Virginia Sports Hall of Fame announces class of 2024 inductees

Dave Smith (Right) walks with Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer (left) after a regular season game during the 2014 season. (WSLS)

ROANOKE, Va. – The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2024 inductees on Monday afternoon, including some true legends that represented the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and many more.

A familiar name in the Virginia Tech community, Dave Smith spent decades serving as a sports information director. In 1975 he moved over to his alma mater where he would stay for the next 40 years. Beginning as an Assistant SID for the men’s basketball and baseball programs, he would work his way up to Associate Athletics Director, and become the primary football communications contact in 1998. Following his retirement in 2015, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) named Smith the recipient of a CoSIDA Lifetime Achievement Award and the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) presented Smith with its Distinguished Service Award.

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Chris Long, from St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville, was a 2x All-ACC selection, 2007 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Dudley Award winner, and Unanimous 1st Team All-American for UVA Football. The #2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, Long would go on to play 11 seasons in the NFL with St. Louis, New England, and Philadelphia. Long would register 332 tackles, 70 sacks, and 15 forced fumbles during his career, while also being a part of two Super Bowl winning teams in New England (LI) and Philadelphia (LII). His impact has extended well beyond the gridiron through his Chris Long Foundation. For his charitable efforts, Long has been the recipient of the NFL Players Associations Alan Page Community Award (2018), and the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award (2018).

Monica Wright Rogers, from Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, VA was named the 2006 Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year for women’s basketball and was a McDonald’s High School and WBCA All-American. She is a 2x VHSL 3A State Champion. After committing to play collegiately for the University of Virginia, she would re-write the Cavaliers record books. During her four years at Virginia, Wright Rogers set program career records for total points (2,540), scoring average (19.1 ppg), field goals made (962), field goal attempts (2,207) and 25-point games (28), and ranks 4th on the all-time list with 372 steals. A 3x All-American, Wright Rogers was named the 2010 ACC Player of the Year, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year. Following college she would play 7 seasons in the WNBA, winning two WNBA Championships, and was named to the 2010 All-Rookie Team.

Craig Littlepage, spent a total of 45 years on the grounds of the University of Virginia, first as an assistant coach on the men’s basketball team (1976-1982, and 1988-1990), and then in athletics administration from 1990-2017, the last 16 serving as Director of Athletics. During his time as AD, the Cavaliers were one of the most successful programs in the nation, winning 76 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, and 13 National Championships. The 76 conference championships were the most by an ACC member school during that time. In addition to his role as AD, Littlepage chaired the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Committee, 2005-2006, and was a member of the USA Basketball Board of Directors, 2005-2008. In 2021 he was selected for induction into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame.

Paul Woody, a native of Roanoke, and a Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus, spent 40-years as a sportswriter and columnist for the Richmond News Leader, and Richmond Times-Dispatch. Beginning in 1980, Woody served as the Richmond paper’s primary beat reporter for its Washington Redskins (now Commanders) coverage. For his coverage on the NFL and other events, Woody has been the recipient of 15 Pro Football Writers of America awards, 10 Virginia Press Association Awards, 3 Associated Press Sports Editors Awards, and 2 U.S. Basketball Writers Association Awards.

Others being inducted in the 2024 Class are William & Mary grad Jill Ellis, Hampden-Sydney alum Rick Jeffrey, Olympic Medalist LaShawn Merritt of Portsmouth and posthumously Hal Nunnally, the legendary Randolph-Macon College men’s basketball coach.

The 9-person class will be celebrated during the official Induction Weekend, April 19-20 in Henrico County.

About the Authors:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.