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
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.
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.
RIGHT: In 1991, Richmond’s Kenny Wood helped the Spiders to an NCAA tournament upset of Syracuse and LeRon Ellis in College Park, Md.
ABOVE: Jay Woolfolk, the son of former UR basketball standout Peter Woolfolk, has starred on the football field and the baseball diamond at Benedictine.