Tue, Mar. 6, 2012 - [Basketball]
The University of the Cumberlands (UC) basketball programs are two of the most highly touted programs around the NAIA. The men's program has made numerous NAIA National Championship Tournament appearances in its history and has a storied former head coach in Randy Vernon who was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame. The women's team has also had its fair share of runs in the NAIA National Championship tournament including a run to the Elite 8 in 2009. As part of that storied history, two of Cumberlands' finest basketball athletes were in attendance on Thursday, February 23rdas the Patriots took on St. Catharine College
Roger Richardson was inducted into the Cumberlands Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. He was a member of the then Indians basketball program from 1980 to 1984. Over that span, Richardson was able to make his mark in the history books at Cumberlands as he currently still holds numerous career records here. Richardson is the all-time leading scorer for a career at Cumberland with 2,068 points, #1 in field goals made for a career with 882, #1 in free throw attempts in a career with 548, and #1 in free throws made in a career with 424. Currently, Richardson is employed by the Whitley County School System as a homebound teacher. He is currently finishing his 25thyear as a teacher with the school system, 21 of those years being a physical education teacher.
Soni Smith is another all-time great in Cumberlands history. She was inducted into the Cumberlands Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. Smith was a member of the then Indians basketball program from 1980 to 1984. Over that span, Smith made an incredible impact on the Cumberlands program including setting many season and career records. Smith is currently 2ndall-time for points scored in a career with 2,015 points, #1 in scoring average for a career with 19.9 points per game, #1 in field goals made with 799, and #1 in field goal percentage for a career shooting 54% from the field. She also holds the records for most free throw attempts in a career with 646 and is 2ndfor most free throws made in a career with 415. Currently, Smith is a senior manager for FedEx in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Patriot family welcomed the two back onto campus on Thursday as they honored them by presenting them special gifts from the University of the Cumberlands Alumni Services department. The gifts were presented by Athletic Director Randy Vernon and Director of Alumni Services Dave Bergman.
Both Patriot basketball programs are proud to have these two representatives as part of their history. It is because of the accomplishments of individuals like Richardson and Smith that the Patriot programs continue their prolonged success year in and year out in the Mid-South Conference and the NAIA.
Caption: Left to right: Dave Bergman, Soni Smith, Roger Richardson, and Randy Vernon