On Sept. 24, seven former student-athletes from six Lady Vol teams were inducted into the Tennessee Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame – three of them were graduates of the College of Communication and Information.
The three CCI inductees were: Laura Lauter Smith ‘01 (Soccer), Katharina Larsson Samuelsson ‘94 (Golf) and Adrienne Walker Chery ’00 (Softball). Additional inductees included: Amy Delashmit Neubauer (Rowing), Margie Lepsi Schroeffel (Tennis), and Shelley Sexton Collier and Chamique Holdsclaw (Basketball).
The induction evening was filled with some emotional speeches, laughter, tears, stories and catching up with old acquaintances and teammates. Each inductee recounted her days as a Lady Vol, the ups and the downs, the metamorphosis from a young girl to a woman of the world and a college graduate. The common denominator expressed by each inductee was the lifelong sisterhood they joined when they became a Lady Vol student-athlete.
Enshrinement activities continued the following day when the Hall of Fame celebration moved to Neyland Stadium, where the honorees were saluted during the Tennessee versus Alabama-Birmingham football game.
Throughout the 35-year history of Lady Vol student-athletes, 1,734 women have donned the Orange and White Tennessee uniform. With the addition of the seven individuals to the 2010 Class of the Lady Vol Hall of Fame, membership of former student-athletes has now reached 54 to go along with seven coaches/administrators, in this very elite Hall.
About the CCI alumnae honorees:
Laura Lauter Smith (Soccer) earned her BA in Communications in 2001. She is the first-ever Hall of Fame inductee from Soccer. Ten years after her playing days ended, Lauter Smith still ranks high in the Lady Vol soccer record books. She is listed second all-time for points in a season (34) in 1998, second in career goals with 29 (1997-2000) and third in career points with 75. She earned NSCAA All-Central Region and Soccer Buzz All-Central Region in 1998. She was a member of three All-SEC Academic Teams from 1998-2000. Lauter Smith still lives in Knoxville and has three children.
The second CCI inductee was golf standout Katharina Larsson Samuelsson, who traveled from her home in Skoghall, Sweden, by way of Lamar University, to attend college at the University of Tennessee from 1992-94. Larsson Samuelsson was a member of the inaugural Lady Vol golf squad which began competition in the fall of 1992. She recorded her first collegiate medalist honor in Tennessee’s first-ever tournament as she paced the fledgling Lady Vol golf team to a third place finish at the Memphis State True Temper Intercollegiate. The Swedish National Team member (1989-97) earned a bevy of honors at UT as she was named the 1994 SEC Golfer of the Year, 1994 SEC Medalist Champion, 1993 and 1994 All-SEC and 1994 Lady Volunteer Athlete of the Year. She was the top graduate of the College of Communications in 1994 and received her BS with highest honors. She received 1994 NGCA Academic All-America honors and the 1994 True Temper Academic Award, which is given to the NGCA All-American with the highest GPA in the country. She is the owner and director of a long stay golf travel company – Golfispainen. Larsson Samuelsson and her husband and daughter make their home in Huelva, Spain.
CCI’s third inductee was former Lady Vol softball pitcher Adrienne “Buffy” Walker Chery who competed from 1995-99. An imposing figure in the circle, the Carlsbad, New Mexico native pitched the first no-hitter in Lady Vol softball history in 1996. She was named to the 1997 NFCA All-South Region Team and the 1997 All-SEC squad. Walker Chery is still ranked in the top 10 in the UT record books in a number of statistical categories including third in Tennessee single season ERA, 0.71 (1997); third in complete games (61); fourth in solo shutouts (16); and fifth in career ERA (1.97), career appearances (108), career starts (87) and career wins (54). Walker Chery received her BS in Communications with a minor in business administration in 2000. She is still involved in the game working as a pitching instructor and with youth sport camps in Suwanee, Georgia.
In her acceptance speech, Walker Chery emotionally talked about going to a school that offered her the promise that a team was going to start competing. “When I stepped off the plane after my recruiting visit, I told my family that I was going to Tennessee because it was going to have a first class program. I wasn’t wrong. What an opportunity they gave me,” she said.
The new group of inductees joins nine prior classes of Lady Vol Hall of Famers. The inaugural class selected for the Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame was inducted on Oct. 26, 2001. Athletes are eligible for selection into the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer Hall of Fame ten years after they have graduated from the University, while administrators may be admitted five years following their last service to UT.