The list includes Michelle Borgert Ihmels, who won six Metro Conference titles as a distance runner at U of L; Julie Guess Helmy, who won an unmatched 20 or more tennis matches in four seasons with the Cardinals; Dan Kopriva, who earned All-America honors in 1992 when he ranked third in the nation in hitting with a .488 batting average; Howard Schnellenberger, the second-winningest football coach in U of L history; Jamil Shalash, U of L's career leader in soccer goals and points; and Billy Thompson, starting forward on U of L's 1986 NCAA Championship team and the Cards' No. 11 all-time scorer.
The event will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. and the induction ceremony to follow. Tickets are $40 per person and may be obtained by calling U of L Athletics at (502) 852-2473.
The inductees will also be recognized at the Cardinals' Oct. 1 home football game against Florida Atlantic. Previously organized by the U of L Alumni Association, this is the third year that the Athletic Hall of Fame has come under the auspices of the Cardinals' athletic department with revamped criteria for inclusion.
"It's a treat to have the opportunity to honor an exceptional group of individuals who have each contributed so much to the tradition of Cardinal Athletics," said U of L Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. "It will be a special evening as we pay tribute to some outstanding people who have represented our university with great distinction."
Michelle Borgert Ihmels (1991-95) was the first-ever Cardinal woman to earn All-American honors, attaining that status in 1995. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Borgert Ihmels won six Metro Conference titles, including back-to-back individual cross country championships in 1992 and 1993. She added individual titles in the 3,000-meter run at the 1993 Metro Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships and won three individual conference titles in 1995, winning the 3,000-meter event in both indoor and outdoor seasons as well as the 10,000-meter outdoor championship. The 1995 Metro Conference Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year, Borgert Ihmels currently holds four individual school records at U of L and was also a member of four record-setting Cardinal relay performances. She was a second team Academic All-American selection in 1993-94 and 1994-95.
Playing primarily at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles, Julie Guess Helmy (1989-93) was one of the Cardinals' all-time best tennis players. She achieved 20 or more wins in four straight seasons -- the only Cardinal ever to accomplish that feat -- including a career best 31-6 mark as a senior. She paired with Stacy Resmondo at No. 1 doubles to produce a 26-9 mark and tie for the most doubles wins in school history. She is one of only eight Cardinals in the history of the program to be named to the All-Conference Team, an honor she earned three times (1991, 1992, 1993). A native of Louisville, she was selected to play in the ITA/Rolex Tournament.
As a senior in 1992, Dan Kopriva captained the U of L baseball team that was named the national batting champions with a combined .352 average. The third baseman, who was later drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 10th round, led all U of L sluggers and the nation with 125 hits while his .488 batting average and .914 slugging percentage were third in the nation. The 1992 Metro Conference Player of the Year, Kopriva also was among the national leaders in RBIs (83) and triples (10) and home runs (23). He was named as a Collegiate Baseball first team All-American, Baseball America second team All-American, American Baseball Coaches Assocation All-South Region and ABCA second team All-American. He holds the U of L single season records for runs (95), hits (125), and triples (10) and his two-year career .452 average in 1991-92 is best all-time at U of L.
Howard Schnellenberger guided the Cardinals in his 10 seasons at U of L (1985-94). His arrival at U of L just two years after guiding Miami (Fla.) to the 1983 national championship invigorated the Cardinals' football program. His 1990 unit was one of the most successful in U of L history, posting a 10-1-1 record that was capped off with a dominating 34-7 victory over Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl as the Cardinals earned a No. 12 final ranking (UPI). The Cards' 1993 team was an impressive 9-3 with victories over Arizona State, Texas and a season-ending 18-7 win over Michigan State in the Liberty Bowl. Schnellenberger was a catalyst in U of L's drive to build a new football stadium and Florida Atlantic, the team he currently serves as a head football coach, will be the Cardinals' opponent on Oct. 1 in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Jamil Shalash (1983-86) finished his soccer career as the Cardinals' all-time leading scorer, producing an impressive 47 goals and 106 career points. As a freshman in 1983, Shalash scored a team-leading nine goals as U of L posted its first winning soccer season in school history (12-5-2). He scored double-digit goals in each of his remaining three seasons, each ranking among the top ten all-time at U of L. His 15 goals as a senior still stands as the U of L record for most goals scored in a season. He earned a degree in business at U of L and now owns a construction company in Simpsonville.
One of the most complete players in U of L history, Billy Thompson (1982-86) was the scoring leader (14.9 points) on the Cards' 1986 NCAA Championship team, earning Final Four all-tournament honors. He is the only player to rank among the Cardinals' top ten in career scoring (11th, 1,685 points), rebounding (seventh, 930 rebounds) and assists (sixth, 459 assists). A native of Camden, N.J., he helped U of L to a combined 107-33 record and two NCAA Final Four appearances in four seasons. A two-time All Metro Conference selection, Thompson was a standout on the 1985 USA World University Games team, scoring 25 points in the championship game. He was a first-round NBA draft pick (19th overall) who played five years in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. He is currently a minister in Boca Raton, Fla.