After more than a year of waiting — due the COVID-19 pandemic — Saint Leo University’s athletics department will formally be able to recognize and celebrate its Hall of Fame Class of 2020, which features three individual honorees and one team.
The East Pasco-based institution will host an induction ceremony on Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m., at The Block, 14307 Seventh St., in Dade City.
Inductees in the Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2020 include Kit Gardner (baseball football, basketball, track and field), Daphne Washington (basketball), Pat Bowen (baseball), and the 2005 men’s soccer team.
The night will begin with a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by a dinner and ceremony.
Tickets for the event are $40 per person, with Hall of Fame members getting a discounted price of $25. Tickets can be purchased at Your.saintleo.edu/hoco.
The induction ceremony is part of the university’s homecoming weekend, which features other events on and around campus, including the annual Spirit of Saint Leo Golf Tournament, several alumni games and in-season athletic contests.
The addition of the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Class brings the total number of inductees to more than 140, as well as three teams.
The Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Fame was organized by the Saint Leo Alumni Association and Saint Leo athletic department in 1986-1987.
It was created to honor former students, coaches and administrators who excelled in Saint Leo athletics in the prep school, junior college or senior college.
Its purpose is “to perpetuate the memory of those persons who have brought distinction, honor and excellence to Saint Leo athletics, and familiarize the entire campus community and alumni with the university’s rich athletic history.”
Here is a closer look at the inductees:
Kit Gardner (1960)
From 1957 through 1960, Kit Gardner excelled as a four-sport athlete at what was then Saint Leo Prep — competing in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field.
Gardner served as both the kicker and quarterback for the football team while starting as a guard on the hardwood; he also played shortstop for the baseball team while competing in hurdles on the track.
With his versatile athletic dexterity, Gardner was a two-time “The Yankee Clipper” award winner at Saint Leo, the highest athletic award given out during the Saint Leo Prep era.
Gardner went on to serve in the United States Air Force and then became a golf professional at the Columbia Country Club in Columbia, South Carolina.
Daphne Washington (1993)
Daphne Washington had a celebrated four-year career on the court between 1989 through 1993 — and remains one of the women’s basketball program’s most productive scorers and rebounders.
She ranks second in program history in career scoring (1,495 points) and fifth in rebounding (704 rebounds).
Meantime, her career field goal percentage (54%) and single-season field goal percentage (58.8% in 1991-1992) are tops in program history, while total free throws made (297) ranks second in the books.
As for other accolades, Washington was Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Freshman of the Year in 1989-1990, and went on to become a two-time Honorable Mention All-SSC selection and a Second Team All-SSC performer as a junior.
Pat Bowen (1999)
Pat Bowen joined the Saint Leo baseball program as a walk-on in 1995, but etched his name into the record books by the time he graduated in 1999, also penning that into a short-lived pro ball career.
A native of Millersville, Maryland, Bowen ranks second in program history in career strikeouts with 266, behind only Dave Garcia (303, 1993-1996).
He posted a 20-8 career mark including five saves; those 20 wins ranked him third all-time at the end of the 1999 season.
During his junior campaign, Bowen ranked seventh among all NCAA Division II pitchers for strikeouts per nine innings at 11.9. He also started and led Saint Leo to a historic 11-8 victory over powerhouse Florida State University in May 1998.
All told, Bowen was part of a pair of NCAA postseason appearances (1996, 1999), an All-South Region honoree in 1999, and a two-time All-SSC selection.
Following a storied Saint Leo career, Bowen was drafted in the 34th round of the 1999 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Anaheim Angels, where he spent a few years playing in rookie-level ball and the independent circuit.
After a few years of professional baseball, Bowen began coaching youth sports and went on to be the head baseball coach at Bishop McGuinness Catholic School, in Kernersville, North Carolina.
2005 Saint Leo men’s soccer team
The 2005 Saint Leo men’s soccer team — under then head coach Joel Harrison— became the first program in school history to capture a Sunshine State Conference (SSC) Championship after a notable 7-1 run in conference play and a 15-1 regular season mark.
Unforeseen circumstances prevented what could’ve been an even more memorable season.
Because of Hurricane Wilma, the team was unable to compete for an SSC Tournament Championship, but earned the right to host the 2005 NCAA South Regional.
Saint Leo had a 14-day layoff before competing in the regional final against Lynn University, falling 3-1.
The team was led by All-American and Saint Leo Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017 member Asmir Pervan along with four others who earned All-SSC honors, including Brent Stanze, Matias Pereze, Giancarlo Conte, and Hall of Fame Class of 2018 member Eusebio Herrera-Montoya.
Pervan was named SSC Player and Offensive Player of the Year, while Herrera-Montoya brought home Freshman of the Year honors. Also, Harrison was named the SSC Coach of the Year.
Published November 03, 2021
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