Feb. 24, 2009
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern University will induct five former student-athletes and one honorary member into its Athletic Hall of Fame this Friday (Feb. 27). The Hall of Fame's 25th class also will be honored at halftime of the Northwestern-Iowa men's basketball game on Saturday. The induction ceremony and dinner take place at 6 p.m. at the Allen Center on Northwestern's Evanston campus.
The Athletic Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 1984 to honor former athletes, coaches and administrators who have helped establish a proud tradition in intercollegiate competition at Northwestern. Individuals are eligible for Hall of Fame recognition beginning five years after their final competition at NU.
Earning induction into NU's prestigious Hall this year: Chinazo Opia Cunningham (softball), Steve Herdoiza (men's tennis), Chris Hinton (football), Ndidi Opia Massay (softball), Erica Westrich Scullion (women's soccer) and honorary inductee Charles "Rick" Taylor (former director of athletics). Chinazo and Ndidi are sisters who starred on NU's softball teams in the late 1980s and 1990.
This year's six inductees increase Northwestern's Hall of Fame membership to 136. Following are brief summaries of the inductees' careers with their years of athletic participation (in parentheses):
Chinazo Opia Cunningham, Softball (1987-90) -- Chinazo Opia Cunningham helped lead Northwestern to its fourth-consecutive Big Ten championship in 1987 as the conference's Freshman of the Year. She led the team that season with a 0.38 ERA in the circle, a number that still ranks as the second-best total in NU single-season history and the third-best mark in Big Ten history. She was a first-team All-Big Ten and a second-team NFCA All-Region pick in 1987.
Cunningham went on to pick up All-Big Ten accolades in all four of her collegiate seasons, earning second-team nods in 1988, '89 and '90. In 1990, she was the Big Ten batting champion with an average of .348. In the circle, she concluded her career with a 1.19 ERA to rank fifth in NU history while also leaving Northwestern as the school's record holder for on-base percentage with a .374 mark.
In the classroom, Cunningham excelled as a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time CoSIDA Academic All-America selection. She was named a first-team Academic All-American in 1990.
Cunningham earned a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) before completing her residency at UCSF and NYU. She now is a member of the faculty at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y. She also received her master's degree in clinical research methods from the Einstein College of Medicine in 2008. She is married to Everett Cunningham, a Northwestern alumnus and former NU baseball player. They have three children.
Steve Herdoiza, Men's Tennis (1988-91) -- Steve Herdoiza was a four-year letterwinner, compiling a 118-49 career record. In 1989, Herdoiza was the Big Ten singles champion and a year later helped the Wildcats win their first Big Ten team title in 27 years.
A teammate of Todd Martin on Northwestern's 1990 Big Ten championship team, Herdoiza earned All-America honors for his play. During the 1990 season, Herdoiza ended the year ranked fourth in the Region IV singles and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships, defeating the defending national champion along the way. He ended his career a four-time All-Big Ten selection and earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1989 and 1990.
In 1988, Herdoiza was crowned the Region IV champion and the following year played No. 1 singles ahead of Martin. In 1991, serving as an assistant under former head coach Paul Torricelli, he was awarded the Vandy Christie Award for his outstanding loyalty and dedication to Northwestern tennis.
As a player, Herdoiza is second and fourth (twice) on NU's single-season wins list, amassing 34 wins in 1988-89 and 33 in 1987-88 and 1989-90. His 1988-89 mark of 34-7 (.829) ranks as the second-best single-season winning percentage in NU history. He has the third highest career winning percentage (.707) as a singles player and is atop the career victories list with 118.
After graduating from Northwestern, Herdoiza went on to play on the professional tour for 4 1/2 years, achieving a world ranking in the 200's in 1995. During his collegiate and professional career, Herdoiza defeated eight former NCAA champions. A wrist injury in 1996 ended his career.
Herdoiza, who now devotes his time to teaching and coaching tennis, is married. He and his wife, Nicole, have two children.
Chris Hinton, Football (1979-82) -- A four-year letterwinner, Chris Hinton is one of the best offensive linemen to put on a Wildcat uniform. His best year was his senior season, when he earned first-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten recognition. As a team co-captain that year, he also was chosen as the team's Most Valuable Player, the Thomas Airth Spirit Award winner and the "N" Club Performance Award recipient. He played in multiple all-star games, including the East-West Shrine Game and the Blue-Gray Classic.
Hinton's stellar collegiate career at Northwestern led to his selection as the fourth overall pick in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. His No. 4 draft position is the highest spot a Northwestern football player has gone in the NFL Draft. Hinton's NFL career spanned 13 years, playing for the Colts, Falcons and Vikings, while earning six Pro Bowl appearances with the Colts and one with the Falcons. A five-time All-Pro selection, Hinton was the first player since the Colts' move to Indianapolis to be inducted into the franchise's Ring of Honor.
In 2000, he was inducted into the Blue-Gray Classic's Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors past participants who have distinguished themselves in football and made exceptional contributions to the Blue-Gray Association and society.
Hinton was featured recently in Sports Illustrated for his wine industry entrepreneurship. He is married to Mya Whitmore, a Northwestern alumna and former NU women's basketball player. They have two children.
Ndidi Opia Massay, Softball (1986-89) -- Ndidi Opia Massay finished her celebrated career atop Northwestern softball's list of hits and stolen bases. At the time of her graduation, she had accumulated 188 hits, 29 stolen bases and a career batting average of .299, second in Northwestern history at a time when pitchers dominated the sport and sub-1.00 ERA's were fairly common.
Massay was a four-time All-Big Ten selection and a two-time first-team honoree. She was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year in 1986, helping lead the Wildcats to their third-consecutive Women's College World Series appearance. The two-time all-region pick finished her time as a Wildcat with her best season. She led the Big Ten with a .386 batting average, 32 hits and 11 RBI. Later named to the Big Ten's All-Decade team (1980s) and the all-time All-Big Ten team, she also paced the 'Cats in batting average, runs scored, hits and stolen bases in '89. Her 52 hits that year were two short of NU's then single-season record.
Massay went on to earn a law degree at Notre Dame, and currently is director of ESPN RISE, ESPN's high school initiative. She is a national figure in sports and entertainment law and marketing, having served on boards and panels for such things as gender equity in the NCAA and the Sports Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). She resides in New York with her husband, Marc, and their two sons.
Erica Westrich Scullion, Women's Soccer (1996-99) -- Erica Westrich Scullion is the only player in Northwestern soccer history to garner Big Ten Player of the Year (1998) and Big Ten Freshman of the Year (1996) honors. She also picked up Soccer Buzz third-team All-America honors in 1998, a year in which the Wildcats posted the best record in school history (16-5-1 overall and 6-3 in the Big Ten), en route to a third-round NCAA Tournament appearance. Northwestern also made a postseason appearance in 1996, her freshman campaign.
The midfielder was a four-time All-Big Ten selection, earning first-team honors in 1996, '97 and '98. Scullion also was a two-time NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region honoree (1996 and '98). Her 21 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in 1996 ranks as the fourth-best single-season total in the program's 15-year history, the best by any midfielder. She concluded her career with 14 goals and 11 assists (seventh all-time).
Scullion, who was married to her husband, Brian, on Jan. 24, 2009, is the first soccer player to be inducted into NU's Athletic Hall of Fame. She has worked in the corporate environment as a tax consultant and pharmaceutical sales representative, as well as with DePaul University's women's soccer program as an assistant coach (2007-08).
Charles "Rick" Taylor, NU Director of Athletics (1994-2003) -- Serving Northwestern and the department of athletics for nearly a decade as its director, Rick Taylor provided impressive leadership and sharp vision while overseeing an unprecedented overhaul of athletic facilities. In short, his guidance is one of the main reasons for the unprecedented athletic and academic success the Wildcats are currently enjoying.
The long list of new facilities that were spearheaded by Taylor began with the renovation of Ryan Field. As part of the Campaign for Athletic Excellence, a full-scale multipurpose indoor practice facility, Trienens Hall, was constructed. In addition, the Leonard B. Thomas Lakeside Complex (home for field hockey and soccer), the Combe Indoor Tennis Center and the Gleacher Golf Center were constructed, and a new practice facility for basketball and volleyball was added to Welsh-Ryan Arena. He also led the planning for the new Anderson Hall, which was completed in 2005.
Taylor also excelled in hiring talented coaches to lead the varsity programs during his tenure. Claire Pollard (women's tennis), Kelly Amonte Hiller (women's lacrosse), Kate Drohan (softball), Tim Lenahan (men's soccer) and Randy Walker (football) all were brought to Evanston under Taylor's watch. Sixteen of the 19 varsity sport programs participated in postseason competition during his tenure.
His leadership skills displayed during his stay in Evanston were just as impressive. He provided a steady hand during the historical Rose Bowl season as well as the tragic untimely deaths of student-athletes and others close to the program.
"The entire campus benefited from Rick's vision and leadership," said Northwestern President Henry Bienen.