VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Due to to the pandemic, the Virginia Sports Hall Of Fame hadn't been able to officially enshrine anyone. In 2020, they had a class, but no audience. By 2021 they decided not pick anyone, so after three years, it was a crowded enshrinement day at the Westin Hotel at Town Center in Virginia Beach on Saturday. Twelve new members (8 from the class of 2020 and 4 from the class of 2022) were inducted.
Among the list included Norfolk State women's basketball great, Tracy Saunders from Suffolk, University Of Virginia cornerback, Anthony Poindexter, NFL greats Chris Warren and wide receiver, Al Toon from Newport News. There was also former Old Dominion men's basketball coach, "Sonny" Allen who led the Monarchs to six appearances in the NCAA Division-II tournament and two Final Fours, culminating with a 1975 NCAA D-II National Championship. "It means the world", says Poindexter who's currently the co-defensive coordinator at Penn State.
Then there two Chesapeake natives in Olympic pole vaulter, Lawrence Johnson and former Mets third baseman, David Wright along with former MLB great, Mike Cubbage. "To be honest with you, I feel kind of old", joked Wright. "You know actually playing baseball and getting the chance to have some success on the baseball field and now we're kind of talking about what I did in the past."
For Saunders, who still holds several school records for the Lady Spartans including career points with 2,084, guided them to a 33-2 record her senior year. NSU then won the CIAA title, and advanced to the NCAA Division-II Final Four. "To have the family that helped you celebrate this honor is just magnificent", she said.
Johnson, who was a standout at Great Bridge High School, went on to win 7 Southeastern Conference Championships, 4 NCAA Championships, and set an NCAA record in the pole-vault that would stand for 25 years while at the University Of Tennessee. "It's something that I never thought would happen", he says. "With so many greats like Arthur Ashe and the likes, being included in those ranks is an incredible feeling. I'm very humbled."