McHenry, MD – Members of the 2018 class were welcomed into the Garrett College Athletic Hall of Fame at the third annual induction dinner held Saturday night in the Community Aquatic and Recreation Complex (CARC) gymnasium.
Surrounded by current members of the Athletic Hall of Fame, teammates, family, friends, and colleagues, five new members were officially inducted, including: Darryl Dupert, baseball (1987-89); Marcia DeBerry Knepp, women's basketball (1989-91); Lawrence Nesselrodt, baseball (1979-81) and coach (1985-93); Ernie Shotwell, baseball (1973-75); and Erica McBride Stewart, women's basketball and volleyball (1997-99).
Dr. Richard Midcap, GC's president, said induction ceremonies present not only the opportunity to honor exceptional athletes, but to acknowledge the profound impact such a ceremony has on the college.
"Induction ceremonies reveal the impact that Garrett College as a whole, and our athletic department in particular, have on the lives of people, including the chance to renew old acquaintances and make new connections," Midcap stated. "This is an opportunity to honor truly exceptional athletes, who are also truly exceptional people."
The late David K. Martin was honored with the Garrett College Lifetime Achievement Award.
A graduate of GC, he played both baseball and basketball from 1972- 1974. Martin was the assistant men's basketball coach from 1987 to 2007 and was a true mentor to his athletes, being especially supportive of those most in need of help.
Paul Mullan, the "voice of the Lakers", co-presented the award with Director of Athletics Dennis Gibson. Mullan shared that those who knew Dave, knew he was never the type to honor with a moment of silence.
"Dave Martin was a moment of song, a road trip of laughter, and a lifetime of celebration," Mullan said. "Dave is still our best friend and an inspiration we will never forget.
"By always having Dave a seat on the bench, we know that Dave is always with us," stated Mullan. "This brings a sense of comfort in that we are sharing the greatest achievements across the paths of life and heaven. In short, we are overcoming the greatest divides, like Lakers always do.
"He will always have a spot on our bench, and in our hearts – forever a Garrett Laker. On our darkest days, we all need a beacon and we have the brightest one," Mullan said.
Gibson recognized the many former teammates, friends and colleagues of Martin, who attended the ceremony as means to pay tribute and honor Dave.
"To know Dave was to love him. He was the guy that pulled so many of us together," said Gibson. "Dave had some great characteristics and he would do anything to help his players.
Garrett has lost one of the greatest supporters ever of this institution."
Fran Martin was very humbled to accept the award on behalf of her late husband, declaring that Garrett College was a part of her husband's life and source of true passion.
"Dave was definitely committed to Garrett College, the basketball program, and each and every athlete. It was one of his passions in life, and he loved all that he did," Martin said. "Honoring him with this award is just one more way to keep Dave with us."
Inductee Marcia DeBerry Knepp led a six-player women's basketball team to their first MDJUCO championship game. Highlights among her awards include first-team All-Region XX in 1999; second-team All-MDJUCO in 1991; MDJUCO All-Tournament Team in 1990 and 1991; and two-year leading scorer averaging 18.0 points per game.
"Marcia was the heart of the group. She was an extremely competitive player, the most competitive and as good of a player you will ever come across in women's basketball," said Gibson, co-presenter.
"She was a tough, dedicated player on a six-man roster," continued Gibson, "I could not have been luckier to have had Marcia as a player during that timeframe when we needed someone like her the most."
Dr. Midcap, co-presenter of Knepp's award, was not a bit surprised that Marcia was a critical factor in carrying the six-player team to victory.
"Even today I see the qualities in Marcia that we all recognize in people who are winners on and off the court. Someone who believes in working hard, pitching in and doing whatever is required and who is fully committed to the success of her team," noted Midcap.
"Garrett College remains fortunate to have Marcia here today still working hard, still pitching in and doing what needs to be done contributing to the success of Garrett College," he said of Knepp, who is executive assistant to the college president.
Lawrence Nesselrodt, inducted for a nine-year GC coaching reign that included a 31-win season that's tied for the second-best single-season win total in team history, played for Coach Phil Caruso while at GC.
"As coaches, there are lot of special players that come across your life, and Lawrence is definitely one of them," stated Caruso, also a member of the GC Hall of Fame. "He has been more than just a player to me, he's been a dear friend going on 40 years now."
Nesselrodt, who was the Lakers' shortstop and two-time Team Most Valuable Player at GC before returning to coach, was also inducted in the Davis & Elkins College Athletic Hall of Fame for his coaching success. To date, he has coached nine players that are in the Major Leagues, including one that made the All-Star team.
"Little did I know that the same intense competitive player that played for me would go on to continue rebuilding the Garrett program and take it to another level at the age of 23," Caruso said. "He continues to be a great coach with outstanding players."
Nesselrodt said it's been exciting to see all the great successes unfolding at Garrett College, as both a former coach and player.
"There are two types of people in baseball – those that are humble and those that are about be," Nesselrodt recited as one of his favorite quotes. "A moment like this is very humbling to me and is indeed a great honor.
"I'm very appreciative that Garrett College took a chance on me, and for granting me such an incredible opportunity," said Nesselrodt. "Over the years I've realized it's way beyond the wins and losses, it's the friendships that mean everything. Although I'm originally from Petersburg, W.Va., I feel like my home is here at Garrett College."
Nesselrodt had the honor of announcing inductee Darryl Dupert, one of his former players at GC.
"No doubt about it, Darryl was a special person who exemplified the best of qualities as a player, and was also an incredible individual," Nesselrodt stated.
Darryl's parents, Ralph and Linda Dupert, accepted the award on behalf of their son, along with providing his remarks.
"Coach Caruso and Nesselrodt taught me to be a better person and about life. Baseball will come and go, but the memories and friends I've made by playing baseball with will last a lifetime," read Ralph Dupert.
"I wanted to play ball and be the best ball player I could be. With the help of Coach Nesselrodt, I was fortunate enough to begin at Garrett College," continued Dupert.
Now a hitting instructor at Aiken (S.C.) High School, Darryl Dupert left both Garrett and USC-Aiken as each program's top home run hitter. He was a Second-Team All-Region XX selection in 1989.
Dr. Dennis Fearnow introduced inductee Ernie Shotwell, who was unable to attend the ceremony. Shotwell played baseball for Fearnow, another member of GC's Hall of Fame.
Shotwell pitched in Garrett's first victory in 1974, and was also the first pitcher to save a game at the college. His accolades also included Team MVP in 1974 and 1975, and All-Region XX in 1975.
"In his first two years, Ernie did more than or as much as anyone as an athlete to put Garrett baseball on the map," stated Fearnow. "He could go nine innings and clinched shut-out performances with arch rivals Allegany College of MD and Potomac State. At the time, Potomac State had the best hitting team."
Fearnow noted that Shotwell, despite his success, was one of those guys who was always in the background.
"He was one of those guys who had tremendous control and always kept the batter off balance. Ernie was a huge part in Garrett being selected to play in the [regional] tournament, being chosen among 30 other schools," said Fearnow.
Erica McBride Stewart was second-team all-Region XX in 1998 as well as a member of the Region XX All-Tournament team in women's volleyball in 1999. She was equally impressive in women's basketball, earning second-team all-Maryland JUCO honors in 1999 while participating in the Region XX All-Star Game in 1999.
"I really admire Erica for her dedication and determination to play both basketball and volleyball," stated Coach Gibson. "It's deeply moving for me that we recognize our female athletes and their accomplishments."
Both Gibson and Stacy Sines Wilt, Hall of Fame member of the 2015 inaugural class, reflected on how tough women's sports at the community college level were back then and how Stewart rose to the occasion demonstrated by her dedication in playing both sports.
"Erica was a leader and she did what she had to do on the court, "said Wilt. "She always gave us 110% no matter what."
Stewart credited her parents for pushing her hard and never missing a game, as well as the structure and support she received at GC.
"Garrett opened many, many doors for me," stated Stewart. "Playing two sports gave me the structure I needed, and my coaches pushed me. The support I received from Garrett allowed me to be successful when I transferred to University of New England in Portland to play volleyball."
Nominations for the 2019 Garrett College Athletics Hall of Fame are now being accepted, forms can be found here.