CHARLESTON, S.C. – Famed author Pat Conroy and longtime Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. lead a list of six individuals who make up The Citadel Athletic Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014.
Also entering the Hall is football player Mike Davitt ’71, baseball pitchers Rodney Hancock ’00 and Hank Kraft ’92, and wrestler Dan “Buddy” Thompson ’06. Conroy and Riley will be enshrined as honorary members.
The six will be inducted during a banquet on Friday, Nov. 14, at the Holliday Alumni Center on campus.
This year’s induction class increases the membership of the Hall of Fame to 178 individuals. The Hall, which originated in 1977, is located in the lobby of McAlister Field House on campus.
Pat Conroy ’67 (Honorary)
Perhaps the most famous former athlete in The Citadel’s storied history, Conroy was a member of the Mel Thompson-coached basketball teams from 1965-67 and was voted the team most valuable player his senior year when he averaged 11.8 points per game. One of America’s most renowned authors, Conroy served as The Citadel’s 2001 commencement speaker and received an honorary degree. While still a Cadet, he wrote and then published his first book, The Boo, which was a tribute to his beloved mentor, Col. Thomas N. Courvoisie. Other books include The Water is Wide (1972), The Great Santini (1976), The Lords of Discipline (1980), The Prince of Tides (1986), Beach Music (1995), My Losing Season (2002), South of Broad (2009) and The Death of Santini (2013) among others. In 2013, Conroy was named editor-at-large of Story River Books, a newly-created fiction division of the University of South Carolina Press.
Mike Davitt ’71 (Football)
A four-position performer for Coach Red Parker, Davitt played guard, center, tackle and end and earned first-team All-Southern Conference and All-South Carolina honors while being named second-team All-America by the Associated Press and honorable mention All-America by United Press International in 1971. A three-year letter winner who served as a team captain, Davitt was honored with an Outstanding Achievement Award by then-president Gen. James Duckett. Named in 1971 to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, Davitt earned a spot on the Brigadier Club’s All-Decade Team for the 1970s. Against rival VMI in 1969, Davitt caught 12 passes, three for touchdowns, and was the runner-up for national player of the week honors. He was an offensive lineman on the 1971 team that went 8-3 and whose offense was ranked fifth nationally with more than 450 yards per game. With Davitt leading the way, the ’71 offensive line was nicknamed the “Seven Cylinders.”
Rodney Hancock ’00 (Baseball)
A third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball after his junior season in 1999, Hancock was the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year in 1997 when he also earned Freshman All-America honors from Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Coached by Fred Jordan, he was a member of the 1999 regular-season championship team in addition to two SoCon Tournament championship squads (1998-99) that also participated in a pair of NCAA Regionals. The 1999 SoCon Tournament’s most valuable player and two-time SoCon and College Baseball player of the week, Hancock fired a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts against Furman on May 14 of that year as the Bulldogs triumphed, 24-0. Five days later, he fanned 20 against the Paladins in the SoCon Tournament. Hancock was selected in the 29th round (872nd overall pick) by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hank Kraft ’92 (Baseball)
The closer for The Citadel’s 1990 World Series team, Kraft remains the college’s leader in career saves with 29 while making 87 appearances. Playing for coaches Chal Port and Fred Jordan, he led the team in appearances and saves in 1990, ’91 and ’92. A two-time Southern Conference pitcher of the week, Kraft was the winning pitcher when the Bulldogs defeated Cal State-Fullerton in the College World Series in Omaha. In that game, Kraft threw 2.2 innings, surrendered two hits and struck out three. He played on teams that captured the 1990 and ’91 Southern Conference championship along with the 1990 league tournament and Atlantic Regional as the Bulldogs defeated the University of Miami at Mark Light Field to advance to the World Series.
Joseph P. Riley, Jr. ’64 (Honorary)
The longest-serving mayor in Charleston history (10 four-year terms), Riley, through his visionary leadership, has led Charleston to become the No. 1 destination city in the world. Fostering tremendous relationships between The Citadel and City of Charleston, Riley was the driving force for the construction of Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, home of The Citadel baseball team that has hosted many Southern Conference Tournaments. He also supported The Citadel’s formal relationship with the US Army National Guard to create the tower at Johnson Hagood Stadium while re-incorporating an Armory on the peninsula area. His support of Citadel athletics as a graduate and mayor has been consistent, and he possesses vivid memories of great Citadel teams and players from years gone by and current players and teams.
Dan “Buddy” Thompson ’06 (Wrestling)
Thompson upset opponents seeded seventh, ninth and 10th to become The Citadel’s first wrestling All-American, placing seventh in the 165-pound bracket at the 2006 NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City. Thompson was the 2004 Southern Conference champion at 157 pounds with a record of 25-10 and was also the league titlist at 165 in 2006, earning all-conference honors both years while helping lead the Bulldogs to the 2004 SoCon team championship. A four-time placer at the league tournament, he was a team captain who earned The Citadel’s Most Outstanding Wrestler Award in 2003. A four-year letter winner, Thompson served as an assistant coach at The Citadel in 2008-09.