Continuing to expand in history, success and tradition, the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame has found its newest members.
Selected to further engrain themselves into the forefront and foundation of Virginia Tech athletics, seven former Hokies have been named the latest additions in what makes up the exclusive Class of 2022. Some come from the gridiron. Some from the track. And one from the pool. Regardless of the sport, the accomplishments still are immense.
So who makes up the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame 2022 class?
Composed of All-Americans, Olympians and Super Bowl champions, there are no shortages of achievements to go around. And when it’s all said and done, isn’t that exactly how it should be when determining who will get to hold up that coveted Hall of Fame plaque?
Sure, he may be a three-time Super Bowl champion and a two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year, but he’s also a record-breaking quarterback that suited up for the Hokies from 1971-1974.
Originally from Paterson, New Jersey, Arians graduated from Virginia Tech holding the school’s record for the most rushing touchdowns in a single season by a quarterback by tallying 11 scores on 243 yards. And although his playing career may have come to an end, his time in Blacksburg hadn’t quite yet come to a close.
The former standout signal-caller went on to spend three seasons as a graduate assistant for the maroon and orange under head coach Jimmy Sharpe from 1975-77. And after multiple stops as an assistant at the collegiate ranks, Arians went on to win two Super Bowls as an assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and eventually would get his third ring alongside Tom Brady as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their championship run during the 2020 season.
In addition to all those accolades, prior to retiring from the coaching ranks, the soon-to-be hall-of-famer and his wife, Christine, gifted Tech football a substantial and impactful financial commitment to the Virginia Tech Football Enhancement Fund, a part of the Reach for Excellence campaign.
In turn, the quarterback meeting room inside the Merryman Athletic Center is now titled the Bruce Arians Room, further cementing Arians’ forever impact on Virginia Tech football as time continues to go on.
Coming out of Maury High School in Norfolk, Va., Kam Chancellor wasn’t exactly supposed to be a star. Turns out, things may have taken a turn for the better.
Originally working out as a quarterback upon his arrival in Blacksburg, Chancellor eventually found his niche in Bud Foster’s secondary just in time for the 2006 season.
By the 2008 campaign, the former two-star recruit was flourishing as one of the nation’s best free safeties, recording 52 tackles - 27 solo, five pass breakups, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
In 2009, Chancellor was even more dominant, totaling 68 total tackles before eventually playing his way into being a fifth-round draft pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Even though the hard-hitting phenom won two ACC titles with Virginia Tech in 2007 and 2008, the best was yet to come.
After departing Blacksburg, Chancellor went on to be a key piece of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII championship winning team, adding four Pro Bowl appearances and two All-Pro selections to top off his career resume before retiring in back in 2018.
Known as being one of the most essential building blocks associated with the rise of Virginia Tech football under legendary head coach Frank Bearmer, longtime strength and conditioning coach Mike Gentry is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
A 2010 inductee of the USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Fame, Gentry oversaw the Tech weight room for 29 seasons from 1987-2015, and is regarded as one of the best in the business after being named the 2005 Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly.
Gentry’s impact didn’t stop there. He left the Hokies as the school’s Associate Director of Athletics for Athletic Performance, overseeing the strength and conditioning of all varsity sports in addition to working directly with sports nutrition.
The highly-regarded coach actually returned to college athletics for a brief year and a half at Division II Emory and Henry, but has since left that post after the conclusion of this past academic year.
One of two former members of the Tech track and field team to join the Hall of Fame class, Dorotea Habazin is set to be inducted after starring for the maroon and orange inside Rector Fieldhouse from 2008-2011.
The Croatia native left her mark on the program after being crowned the hammer throw national champion at the 2011 NCAA Championships, becoming just the second woman in Virginia Tech history to win an individual national title.
That’s not all. Habazin preceded the event by winning four ACC titles, three in hammer throw and one in the weight throw category. Not too shabby before eventually leaving the Hokies as a three-time All-American after breaking multiple records at both the school and conference level.
As someone who had done something rather unheard of during her time at Virginia Tech, a recognition like this appears both well-deserved, and long overdue.
One of the cornerstones of Virginia Tech football as the program made its ascension into the ACC is getting an invitation into the Hall of Fame.
When linebacker Vince Hall stepped foot on campus back in 2003, the Hokies were a proud program preparing to bolt from the Big East to move up into the Power Five ranks.
When he stepped foot off, he left as a two-time ACC champion, a three-time All-ACC honoree and a Dudley Award winner, recognizing the top college football player in the Commonwealth.
It’s no secret that the Chesapeake native left his own imprint on the Virginia Tech program - literally. The man never missed a snap.
After redshirting in his first season with the program, Hall went on to start in a school-record 44 consecutive games that spanned across his final four seasons with the team. Three of those seasons he eclipsed over 100 tackles, accomplishing that feat in 2005, 2006 and 2007, respectively.
After going undrafted in the 2008 NFL Draft, Hall extended his playing career a few more seasons with both the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills practice squads up through 2009.
He then finished out his football days with both the indoor football league’s Richmond Raiders and Richmond Revolution, where he teamed up once again with former Tech quarterback Bryan Randall.
Another track and field star at Virginia Tech from 2008-2012, Marcell Lomnický achieved a lot of history during his time in Blacksburg.
The Hokies’ lone three-time olympian? Check.
Just the school’s third participant in any event to win multiple national championships? Yep!
And how about two national titles? Yes, he did that as well, both coming in the weight throw category.
According to Virginia Tech Athletics, the Slovakia native has appeared in three Olympics, five World Championships and five European Championships. Here’s another jaw-dropper, Lomnický also became just the first Hokie to appear in three Olympic games with his appearance in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, also according to Tech Athletics. No wonder he’ll be receiving a plaque of his own.
For good measure, Lomnický also finished his college career as a six-time All-American and with five ACC titles. Just a resume-booster for the now-professional weight thrower.
Speaking of six, let’s round out the 2022 Hall of Fame class with six-time ACC champion, six-time All-American Honorable Mention and three-time All-ACC swimmer Sara Smith.
Smith excelled in the 50 meter freestyle, 100 meter freestyle and 200 meter freestyle relay during her time in Blacksburg, all of which she broke school records in.
While starring as a member of the swimming and diving team from 2005-2009, the McGaheysville, Va. native was named the 2008 ACC Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
And according to Tech Athletics, when Smith eventually left the program upon graduation in 2009, she left Blacksburg as the fastest female swimmer in both Virginia Tech and ACC history after her preliminarily round performance in her final season putting on the goggles.