional basketball in the country and is heavily involved in Athletes in Action.
Scott Polsgrove (head coach) on Larry
“Putting Larry in the Hall of Fame, I believe, is a no-brainer. He was a great basketball player but he is an even better person. Larry and I are still very close and support him as a missionary.”
Mark Pendleton (classmate) on Larry
“Larry’s example of Christian service motivated me and his classmates to be better people and followers of Christ. During his time on campus, Larry was an ambassador for the school while forming close relationships with students, faculty, and staff.”
No adjective may effectively be used to characterize Ms. Susie Toomey’s accomplishments, contributions, and dedication toward the betterment of King College over the last three decades.
After spending the first 15 years of her coaching career between ETSU and various Northeast Tennessee area high schools, Coach Toomey began her tenure at King that lasted 22 seasons. In 978 games, Coach Toomey led her teams to victory an astounding 749 times and accumulated a career winning percentage of 76.6 percent. She led her teams to 15 conference championships, including 10 consecutive from 1997 to her final season in 2006. Her teams went to 13 NAIA District tournaments and won three regional championships, advancing to the NAIA National Tournament in each year and were awarded the National Sportsmanship Award in 1999. In eight NCCAA Tournament appearances, her teams won six district championships.
Her athletes’ achievements over their careers are a true testament to the athletic, scholarly, and moral quality that Coach Toomey welcomed into her program. Seventeen different student-athletes achieved All-American status over their careers, totaling 23 different All-American awards being handed out between the NCCAA and NAIA levels. Another 17 student-athletes garnered NCCAA or NAIA All-American Scholar-Athlete honors between 1986 and 2006. Forty different athletes have been awarded 74 All-Conference accolades between the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) and the Tennessee Valley Athletic Conference (TVAC), including 13 Player of the Year honors. She has overseen 22 NAIA All-District, 24 All-Region, and seven All-District 24 awards earned by her athletes and was coach to Angela Montreuil who was named National Libero of the Year.
Coach Toomey has earned 21 different coaching accolades over her tenure. She was named NCCAA District Coach of the Year six times, is a 10-time Conference Coach of the Year, four-time NAIA Region XII Coach of the Year, and was named NAIA District 24 Coach of the Year once. In her 22 years at the helm, Coach Toomey never had a losing season and never finished a season any fewer than eight games above .500. She also had nine seasons with fewer than 10 total losses.
As King went through its transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II status, Toomey served as interim director of athletics, at the time overseeing 22 athletic teams and beginning the introduction of dance and cheer to its current total of 24. She also served as the Senior Woman Athletic Administrator (SWA) for the Athletic Department.
For as much of a mark as she has made on the court and in the lives of her athletes, Toomey has impacted the careers of even more students while serving as an educator and administrator at King College since her welcoming to campus in 1985. She has taught a variety of classes at King in the areas of health, physical education, coaching, administration, and recreation and continues to do so to this day. She has also served on numerous committees dedicated toward the improvement of the College and serves as an advisor to students who major in physical education or minor in coaching. Toomey currently serves as the Chair of the Physical Education Department at the College while continuing her teaching duties. She also served as the Director of Mission Outreach and Interim Dean of Students at King.
As impressive as her athletic and higher education resumes are, Toomey has exhibited incredible devotion to her faith and advancement of Christianity through her mission work and community service. Over the last 40 years, she has given herself and her service to 12 different states, the Nation’s capital, and six foreign countries. Her travels have taken her and students to Brazil, Costa Rica, Germany, Austria, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico to engage in bible camps, sport evangelism, and construction projects. While stateside, her groups have led many similar projects as well as disaster cleanup and homeless and inner-city ministry.
Her accomplishments are lengthy and many but the feeling of her influence that she continues to leave on King College, the world of higher education, and Christianity is a far better indicator of the impact she has left behind than any resume can ever capture.
The 2012 class of inductees is the fourth class in King history and increases its number of honored members to 49 since its creation in 2006.