On Thurs., Oct. 4, Belmont Athletics inducted its 2007 Hall of Fame class in an event held in the Maddox Grand Atrium of the Curb Event Center. New Hall of Fame members Al Allen (’96), Jaymie Moore Rankhorn (’98) and Daree Pilkinton Merritt (’91) along with Chaney Award honoree Patrick Russo were all on hand for the ceremony.
Assistant Athletic Director Betty Wiseman said, “This was one of the most memorable Hall of Fame Banquets that I can remember because of the special people we honored and their genuine and heartfelt gratitude expressed for the honor bestowed upon them. We were all reminded of our rich history and heritage in Belmont Athletics.”
Allen was one of the most imposing and productive interior players in Belmont men’s basketball history. Despite playing just three seasons, Allen is one of only eight players in program history to score over 2,000 career points (2,030). Belmont went an astounding 95-20 during Allen’s career, including 37-2 in 1994-95. That season, Allen was named Second Team NAIA All-American and TCAC Co-Player of the Year as Belmont earned its first-ever No. 1 national ranking and a trip to the NAIA Final Four. His career field goal percentage of .669 is the highest in Bruin history, a mark that will likely stand the test of time.
Rankhorn will go down as one of the greatest volleyball players in Belmont history. An explosive yet versatile performer, Moore Rankhorn ranks first all-time in kills (1,622), hitting percentage (.325), aces (229) and digs (1,222). Her single season marks–562 kills in 1995 and .421 hitting percentage in 1994–have not been threatened since. Behind Moore Rankhorn’s play, Belmont won the TCAC regular season and tournament titles in 1995 before transitioning into NCAA Division-I play.
Daree Pilkinton Merritt (’91) was a four-time All-TCAC selection in women’s basketball. A multi-faceted player, Pilkinton Merritt’s name floods the Belmont record book. She ranks first in career steals (404), second in career assists (574) and third in career three-point field goals (222). Pilkinton Merritt also set the single season standard for steals with 135 in 1990. Moreover, she is one of just five Bruins ever to score over 1,500 career points, ranking fifth all-time (1,645). Belmont went 105-26 over her four-year career.
Bruin supporter Patrick Russo was awarded the Carl Chaney Memorial Award, which was established in 1977 to honor those athletic boosters who give untiringly to the success of a particular athletic program and/or to the athletic program as a whole.
The Belmont University Athletic Hall of Fame was established in 1980 to recognize and honor those individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the achievements and prestige of Belmont University and its intercollegiate athletic program. To be nominated, an individual must have completed his or her athletic eligibility at least seven years prior.