Whatcom has officially introduced a Hall of Fame to honor its former athletes, coaches and teams athletic and societal excellence.
The college has opened the door for nominations to be considered by their own selection committee. Danny Day, the current Athletic Director at WCC spoke about his inspiration to form the Hall of Fame.
“Just trying to find the best way we can honor all those alumni and past coaches or contributors through orca athletics.” Day said.
Mike Langey, the former WCC Athletic Director from 2003-2010, has also been working with Day on this project and is on the selection committee set to review nominations. He also spoke about his inspiration to help create the Hall of Fame involving his initial interest in the NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference) Hall of Fame.
“When I suggested the NWAC, that we submit some of our teams and individual athletes to the NWAC Hall of Fame, Danny thought that we should create a Whatcom Hall of Fame.” Langey said.
Day also spoke to the strong tradition of excellence in Whatcom’s athletic programs both in sports, academics, and the community, bringing up all the great teams Whatcom has had dating back the late ‘90s. WCC athletics began in 1996 beginning with men’s basketball.
There are five criteria for nomination listed on the WCC website both for athletic excellence and for significant impacts in society. When asked about the criteria for significant impacts in society, Day spoke to individuals who have been great supporters of the college or of the student athletes in academics.
Langey brought up criteria for community impact as a disqualifier among athletes. He mentioned how if an athlete were to be arrested, they would be eliminated from consideration, and that the selection committee is looking for athletes who are solid citizens to induct and move forward to the NWAC Hall of Fame.
Day also said they are still navigating a way to celebrate the inductees, and the ceremony is “off the table for now”. Day also stated he and the selection committee would like to announce the inductees during this academic year and that it would be great to have the ceremony at the end of this year, but that that is highly unlikely.
“An in-person ceremony for Hall of Fame individuals and bringing back teams and things like that probably next academic year.” Day said.
To the question of how much playing time athletes need to be eligible and time spent that contributors need, Day brought up a one year minimum as a part of the program.
Day and Langey are both focused on keeping the number of individuals and teams that can be inducted into the Hall of Fame per induction balanced to keep it a special honor. Day mentioning the amount could change depending on the number of nominations but that there is currently a cap generally agreed upon.
“Maybe about five a year max if deserving,” Langey said.
Day predicts the event will most likely be every other year, but that things could change depending on the number of nominations.
When asked how long this plan has been in the works, Day stated it has been in conversations since he started as the athletic director and has been in the works about one year. He later brought to light the time frame working with the selection committee.
“And the conversation for the Hall of Fame officially began with this committee in May 2020.” Day said.
There is a five-year period following an athlete or coaches’ career, teams’ season, or contributors time until they are eligible for nomination. Day continued, speaking about the need to allow time for student athletes to get a four-year degree, or a coach to move on to another position somewhere else, saying it “seemed common” in most Hall of Fames.
Day confirmed the selection committee currently consists of Langey, director for human resources and former women’s basketball coach Becky Rawlings, vice president for administrative services and former volleyball coach Nate Langstraat, faculty member Justin Erickson, student recreation manager and current women’s soccer coach Mary Schroeder, as well as a current student-athlete to be determined.
Langey explained he was selected to the committee because of the history he has with the program, and that he is still very involved. Also mentioning his “sense of program history.”
Speaking to any concerns about the Hall of Fame, Day talked about navigating the pandemic and said that they were learning as they went, mentioning nomination management along with their website.
“We don’t know what we don’t know at this point. We are adjusting as we go along.” Day said.
Langey continues, saying that nothing has been difficult, then mentioning that everyone has a different perspective and he described group conversations as “positive” and “productive”. He finishes by describing the work environment as a “very cooperative working relationship.
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