Spi­ders

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS - BY JOHN O’CON­NOR Richmond Times-Dis­patch

For­mer bas­ket­ball coach’s ex­tended Spi­ders fam­ily passed on tal­ent to an­other gen­er­a­tion of ath­letes in a va­ri­ety of sports for a num­ber of pro­grams

Dick Tar­rant must feel like a hoops pa­tri­arch whose ex­tended fam­ily is pop­u­lated by re­mark­ably ath­letic off­spring.

With Tar­rant as coach dur­ing 1982-93, Univer­sity of Richmond bas­ket­ball trans­formed into some­thing it had never be­fore been: a con­sis­tent win­ner and league cham­pi­onship con­tender that pulled NCAA tour­na­ment up­sets. Tar­rant led UR to five NCAA tour­na­ments and four NITs. Tar­rant’s 1988 Spi­ders ad­vanced to the Sweet 16, and his 1991 team be­came the first No. 15 seed in the NCAA tour­na­ment to beat a No. 2 seed (Syra­cuse).

Tar­rant was named CAA coach of the year four times. He was in­ducted into the UR Hall of Fame in 1994, and 11 of his for­mer play­ers — Ken Atkin­son, Greg Beck­with, Cur­tis Blair, John Davis, Bill Flye, Kelvin John­son, John New­man, John Sch­weitz, Mike Winiecki, Peter Wool­folk, and Kenny Wood — joined him in Richmond’s ath­let­ics shrine.

Th­ese for­mer Spi­ders stars and oth­ers who played for Tar­rant are now fa­thers, and many have chil­dren who stood out, or are stand­ing out, as ath­letes.

Greg Beck­with (198386), a guard, holds the Spi­ders’ ca­reer record for as­sists and ranks sec­ond in steals. A for­mer UR as­sis­tant coach, he of­fers anal­y­sis on Richmond bas­ket­ball ra­dio broad­casts. His daugh­ter, Brit­tany, played soc­cer at VCU dur­ing 2015-18 af­ter at­tend­ing Mid­loth­ian High.

Cur­tis Blair (1989-92), a guard, scored 1,630 points as a three-year starter, and now the Rich­mon­der works as an NBA of­fi­cial. His son, Cur­tis Blair ,is a 6-5 ris­ing sopho­more guard at The Ste­ward School and is con­sid­ered one of the top young prep play­ers in the re­gion.

John Davis (1983-86), a for­ward, is one of the top de­fen­sive play­ers in mod­ern UR bas­ket­ball his­tory. His son, Trey, was a three­year starter (2014-16) who also ex­celled as a de­fender af­ter en­rolling at Richmond fol­low­ing his grad­u­a­tion from Bene­dic­tine.

Bill Doo­ley (1982-83), a for­ward, was a phys­i­cal de­fender and re­bounder who later joined Tar­rant’s staff and then suc­ceeded Tar­rant in 1993. Doo­ley spent four sea­sons as UR’s coach. His son, Billy, a guard, went to Amer­i­can Univer­sity to play bas­ket­ball. His ca­reer was cut short by in­jury.

Eric English (1987-89), a guard, de­vel­oped into a dou­ble-fig­ure scorer, but was best known for de­fen­sive con­tri­bu­tions, and his post­grad­u­ate ca­reer. English be­came a high school hoops of­fi­cial and Richmond po­lice of­fi­cer. He now is the chief of po­lice in Har­rison­burg. His son, Jor­dan, was a guard at Divi­sion III Vir­ginia Wes­leyan af­ter play­ing at

Hen­rico High.

Kelvin John­son (198285), a guard, was a fouryear starter in Tar­rant’s first four sea­sons. John­son fin­ished with 1,400 points. His son, 6-1 Xavier, from Ger­man­town, Md., started at Ge­orge Ma­son as a fresh­man this sea­son and fin­ished with a scor­ing av­er­age of 7.1 points.

Steve Kratzer (198588), a cen­ter, was a three­year starter who sta­bi­lized mat­ters in­side on some of UR’s finest teams. His daugh­ter, Megan ,isaHanover High grad­u­ate who plays vol­ley­ball at High Point. As a fresh­man in 2019, she was named to the Big South Con­fer­ence all-fresh­man team.

John New­man (198386), a for­ward, is the lead­ing ca­reer scorer in Spi­ders his­tory (2,383 points) and played 16 years in the NBA. His son, John, a guard from Smith­field, played at Divi­sion II St. Au­gus­tine’s.

Rod­ney Rice (1986-88), a guard, scored 1,097 points in three sea­sons as a Spi­der af­ter trans­fer­ring from Boston Col­lege. His son, Rod­ney, is a 6-4 guard at The Bullis School (Class of 2022) in Po­tomac, Md., who is be­ing re­cruited by high-ma­jor pro­grams.

Jim Shields (1989-92), a cen­ter, was a three-year starter who played on four post­sea­son teams (two NCAAs, two NITs). His daugh­ter, Emma, is a ris­ing ju­nior bas­ket­ball stand­out in Troy, N.Y., who’s be­ing re­cruited by Divi­sion I schools.

Kenny Wood (1990-93), a for­ward, scored 1,427 points to go with 717 re­bounds. His son, James (Class of 2021), is a 6-6 pitcher/out­fielder from Ol­ney, Md., who orally com­mit­ted to Mis­sis­sippi State and is pro­jected as a se­lec­tion in next year’s MLB draft. One of Wood’s daugh­ters, Syd­ney, re­cently com­pleted her sopho­more sea­son as a starter at North­west­ern, where she av­er­aged 5.1 points and 4.5 re­bounds, earn­ing all-Big Ten honor­able men­tion for a 26-4 team (16-2 Big Ten).

Peter Wool­folk (198588), a for­ward from Richmond’s Jef­fer­son­Huguenot-Wythe High, started three sea­sons, and com­pleted his UR ca­reer with 1,604 points. His son, Jay, stars in foot­ball (quar­ter­back) and base­ball (pitcher) at Bene­dic­tine. The ris­ing se­nior in De­cem­ber com­mit­ted to Vir­ginia, where he in­tends to play both sports.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATI­ON; PHO­TOS BY FILE, MARK GORMUS AND ALEXA WELCH EDLUND/TIMES-DIS­PATCH AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Wes McEl­roy Dick Tar­rant (cen­ter) trans­formed the UR bas­ket­ball pro­gram into a con­sis­tent win­ner, and 11 of his for­mer play­ers joined him in the UR Hall of Fame. Sev­eral chil­dren of many of those stars and oth­ers who played for Tar­rant stand out as ath­letes in­clud­ing (from left) Ge­orge Ma­son bas­ket­ball guard Xavier John­son, Bene­dic­tine QB Jay Wool­folk, High Point vol­ley­ball player Megan Kratzer, NBA ref­eree Cur­tis Blair and his son of the same name, a prep hoops stand­out at The Ste­ward School, for­mer VCU soc­cer player Brit­tany Beck­with and for­mer UR de­fen­sive stand­out Trey Davis.

1991, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

RIGHT: In 1991, Richmond’s Kenny Wood helped the Spi­ders to an NCAA tour­na­ment up­set of Syra­cuse and LeRon Ellis in Col­lege Park, Md.

DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

ABOVE: Jay Wool­folk, the son of for­mer UR bas­ket­ball stand­out Peter Wool­folk, has starred on the foot­ball field and the base­ball di­a­mond at Bene­dic­tine.

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