Five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Katie Ledecky, former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and three intercollegiate athletic standouts from the University of Maryland spearhead a group of distinguished athletes, coaches and members of the media who have been selected for induction into the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame. The nine honorees will be inducted in a special ceremony on Sunday, July 9 at Nationals Park prior to the 1:35 p.m. game between the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.
I am thrilled to be joining such a distinguished group of individuals being inducted into the DC Sports Hall of Fame. I have enormous respect for each of them. I was born in Washington, D.C., and have lived my entire life in the area, so this type of recognition in my home community is very meaningful to me.
The 2017 class is comprised of Bethesda native and two-time Olympian Ledecky, 17-year NFL Commissioner Tagliabue, Maryland men’s basketball stars Juan Dixon and Tom McMillen and current women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese, retired sportscaster Glenn Harris, popular broadcaster and former Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser, heralded Washington Redskins defensive back and kick returner Mike Nelms and long-time Washington Capitals radio play-by-play announcer Ron Weber.
“This year’s inductees have clearly earned their places in joining the list of luminaries who have represented the Nation’s Capital region so admirably through their excellence and accomplishments in sports,” said DC Sports Hall of Fame committee chairman Bobby Goldwater. “We look forward to honoring them on July 9 at the induction ceremony at Nationals Park and the committee is grateful once again for the generous and enthusiastic support of Mark Lerner and the Washington Nationals.”
The DC Sports Hall of Fame selection committee includes co-chairmen emeritus and veteran D.C. sports executives Charlie Brotman and Andy Ockershausen, former radio and TV reporter/producer Brenda J. Curtis-Heiken, journalist David Elfin, Georgetown University Sports Industry Management master’s program adjunct professor and sports industry consultant Bobby Goldwater, Comcast SportsNet anchor/commentator Chick Hernandez, attorney Phil Hochberg, Washington Nationals vice chairman and principal owner Mark D. Lerner, Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism Director at the University of Maryland George Solomon, attorney Mark Tuohey, radio and television personality and former Washington Redskins tight end Rick “Doc” Walker, baseball commentator and historian Phil Wood and former Comcast SportsNet managing editor and Merrill College visiting professor Joe Yasharoff.
Nominees for inclusion must have gained prominence in the Washington area through their achievements in sports as an athlete, coach, owner, executive, member of the media or contributor.
The 2017 inductees:
JUAN DIXON: A Baltimore native, Dixon led the University of Maryland men’s basketball team to its only NCAA national championship in 2002 and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Dixon was drafted 17th overall by the Washington Wizards, played seven years in the NBA and recently spent three years as a special assistant on the Maryland men’s basketball team coaching staff. He is currently the head coach of the University of the District of Columbia women’s basketball team.
BRENDA FRESE: The head coach of the University of Maryland women’s basketball team since 2002-03, Frese has guided the team to 13 winning seasons, 12 March Madness trips, three Final Four appearances and the 2006 NCAA national championship. Earlier this month, Frese led the Terps to a third straight Big Ten conference tournament title in her 18th campaign as head coach. Going into the NCAA tournament, she has a career head coaching record of 461-110, including 401 victories at Maryland.
GLENN HARRIS: A gregarious sportscaster who recently retired after spending 22 years as the host of “Sportstalk” on NewsChannel 8 and known for his extensive knowledge of DC sports history, Harris also had local television stints at WRC and WTTG and radio shows at WHUR and WOL. Harris graduated from Howard University.
TONY KORNHEISER: Kornheiser was a long-time newspaper writer and columnist, most notably for The Washington Post, following years at Newsday and The New York Times. He has hosted “The Tony Kornheiser Show,” beginning in 1992 on radio stations in the DC area and, more recently, in the form of a podcast. Kornheiser also co-hosts “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN along with DC Sports Hall of Fame inductee and former Post colleague Michael Wilbon.
KATIE LEDECKY: A graduate of Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart who trained at the Nation’s Capital Swim Club, Ledecky is a two-time Olympian and five-time Olympic gold medalist. She became one of just four American women to win four gold medals at a single Olympics with victories in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events and the 800m free relay at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she memorably bested her own world records in the 400m and 800m and added a silver medal in the 400m free relay. She was named the 2016 U.S. Olympic Committee Female Athlete of the Olympic Games at a ceremony held at Georgetown University last September. After the Olympics, she began her career at Stanford University, where she helped lead Stanford to the 2017 NCAA championship and won titles in five events in the NCAA championships. She currently holds three world and six American records.
TOM McMILLEN: McMillen played for the University of Maryland men’s basketball team early in Lefty Driesell’s tenure as head coach and was a member of the 1972 United States Olympic basketball team. He was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Buffalo Braves, and later played for the Washington Bullets. After retiring, McMillen, a Rhodes Scholar, represented Maryland’s 4th district in the U.S. Congress for six years. He is currently the president and CEO of the LEAD1 Association, a group for Division I athletic directors dedicated to the improvement of college athletes on the playing field and in the classroom.
MIKE NELMS: Nelms played five seasons as a defensive back and kick returner for the Washington Redskins, including the 1983 Super Bowl XVII championship team. A member of the NFL’s 1980’s All-Decade Team, he was named three times to the Pro Bowl and was named one of the 70 greatest Redskins players.
PAUL TAGLIABUE: Tagliabue served as Commissioner of the NFL from 1989-2006. He attended Georgetown University, where he was the captain of the 1961-62 basketball team, was a Rhodes Scholar finalist and a Dean’s List graduate. He later served a three-year term as chairman of Georgetown’s board of directors. He is currently serving as senior counselor for the law firm, Covington & Burling, in Washington.
RON WEBER: Known as the voice of the Washington Capitals, Weber is perhaps best known for his streak of calling the team’s first 1,936 games from 1974 to 1997. Weber also covered NBA, MLB and NCAA games as well as the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. He was the recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, given to outstanding hockey radio and television broadcasters, in 2010 from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The names of DC Sports Hall of Fame inductees are prominently displayed at Nationals Park, the site of the annual induction ceremony. Information about the DC Sports Hall of Fame, including the honor roll of all inductees, is available at the organization’s website, dcsportshall.com.
Press release courtesy of USA Swimming and Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame