Westminster College Announces Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018
Left to right – Tony Stephenson, Leigh Ann (Lutz) Harrigan, Rachel Backes, Tracey Braden
Westminster College inducted the 2018 Athletics Hall of Fame class in a ceremony last Saturday morning. The ceremony was in conjunction with the weekend’s Homecoming festivities.
Those being honored included Rachel Backes (’12, women’s basketball), Jeff Borengasser (men’s and women’s tennis coach), Tracey Braden (women’s basketball coach), Leigh Ann (Lutz) Harrigan (’14, women’s basketball), and Tony Stephenson (’13, men’s tennis).
Backes graduated Magna Cum Laude from Westminster in May 2012 with a degree in biology. In 2017, she was inducted into the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) Hall of Fame. While Backes was a four-starter and a four-year captain on the women’s basketball team, she collected most of her individual accolades as a senior in 2012. She was awarded the SLIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year Award, the SLIAC Player of the Year for women’s basketball, the Westminster Female Athlete of the Year, and the SLIAC Tournament MVP. Along with her accomplishments on the court, Backes was rewarded for her excellent work in the classroom, earning a spot on the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) All-District Team in 2011 and 2012, and a spot on the Capital One Academic All-District Team in 2012.
Jeff Borengasser was the men’s and women’s tennis coach at Westminster from 2004-10. He was inducted into the SLIAC Hall of Fame in 2017. As the men’s tennis coach, he amassed a record of 65-37, which included six SLIAC titles and five consecutive from 2006-10. During that time, the team earned four straight NCAA Tournament berths from 2007-10. On the women’s side, Borengasser led his team to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 along with winning the SLIAC in both 2006 and 2009. He coached a total of 21 student-athletes to First Team All-Conference honors. Along with his team’s success, Borengasser was named the SLIAC Coach of the Year for men’s tennis five times, in 2004 and from 2007-10.
Tracey Braden was the women’s basketball coach from 2007-10 and is the winningest coach in the program’s history, earning 155 wins. The team’s 22 wins in 2011-12 remains a program high for wins in a season. Braden led the 2010-11 squad to Westminster’s first-ever SLIAC regular season title, posting the only undefeated conference record in program history at 16-0. During the 2011-12 season, the team won the regular season title and the first-ever SLIAC Tournament title, earning an NCAA berth. Braden’s team repeated this feat in 2012-13 for back-to-back titles and NCAA Tournament bids. In 2015-16, the team won the program’s fourth regular season SLIAC title. Braden selected as the SLIAC Coach of the Year four times, in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2016.
Leigh Ann (Lutz) Harrigan graduated Summa Cum Laude from Westminster in 2014, with a perfect 4.0 and a degree in biology. Her senior year, she was named the Westminster Senior Female of the Year, the Westminster Senior Female Athlete of the Year, and was an NCAA and SLIAC Postgraduate Recipient. Harrigan still holds the record for three-pointers in a season (75) and three-pointers in a career (245). During her tenure, she broke the record for career points with 1,366, before it was broken again just three seasons later. Along with being named the SLIAC Tournament MVP in 2014, Harrigan was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District and All-America team, the first Blue Jay to earn the All-America bid for women’s basketball.
Tony Stephenson graduated Magna Cum Laude from Westminster in May 2013. He left Westminster as the most decorated tennis player in men’s history, recording four standout seasons for the Blue Jays. As a freshman, he earned both the Newcomer of the Year and the Player of the Year. The next season, Stephenson repeated as Player of the Year for the SLIAC. He was a four-time All-Conference award winner, and was a member of three SLIAC title-winning teams in 2010, 2011, and 2013, where he played from the No. 1 singles spot. Along with his athletic accomplishments, Stephenson was selected three times for the SLIAC All-Academic team.
Originally established in 1998 as the Intercollegiate Athletic Who’s Who, the Westminster College Athletics Hall of Fame was designed to recognize those individuals who have excelled in athletics and/or made significant contributions to their sport. Individuals selected have not only made a mark in the Blue Jay record book but gone on to success in life, while making contributions to the success and reputation of Westminster College.
The Hall of Fame committee members voting on inductees into the Hall include the athletic director, sports information director, an alumni staff member and selected Hall of Fame members.