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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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