Hall of Fame Class Announced

Vanderbilt announces 14 Commodores who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in March

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director Candice Storey Lee today announced 14 new inductees into the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame. The new class includes 10 student-athletes, three athletic trainers and one alumna honored for lifetime achievement and contribution to American sporting culture.

Spanning more than a century of Vanderbilt Athletics, this year’s inductees represent the university’s best tradition of radical collaboration, setting a standard of excellence, transcending boundaries and lifting those around them to new heights.

  • Gonzales “AJ” Austin (men’s tennis)
  • Simone Charley (women’s soccer and track and field)
  • Joey Cora (baseball)
  • Phil Cox (men’s basketball)
  • Bowling Fitzgerald (athletic trainer)
  • Tom Galbierz (football)
  • Dennis Harrison (football)
  • Zuzana Klimešová (women’s basketball)
  • Lindsy McLean (athletic trainer)
  • Frank Mordica (football)
  • Sarah Riske (women’s tennis)
  • Dinah Shore (lifetime achievement)
  • Whit Taylor (football)
  • Joe Worden (athletic trainer)

The official induction ceremony will be March 1. The honorees will then be recognized at the Commodores’ men’s basketball game against LSU the following afternoon and at the women’s basketball contest Sunday versus Georgia. The additions will swell the Hall of Fame’s ranks to 96 all-time greats.

Individuals interested in attending this year’s Hall of Fame events can fill out the form by clicking HERE.

Gonzales “AJ” Austin (2011-15, men’s tennis)

Austin is one of the most decorated student-athletes in school history. A four-time All-SEC selection, including first-team honors in each of his final three seasons, he was Vanderbilt’s first four-time ITA All-American—earning singles and doubles honors in 2014 and 2015. In 2015, he was the second student-athlete in program history honored as SEC Player of the Year and was the ITA Ohio Valley Region Player of the Year. He was also a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree.

The son of a tennis coach, Austin was raised on the sport in Miami. At Vanderbilt he earned a school-record 107 singles victories over his four seasons. In 2014, his successful collaboration with Ryan Lipman established a season-record 30 doubles wins.

Austin qualified for the NCAA singles and doubles championships in each of his final two years and advanced as far as the round of 16 in singles and the quarterfinals alongside Lipman in doubles. He also helped Vanderbilt reach the Sweet 16 in the 2013 NCAA Championships.

Simone Charley (2013-17, soccer and track and field)

Honored as an SEC Women’s Legend, Charley was a two-sport star who represented Vanderbilt in NCAA championships in soccer and track and field.

In 2013, Charley earned SEC All-Freshman recognition after tying for the soccer team lead in assists. She then led the Commodores in goals and assists in each of the next two seasons, including as a junior when her leadership helped first-year coach Darren Ambrose establish a foundation for future SEC championships. In her final season, she helped guide the Commodores to the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament—their first tournament appearance in more than a decade.

Charley shifted to indoor track and field in the winter and outdoor in the spring. She was a five-time, first-team All-American in the triple jump—three times indoors and twice outdoors. In 2015, she won the bronze medal in the event at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, at the time Vanderbilt’s best finish since Ryan Tolbert’s individual national championship in 1997. She was also a three-time recipient of United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic honors.

She has played in the National Women’s Soccer League since 2019, most recently for Angel City FC.

Joey Cora (1982-85, baseball)

An All-Star and the first Vanderbilt baseball alumnus to play 1,000 games in Major League Baseball, Cora’s college career offered a glimpse of the VandyBoys’ future. By his sophomore season, Cora emerged as a third-team All-American and All-SEC and All-South Region selection. After earning MVP honors in the vaunted Cape Cod League in summer 1984, he repeated his collegiate conference and regional honors in 1985 and was a second-team All-American.

The San Diego Padres selected Cora in the first round of the 1985 MLB Draft. He reached the majors with the Padres two years later and enjoyed a distinguished 11-year career in the big leagues, batting .277 and amassing more than 1,000 hits. An All-Star in 1997 with the Seattle Mariners, he helped that franchise win two AL West titles in three seasons.

A standout student and athlete growing up in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Cora was still learning English when he arrived at Vanderbilt. He excelled as a math major and earned SEC First Team All-Academic honors in his final year. The gifted communicator has served in a variety of coaching roles in professional baseball, including as bench coach for the 2005 World Series champion Chicago White Sox. Most recently, he served as third base coach for the New York Mets.

Cora is a member of the Tennessee Sports and Cape Cod League Halls of Fame.

Phil Cox (1981-85, men’s basketball)

Head coach C.M. Newton’s first recruit at Vanderbilt, Cox piled up a then-record 1,724 points for the Commodores—even though the sharp-shooting Kentuckian didn’t have the benefit of the 3-point line.

Cox was honored as Kentucky’s “Mr. Basketball” as a senior at Cawood High School in Harlan County, where he averaged more than 30 points per game over his final two seasons. Arriving at Vanderbilt, he scored 30 points in his collegiate debut—a 76-75 overtime victory on the road against Duke under second-year head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Playing alongside future NBA draft selections Hutch Jones and Jeff Turner, Cox finished second on the team in scoring that season.

Cox was a first-team All-SEC honoree in 1982-83, when he was the leading scorer on a team that finished 19-14, and again in 1984-85. His 1,724 career points would remain the school record for nearly two decades, topped in 2004 by Matt Freije. Cox remains fourth in program history in career points.

Bowling Fitzgerald, athletic trainer (1904-58)

With a career that began at the turn of the 20th century and connections to the university that stretch into the 21st century, Fitzgerald’s story is forever intertwined with the university.

Fitzgerald arrived in 1904, the same year as legendary football coach Dan McGugin. And as McGugin transformed Southern football, Fitzgerald remained an indispensable and enduring figure in the growth. In an Atlanta Journal Constitution column written shortly after Fitzgerald’s death in 1958, Vanderbilt football alumnus Ralph McGill said generations of student-athletes viewed him as “trainer, philosopher and friend,” and that, “They went to him in trouble and they got help. They went to him for advice and it was always good.”

Fitzgerald spent more than 50 years at the university, working in facilities roles at Kissam Hall and the Medical Arts Building, in addition to his Athletics duties. Vice Chancellor Madison Sarratt, who worked closely with him at Kissam Hall, told the Alumnus at the time of his death that “Vanderbilt is a better university because Bowling lived and worked here. No man connected with the university had more influence on students than he did.”

A nephew, Melvin Fitzgerald, retired in 2013 after working 55 years in the Department of Biochemistry.

Tom Galbierz (1972-75, football)

A defensive lineman who was the heart and soul of a team that reached the 1974 Peach Bowl, Galbierz was one of the SEC’s toughest—and most prolific—tacklers.

After leading the team with 136 tackles as a sophomore in 1973, Galbierz was even more influential the next season. In 1974, he led the Commodores with 111 tackles and earned second-team All-SEC honors while leading a defense that held five opponents to 10 or fewer points.  Vanderbilt and Texas Tech played to a 6-6 tie in the Peach Bowl, still the stingiest showing by a Vanderbilt defense in any bowl game. A captain as a senior in 1975, he again led the team with 148 tackles—at the time the single-season record.

In the 50 years for which records of season leaders are available, Galbierz remains one of only three Vanderbilt players to lead the team in tackles for three consecutive seasons. He remains seventh in career tackles.

A Peabody graduate, he is co-founder and CEO of Retentus GSquared Medical, a medical equipment company.

Dennis Harrison (1974-77, football)

Before becoming a Pro Bowler and Super Bowl participant during his long NFL career, Harrison made a name for himself chasing down SEC quarterbacks and running backs.

Although he was only a freshman in 1974—playing under defensive assistant coach Bill Parcells—Harrison earned defensive MVP honors in that season’s Peach Bowl tie against Texas Tech. His star turn came when he blocked a fourth-quarter field goal that would’ve given the Red Raiders the lead. He kept making a difference for the Commodores, capped by recognition as a UPI first-team All-SEC honoree in 1977. He was also a two-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Invited to play in the Blue-Gray Classic and Hula Bowl all-star games, he was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 1978 NFL draft—the second-highest selection for any Commodore during the 1970s. Harrison played 10 NFL seasons and recorded double-digit sacks in three consecutive seasons with the Eagles from 1982-84. He played in Super Bowl XV in 1981 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1982. Two of his children were first-round selections in professional basketball, son David in the NBA and daughter Isabelle in the WNBA.

Zuzana Klimešová (1999-03, women’s basketball)

Born in what was then Czechoslovakia, Klimešová came to Vanderbilt a decade after her homeland’s Velvet Revolution marked the end of communist rule. A Czech Olympian, European champion and WNBA draftee, she found that the path to realizing her own newfound world of opportunities ran through Vanderbilt and the SEC.

Klimešová’s name is impossible to miss in the program record book. Nearly two decades after her final game, she’s still fourth in career rebounding (she led the team three seasons in a row) and fifth in scoring. She was a three-time All-SEC selection, including first-team honors in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, she also earned AP honorable mention All-America honors and was the MVP of the SEC Tournament after Vanderbilt’s run to that title. Always reliable in the clutch, she was named to NCAA Tournament All-Region teams in 2001 and 2002.

Klimešová was also impressive in the classroom, where she was an Academic All-American in each of her final two seasons and a three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Drafted by the WNBA’s Indiana Fever in 2002, Klimešová found her greatest post-college success at the international level. She helped the Czechs finish fifth in the 2004 Olympics, laying the groundwork for the team to win gold in the 2005 European Championship (she was also part of the team that won Euro silver in 2003).

Lindsy McLean (1956-60, athletic trainer)

A Nashville native who learned and grew at Vanderbilt, McLean, BA ’60, ultimately helped modernize a profession and played a part in one of the greatest dynasties in professional football.

An alumnus of Nashville’s Hillsboro High School, he spent his undergraduate years at Vanderbilt as a student-trainer learning from fellow Hall of Fame inductee Joe Worden. After graduating in 1960 and completing a physical therapy graduate program, he spent five years in California as head athletic trainer at UC Santa Barbara and later San Jose State, where he was also an assistant professor. McLean then spent 11 years at Michigan, during which time he was named the first chair of the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification and was instrumental in developing certification standards for the athletic training profession.

In 1979, McLean moved from the world of college athletics to the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. Arriving at almost the same time as legendary coach Bill Walsh, he was part of five Super Bowl winning teams during his 24 years with the franchise. At the time of his retirement in 2003, he joined Bill Belichick and Charles Haley as the only people in the league who had day-to-day involvement in five Super Bowl championships.

Earlier this year, he was one of three athletic trainers inducted into the Pro Football Athletic Trainers Society Hall of Fame. He remains an ardent Commodores fan and Nashville resident in retirement.

Frank Mordica (1976-79, football)

Honored posthumously as a football pioneer, Mordica was one of the greatest running backs in Vanderbilt history. And on Nov. 18, 1978, he authored a performance of such staggering dominance that it might have left even Grantland Rice at a loss for words.

Facing Air Force, which was then coached by former Vanderbilt assistant coach and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, Mordica rushed for 321 yards and five touchdowns. More stunningly, he needed just 22 carries to set an SEC single-game rushing record that was unequaled until 2007.

The Tallahassee, Florida, product was anything but a one-game wonder. He earned SEC All-Freshman honors in his debut season, then led the team in rushing as a sophomore. He paced the team on the ground again in 1978, but this time he piled up 1,065 rushing yards—becoming the first Commodore runner to top 1,000 yards in a season. He nearly got there again in 1979, even without the benefit of a single-game record along the way. He finished his Vanderbilt career with 2,632 rushing yards, a program record that stood for 33 years.

A two-time All-SEC selection, Mordica was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 1980 NFL draft. He returned to Vanderbilt to complete his Peabody degree in health and physical education in 1981 and subsequently served 30 years in the U.S. Navy.

Sarah Riske (2000-03, women’s tennis)

Vanderbilt’s first four-time All-American in women’s tennis and an important part of the program’s first national finalist team, Riske set a standard of excellence for all who followed.

Riske had already earned a championship legacy by the time she arrived in Nashville. At Peters Township High School in McMurray, Pennsylvania, she won singles state titles in 1998 and 1999. She also won the 1998 USTA Junior International Grass Court Championships.

At Vanderbilt, Riske was ranked as high as No. 12 in the country in doubles as a freshman. In 2001, she followed that debut with top 25 rankings in both singles and doubles as a sophomore, helping lead the Commodores to the national championship match for the first time. She also earned the opportunity to compete in the individual singles and doubles championships.

Riske completed her collegiate career with two of the program’s most prolific seasons. As a junior, she earned ITA All-America honors in singles and in doubles alongside partner Aleke Tsoubanos. She repeated both honors as a senior, again partnering with Tsoubanos. Riske and Tsoubanos reached the quarterfinals in back-to-back NCAA doubles championships. The Commodores compiled a 96-22 overall record during her career, reaching at least the Sweet 16 every year.

After pursuing her own professional career, she helped coach and mentor her younger sister, Allison, a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist who has ranked as high as the top 20 in the world.

Dinah Shore, lifetime achievement

Vanderbilt has established itself as one of the preeminent women’s golf programs of the 21st century, but thanks to LPGA Hall of Fame member Shore, BA ’38, the university’s strong connection with the women’s game goes back nearly 75 years.

Shore didn’t play golf at Vanderbilt; the first women’s team teed off almost 50 years after the sociology major and president of the Women’s Student Government Club graduated. But after establishing herself as one of entertainment’s biggest stars—a singer, actress and talk show host who won nine Emmys, a Peabody Award, Golden Globe and three separate stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—Shore emerged as a pioneering supporter of women’s golf.

In 1972, Shore and business executive David Foster founded an annual women’s golf tournament near Palm Springs, California, with the richest prize money in the sport. The event gained the status of an LPGA major in 1983, known for years simply as “the Dinah Shore.” Now officially called the Chevron Championship, it remains one of the LPGA’s five majors. Until her death in 1994, Shore personally presented the championship trophy, now called the Dinah Shore Trophy, to the winner. She was the first non-player inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame.

Whit Taylor (1979-82, football)

Although he went on to earn a lasting place in Vanderbilt lore as a quarterback, Taylor’s first action as a Commodore came on defense against an Auburn team with three future NFL Pro Bowlers in its backfield. One problem. Taylor hadn’t played defense in high school.

That game might not have been the highlight of Taylor’s stay in Nashville, but the effort, his only appearance in a redshirt season, highlighted a willingness to do anything to help the team.

That spirit endured after he returned to more familiar ground at quarterback under head coach George MacIntyre. He seized the starting job midway through his redshirt freshman season and never looked back.

As a junior, he earned second-team All-SEC honors and set a program single-game record with 464 passing yards against Tennessee. A year later, he topped even those heights. A first-team All-SEC selection in 1982, Taylor led Vanderbilt to an 8-3 regular season, capped by a 28-21 home win against the Vols. Even in defeat against Air Force in the Hall of Fame Bowl, he earned MVP honors with 452 passing yards, still the second-most yards in a game in program history.

After college, he went on to play three seasons in the USFL and won the inaugural Arena Bowl in his lone season in the Arena Football League.

Joe Worden, athletic trainer (1949-86)

Affectionately referred to as “Joe Bird” by many Vanderbilt athletes, Worden is remembered as one of the most respected and beloved staff members in the history of Vanderbilt Athletics.

A World War II veteran who served in Guam and the Marshall Islands, Worden arrived at Vanderbilt in 1949 as head athletic trainer. For the next 37 years, and even well beyond as a volunteer in retirement, he served generations of student-athletes.

The athletic training room in Memorial Gymnasium bears his name, and two highly regarded awards have been named in his honor. The Joe Worden Tennessee Athletic Trainers’ Society Clinical/Industrial Athletic Trainer Award is presented annually to an athletic trainer in the state. The Joe L. Worden Courage Award is presented by the Middle Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame at their annual banquet.

In 1984, Worden was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Hall of Fame. And in 2004, he was posthumously inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.