5 new members officially inducted into Red Hawk Athletics Hall of Fame

5 new members officially inducted into Red Hawk Athletics Hall of Fame

HICKORY, N.C. — Catawba Valley Community College officially welcomed five new members into its Red Hawk Athletics Hall of Fame during its second induction ceremony held at the Workforce Solutions Complex.

Former Catawba Valley athletic standouts Travis Bland (men's golf), Bryson Bowman (baseball) and ShaNiya Lester (women's basketball) and former Red Hawks head coaches Tommy Edwards (women's basketball) and Shannon Hudson (volleyball) all officially took their place in the Red Hawk Athletics Hall of Fame during the ceremony.

Tim Peeler, the former Director of the Learning Assistance Center for 30 years, also accepted the inaugural Red Hawk Spirit of Service Award at the event.

The ceremony kicked off with a special performance by CVCC baseball alumnus and rising country music star Bryce Hensley and dinner from Olive Garden served by current Red Hawk athletes.

Following the opening festivities, each of the five inductees were honored for their careers and presented with a trophy and medal before sharing a bit of their Red Hawk story and its impact on them with all those in attendance.

A two-time golf All-American at CVCC, Bland spoke about his relationship with fellow Red Hawk Hall of Fame Charlie Bock, who coached him during his time at Catawba Valley Community College.

"I'd like to think I was a good competitor. I'd compete over anything and everything. I think Charlie was a good facilitator of that," Bland said. "He helped me grow with that. He taught me a little bit about golf, but a lot about how to play golf. I wouldn't have been able to do this without him. It's kind of funny to say I'm in the Hall of Fame for something, but it really is important, and it really means a lot to me."

Bowman, who was the first Red Hawk baseball player to ever be selected in the MLB Draft, reflected on how his journey at CVCC started and the memories he made with his teammates and coaches in the baseball program.

"My senior year (of high school) I didn't know where I was going to go or where I was going to play or what I was going to do," Bowman said. "(Former CVCC head baseball coach) Frank Pait came up to me, called me, and we met at Pancho Villa (restaurant) in Granite Falls. We talked about baseball and the program. I was sold from that spot. I called him that day and made my commitment for two years at Catawba Valley. I had a chance to leave here after one year, but I told coach Pait and my teammates that I had bonded with that I was going to stay here for two years. It was the best decision I ever made. I would not go back and leave after one year after all the friendships I made and championships we won."

Lisa Walker, the daughter of Tommy Edwards, accepted Edwards' honor on his behalf and read a letter written by the longtime area coach. Edwards talked about his relationships with his former high school coach Charlie Bock, former CVCC athletic director and Hall of Famer Jeff Moore, his assistant coach and current CVCC head women's basketball coach Tisha England and a longtime volunteer assistant Wayne Simanovich.

"My stay at CVCC was only for five years, but those five years were both rewarding and memorable, and the relationships that were made during my tenure will always mean the most to me," Walker said reading Edwards' speech. "I cannot take full credit for the success of the ladies basketball program for those five years without any of all of those people who supported me throughout the years. Our seasons were pretty darn good. I am very honored and humbled to be a part of the Catawba Valley Community College Hall of Fame."

Hudson, who coached the Red Hawk volleyball program from 2009 to 2019, talked about the success of her program and emphasized the value of the relationships and positive culture of the program.

"The wins and successes we had as a program were great, and we had a lot of fun competing, but what I am most thankful for are the relationships built and the memories made along the way," Hudson said. "I'll forever by grateful to everyone here at Red Hawk Nation for the privilege of being a part of something so special."

Lester, who is the only 1,000-point scorer in men's and women's basketball history at CVCC, thanked her head coach Tisha England and also reflected on what defined her time at CVCC.

"I want to thank coach England for bringing me in and pushing me to reach the goals that I set for myself, and (North Mecklenburg head) coach (Jennifer) Baker for pushing me in high school. I needed that a lot," Lester said. "My favorite memory about CVCC — I think every day and running that mile. It pushed me to a different level. It made me want to be stronger and it made want to keep pushing. It built up my mental."

Peeler accepted the inaugural Red Hawk Spirit of Service Award, and he thanked those who helped him with the Learning Assistance Center, including Jerry Sain, Nina Babb and England, in making sure that student athletes were on the right track for academic success.

"We had a lot of kids that came here (to CVCC) completely prepared. We had some come here that were completely unprepared," Peeler said. "Some made it and some didn't, but what they all had in common was that they were worthy of our time, our consideration, and our trust as they were going out into the community to be good citizens and go out to do well and represent Red Hawk Nation."

The CVCC Foundation Board and Staff, along with Red Hawk Athletics, would like to thank Supreme Maintenance Organization (SMO), Keeping facilities clean and healthy since 1989, for being the presenting sponsor for the Red Hawk Athletics Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

"SMO greatly appreciates our partnership with CVCC and when we discovered an opportunity to support the Red Hawks Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, we could not hesitate," said Gary Collins, Chief Operating Officer of Supreme Maintenance Organization. " What a great way to recognize and honor Red Hawk athletics with such a special event.  Congratulations to all the inductees and Mr Peeler. They all set excellent examples for the current and future Red Hawks."

CVCC Foundation Board Chair Kelly Farr kicked off the program by expressing gratitude to the inductees for their leadership and legacy.

"This evening is dedicated to honoring the accomplishments of these amazing athletes and coaches and their contributions to the athletics programs at CVCC," Farr said. "Tonight, each one of you will be recognized for your accomplishments as a student athlete, but we also want to thank you for being a leader and mentor to all of our student athletes. You have set the bar high, and you push all of us to strive to do great things, not only on the court or field, but in the classroom and our community," said Farr. "As the second class to be inducted into the Red Hawk Athletics Hall of Fame, you are part of a select group that is building the foundation for continued greatness in our athletic program. Your legacy will be forever enshrined in the history of CVCC athletics. The CVCC Foundation Board and I can't thank you enough for "you being you.'"

Farr also shared the college's commitment to continuing the strong athletics program at CVCC and to working with legislators to lift restrictions on funding so CVCC can continue to provide opportunities for student athletes to achieve their goals on the court or field, in the classroom, and in their chosen career.

Catawba Valley Community College Foundation would also like to thank the following for their support of the event and the Red Hawk Athletics program: Catawba Insurance Agency (VIP Sponsor), Cargo Integrated Logistics (Grand Slam Sponsor), Dr. Dianne Little, Olive Garden, Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of Hickory & Teeter Family and CVCC President Dr. Garrett Hinshaw.

For more information about the CVCC Foundation or to make a donation to the Red Hawk Athletic Fund, please contact Jennifer Jones, Executive Director of the CVCC Foundation, Inc., at 828-327-7000, ext. 4288 or email jjones55@cvcc.edu. You can also visit www.cvcc.edu/about_us/cvcc_foundation.