2017 Columbia College Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees Announced
Columbia, Mo. - On Friday, October 6th in the Dulany Banquet Hall on the campus of Columbia College, President Dr. Scott Dalrymple, along with Athletic Director Bob Burchard will induct the 15th class of the Columbia College Athletic Hall of Fame. Dr. Dalrymple officially announced today that the class will include women's basketball player LeAnn Fossum, softball player Valerie (Teter) Smith and the 2008-09 men's basketball team.
2008-09 Men's Basketball Team
While the men's basketball program at Columbia College has had a storied history, no other team has embraced togetherness, inseason change and momentum like the 2008-09 team did. Following a sluggish start to the conference season the team made an important change to substitution patterns and roles that allowed them to rattle off 10 wins in their final 11 regular season games. Anchored by six seniors, the Cougars won the American Midwest Conference Tournament by defeating long-time rival McKendree University on their home court.
Valerie (Teter) Smith
Valerie (Teter) Smith was one of the most impactful 4-year student-athletes in Columbia College softball history. The 2007 high school graduate from Bevier, Missouri wasted no time in making her mark at Columbia College. In her first full season with the Cougars Valerie was named both the American Midwest Conference Freshman and Player of the Year; a feat that has not been duplicated since. She was a four-time AMC First Team All-Conference selection and was twice named AMC player of the year. She was honored as the AMC Pitcher of the Year in both 2009 and 2010 for her efforts in the circle.
In 2009, Valerie led all NAIA softball pitchers with a .570 earned run average, the 3rd best mark in Columbia College history. On May 4th, 2010 she set a Columbia College record by striking out 21 batters in a 1-0 victory over rival William Woods University in extra innings. Not surprisingly, she stayed in the circle for game two of the doubleheader and threw a complete game shutout while striking out another 11 batters faced. During the 2010 campaign, Valerie set a Columbia College record by striking out 413 batters. While many remember her for her incredible pitching exploits, she also excelled at the plate and in the field. In each of her first three years as a Cougar her batting average was at least .345 and in her final season in navy & silver she set a Columbia College record by batting .484. That mark would be good for the 2nd best average in the NAIA that season. Her career batting average was an astounding .397.
LeAnn Fossum came to Columbia College in the fall of 2003 following an impressive career at Harrisburg (Mo.) High School. The local product scored over 1,600 points during her high school career, where she was twice named All-State by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. Even though she joined a veteran group of players at Columbia College, LeAnn found herself in the starting lineup 32 times during her freshman year. That team won 28 games and advanced to the second round of the NAIA National Tournament for the first time in school history. For her efforts, she was named Honorable Mention All-Conference.
LeAnn would continue to develop her skill and display her consistent play throughout her final three years for the Cougars. She would play in 134 of the 136 games during her four-year career, and would be named 1st Team All-Conference each of her final three seasons. During her junior year she lead the team in scoring, averaging 15.5 PPG and 6.8 RPG. She scored at least 20 points in 11 games throughout the year. She would be named an Honorable Mention All-American following her junior season.