The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame held its 47th annual Induction Banquet Thursday night at Jungle Island and welcomed 10 new members to the fold.
Football stars Rusty Medearis, Winston Moss, Kevin Patrick, Sean Taylor, and Jonathan Vilma made up half of the 2015 class. Baseball’s Alex Fernandez, Kym Hope of women’s basketball, diver Chris Mantilla, track & field’s Lauryn Williams and football coach Rob Chudzinski also received the honor.
“It’s a great accomplishment, especially being here today with all these other great athletes,” Hope said. “It just exemplifies all the hard work that we all have put in together, so it’s definitely a great feeling.”
With the latest additions to the Hall of Fame, there are now 292 members. Dozens of prior inductees came out for the festivities, including pro football hall of famers Ted Hendricks and Cortez Kennedy, and head track & field coach Amy Deem.
The class of 2015 spans over 20 years of Hurricane athletics, going from Moss, who played from 1983-1986, to Williams, who was a Hurricane from 2001-04.
“I was looking up some of the other athletes that I didn’t know that I didn’t go to school with and I was just amazed,” Williams said. “We have such a great history of sports at the University of Miami. I think sometimes it goes unnoticed, but this is a good opportunity to recognize those [people] and recognize our whole sports history.”
Taylor was inducted posthumously, after tragically passing away in 2007, and was represented by his father, Pedro “Pete” Taylor, who delivered a moving speech and received three standing ovations from the large crowd.
“I had seen Sean play all the way back to his Killian, Gulliver days and then come to Miami and perform the way he did and then go to the NFL,” Vilma said of his former teammate. “He was such an amazing talent, such a competitor that I almost feel like I’m not adequate, I just don’t fit. So, going with Sean has been great and I really do appreciate it and I appreciate UM acknowledging me, especially this time, with Sean.”
In addition to honoring new members, the Hall of Fame also handed out a pair of awards. Tight end Standish Dobard was given the 22nd annual Walter Kichefski Endowed Scholarship and Coral Gables Interim Police Chief Edward Hudak won the President’s Distinguished Service Award.