ORANGE, Calif. – Chapman University Athletics is proud to announce its Hall of Fame Class of 2012 and will host its 33rd annual Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony and banquet on Saturday, Oct. 27. For the first time in four years, Chapman will induct a team when it enshrines the Men’s Tennis championship teams from 1985-88, as well as All-America baseball pitcher Jeff Blitstein ’99 and three-time All-America softball outfielder Dawn Lopez-Aguila ’01.
The banquet, which begins at 5 p.m., will precede Chapman’s final home football game against the University of La Verne at 7 p.m. at Ernie Chapman Stadium.
1985-88 Men’s Tennis: The 80s were the glory days for Chapman tennis as the men’s program won the NCAA Division II national championship in 1985 and then again in back-to-back years in 1987 and ’88, while just missing a fourth title with a runner-up finish in 1986. The Panthers defeated Hampton Institute (Va.) (now Hampton University) for all three national titles but lost to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to earn the second place trophy in ’86.
Chapman was dominant during this four-year span under National Coach of the Year Mike Edles – a Chapman Hall of Famer – winning a school-record 24 team matches in 1985 and three consecutive CCAA championships from 1986-88. Miles Walker ’88 won the individual singles national championship in 1988 while Barry Hancock ’88 and Paul Wekesa ’87 earned the Division II doubles championship in 1987.
The Panthers also boasted eight All-Americans during that time, including 1985 NCAA Division II individual singles national runner-up Terry Davis ’85, CCAA Player of the Year in 1985 Troy Turnbull ’86, and Chapman Hall of Famer David Seline ’90. They are just the second team to be inducted into the Chapman Hall of Fame, following the induction of the 1968 national championship baseball team in 2008.
Jeffrey Blitstein ’99: In just two years, Blitstein rewrote the Chapman record books as the ace of the Panthers’ pitching staff from 1998-99 and helping the team to back-to-back NCAA West Region appearances. The right-hander set career records for wins, ERA, complete games and shutouts and was named West Region Pitcher of the Year and All-America by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 1999. In the midst of going 25-5 and earning a pair All-West Region selections in his two-year career, he tossed a school-record 34 consecutive scoreless innings in ’98 – a record that still stands – and his 2.00 career earned run average ranks fifth in school history.
Following his senior year, Blitstein became Chapman’s first Division III athlete to be drafted when he was taken in the 39th round by the Houston Astros and proceeded to play six seasons of professional baseball including stints in Independent Leagues (San Diego, Lincoln, St. Paul, Newark), Mexico, Canada and the Dominican Republic. He was an All-Star for the San Diego Surf Dawgs of the Golden Baseball League in 2005 where he helped win a league championship playing alongside MLB legend Rickey Henderson. Blitstein earned his MBA from the University of Colorado and currently resides in Denver where he works in the finance arena.
Dawn Lopez-Aguila ’01: The anchor in the heart of the Chapman softball lineup during a run of three consecutive West Region championships, Lopez compiled an impressive on-field resume from 1998-2001 as the team’s centerfielder and cleanup batter. She was named to the All-West Region team all four years and three All-America teams by the National Fastpitch Coaches association by hitting no less than .323 in any season and driving in over 100 runs in her career. As a senior, Lopez batted .417 with 14 doubles and was named to the Academic All-District team. She remains tied for the NCAA Division III record with four doubles in one game and ranks in the top-five in Chapman history in hits, doubles, runs and RBI.
Upon graduation, she earned her teaching credential from Chapman and received a master’s degree in special education in 2007. She has taught elementary and special education in the Santa Ana Unified School District and currently serves as the district’s Certificated Learning and Achievement Specialist (CLAS). She and her husband Rudy were married in 2008 and reside in Orange with their three dogs.
Chapman’s three newest Hall of Fame inductees, as well as all current Hall of Fame members in attendance, will be recognized on the field during halftime of the Panthers’ football game. An unveiling of their names on Chapman’s Hall of Fame wall is scheduled to take place immediately following the halftime ceremony. The Hall of Fame is located on Gray Victory Way as part of the Lastinger Athletics Complex. Tickets for the banquet are available for $75 per person or $700 per table and can be purchased online: http://www.chapmanathletics.com/hof
For more information, contact Hilda Douvas: 714-744-2191 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director