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Coach P.J. Smith to UNC Pembroke Hall of Fame

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Coach P.J. Smith to UNC Pembroke Hall of Fame

Postby Allen Brown » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:58 pm

Sep 02, 2015
PEMBROKE – Five standout student-athletes and two legendary head coaches will be officially inducted into the UNC Pembroke Athletics Hall of Fame as part of Homecoming Week in early October, athletics department officials announced Wednesday.

Former head coaches P.J. Smith (wrestling) and Dick Lauffer (basketball) join basketball standouts Mike Heath and Joe Pugh in the newest class, as well as former volleyball star Debbie McNamara and softball standout Brittany “B.B.” Berrier. Former multi-sport athlete James “Buddy” Bell (basketball, baseball) is also a part of UNCP’s 37th Hall of Fame induction class as well.

All seven will be inducted into the distinguished listing of former student-athletes, coaches and administrators at a special ceremony on October 2 at 6 p.m. in the University Center Annex. Attendees must RSVP or purchase tickets (while supplies last) for $35 by calling (910) 521-6252.

For additional ticket information, contact the UNC Pembroke Office of Advancement at (910) 521-6252.

“We are so excited to welcome these inductees to the UNC Pembroke Athletics Hall of Fame,” said director of athletics Dick Christy. “There are some in this class that have waited a long time for this very deserving recognition and we are excited that their families and teammates will be able to share in this honor. I can’t thank our committee enough for identifying one of the strongest, and largest, classes in our history.”

Bell (1954-57) served as a captain for both the basketball and baseball teams in 1956 and 1957, but was impactful in the Pembroke community as well while serving as an assistant principal and coach at Pembroke Junior High School. A former president of the Braves Club and vice president on the board of directors, Bell was voted then-Pembroke State’s “Most Athletic” student-athlete as a senior in 1957.

A first team all-America selection by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) in 2008, Berrier wrapped up her career in the Black & Gold as the all-time leader in doubles (47). She hit .400 (80-for-200) with 27 extra-base hits (3 HR), 46 RBI and 50 runs scored in pacing the Braves to the 2008 Peach Belt Conference championship and the club’s first berth into NCAA Regionals. Berrier played and started in 204 games over her four-year career (2005-08) and registered a .340 career batting average with 63 extra-base hits (12 HR), 129 RBI and 134 runs scored.

Heath played just three seasons (1964-67) in Pembroke after transferring from UNC-Chapel Hill, but still managed to log nearly 1,100 points and lead UNCP to a cumulative 51-30 (.630) clip, including 20-win campaigns in his last two seasons. Heath played under the tutelage of both Howard Dean (1964-65) and Lacy Gane (1965-67) and averaged better than 15 points per game during his collegiate career.

A two-sport coach and former athletics director, Lauffer skippered both the baseball and men’s basketball teams from 1956-63, while also serving as an associate professor and chairman of the Department of Health & Physical Education. The baseball team registered an 88-62 (.587) record under Lauffer’s watch, including five winning seasons, while the basketball team tallied a 70-95 (.424) record in eight seasons, including a 19-10 clip in 1962-63.

McNamara played just two seasons (1992-93) in Pembroke, but wrapped up her career with a slew of records, including single season marks for hitting percentage (.417) and kills per game (4.12). A two-time all-Peach Belt Conference and All-PBC Tournament selection, she helped pace UNCP to 47 wins over two seasons, including a 24-7 record as a senior in 1993 that helped the Braves stake claim to a share of the PBC regular season title. McNamara exited Pembroke as the program’s all-time leader in hitting percentage (.391), kills per game (3.85), total (298) and solo (135) blocks. She still stands as UNCP’s career record holder in blocks per game (1.45) as well.

A standout center for the Braves from 1957-61, Pugh helped pace the Black & Gold to 38 wins over four seasons, including double-digit win campaigns as both a sophomore and junior. He averaged nearly 20 points per game as a senior.

Over his storied 25-year career (1981-2006) at the helm of the wrestling team, Smith led the Braves to more than 250 dual meet victories, while also mentoring 33 all-Americans and 13 academic all-Americans. A five-time region coach of the year selection, he was also recognized as wrestling’s “Man of the Year” in North Carolina and was inducted into the North Carolina chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006. A fixture on the North Carolina/USA Wrestling Board of Directors since 1981, Smith served on the NCAA Wrestling Committee from 1992-98 and coached the North Carolina Junior National Team for 33 years (1978-2010) as well.
Allen Brown


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