Jim Ellis - 1967
Jim Ellis was a standout on the basketball court during his three seasons at Bridgewater College. His head coach at the time, Mel Myers, called Ellis “the best combined ball-handler, boardman and scorer the College has ever had.”
Ellis averaged a double-double during his three seasons, averaging 18.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
Ellis helped lead the 1967 Bridgewater team to a new program record for victories with 18 as the Eagles advanced to the championship game of the Mason-Dixon tournament. Bridgewater reached the title game with wins over Loyola and Old Dominion before losing in the championship game to Mount Saint Mary’s. Ellis averaged 21.0 points and 11.8 rebounds per game as a senior and was named to the Virginia All-State Small College First Team.
Ellis also recorded the program’s first triple-double with 23 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists in a game against Western Maryland during the 1966-67 season. He still holds program single-season records for free throws made with 168 and free throws attempted with 214.
Following graduation, Ellis embarked on a career in education as a high school teacher and coach spanning 32 years. Ellis was named the City/County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year in 1975 by the (Staunton, Va.) Daily News Leader. In 1990 he was included in Who’s Who Among American Teachers. For the past five years, Ellis has been driving special needs children for the Augusta County School System.
In recognition of his outstanding basketball career while a student-athlete, Jim Ellis is deserving of induction into the Bridgewater College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Sarah French – 2002
Sarah French was a two-sport standout while a student-athlete at Bridgewater College, earning all-conference recognition in both volleyball and softball.
French was a two-time All-ODAC first team selection in volleyball, receiving the honor during her junior and senior seasons. As a junior, French helped lead the Eagles to the ODAC Championship and a trip to the NCAA Division III national tournament. She was named the ODAC Tournament Most Valuable Player during the 2000 title run.
French finished her playing career with 965 kills and 1,232 digs, ranking second all-time at Bridgewater in both categories when she graduated. She still ranks in the Top 10 in the Eagles career record book, checking in at No. 5 all-time in digs and No 10 all-time in kills. She served as a team captain during her final three years in the program,
French also excelled on the softball diamond. She played three seasons for the Eagles and earned first-team All-ODAC honors during her freshman and sophomore seasons.
French put up huge numbers as a freshman when she hit for a 436 average. She set new BC single-season records for hits, runs, triples, total bases and runs batted in. In addition to her All-ODAC honor, French was named to the All-State first team and the All-Atlantic Region second team.
A stellar defensive shortstop, French turned in another strong season as a sophomore with a .381 batting average and was named to the All-Atlantic Region first team.
French still ranks No. 1 in career triples at Bridgewater with 18 and holds the Bridgewater and ODAC single-season record for triples with 13 during the 1999 season.
French also excelled in the classroom where she was a two-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) academic All-American and an All-ODAC Academic selection..
Following graduation, French embarked on a career in education and has taught in the Spotsylvania County Public School system for 15 years. French has coached several different sports at the middle school and high school levels and is currently the athletics director and a teacher at her school. She also is a member of the Concussion Management Team for her school division. French also served as an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Mary Washington from 2007-12. She earned her master’s degree in Sport Psychology from Capella University.
In recognition of her outstanding career while a student-athlete, Sarah French is worthy of induction into the Bridgewater College Athletics Hall of Fame.
Sarah Irvine guided the Bridgewater College Equestrian program from its infancy to one of the top programs in the region during her tenure as the program’s director.
Irvine was hired as the program’s first coach in 2001. Over the next decade, the program won two regional titles, a pair of ODAC Championships and one Zones title. The program also finished second at the ODAC show four times and second in the regional standings four times. The program started with six riders in 2000 and grew to 140 riders enrolled in the program during her final year.
Bridgewater won its first IHSA regional title in 2006 and added ODAC titles in 2007 and 2009. Irvine was named ODAC Coach of the Year during both championship runs.
In her final season at the helm, Irvine led the Eagles to another regional crown and the program’s first-ever Zones title. The victory at Zones qualified the Eagles for the IHSA National Show for the first time where the team placed fifth overall.
During her time as head coach, Irvine coached 14 riders who qualified for the IHSA National Show, including one national champion – Cary Chenoweth, who won the national crown in intermediate over fences in the program’s second year of competition. Irvine also mentored two ODAC Riders of the Year and four ODAC Rookies of the Year.
During the 1980s, Irvine was a member of the coaching staff at Southern Seminary College during the school’s reign as IHSA National Champion Southern Seminary won the national title 10 times. Irvine also started the riding programs at Washington and Lee and James Madison before arriving a Bridgewater.
An accomplished rider and trainer, Irvine is a member of the Southwest Virginia Hunters/Jumpers Association Hall of Fame. She won classes as a rider at the prestigious Washington International, Harrisburg National and Lake Placid shows.
Irvine holds a master’s degree in education from the University of Virginia.
In recognition of her contributions to the Bridgewater College riding program during her tenure as head coach and director of riding, Sarah Irvine is worthy of induction into the Bridgewater College Athletics Hall of Fame.
Jeff Smith was a two-sport standout while at Bridgewater College, earning All-Conference recognition in both basketball and track and field.
Smith transferred to Bridgewater after playing two seasons at quarterback for the University of Richmond.
As a junior at Bridgewater, he averaged 13 points and 6.8 assists per game, ranking second in assists in the ODAC. His senior season, he was second in the ODAC in scoring with a 19.0 average and was named to the All-ODAC first team. Smith was the College’s first-ever All-ODAC first-team pick in men’s basketball.
Smith is still the lone player in Bridgewater history to score more than 1,000 points while also handing out more than 300 assists, finishing his career with 1,063 points and 342 assists. He finished his playing career averaging 15.6 points and five assists per game.
On the track he earned all-conference honors in the high hurdles (both indoor and outdoor), the intermediate hurdles and the long jump. He was a member of two ODAC championship teams.
Following graduation, Smith remained active in local sports, coaching AAU and high school basketball for more than 10 years. Smith is currently a Senior Vice-President with First Bank in Harrisonburg, Va.
In recognition of his accomplishments while a student-athlete, Smith is worthy of induction into the Bridgewater College Athletics Hall of Fame.