Limestone Athletics Announces 2018 Hall of Fame Class
The Limestone College Athletics Department recently announced its 2018 Hall of Fame Class, a group of trailblazers that features three former standout student-athletes, a pair of special inductees, and a championship team.
The 22nd Hall of Fame class consists of former athletes Will Doyle '94 (men's lacrosse), Derek Thomas '03 (men's soccer), and Michelle Lare '04 (women's lacrosse), along with the 2006 Men's Soccer Team and special inductees Todd Shanesy (media) and Alan Welch (staff).
Returning to the Spartanburg Marriott for a third straight year, the Limestone College Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 7, at 7 p.m.
Will Doyle '94
One of the first All-Americans in team history, Will Doyle helped solidify the Limestone lacrosse program into the national powerhouse that it has become today. Part of the inaugural team during the 1990 season, Doyle is one of just seven players in the program's rich history to register over 200 career points.
The mark that he left on the program is still very visible today as his 102 career assists have only been surpassed three times since he last played in 1994. At the time of induction, he ranks seventh in team history in career points (206) and 15th in career goals scored (104).
Doyle led the Saints with 34 goals and 33 assists as a junior and then paced the Blue and Gold with 60 points (29 goals, 31 assists) in 1994, earning USILA All-America honors after each of those campaigns. He was also one of the first of many players in team history to be named to an All-Conference team.
He guided Limestone to a 7-4 mark in 1993, starting a streak of 25 consecutive seasons without a losing record, and helped lead the Saints to an 8-4 overall ledger during his senior year. Not counting the season he missed in 1991, the Blue and Gold compiled a 26-22 overall record during his tenure.
Derek Thomas '03
Arguably the best player to ever take the pitch for the Limestone men's soccer team, Derek Thomas is the program's all-time career leader in points (159), goals (63), and assists (33) – marks that are unlikely to ever be surpassed. He is the only player in team history to post 100 points or more in a career.
A three-time All-CVAC selection, Thomas holds two of the program's top three spots for most points in a single season, including a team-record 52 points in 2002, and is the single-season record holder with 14 assists that same year. He also ranks second for most goals in a year with 19 during the 2002 campaign.
Thomas added six career hat tricks during his time in the Blue and Gold, including four different four-goal performances. He scored four times to lead the Saints to an 11-0 win over Anderson in 2001 – still a record for most team goals in a match – before adding four goals in a 10-0 win over St. Andrews in 2002.
He became the first Limestone player to earn First-Team All-Conference honors after guiding the Saints to 11 wins in 2001 – a program record until the 2006 team broke that mark. Overall, Thomas led the Blue and Gold to a combined 30 wins during his tenure, the best four-year span in team history to that point.
Michelle Lare '04
A First-Team All-CVAC and First-Team IWLCA All-American in 2004, Michelle Lare was the anchor of a Limestone defense that won the program's first of 13 consecutive conference regular season titles. She also helped guided the Saints to their first of 10 NCAA Tournament appearances during her senior year.
Lare is the program's all-time career leader in caused turnovers (119) while her 142 career groundballs still ranks sixth in team history. She is the only Limestone player to register over 100 caused turnovers in a career, and her 46 caused turnovers in 2003 remains the team's single-season benchmark.
Limestone's defense during Lare's freshman season in 2001 set the team record with a 5.09 goals against average while the 2003 season ranks fourth all-time. She set the tone during her senior campaign in 2004 as that defensive unit still holds the program records in caused turnovers and groundballs.
In addition to a career-high 48 groundballs and 39 caused turnovers as a senior, Lare tallied six goals and three assists to help lead the Saints to the inaugural CVAC Regular Season Championship and the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance. She was named an IWLCA Scholar All-American in 2004.
2006 Men's Soccer Team
Not only did it set a number of historical precedents for a program that had enjoyed just two winning seasons over the first 23 years of competition, the 2006 Limestone College men's soccer team had a transformative effect that elevated the Saints into a regional powerhouse that continues to this day.
The 2006 team went 13-3-6 overall and won the CVAC Tournament Championship on penalty kicks against St. Andrews. The Saints would then secure the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance before advancing to the Sweet 16 on penalty kicks against USC Upstate.
Starting in 2006, the Blue and Gold has posted 12 straight 10-win seasons with four conference regular season championships, four conference tournament titles, and seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Additionally, six Limestone players have combined for eight All-American awards since the 2006 season.
Limestone featured four players named to the all-region team in 2006 while Tom Beattie became the first in program history to earn All-America honors. The Saints also had four selected to the All-CVAC Team, including three first team accolades, while Ali Benson was named the CVAC Freshman of the Year.
A longtime friend of Limestone Athletics, Todd Shanesy has been covering the Saints for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal for over 20 years. Shanesy, who has covered all five men's lacrosse national championships, is the first media representative to be enshrined in the Limestone Athletics Hall of Fame.
An award-winning sports writer who has been twice honored by the Associated Press and more than three dozen times by the South Carolina Press Association, Shanesy is often seen on press row at Limestone Athletic events or around campus interviewing student-athletes and coaches.
Shanesy has played a major role in helping Limestone become one of the most covered Division II athletic programs in the Upstate through his game recaps and feature articles in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal and through his Campus Commuter blog on www.goupstate.com.
He has covered Limestone at NCAA and Conference Championship events in men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's lacrosse and has written numerous articles for other Limestone sports such as football, baseball, softball, wrestling, and track & field.
Alan Welch served nine years as an assistant men's basketball coach at Limestone College in the 1980's, helping the Saints to enjoy some of their best seasons in program history while competing in a tough NAIA District 6 that featured the likes of USC Spartanburg, College of Charleston, and Francis Marion.
Welch, who also served as the Dean of Students and the coordinator of the Adventure Program Ropes Course during his time in Gaffney, joined the staff of Limestone Hall of Fame coach Craig Drennon during the 1981-82 season and promptly helped guide the Blue and Gold to a 25-7 overall record.
The Saints would put together six consecutive 20-win seasons during Welch's tenure, including a 28-win campaign in just his second year. Limestone again posted 28 wins in 1986-87, and that team's winning percentage (.875) remains the program's single-season record at the time of induction.
In his final year, Welch again helped lead Limestone to a 20-win season as the 1989-90 team registered a 21-12 ledger. In his nine seasons with the Saints, the team combined for a 195-91 (.682) overall record. He continued his role as Dean of Students before leaving Limestone in 1995 to begin his own business.