Two Olympic gold medalists, ACC Athletes of the Year from three different sports, a legendary coach and athletics administrator and the most iconic team in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament highlight the 2018 class of the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame.
The six-member class is the fifth overall since the establishment of the Hall of Fame in 2012 and will be inducted at a gala in Reynolds Coliseum on.
“The committee has selected another tremendous class that personifies the spirit and excellence of NC State Athletics,” said Director of Athletics Debbie Yow. “We look forward to honoring and celebrating the legacy and achievements of this remarkable class in 2018.”
Rodney Monroe, the stone-faced shooter known as “Ice’’ when he played for coaches Jim Valvano and Les Robinson, broke David Thompson’s career scoring record during his Wolfpack career, which spanned from 1988 to 1991. The two-time All-American tallied 2,551 career points and ranks second in program history with 885 field goals made.
The 1991 ACC Player of the Year, Monroe led the ACC in scoring, ranking seventh nationally, with 27 points per game as a senior. He scored 48 points in a comeback victory over Georgia Tech that season, the fourth-best single-game performance in school history. He was also a two-time All-ACC performer, a two-time All-ACC Tournament choice and was named an All-American by seven different outlets following his senior campaign.
One of the most quintessential names in the history of women’s distance running, Joan Benoit (Samuelson) was a cross country All-American for the Wolfpack in 1977 and ‘78, long before she became the first female to win an Olympic gold medal in the marathon in 1984. Benoit led the NC State squads that won ACC Cross Country titles in 1977 and 1978.
She would go on to win the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983, set an American Olympic record and an American record in the marathon that both stood for over a decade, and world records in the marathon and half marathon. Benoit won the 1985 Sullivan Award as the top U.S. amateur athlete.
A four-time Olympic medalist, Cullen Jones won the 2006 NCAA title in the 50 freestyle and was named that year’s ACC Swimmer of the Year and ACC Meet MVP. He has set NC State, ACC and American records in the 50 free during his career and still holds a world record as a member of the 100-meter freestyle relay.
Jones, who learned to swim after he almost drowned at the age of five, won a gold medal in the 4x100 meter relay at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, then brought home three medals from London in 2012: gold in the 4 x 100-meter medley relay and silver in the 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay and the 50-meter freestyle. He is the first African-American to hold a world record (4×100 meter freestyle relay) in swimming.
Tim Clark is one of just four players in school history to earn All-America notice three times, as he was tabbed by the Golf Coaches Association in 1996, ‘97 and ‘98. The only player in school history to win two NCAA Regional titles, he ranks third in school history in victories and second in single-stroke average. He won the 1997 U.S. Amateur Public Links to quality for the 1998 Masters Tournament during his Wolfpack career.
Clark joined the PGA Tour in 2002 and has two tour victories, four international victories and is a three-time President’s Cup competitor. The winner of The Players Championship in 2010 and the RBC Canadian Open in 2014, he has also recorded top three finishes at The Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
In a career that spanned 40 years, Willis Casey served as NC State’s swimming and diving head coach from 1946-69 and was the athletics director from 1969-86. As head coach, he led the Wolfpack to 11 conference titles, a dual meet record of 189-23, and coached 15 national champions. As director of athletics, he hired some of the most legendary coaches in collegiate history to work for the Wolfpack, including Lou Holtz, Kay Yow, Jim Valvano, Richard Sykes, Rollie Geiger, Bo Rein, Dick Sheridan, Don Easterling, Bob Guzzo and Ray Tanner.
Casey was responsible for the inauguration and subsequent expansion of women’s sports at NC State and was the powerful chair of the NCAA Committee on Men’s Basketball, helping shepherd several important rules changes during the 1970s, including the expansion of the NCAA Tournament to more than one team per conference, freshman eligibility and the return of the slam dunk.
That slam dunk rule and one of the coaches he hired ended up making what is arguably the most memorable play in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The 1983 Wolfpack, known as the “Cardiac Pack,” stunned the nation with a victory over highly-favored Houston in Albuquerque, N.M. Lorenzo Charles’ slam dunk at the buzzer and Valvano’s running up and down the court after the win, looking for someone to hug, have become iconic symbols of the NCAA Final Four.
The ‘83 squad entered the ACC Tournament with 10 losses, but won the league’s automatic NCAA bid with wins over Wake Forest, North Carolina and Ralph Sampson’s Virginia team. “Destiny’s Darlings” entered March Madness as a six seed, but knocked down Pepperdine, UNLV, Utah and the Cavaliers again to win the West Region.
Playing at “The Pit” in Albuquerque, NC State defeated Georgia in the semifinals for the chance to play Houston’s Phi Slama Jama in the finals. The game was close throughout, but with two seconds left on the clock, Lorenzo Charles slammed home the game’s decisive basket for a 54-52 victory.
NC State Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2018
Inductee , Sport , Years
1983 Men’s Basketball Team, 1983
Joan Benoit (Samuelson), Women’s Cross Country, 1977-78
Willis Casey, DIrector of Athletics/Swimming & Diving Head Coach, 1969-86
Tim Clark, Men’s Golf, 1996-98
Cullen Jones, Men’s Swimming, 2003-06
Rodney Monroe, Men’s Basketball, 1988-91