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November 4, 2023

Guilford Inducts Six into Athletics Hall of Fame

Guilford College officially inducted six Quakers into its Athletics Hall of Fame Nov. 4. The 2023 Hall of Fame Class includes baseball player Kyle Wooden ‘11, basketball player Steve Hankins ‘75, softball and basketball player Jennifer King ‘06, volleyball player Jennifer Pue-Gilchrist ‘03, golfer Noah Ratner ‘13, and football player Josh Vogelbach '09.

Hundreds of people including current student-athletes gathered in Dana Auditorium for the ceremony, which, at times, felt more like a homecoming as inductees remembered fondly their years at Guilford.

Steve, a member of the 1973 NAIA Men's Basketball Championship squad, coached high school basketball in North Carolina for more than 20 years until he retired. Before enrolling as an adult student at Guilford, Steve served three tours in Vietnam with the Marines and was worried about attending a Quaker school while the country was in the throes of war. Those concerns quickly dissolved.

“Not one time did anybody say anything to me and when I asked for help from kids in class they treated me just like another student,” says Steve. "I’m so thankful for Guilford because it became a space where (with) all the quietness I could go from an animal to someone who joined the human race.”

Jennifer Pue-Gilchrist, a small animal veterinarian in Ohio, was a three-time All-ODAC player including two first teams, and was named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year in 2002. “This is such an honor for me,” says Jennifer. “One of the main benefits of Guilford was I came for the science program and one of the bonuses was they let you be an athlete.”

As a student athlete, Jennifer King was a member of the women's basketball and softball teams. Other schools recruited her for basketball but she chose Guilford because it was the only school that allowed her to also play softball. A three-time All-ODAC basketball selection, Today she coaches for the Washington Commanders and is the NFL’s first African American female assistant position coach.

She says the communication skills she acquired at Guilford are still helping her in her career. “I was writing papers in PE class and I was confused by that but it helps you communicate, helps you relate your message. I love Guilford College. It’s like no other," she says.

Josh ranks as one of the best quarterbacks not only in Guilford history but in NCAA Division III history. Josh started his collegiate career at East Carolina University but transferred to Guilford and became a three-time All-ODAC honoree. “Guilford was a second chance for me and it paid off,” he says. “I made the most of that second chance not just on the field but in some relationships that have lasted a lifetime.”

Noah, one of the top-ranking golfers in Quaker history, is one of the most recent graduates to be inducted. He was a three-time All-American and ODAC Golfer of the Year while receiving the Jack Nicklaus award in 2012 as the top golfer in Division III.

He says he still practices the Quaker tradition of a moment of silence in life. “Whenever I was in a weird situation while I was playing in a tournament, I just took a deep breath, closed my eyes and just hit reset. That still works for me today," he says.

Kyle, one of the top baseball players to play for the Quakers, was unable to attend the ceremony due to a family commitment but contributed a video message. He was a Second-Team All-American in 2009 and again in 2011. He still ranks first in career batting average (.436), and was a recipient of the 2011 Best Male Athlete and English Awards.

Kyle is the College’s Vice President of Enrollment Management. He played very little as a first year. “I wasn’t ready and I kind of accepted that as a challenge and … invested in myself and the community,” he says. He believes he grew as an individual his last three years at Guilford and loves sharing the College with high school students considering Guilford. “Just the chance to give back and spread the Guilford word,” he says. “It truly is a hidden gem.”