A Bright Shining Star
With the naming of former Dukes' swingman Sherman Dillard ('78) as its new head basketball coach in March, JMU welcomes home one of its
own. Lured away after three
seasons as coach at Indiana State University, the
41-year-old Dillard succeeds "Lefty" Driesell, who coached for the last nine
"This is one of the great moments in the history of JMU because a bright shining star has come home," says Don Lemish, JMU athletic director. "It was very emotional coming back," Dillard said at the press conference announcing his selection. "I cried on the plane on the way to the interview and on the way home."
In Dillard, Lemish says, JMU has found a coach with the right spirit and the right credentials, many of them earned right here at JMU. With 2,065 career points from his days under Lou Campanelli, Dillard remains JMU's second-leading scorer, one of JMU's most successful athletes and one of JMU's most successful athletics alumni.
"Sherman represents everything there is in the spirit of the 'JMU Way,'" Lemish says, "a magna cum laude graduate, a three-time Academic All-American, a heck of a good shooter, a member of the Athletics Hall of Fame, a sixth-round pick of the Indiana Pacers, a man with grace and class, an experienced high-quality coach, a man with the desire, work ethic and passion to lead the Dukes back to the NCAAs."
While at Indiana State, Dillard had begun to turn around a team that had produced only one winning season since Larry Byrd took it to the NCAA championship game in 1979. Previously, Dillard was an assistant under Driesell at Maryland from 1979-85, worked under his college coach, Lou Campanelli, at California from 1985-88, and assisted Bobby Cremins at Georgia Tech from 1988-94.
His record, however, began back at JMU in 1973, when he enrolled as part of the Dukes' second group of scholarship freshmen. He was a key performer on two NCAA Division II Tournament teams and during the JMU program's transition to Division I. He led JMU in scoring in each of his four seasons (he missed 1976-77 with a foot injury) and was the team's top rebounder as a freshman. He was a second-team All-American in 1975-76.
Moorman Bows to the Court
Shelia Moorman, the
most successful coach in the history of JMU women's basketball, resigned in March after 15 seasons. She will stay at JMU as facilities and events coordinator in the athletics department.
Moorman's JMU teams had a 302-134 record, and she led the Dukes to NCAA tournament play six times (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1996). She was named the Colonial Athletic Association Coach of the Decade (1985-95), and her 1996-97 squad was 19-9. Moorman notched victory No. 300 in the Dukes' 75-56 win at Richmond on Feb. 16.
The 1968 Brigham Young graduate had records of 6-18 and 13-15 in her first two JMU years before putting together 13 straight winning teams (eight times winning more than 20 games and never winning fewer than 16). The Dukes won four straight CAA titles from 1985-86 to 1988-89. JMU was 6-18 in each of the two seasons before Moorman's hiring.
Moorman's players at JMU had a 100 percent graduation rate, and she led the Dukes to two of the bigger upsets in the history of the NCAA women's basketball tournament. Her first NCAA team - in 1986 - won at regionally top-seeded Virginia, and the 1991 Dukes won at top-ranked Penn State.
The Dukes reached the NCAA tournament's "Sweet 16" in 1986, 1987 and 1988 and the tournament's round of 32 in 1989. JMU reached the "Sweet 16" again in 1991.
In addition to her CAA Coach of the Decade award, Moorman was the league's Coach of the Year five times (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991). She was the Virginia Division I Coach of the Year in 1986, 1988, 1989 and 1991 and the Mideast Region Coach of the Year in 1986.
Moorman was a member of the U.S. National Team in 1970, 1973 and 1974, an AAU All-American in 1971, 1973 and 1974, and a two-time member of a national runner-up AAU team. She was a member of the committee that chose coaching staffs for all U.S. competitions leading up to the 1996 Olympics, a three-term secretary of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, and a WBCA board of directors member from 1987-89.
Dukes Dominate CAA in Men's Swimming
For years now the JMU men's swimming and diving team has left the rest of the Colonial Athletic Association in its wake. The Dukes left no doubt about who rules the pools by claiming their sixth consecutive CAA crown in February. No other JMU program has been so dominant in CAA championship competition. This year's team came out for an encore by taking the program's fourth Eastern College Athletic Conference title in the past five seasons.
"We feel very fortunate that enough things went our way to come out on top with two of them (championships)," says fourth-year head coach Brooks Teal, who was named the CAA Coach of the Year in a vote by his peers. "The dramatic way that we did it at conference was a lot of fun. In talking with the guys, the one thing I want them to remember is how much fun it was and that we want to keep on doing it.
"It kind of surprised me how important the ECAC seemed to be to them after getting third last year," says Teal. "That was one of the team's major goals, to get the ECAC title back It wasn't easy because a lot of swimmers were not at full strength, we were competing at a championship level in back-to-back weeks and against a fresh team (second-place Maryland-Baltimore County)."
The Dukes tallied a meet-record 832 points and their victory margin of 245 points was the largest in the 12-year history of the CAA event. The old record for points was 766, set by the 1995-96 JMU squad that had just one first-place finish. This past winter, the talent depth rose to the top, as the Dukes had won four individual events and four of the five relay races.
Senior Ryan Frost was named the Outstanding Performer of the Meet and qualified for the NCAA Championships. He won the 100-yard and 200-yard breaststroke events and swam on all four victorious relay teams. . He became the fourth swimmer in CAA history to win an event four times when he won the 100-yard breaststroke in a JMU- and CAA-record time of 55.48 seconds. His time in the 200-yard breaststroke of 1:59.87 was also a JMU and CAA record.
Frost, who has suffered through shoulder problems for much of his career, won seven individual titles and shared in 11 relay crowns over the past four CAA championships. Only 1995 graduate Mark Gabriele has been decorated with more CAA first-place medals, earning eight individual and 14 relay titles to his credit. The sophomore duo of sprinter Adam Prem and distance freestyler Paul Oehling accounted for JMU's other individual champions. Prem took the meet's quickest race, the 50-yard freestyle in 20.89 seconds. Oehling broke the JMU record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:28.81. "Two years ago, the big question in everyone's mind was 'what in the world are we going to do without Gabriele and (Gian) Pozzolini?'" states Teal. "We saw sophomore Ryan Frost stepping forward, and now we've got Prem and Oehling winning events as sophomores and a lot of other sophomores and freshmen playing big roles," said Teal in a quick reference to the program's future.
"The relays are something that we have taken a lot of pride in and gotten excited about," Teal says. "It's a source of satisfaction to look back on last year and see how many relays we won."
Frost, Oehling, Prem and junior Steve Fleming teamed to take the 800-yard freestyle in a JMU-record time of 6:43.94. Prem, Fleming, Frost and sophomore Kyle Kunstel won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:22.66, setting school and CAA records in the process. The 400-yard freestyle relay also won in double-record fashion as Frost, Fleming, Prem and senior Brian Manning came in at 3:01.49. The Dukes won the 400-yard medley relay in 3:22.73 with a team of Frost, Manning, freshman Kevin Morley and sophomore Keith Wagner.
The Dukes went on to win all five relays at the ECAC championships. Frost took the 100-yard breaststroke in a JMU-record 55.29 seconds and won the 200 breaststroke as well. Prem won the 100-yard freestyle.
Editor's Note: In the NCAA National Championships March 27-29, Ryan Frost placed 25th in the 100-yard breaststroke in 55.84 seconds and placed 27th in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:02.51.
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