Aug. 4, 2017
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On Friday, Vanderbilt announced its 10-member Vanderbilt Hall of Fame Class for 2017.
The 2017 Class is the seventh since the Hall of Fame was established in 2008. The 10 new inductees bring Vanderbilt’s Hall of Fame total to 66 honorees.
Candidates for the Hall of Fame are considered on the basis of three criteria: Commodore Great; Distinguished Letterwinners and Lifetime Achievement. Membership requires a unanimous vote by Vanderbilt’s senior athletic management team.
This year’s Hall of Fame Dinner will occur Friday, Sept. 8, 2017 at the Multipurpose Facility on campus. The dinners typically attract audiences in excess of 400.
To purchase tickets or a table, click here.
Earl Bennett (Football, 2005-07)
Earl Bennett arrived at Vanderbilt in 2005 and immediately became one of the greatest receivers to ever put on the Black & Gold. Bennett starred for three seasons on West End setting multiple school records before leaving as the school’s and Southeastern Conference’s all-time leading receiver. The Alabama native played five seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears before returning to Vanderbilt to earn his degree and is now working on a graduate degree at VU.
- Left Vanderbilt as the all-time leading receiver in receptions at VU and in the SEC, now ranks second all-time at VU and in the SEC
- Caught 236 passes for 2,852 yards and 20 TDs in three seasons with the Commodores.
- Only Commodore ever with three 200-yard receiving games
- Holds school and SEC record for TD catches in a single-game with ve against Kentucky in 2005
- Nine career 100-yard games
- Third-team All-American in 2006
- Third round pick in 2008 NFL Draft by Chicago
- Played five seasons with the Bears catching 185 passes for 2,277 yards and 12 TDs
- Returned to Vanderbilt to earn his degree in educational studies and is currently enrolled at VU pursuing a graduate degree in Learning, Diversity and Urban Studies
Ally Carey (Lacrosse, 2009-12)
Ally Carey is arguably the greatest lacrosse player in Vanderbilt history. As the program’s only three- time, first-team All-American, Carey holds multiple school records and dots the record book in nearly every category. She has donned the Red, White and Blue for Team USA numerous times, including this summer for the Women’s World Cup.
- Three-time, first-team All-American selection 2010-12
- Four-time, all-conference selection 2009-12
- School record holder in ground balls (166) and draw controls (263), including the single-season record for draw controls with 80
- 132 goals ranks sixth all-time at VU
- 69 assists are the third-most in school history
- One of just four Commodores to score at least 200 points (201)
- Led 2012 squad with 32 goals and 42 points
- Member of Team USA for 2017 Women’s World Cup
LEW CONNER (Men’s Golf, 1957-60)
Lew Conner holds two degrees from Vanderbilt and was a member of the varsity golf team from 1957-60. He is a noted philanthropist in middle Tennessee and has been instrumental in the Commodores’ golf programs success as a lead donor for numerous projects, including the Conner Short Game Practice Facility at the Dores’ home course, Vanderbilt Legends Club.
- Member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
- Won over 35 state, regional and local amateur golf tournaments
- Former Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Middle Tennessee and recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award and member of the Tennessee Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame
- Recipient of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s prestigious Hope Award
- Established the Judge and Ashley Conner Golf Scholarship
JOE DAVIS (Men’s Tennis, 1939-41)
Joe Davis was a legendary tennis player for the Commodores and the most accomplished Vanderbilt tennis player in history. His three consecutive Southeastern Conference singles titles are unmatched in school history. After graduation, Davis served in World War II as a member of the Navy, serving in amphibious missions in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy. He established the Joe C. Davis Foundation in 1976 before passing away in 1989.
- Won three straight SEC titles in singles 1939-41
- Established the Joe C. Davis Foundation in 1976, the foundation has contributed over $80 million to non-pro t organizations in the Nashville-area, including scholarship endowments at Vanderbilt, Montgomery Bell Academy and Harpeth Hall School
- Former Vanderbilt Board of Trust member
- Inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1976
- Also played basketball for the Commodores in 1941
- Graduate of Montgomery Bell Academy
NAKIA DAVIS (Women’s Golf, 1993-96)
Nakia Davis was the first-ever African-American to play women’s golf in the Southeastern Conference. She led the Commodores in six tournaments during her career, finishing as the top scorer five times during the 1992-93 season including the SEC Championships.
- First African-American women’s golfer in SEC
- Top finisher for Commodores in six tournaments over her career
- Top placed Commodore in Tennessee Tech/Vanderbilt Tournament, Memphis State Invitational, Beacon Woods Invitational, UNC-Wilmington Invitational, 1993 SEC Championship and Lady Kat Invitational
- Played professional golf for four years
- Two-time PGA Gulf States Section champ
MATT FREIJE (Men’s Basketball, 2000-04)
Matt Freije left Vanderbilt as the school’s all-time leading scorer and an All-American after scoring 1,891 points. He led the Commodores back to the Sweet 16 in 2004 marking the school’s first return to the Sweet 16 since 1993 and earning All-American honors and rst-team All-SEC status along the way. Following his four years at VU, Freije was the 53rd overall pick by the Miami Heat in the 2004 NBA Draft before playing professionally for 10 years.
- Vanderbilt’s all-time leading scorer upon his graduation in 2004 and now third all-time
2004 All-American and first-team All-SEC member after averaging 18.4 points per game
- Led VU back to Sweet 16 in 2004 with a 23-10 record
- Paced Vanderbilt in six categories during his senior season and led the team in scoring three straight years
- 53rd overall pick by Miami in 2004 NBA Draft
- Played for New Orleans and Atlanta in NBA career
- Played professional for 10 years in the NBA and internationally
JOSIE HAHN REYNOLDS (Track & Field, 2002-05)
Josie Hahn Reynolds remains one of the greatest all around track athletes in Vanderbilt history. She was a two-time All-American in the pentathlon, two-time All-American in the heptathlon and Southeastern Conference champion in 2004. One year later, she was named the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year. Hahn continues to hold school records in the high jump at six feet and the javelin at 147′ 2″. Her name is etched into the Vanderbilt track record book in the high jump, long jump, shot put, javelin, 60-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles and total points in the heptathlon. Upon graduation she held school records in five events.
- 2005 SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year
- Two-time All-American in the heptathlon
- Two-time All-American in the pentathlon
- 2004 SEC champion in the heptathlon
- School record holder in high jump (6’0″) and javelin (147′ 2″)
- Ranks in the top 10 in school history in seven different events
- First Vanderbilt student-athlete to earn a US Olympic Trials qualifying mark
- Held five school records upon graduation
TERESA LAWRENCE PHILLIPS (Women’s Basketball, 1978-80)
Teresa Lawrence Phillips was a trailblazer at Vanderbilt as the first female African-American student-athlete to play for the Commodores. She enjoyed a stellar career in the Black & Gold earning the first-ever Lady Commodore Athlete of the Year award along with the Nashville Civitan Sports- manship Award in 1979 and again in 1980. After an impressive playing career, Phillips has produced an even more impressive professional career in athletocs in numerous ways. She is the Director of Athletics at Tennessee State after a distinguished coaching career. She is the first woman ever to coach an NCAA Division I men’s basketball team and she coached the TSU Lady Tigers for 11 seasons before becoming the AD in 2002.
- First-ever female African-American student-athlete at Vanderbilt
- First recipient of Lady Commodore Athlete of the Year award
- Director of Athletics at Tennessee State
- First woman to coach an NCAA Division I men’s basketball team
- Named one of 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports by Sports Illustrated in 2003
- Tabbed as one of 10 Legends in Women’s Basket- ball in Tennessee in 2014 by The Tennessean
- Second-most Influential Woman in Sports in Tennessee according to The Tennessean
- Named USA Today National Coach of the Year in 1990 and three-time OVC Coach of the Year while coaching the Lady Tigers for 11 seasons
- Coached at Fisk University and served as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt from 1981-84
DON ORR (Football, 1954-56)
Don Orr owns a special place in Vanderbilt history leading the Commodores to the program’s rst-ever bowl appearance in the 1955 Gator Bowl. Orr starred as the squads starting quarterback and safety for an 8-3 VU team. After his playing days, Orr moved into private business as the controlling owner of the Nashville Machine Company but found his way back to football in 1970 when he began officiating NFL games. He officiated games for 25 seasons in the NFL working three Super Bowls (XVII, XXIV, XXVIII).
- Quarterback and safety for Vanderbilt’s first-ever bowl team in 1955 Gator Bowl
- Gator Bowl MVP after scoring three TDs
- Team captain as a senior in 1956
- Served as an NFL referee for 25 seasons
- Of ciated three Super Bowls (XVII, XXIV, XXVIII)
TOBY WILT (Football, 1963-65; Golf, 1966)
Toby Wilt entered Vanderbilt as a football player, left as a golfer and continues to be a major benefactor for the Commodores. He played three seasons on the gridiron for the Dores as a running back before trying out for the golf team as a senior and earning a spot on the squad. He established the Toby S. Wilt Scholarship first with the football program but now with the men’s golf team. The scholarship has been awarded to two of the greatest Vanderbilt golfers in history in PGA Tour FedEx Cup champ Brandt Snedeker and PGA Tour member Luke List. Wilt was a founder of one of Tennessee’s premier golf courses in the Golf Club of Tennessee and is the starter at the first hole at The Masters every spring.
- Played three seasons as a running back on Vanderbilt football team
- Earned spot on men’s golf team as a senior
- Established the Toby S. Wilt Athletic Scholarship
- Founder of Golf Club of Tennessee
- Inducted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame as a member of the 2017 class
- Starter at hole No. 1 at The Masters
- Won Pebble Beach National Pro-Am with former Commodore Brandt Snedeker
- Chairman of the Board of Christie Cookie Co.
- Helped establish the Class of 1966 Football Scholarship this past fall in honor his class’ 50th reunion