Athletic Hall of Fame Honors Three Outstanding Spartans

On Thursday, January 18, three members of the Steward community joined the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame at the third annual induction ceremony and reception.

On Thursday, January 18, three members of the Steward community joined the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame at the third annual induction ceremony and reception. Alumni, former and current faculty and staff members, and other community members attended the celebration.

Director of Athletics Bruce Secrest opened the ceremony and Head of School Dan Frank closed. Each inductee was introduced by a family member, colleague, and/or former coach. The ceremony was followed by a lively reception in the Cramer Center.

Here are snippets from the introductory speech for each inductee:

J. Neil Turnage, DDS, introduced by former Director of Athletics Janet Rice and former Dean of Upper School Students and coach Ian Coddington: 

  • Former director of athletics
  • Former head of plant and maintenance
  • Former Upper School dean of students
  • Former soccer coach who created Steward's indoor soccer program and led the formation of the Virginia Commonwealth Conference (VCC), which Steward was a member of for 30 years

“While we are honoring Neil for his contributions to Steward Athletics, you need to know that Neil was also instrumental in contributing to the growth of soccer in Metro Richmond,” Mr. Coddington said. “Neil and I became acquainted when he became a soccer referee and we worked together a few years before he came to work at Steward. Neil very quickly became a go-to person when a sports writer or commentator wanted information about a game or assisting with what was going on in the game … he is as much responsible for the growth of soccer in the Richmond area as any of the ‘legends.’”

“This quality soccer coach (who also had 10,000 other job responsibilities at Steward as we all did during the infancy of the school) made an impact,” Mrs. Rice said. “I’d suggest that this Renaissance man handled all of his duties with distinction due primarily to his strong sense of fairness, his steady and calm demeanor, and the high esteem in which he was held by faculty, staff, students, players, and the Richmond soccer community.”

Mr. Turnage also received a surprise introduction from his son, 2015 Hall of Fame inductee Corey Turnage ’88:

“During my first year at Steward, Dad said that our relationship on the field was coach and player, not father and son,” he said. “He told me that I had to prove myself to earn playing time; that’s what I did and that’s what we all did. He challenged us but never said ‘it’s my way or the highway;’ he was one of us. He listened to what we had to say—it was a very unique relationship.”

Jennifer (Gray) Meador ’02, introduced by Mrs. Rice:

  • Played field hockey, basketball, and lacrosse
  • Accepted into the Futures Program all-tournament team and received All-LIS, All-State, and MVP honors for field hockey
  • Received 15 varsity letters as well as the Coach’s Award, Richmond Times-Dispatch Athlete of the Year Award, the James V. Buis Athletic Scholarship Award, and more
  • Went on to play four seasons of club field hockey at JMU

“The glue that held the entire [field hockey team] together was Jennifer Gray—an unflappable, poised athlete who brought our team to the pinnacle of success when everyone had bet against us,” Mrs. Rice said. “When coaches and the team members can motivate each other, the destination usually ends up being pretty good. All I can say is WOW—what a leader you were for all of us and thank you for the major contributions and influence that you had on our athletic program.”

Shawn Lewis ’97, introduced by Mr. Coddington:

  • Played soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and golf
  • Member of the championship-winning indoor soccer team under Mr. Coddington
  • Received All-Conference honors for both soccer and basketball, the Outstanding Point Guard award for basketball, the Coach’s Award and MVP award for soccer, and the Most Improved award for golf

“Shawn’s athleticism enabled him to participate and excel in all sports Steward had to offer during his time,” Mr. Coddington said. “Memories and achievements get magnified when one retreats from the actual event. Having said that, there is no magnification of Shawn’s athletic ability or achievement, which will always stand at the pinnacle of Steward’s athletes. He was a little giant. I am honored to speak on his behalf as he becomes a member of The Steward School Athletic Hall of Fame.”

To view photos from the event, click here. Congratulations to our three inductees! 

 

 

 

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