Dec. 4, 2008
KINGSTON, R.I. -- The newest class of inductees for the University of Rhode Island Athletics Hall of Fame has been announced. Six former Rhody greats - Tony Hill, Lance Klima, Phil Kydd, Cuttino Mobley, Jessica Salmans and Dayna Smith - will be honored during a Hall of Fame weekend - Feb. 13-15, 2009.
"We are so excited and proud to honor some of the finest student-athletes in the history of the University of Rhode Island," Thorr Bjorn, director of athletics said. "It will be a special weekend for Tony, Lance, Phil, Cuttino, Jessica and Dayna to be honored for their many achievements. And it will also be special for our fans to welcome them back and celebrate their induction into the Hall of Fame."
The full slate of Hall of Fame events kicks off on Friday, Feb. 13, with an induction ceremony and dinner held at Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown, R.I. The following afternoon, the Hall of Fame class will be honored at halftime of the men's basketball game versus Saint Louis.
2009 University of Rhode Island Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees
Hill was a two-sport star for the Rams from 1982-86. The Lynn, Mass. native was an All-New England selection in football and baseball for three consecutive years. On the gridiron, he was twice selected to The Sporting News' preseason all-american squad and ranks second on URI's all-time interception list, with 15. His 94-yard return for a touchdown off an interception against Northeastern on Oct. 8, 1983 ranks as the program's second-longest in history. On the baseball diamond, he had nine home runs while slugging .667 in 1985. He finished his URI baseball career with a .368 batting average and 21 homers - both rank him second in the team's record book. He earned his degree in consumer affairs in 1986.
"I was shocked when I got the call and was very grateful for being nominated and elected to the URI Athletics Hall of Fame," Hill said. "My time at Rhode Island was great. I met some great people, spent every summer down there, and had a great time. I was fortunate to get offered a scholarship and have been grateful for the opportunity."
Klima was a four-year starting goalkeeper for URI's men's soccer team from 1985-88. In 56 career games played in net for the Rams, he registered 284 saves and a .787 save percentage. During the 1988 season, he recorded six shutout victories, en route to earning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors. He was also an All-New England and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Region selection that year. He graduated with a degree in finance and marketing in 1989.
"I am floored by the honor of being inducted into the URI Athletics Hall of Fame," Klima said. "When I received the call with the great news, I was overwhelmed. I called several of my former teammates and to hear their excitement for my news, it really shows what a special place URI is and what special people the school produces."
Kydd was a four-year letterman for the Rhody men's basketball program from 1977-81, captaining the squad as a senior. Known as one of the team's unsung heroes during that span, the Bronx, N.Y. native finished his 105-game career with 675 points while shooting 50.8% from the floor (245-482). Widely regarded as one of the team's top sixth man performers, the 6-4 forward helped guide the Rams to an 80-37 mark, including three 20-win seasons and a trip to the 1978 NCAA Tournament. Kydd earned his degree in studio art in 1981.
"This is something that you don't dream about or hope for, it is quite simply priceless to be recognized by your alma mater in this matter," Kydd said. "To have an institution with the pride and history that URI has, recognize you as someone who has contributed to that legacy is emotionally moving and reinforces a sense of purpose in serving the university community."
Mobley was one of the best guards in the history of the men's basketball program, helping guide the team to the Elite Eight of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. That season, the Philadelphia native scored 586 points - the eighth-best single season scoring mark (17.1 ppg) - and led the team to a 25-9 record en route to being named the 1998 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Over his 93-game career, Mobley tallied 1,334 points, which ranks 21st on the all-time scoring list. He currently ranks second on URI's career free throw percentage list (256-312, .821). Mobley earned his degree in communications studies in 1998 and was drafted in the second round (41st overall) in the 1998 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. He was recently traded to the New York Knicks.
"For me, it is a huge honor," Mobley said. "There are so many great athletes who came through Rhode Island and to be recognized along side their achievements is unbelieveable. It brings back a lot of memories."
Salmans established herself as one of the best setters in Rhode Island volleyball history. A four-year starter, she helped guide the Rams to a 104-34 (.754) record during that span, including a 70-10 (.875) mark in Atlantic 10 play. URI advanced to the 1996 NCAA Tournament and finished among the top two teams in the Atlantic 10 in each of her four years of play. A native of Fountain Valley, Calif., Salmans holds all of the school's assist records, including single-match (81), single-season (1,637) and career (5,770). A three-time All-A-10 selection for her play on the court, Salmans was a two-time recipient of Academic All-Conference honors in the classroom. She is also the school record holder in career digs (1,378) and was a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-District I team member. She earned her degree in biology in 1998.
"I am thrilled and excited to be elected into the URI Athletics Hall of Fame. To me, it celebrates not just the time at Rhode Island, but a life's work prior to my college career," Salmans said. "I always look back at my time at URI with great fondness - it was the greatest time of my life. I met my best friends in life there - and cherish all of my teammates, coaches, my parents, and family. This honor reflects all of them."
Smith was one of the top point guards in Atlantic 10 history while starring for Rhode Island from 1992-96. One of just 11 players at the NCAA Division I level to record more than 1,000 points and 750 assists, Smith was a key component of the Rams' run to the 1996 NCAA Tournament. That season, the Pittsburgh native dished out 233 assists and helped guide URI to a 21-8 mark and the A-10 East regular season title. She finished her career with 1,174 points - good for ninth on Rhody's all-time scoring list - and 184 three-point field goals, which ranks second all-time in the URI record book. Smith recently made a return to the NCAA Tournament, this time as the head coach of Cornell. In her seventh season with the Big Red, she led the 2008 squad to the Big Dance. She earned her degree in business management in 1996.
"It is an absolute honor to be elected to the URI Athletic Hall of Fame. The experiences I had at URI have meant a lot to me and have helped me develop into the person and coach that I am today," Smith said. I had terrific teammates and coaches who shared a common goal of building the program into a winner. There have been many great athletes to play at URI and to be included with them is humbling. I am very grateful for this opportunity."
The Hall of Fame weekend is a collaborative effort between the athletics department and the alumni association, as part of their "Big Chill Weekend."
For more information on the Hall of Fame weekend events, please contact the athletics development office at (401) 874-7490, or visit GoRhody.com. For more information on the Big Chill Weekend, please contact the alumni relations office at (401) 874-5808 or visit the Big Chill Weekend website.