Catawba Inducts Sports Hall of Fame Class for 2015
November 16, 2015
Jim Tomsula ’90, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and Jim Gantt ’89, head baseball coach who consistently leads his teams to championship play, are among the alumni Catawba College inducted into its Sports Hall of Fame Class for 2015. Other inductees marking the Hall of Fame’s 28th anniversary included Mike Reynolds ’70 and Art Wade '98.
The Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1977 and this year's inductees brings the total number of members to 179.
Following are the achievements of this year's inductees:
Gantt played baseball at Catawba from 1985-89 and earned all-conference honors in 1988. He has made a huge impact as the Catawba baseball coach, taking the team to a pair of NCAA II College World Series appearances.
As a player, Gantt hit .297 over a 105 game career as a third baseman for the Catawba Indians. In his all-conference campaign of 1988, he batted .322 and drove in a dozen runs in helping Catawba to its first conference championship in 24 years.
In 1997, Gantt took over as the head coach with Catawba and has notched 683 wins over 19 seasons. He has been named the South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year seven times. In 2012 and 2015 the Indians advanced to the NCAA II World Series and he guided the team to a runner-up finish this past season.
Gantt has led the Indians to eight conference championships and six league tournament titles during his tenure. Catawba has advanced to NCAA regional play nine times. In addition to his success with Catawba, Gantt has led the Rowan County American Legion team to a pair of World Series appearances and was twice named the North Carolina Amateur Coach of the Year. Earlier this year, he was inducted into the North Carolina American Legion Hall of Fame.
Gantt is married to Adrian Whitley Gantt. They have a three-year-old daughter, Blakely Kiah Gantt.
Reynolds was a two-sport standout for Catawba, starting four years in both football and baseball. In 1970, he was a 26th round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox and advanced as far as AA ball. He was a three-time minor league All-Star. He roomed with Bucky Dent in rookie ball and also played with well-known major leaguers Jerry Hairston, Brian Downing and Goose Gossage.
At Catawba, Reynolds was a two-time All-NAIA District 26 performer in both sports. He played both receiver and defensive back in football and was co-captain as a senior. He made 35 career catches for 443 yards and had at least six interceptions as that stat is only available for two of his seasons.
As a catcher in baseball, Reynolds had a .264 career average with 12 homers and 61 RBI. He batted .318 as a freshman and hit five home runs as a sophomore. One of his biggest games came as a junior when he collected seven RBI in a win over Atlantic Christian.
Reynolds has been elected to the Williamston High School and Gloucester County (NJ) Halls of Fame. He and his wife, Mary Ann, have four children, Dan, Elizabeth, Brad and Rebecca, as well as seven grandchildren.
Tomsula played two years of football for Catawba and helped the team to a share of the 1988 South Atlantic Conference championship and its first NAIA National Playoff berth. Following his playing career, Tomsula returned to Catawba as an assistant coach before entering the professional ranks, first with NFL Europe then with the San Francisco 49ers where he now serves as the head coach.
Tomsula made 109 tackles in two seasons as a defensive lineman for the Indians. Among those stops were five sacks and another six for losses.
Returning as an assistant coach for Catawba in 1996, Tomsula helped his alma mater to four SAC Championships and four NCAA playoff berths. In 2001, Catawba advanced to the national semifinals.
Tomsula spent several years as a coach in NFL Europe and was the defensive coordinator for the Berlin Thunder in 2004 when they claimed the World Bowl title. He became the head coach for the Rhine Fire in 2006 before the league finally folded.
In 2007, Tomsula joined the staff of the San Francisco 49ers as a defensive line coach. He helped the team to three playoff berths and a Super Bowl appearance in 2012. He had served as an interim head coach for one game of the 2010 season and was named the 49ers head coach following the 2014 season.
Tomsula and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Britney and Brooke, and a son, Bear.
Wade was a three-year starter in men’s basketball and helped the team to a pair of conference championship teams. In 1998, he was named the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year in helping the Indians to its first-ever NCAA II post-season berth.
Wade enjoyed a stellar career at Catawba, scoring 1,492 points which currently ranks 15th in school history. He also ranks among the top 10 all-time in three-pointers made (134), free throws made (370), free throw percentage (.781) and assists (423).
In 1998, Wade led the team in scoring with a 16.5 average and was named All-South and a NCAA II All-American. He was named All-SAC in his final three seasons. Wade was the SAC Tournament MVP in 1998, tying the school record with nine three-pointers in the finals against Wingate.