Four graduates were inducted into the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame on its 29th anniversary, Saturday, April 29th. The inductees were (with graduation year): Earl B. Lentz (1956) of Kannapolis; Amy Price-Peters (1994) of Canton, Ga.; Robert C. Rathbun (1976) of Dunwoody, Ga.; and Clyde L. Walker (1951), deceased, formerly of Charlotte.
The induction ceremony, sponsored by the Catawba College Chiefs Club, was held following a luncheon in Kirkland Lobby of the Abernethy Physical Education Center. The Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1977 and this year's inductees brought the total number of members to 137.
Prior to the inductions, Catawba Senior Vice President Tom Childress noted the loss of two Hall of Fame members during the past year. They were the late Harold Carter '56, a former Catawba football player, and the late Enoch Goodman '38, a former Catawba football and basketball player who also served on the College Board of Trustees and was at the time of his death "the top alumni donor of our institution," Childress said.
Master of ceremonies Dr. Karl Hales, the voice of the Catawba Indians and a professor emeritus of communication arts, made the presentations and afterwards, each inductee made brief remarks.
Earl Lentz '56 said, "It is with great appreciation and humility that I stand before you today amazed and proud of how Catawba College has grown and changed. People should do the best they can at whatever they do and be humble with the results. It was this philosophy that I tried to pass along to the young people I taught and coached in my 37 years."
Amy Price Peters '94 noted that she was "fortunate to have great professors and coaches while here at Catawba." She also pointed out that the campus has retained "the beauty and charm that attracted me here more than 20 years ago."
The son of the late Clyde Walker '51 spoke on behalf of his father and his family in acknowledging his father's induction. "I am honored to accept this honor on behalf of my dad whom I idolized for over 50 years. My dad had a great passion for sports and I saw first-hand how he took young boys and turned them into young men."
Bob Rathbun '76 spoke about those who helped him pursue his career as a sports announcer. He recalled that he had his first taste of the profession at age 12 when he called an American Legion game at Newman Park, Catawba's baseball field.
Following are some of the outstanding achievements of this year's inductees:
Lentz lettered in baseball and basketball at Catawba in 1954-56. He excelled in baseball, leading the team in hitting with a .371 average in 1955. He still holds the school record with a 33-game hitting streak, concluding the 1955 season with a 21-game streak and picking up hits in the first 12 games of 1956.
Lentz also set a record with 12 RBI in a two-game series in 1956. He had eight RBI in a single game against Appalachian State on April 19, 1955. Lentz led the Indians in RBI in both 1955 (28) and 1956 (27).
He played in 43 career games in basketball, scoring 208 points. He also coached the junior varsity team as a senior. Lentz played for two legendary coaches at Catawba – Marion "Chub" Richards in baseball and Dr. Earl Ruth in basketball.
Lentz went on to a distinguished career as a high school teacher and coach for 37 years at Bethel in Cabarrus County and A.L. Brown in Kannapolis.
He coached Brown to the only two state basketball championships in school history in 1967 and 1968. Lentz coached basketball for 23 years, golf for 16 years and also coached baseball.
Lentz' honors include coaching in the N.C. East-West All-Star Game in Greensboro (1975) and he also coached in all four N.C. high school divisions (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A).
An outstanding student while at Catawba, Lentz graduated cum laude and ranked fifth in the senior class.
Lentz' wife, Betty Ruth Helms Lentz, also a Catawba grad, died in 1998. He has two sons, Earl Lentz Jr. and Barry Lentz, both of Kannapolis.
Price-Peters is considered by many as one of the best all-around women athletes in school history, excelling in volleyball and basketball. Remarkably, she ran cross-country in 1993 and won both meets she entered.
A three-time All-South Atlantic Conference and All-NAIA District 26 performer in volleyball, Price-Peters had 993 kills on attack and ranks second in school history in digs (1,778) and fourth in aces (151). She also has the school record for service aces in one match with 11 against UNC Charlotte on Sept. 27, 1990.
Her 581 digs in 1992 still ranks as the fourth best season in that category in school history.
In addition to being selected the SAC and District 26 Player of the Year in volleyball in 1992, Price-Peters was selected as honorable mention All-American.
She helped lead the Lady Indians to the SAC and District 26 championships in 1989 and a trip to the NAIA National Tournament in Hawaii. Catawba also won the SAC Tournaments in 1990 and 1991.
In basketball, Price-Peters scored 760 points and grabbed 459 rebounds in 115 career games. She also collected 261 assists (9TH all-time) and 121 steals.
She holds the single game record with a perfect 1.000 field goal percentage, making all nine of her shots against Mars Hill on Jan. 18, 1991. Price-Peters also shares the single game school record for free throws made with 13 against Lenoir-Rhyne on Feb. 10, 1990.
Price-Peters, playing for her husband, Coach Gary Peters, helped Catawba win the 1993 SAC and District 26 championships. That team went 24-9 and earned a trip to the NAIA National Tournament in Jackson, Tenn.
Amy and Gary now reside in Canton, Ga., with their children, Price, Reagan and Katelyn.
Rathbun, is Fox Sports Net's veteran play-by-play voice for its telecasts of the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, and regionally-produced college football and basketball games (ACC, SEC, Southern Conference, Ohio Valley Conference). One of his profession's most personable and respected talents, Rathbun has been with the network since 1996.
Rathbun, a 1976 Catawba graduate, is originally from Salisbury, and graduated from West Rowan High School. He is remembered by many locally as a teenager working radio at Rowan County's American Legion baseball games with national hall of famer Marty Brenneman in the late 1960s.
Prior to joining FSN, Rathbun was the radio play-by-play voice for the Detroit Tigers (1992-94), the Braves' AAA Richmond team (1996) and the New York Mets AAA Tidewater (Va.) club (1980-85 and 1990-91). He was also the TV voice of the Baltimore Orioles in 1988-91.
In 1998, Rathbun was named the Georgia Sportscaster of the Year, following six like honors while working in the state of Virginia. Also a regular television voice for Rayom/Jefferson Pilot's ACC basketball coverage, Rathbun has done play-by-play work for CBS Sports and ESPN in their coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Rathbun has also called radio play-by-play for the NBA's Washington Bullets/Wizards and for Notre Dame football.
Rathbun resides in Dunwoody, Ga., with his wife Marybeth, son Court and daughter Grace.
Walker, a 1951 Catawba graduate, had a long and distinguished career as a coach and administrator in both high school and intercollegiate athletics.
Walker, who died in September 2005, was director of athletics at UNC Charlotte (1977-85) and the University of Kansas (1973-77). Prior to that, Walker had been assistant athletic director at the University of North Carolina (1972-73).
He had been assistant football coach at North Carolina, a member of Bill Dooley's staff in 1967-72.
Walker began his career at the high school level, working as head football coach at Walnut Cove and Needham Broughton. His combined career record at those two schools was 113-38-9. Walker coached his teams to North Carolina state championships in 1961 and 1966.
Walker lettered in football and baseball at Catawba.
He was predeceased by wife Ruby W. Walker. Survivors include three children, Ginger Garner of Charlotte, Clyde L. Walker Jr. of Charleston, W. Va., and Kimberly Weishar of Olathe, Kansas, and seven grandchildren.
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