Chelsea Garfield (’06)

Michael McGettigan (’06)

Chris Naquin (’06)

Maureen Pfahler (’06)

John Snead (’06)

Jay Woodson (’04)

Competitive Genes

Sports legacies run, hit, score just like Mom and Dad

You’ve seen the famous NFL players on the Chunky Soup commercials hamming it up with their moms. Thrust a TV camera in a Major League Baseball players’ face and he says, “Hi Mom.” Most professional athletes’ first score, touchdown or home run is dedicated to dad. But, ask Laila Ali or Ken Griffey Jr. about their dad and you’ll get a different athletic perspective.

So do athletic skills come from nurture or nature? Some JMU coaches are asking the question this fall, since six of their athletes share more than Dukesterhood. They are also legacies.

Freshman Maureen Pfahler joined the field hockey team this fall with great credentials, not all of them athletic. Her father, Joe (’76), was a standout basketball player from 1972 to 1976 and is the all-time assist leader (420) in men’s basketball. Maureen attended Chancellor High School in Fredericksburg, where she was a two-time all-state honoree and the 2002 Virginia AA State Player of the Year. Pfahler currently works for Silver Companies in his hometown of Fredericksburg.

Another set of JMU genes is present on the field hockey squad: Chelsea Garfield, niece of Anne Bilgihan (’68), who played field hockey from 1964 to 1968. Bilgihan is an electronics engineer in the U.S. Army. Garfield, who attended Strafford High School in Fredericksburg, brings an impressive resume to the Dukes. She was named to the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star and Potomac News First-Teams and was voted her team’s Offensive Player of the Year as senior.

Some genes are just aces. Michael McGettigan and John Snead join the men’s tennis program as freshmen this year — each following in his father’s footsteps. John played tennis at J.R. Tucker High School in Richmond, while Michael played at L.C. Anderson in Austin, Texas.

John’s father, Mark Snead (’82), played tennis four years, was named team MVP his senior year, and is a national account manager for Xerox. Michael’s father, Tim McGettigan (’76), is a tennis pro in Austin. “It’s the first time we’ll have second-generation tennis players on our squad,” says head men’s coach Steve Secord.

Gridiron genes fair well on the links, too. As a junior this year, Jay Woodson (’04) was named captain of the men’s golf team. His father, Jim Woodson (’79), lettered in football in 1976, playing in 11 games and scoring a touchdown for a team that went 7-4. He is a teacher at Powhatan High School in Virginia, and he is also the head football and basketball coach.

Jay has excelled in his first two years as a member of the JMU golf squad. He was the only golfer on last year’s team to play in all 11 tournaments and had the lowest stroke average of 72.66. Over the summer, he won the Virginia State Amateur Championship, defeating Virginia Tech’s Ryan Stinnett 2 and 1 in match-play.

Chris Naquin, who joined the soccer team as a freshman this year, got a double-dose of Dukes’ sport genes. His father, Keith Naquin (’79), ran track and field for then head coach Ed Witt. He was a member of JMU’s record-setting 880-yard relay team and is now a teacher.

Maureen Ranney Naquin (’82), a homemaker and Chris’ mother, was a gymnast and competed for then coach Hayes Kruger. Chris, an MVP and three-time captain for his high school soccer team in Herndon, was also named to The Washington Post’s All-Metro team his senior year.

As the fall season unfolds, these six student-athletes will continue journeys that began years before they were born — journeys that will lead them straight into Dukedom.


Story by David Biancamano


Publisher: Montpelier Magazine For Information Contact: