The University of North Georgia (UNG) Department of Athletics will induct five alumni into the Athletics Hall of Fame at a luncheon on Saturday, Feb. 7. The honorees include Jason Elkins ('02), Courtney Hester Dwyer ('02), Irina Watkins ('06), Jimmy Williams ('89) and Beth Willis Burke ('05).
"The annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony is one of our most anticipated events of the year," UNG Athletic Director Lindsay Reeves said. "Our fifth annual class brings great honor and pride to the university with their distinguished achievements, and we are pleased to be able to recognize these five former student-athletes who have contributed so greatly to the lasting legacy of UNG Athletics."
The induction ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Dining Hall banquet room on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. Tickets can be purchased for $45 per person, or a table of eight for $500, by phone at 706-864-3212, or online at ungalumni.org/HOF.
The ceremony will be followed by a Peach Belt Conference (PBC) basketball doubleheader against the University of Montevallo at 1:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall Gymnasium. The 2015 class of the UNG Athletics Hall of Fame and the 17 previous inductees will be recognized at halftime of the women's game.
Elkins led the university's baseball program to success in the early 2000s, and he was named a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American in 2002. He holds numerous school records, including single-season saves (17), career saves (40), game appearances (95), season ERA (1.32), and career ERA (1.58). Elkins lives in Cumming, Georgia, and works as a voice actor.
Dwyer was a three-time All-American in women's basketball and twice was named a Kodak All-American. She was named All-Conference three times, including Freshman of the Year in 2000. Dwyer is a member of the 1,000-point club and holds the university record for career scoring average (23.4 points per game). She is a special education teacher and cross country coach at Johnson High School in Gainesville, Georgia.
Watkins is the only person in PBC history to earn a championship at two different university - UNG and Kennesaw State University. She was a two-time NAIA Region XIII cross country champion and represented the university at the 2004 NAIA National Championship. She has a master's degree in sports psychology and is working on a doctorate.
Williams led the men's basketball team to four consecutive postseason conference tournaments from 1986 to 1989 and scored 561 points his senior season. He averaged in the double digits in points and rebounds (called a double-double in basketball) throughout his four-year career. He is the assistant principal and head boy's basketball coach at East Laurens High School in Dublin, Georgia.
Willis Burke was named to the NAIA All-American second team in 2004 and 2005 and is a three-time All-Conference and All-Region NAIA selection. She was voted Pitcher of the Year in 2004 and 2005 and holds school records for combined shutouts (20) and single-season opponent batting average record (.139). She is a lead business analyst at Connecture, Inc.
The UNG Athletics Hall of Fame honors individuals who have earned outstanding athletic achievements or made substantial contributions to the university. A nine-member Board of Directors is responsible for operations of the Athletics Hall of Fame and serves as selectors for all honorees, based upon nominations.
Single-game tickets for the Hall of Fame basketball doubleheader against Montevallo are available the day of the game at the main entrance to Memorial Hall Gymnasium. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children, and free to all UNG students, faculty and staff with valid UNG ID.