A group of six former University of Delaware Athletics standouts who represent 10 different Blue Hens sports and whose prestigious careers include emergency room physician, veterinarian, engineering professor, athletics administrator, teacher, and coach, make up the newest induction class of the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame.
The 21st induction class will be honored in an invitation-only ceremony and reception for family and friends next Friday, Sept. 29, at the Bob Carpenter Center. The honorees will also be recognized at halftime of the Delaware vs. James Madison University football game at Delaware Stadium the following afternoon, Sept. 30.
The Class of 2017 features representatives from every decade since the 1940s and the sports of football, baseball, field hockey, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s indoor track & field, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, and rowing. Four of the inductees are Delaware natives and five of them still reside in the area.
The six-person class includes the first-ever rower named to the UD Athletics Hall of Fame in Dr. Jenni Buckley; record-setting football wide receiver Courtney Batts; All-American cross country and track distance runner and former U.S. Field Hockey team member Dr. Sandy Gibney; standout baseball player and current Blue Hen associate baseball head coach Dan Hammer; longtime UD swimmer, coach, and director of athletics Edgar N. Johnson; and NCAA qualifying swimmer Dr. Art Mayer.
Below are biographies of the Class of 2017:
(Men’s Swimming & Diving, 1962-66; Men’s Cross Country Head Coach, 1971-79; Women’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach, 1979-84; Men’s Swimming & Diving Head Coach, 1981-84; Director of Athletics & Recreation Services, 1984-2009)
Over a span of five decades, as a standout swimmer, multiple-sport coach, and Director of Athletics, few individuals have devoted as much time and talent to Delaware Athletics than Edgar Johnson.
A native of Wilmington, Del., Johnson was a record-breaking swimmer in 10 events and two-time captain who earned UD degrees in 1967 (physical education & health education) and 1970 (master’s in guidance and counseling).
He joined UD Athletics in 1969 and served in a variety of roles, including assistant swimming & diving coach, assistant athletic trainer, assistant track & field coach, instructor in physical education, associate professor, and head coach for the men’s cross country and men’s and women’s swimming teams. His women’s swimming teams won an incredible 42 straight dual meets and placed ninth at the 1981 AIAW national championships.
As athletics director he enjoyed a distinguished 25-year career in which he led the Blue Hens program to new heights, directing UD from the East Coast Conference to the America East Conference and to its current home in the Colonial Athletic Association. Delaware captured 10 consecutive America East Commissioner’s Cup Awards, won 83 conference titles, and appeared in 32 NCAA Championships during his tenure. He was inducted into the UD Wall of Fame in 2011 and received the prestigious James Lynah Service Award for contributions to college athletics by the Eastern College Athletic Conference in 2014.
The Edgar Johnson Award, which is presented each year to the UD senior male letterwinner who best exemplifies the characteristics of hard work, dedication, fairness, and striving for excellence, is named in his honor.
He and his wife, Karen, a 1972 UD graduate, reside in Newark, Del. They have a son, Chris (Delaware ’95), who played football for the Blue Hens under Tubby Raymond, and a daughter, Sarah (Delaware ’98, ’08). They have three grandchildren.
DR. ART MAYER, V.M.D.
(Men’s Swimming & Diving, 1949-53)
One of the most accomplished swimmers in UD history, Dr. Art Mayer was a record-breaking conference champion for the Blue Hens in 1949-53.
A native of Newark, Del., Dr. Mayer didn’t begin the sport until he arrived at UD but quickly flourished in the pool, setting three freshman records and never stopping. For his career, he set 10 school and 13 pool records at one time or another and captured four Middle Atlantic Conference individual titles.
He won the MAC freshman 300-yard medley title in 1950, the MAC 150-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke titles in 1952, and took first place in the 300 medley relay and second place in the 200 backstroke at the 1953 MAC meet.
As a senior co-captain for head coach and UD Athletics Hall of Famer Harry Rawstrom, he became the first UD swimmer to compete at the NCAA Championships, participating in the 200 backstroke and 150 individual medley at Ohio State.
A 1953 agriculture graduate of Delaware and a 1957 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (veterinary medicine), he was a well-respected veterinarian for over 50 years in Newark, Del.,
Dr. Mayer co-founded the UD Master’s Swim Program in 1975, participated in the Delaware Senior Olympics, and was a national and world-record holder during a career that spanned three decades. He was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in 2013.
He has four children, two of them UD graduates, 12 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. His uncle, the late Winnie Mayer, was a member of the inaugural UD Athletics Hall of Fame class in 1997.
DR. JENNI BUCKLEY
The first-ever rower to be inducted into the UD Athletics Hall of Fame, Dr. Jenni Buckley joined the squad during its second year of existence and was an immediate standout on the water for the Blue Hens.
A native of Wilmington, Del., she was a member of the novice heavyweight eights boat in 2000 and led a crew that captured first place in every event it competed in during the spring, including the top finish at the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta where she helped lead the overall team to a runner-up finish for head coach Amanda Kukla.
As a senior in 2001, she was named the team’s UD Alumni Association Team Most Valuable Player as a member of the lightweight varsity eights crew that won the Dad Vail title and helped the team capture the overall regatta crown from among 150 schools.
An outstanding student in mechanical engineering, she recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA and earned her degree from UD in 2001. She later earned her master’s (2004) and doctorate (2006) degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Buckley has served as an associate professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware since 2011 and was presented the Trabant Award for Women’s Equity at UD in 2016. She teaches a range of courses as part of the undergraduate curriculum and conducts research in biomechanics as well as engineering education, focusing particularly on issues of equity and inclusion.
She lives in Newark, Del. with her partner, Dr. Amy Trauth, also a professor at UD, and their two children, Galen and Addy, who are aspiring Blue Hens.
(Football, 1994-97; Baseball, 1995; Football Graduate Assistant Coach, 1998-99)
In the proud tradition of University of Delaware football, few players can match the pass receiving exploits of Courtney Batts.
A native of Philadelphia, Pa. (Penn Charter School), Batts consistently shredded opposing defenses with his sure hands and blazing speed and finished his career with a host of pass receiving records.
A 1998 physical education Delaware graduate, he played wide receiver for Hall of Fame head coach Tubby Raymond and led the Blue Hens to an impressive four-year mark of 38-11-1 that included three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, most notably a trip to the national semifinals in 1997 when the team went 12-2.
A four-year starter, he never missed a game and along the way set 10 school records, including receptions in a season (60) and career (179), pass receiving yards in a career (3,522), and career touchdown receptions (27).
He was a two-time All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection and was named the UD Outstanding Senior Male Athlete of the Year in 1998. He also played one season of baseball and led the Blue Hens to an America East title and NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995 as a second baseman.
Batts, who served as a graduate assistant coach with the UD football program in 1998-99, is now in his 18th year working in the education field and currently serves as an algebra teacher in the Baltimore City School System. He resides in the Baltimore area with his wife, DanYelle, son, Courtney, and daughter, Morgan.
DR. SANDY GIBNEY, M.D.
(Field Hockey, 1979; Cross Country, 1980-82; Indoor Track & Field, 1979-80; Outdoor Track & Field, 1980-82)
Whether it was running an open course, competing on the track, or playing with a stick in hand, Dr. Sandy Gibney excelled in everything she tried during an impressive career at Delaware.
An eight-time letterwinner, Dr. Gibney was a member of the U.S. National Field Hockey team and played one season at UD for head coach Mary Ann Hitchens, leading the squad to a 10-4-2 mark in 1979. She then made the full-time switch to running and never looked back, becoming one of the all-time great distance runners in school history. She competed twice at the national cross country championships, earning All-American honors with a 16th place finish in 1981.
A native of Wilmington, Del., she also excelled for the outdoor track & field squad for three seasons, competing in the 5,000 meters at the 1980 national championships. Gibney set nine outdoor records during her career, including UD standards in the 800m, 3,000m, 5,000m, two-mile, and three-mile events.
A 1983 (physical education and health sciences) and 1986 graduate (master’s in physiology) of UD, Dr. Gibney earned her medical degree in 1994 from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. She currently serves as Associate Chairman of Emergency Services and Liaison Trauma Director at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington.
She and her husband, Rick Schuder, himself a former UD track & field runner in 1977-79, reside in the Wilmington area.
(Baseball, 1993-96; Baseball Assistant Coach, 1997-2005; Baseball Associate Head Coach , 2006-Present)
As an outstanding player and well-respected coach, Dan Hammer has played an integral part in the success of Delaware baseball for nearly three decades.
A native of Newark, Del., Hammer was a standout infielder for the Blue Hens in 1993-96 for Hall of Fame head coach Bob Hannah and led the squad to a record of 158-60, two conference titles, and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1995 and 1996. He served as co-captain for the two NCAA teams, was named All-Region in 1994, was twice named All-North Atlantic Conference, selected team MVP in 1996, and was a member of the NCAA Regional All-Tournament team in 1996.
A 1996 UD graduate (engineering technology and technical management), Hammer finished his illustrious playing career with 26 home runs, a .360 batting average, and a .536 on-base percentage and ranked among the all-time UD Top 10 in games played (203), at-bats (717), runs (217), hits (258), doubles (62), total bases (412), and walks (144).
He joined the Blue Hens coaching staff in 1997 and was promoted to associate head coach for head coach and UD Athletics Hall of Famer Jim Sherman in 2006. During his coaching tenure, he has led the Blue Hens to 17 winning seasons, five conference titles, and NCAA appearances in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2017.
In all, 37 Blue Hens players have gone on to play at the professional level during his time at UD, with several of those players reaching the Major Leagues.
Hammer and his wife, Jenni, reside in Elkton, Md. with their son, Luke, and daughter, Katy. Jenni is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in educational leadership at Delaware.
The above press release courtesy of the University of Delaware