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A Place in Garnet History

There is no shortage of accolades when it comes to the six individuals who make up the 2013 class of the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame. They will be inducted on Friday, Oct. 4, during the College’s annual Garnet Homecoming and Family Weekend.

The second class to enter the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame includes one of the most respected coaches in the history of American tennis, a female multisport athlete who exceled at a time when few were given the opportunity, three former student-athletes that many consider the best in their program’s histories and an individual who earned a pair of soccer All-America honors at the College, with a stint in the U.S. Army during World War II sandwiched in.

The 2013 inductees are: Imo Akpan ’02 (track and field), Ed Faulkner (tennis coach), Helen Tomlinson Gibson ’41 (field hockey, women’s tennis and women’s basketball), Ed Greene ’85 (baseball, football), Julie Noyes LaFramboise ’95 (lacrosse, soccer), and Rolf Valtin ’48 (soccer).

“Last year’s inaugural ceremony was an overwhelming success, and we are proud to continue the growing tradition of the Garnet Athletics Hall of Fame by honoring the Class of 2013,” says Adam Hertz, Marian Ware Director of Athletics.

Faulkner, the coaching representative of the class, is a highly respected teacher of the game of tennis and one of the most accomplished coaches in Swarthmore athletics history. Faulkner guided the Garnet men’s tennis team from 1929 to 1970, winning nine conference championships. He coached five U.S. Davis Cup teams and authored one of the seminal books in instructional tennis, Ed Faulkner’s Tennis: How to Play It, How to Teach It.

Gibson and Valtin represent the 1940s, and each has a remarkable backstory. At a time when women had significantly fewer athletic opportunities than men, Gibson broke the mold, starting for the Garnet field hockey, basketball, and tennis teams. She earned All-America honors for the field-hockey team and spent multiple years on the U.S. national field-hockey team. Already as a freshman, Valtin—a German immigrant whose original surname was Wiegelmesser—earned All-America honors. Valtin left the College in 1944 to become a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the height of World War II, participating in the Normandy invasion on Omaha Beach. Remarkably, he returned to the College and resumed his outstanding athletic career, scoring a then–program-record 11 goals to earn All-America honors and a place on the U.S. Olympic soccer team.

Greene, LaFramboise, and Akpan rightfully rank among the best student-athletes in their programs’ histories. Greene was an integral member of two of the College’s most successful teams, leading the Garnet baseball and football teams to unparalleled heights during the 1980s. LaFramboise is not only the most prolific scorer in the history of Swarthmore women’s lacrosse with 273 goals (averaging 5.91 goals per game), but she remains one of the most dynamic scorers in the history of Division III women’s lacrosse. Akpan’s 13 Centennial Conference gold medals on the track remain a program best, and many of her school records—including the 55-meter dash, 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and 400-meter dash—remain in place more than a decade after her graduation.

“These truly are exceptional individuals who represent the very best in the rich tradition of Swarthmore athletics,” says Hertz. “We are privileged to honor their accomplishments.”

—Mark Anskis

Click here to learn more about the inductees.

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