Rocky Mount, N.C. - Homecoming is a special event on any college campus, and for three individuals, this year’s festivities were especially memorable. On Saturday night, October 29th, the North Carolina Wesleyan Department of Athletics officially inducted former head coach Tony Guzzo and men’s basketball All-Americans Jamar Jones and Chris Moody into its Athletics Hall of Fame. The three comprised the 13th class of inductees and bring the total number of those honored since 1999 to 51 various athletes, administrators, coaches and contributors.
Tony Guzzo enjoyed tremendous success as head coach of the North Carolina Wesleyan baseball program from 1978 to 1982. The ’81 season saw Guzzo officially establish Wesleyan as a national contender with a 33-13 overall record, as well as secure the program’s first regular season league title. With an almost identical performance in ’82, Guzzo continued to build upon the program’s newfound success by again capturing the DIAC regular season crown, the South Region championship and a fourth-place World Series showing. The ’82 Bishops, in fact, were ranked #1 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball magazine as Guzzo was tabbed District Coach of the Year for a second straight season. A two-time finalist for Division III National Coach of the Year, he completed his Wesleyan career with 102 wins.
Guzzo’s former player, Earl Roberson, presented him with his award. Both delivered emotional speeches that spoke to the importance that Wesleyan played in lives of so many, and both eluded to the hard work it took to establish the Bishop baseball tradition.
“I am truly humbled to be chosen as a North Carolina Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Famer,” said Guzzo. “I share this honor with all of those players who sacrificed so much for me and this program, and I will remember this day the rest of my life.”
All-American teammates Jamar Jones and Chris Moody became Wesleyan’s ninth and tenth Hall of Fame inductees from the men’s basketball program. Both four-year letterwinners, the two were instrumental in the Bishops’ success of the late ‘90s that culminated in 2000 with a 20-win season and regular season conference championship. For their efforts, the talented duo shared Co-Most Valuable Player accolades that season as the first set of basketball teammates to garner All-American honors simultaneously.
A native of Washington, D.C., Jamar Jones was a two-time All-Conference selection on the wing from 1995-2000. He finished his career with 375 assists and 1,518 points, which ranked third and fourth all-time, respectively, upon his graduation. Despite playing the guard position, Jones also left Wesleyan as the program’s 11th all-time leading rebounder with 440 boards during his career. He graduated from Wesleyan in 2000 with a degree in Computer Information Systems and now serves as a teacher and coach in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Jones was presented by his former coach and current Director of Athletics, John Thompson, who shared stories of Jamar’s Wesleyan career. Jones proceeded to thank Thompson and praise the community that took him in as a freshman.
“I am so grateful and appreciative to North Carolina Wesleyan, the Rocky Mount community and Coach Thompson for what they have meant in life,” said Jones. “Coach Thompson was so much more than a coach… he was a brother, a friend and a father-figure that helped shape me into the man I am today. I am truly honored to receive this award in front of my family and peers.”
Chris Moody joined Thompson’s Bishops for a stellar career in the post from 1996-2000. Despite playing alongside the program’s all-time leading rebounder, All-American Marquis McDougald (’09 Hall of Famer), Moody managed an impressive 797 career rebounds himself, which ranked second upon his graduation. He finished his career as one of only two players to score over 1,000 points and grab over 700 rebounds… a feat that holds true today. He, too, is a 2000 graduate, having earned his degree in Physical Education.
Moody was introduced by his mother, Agnes, who like so many others throughout the evening, praised Wesleyan for what the College meant to her family. She, too, showed appreciation to Thompson, noting that he would forever be a member of her family’s “Hall of Fame.”
Moody proceeded to close out the evening by thanking so many that helped him attain this honor. He summed up what proved to be a wonderful ceremony with a simple statement to his fellow award-winners: “Job well done.”
The Department of Athletics extends sincere congratulations to each of the 2011 inductees, whose contributions to the overall mission of the College have been exhibited in their successes and accomplishments both on and off the field. To these inductees, the Battling Bishops offer thanks and admiration by bestowing this honor upon them.