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Virginia Union champion hoops squads gets Hall of Fame nod

The 1980 NCAA National Championships Virginia Union University men’s basketball team and the 1983 VUU women’s basketball will be inducted into the VUU Athletics Hall of Fame

Courtesy of VA Union Athletics

The 1980 Virginia Union University men’s basketball team and the 1983 VUU women’s basketball team, both who brought the first NCAA National Championships in their respective sports, will be inducted into the VUU Athletics Hall of Fame along with Leroy G. Adams, Ronald M. Kelley, James F. Battle, Dr. Roland E. Moore, Gabriela Flores-Diaz and Ernesto R. Youngs, it was announced on Monday, June 26.

The 1980 men’s basketball team was coached by the legendary Dave Robbins and led by Larry Holmes, who scored 20.0 points and grabbed 10.3 rebounds per game.  The team finished 26-4 and defeated New York Tech 80-74 in the NCAA Championship Game.

The 1983 women’s women’s basketball team finished 27-2 on the season and was coached by VUU Hall of Famer Lou Hearn.  The Lady Panthers were led by Barvenia Wooten’s 17.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game while defeating Cal-Poly Pomona 73-60 in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament.

Leroy Adams played football for VUU from 1975-79.  As a senior, Adams was named All-CIAA as well as team captain in the 1979 season.  As a sophomore, VUU went 10-1 while only allowing 6.5 points per game.  As a senior, Adams led the Panthers to a 10-2 record while the defense was ranked #1 in the country.  He had nine interceptions en route to being named All-American.  In January 1980, Adams was selected to play in the Black College All-Star Game in New Orleans, La.  

Ronald M. Kelley was a member of the very first golf team fielded by Virginia Union University.  He led VUU to three straight CIAA Golf Championships during the 1960s.  He was the captain and #2 player on the 3-peat VUU teams preceding the Panthers’ 48-year championship drought that ended with the 2019 CIAA Golf Championship.  Kelley also served as Head Golf Coach in the late 1990s, taking his teams to post-season competitions in Atlanta and twice in Cleveland, Oh.

Virginia Union Hall of Fame VUU

James Battle, former athletic director of Virginia Union University, served the CIAA for 22 years. The Vietnam War veteran and Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient became the Panthers athletics director in 1985. Under Battle’s leadership, Virginia Union’s football program captured three CIAA titles while the men’s basketball programs won eight. During this time, the Panthers won four consecutive CIAA basketball crowns (1992-1995). The 1992 team outrivaled the competition and won the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship.  Battle was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame in 2015.

Dr. Roland Moore, a member of the Board of Trustees at Virginia Union University, is being inducted in appreciation of his support of VUU Athletics.  Under his leadership as President of the First Thursday Group, the Group has been responsible for the purchase of 50-100 season passes annually as well as the unceasing financial of the Band and University at large.  He received the award for being the most spirited VUU Supporter of Athletics at the 2022 Student-Athlete Awards Banquet.  Dr. Moore is an alumnus of VUU, having graduated from Virginia Union in 1969.  He can always be seen at almost every VUU athletic event.

Gabriela (Mokra) Flores-Diaz led the Virginia Union University volleyball team to its most successful run in the program’s history.  During her three years on the team, the Lady Panthers captured two CIAA Divisional titles and came within one point of winning the only CIAA title in program history.  Flores-Diaz was named All-CIAA in volleyball in 2005 and 2006.  In 2005 and 2006 she was third in the nation in Aces Per Game.  While at VUU she also excelled in tennis and track.

Ernesto Youngs played football for Virginia Union University from 1975 through 1979.  He was named All-CIAA in 1977, 1978 and 1979 at right tackle.  Youngs was named All-American by Jet Magazine in 1978 and 1979 while receiving Honorable Mention All-American Honors by the Associated Press in 1978 and 1979.  In 1979 he played in the Black College All-Star Game in New Orleans, La.

All of the inductees will be honored with a dinner at the Dr. Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 22.

Virginia Union champion hoops squads gets Hall of Fame nod
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