Michael Gilmartin often batted leadoff for the Wofford baseball team, but he never went first in a lineup quite like this.
“Definitely more nerve-wracking than leading off a game,” he said.
Gilmartin, who played from 2007-09, was inducted into the school’s athletics hall of fame Saturday and gave the first acceptance speech. Also going in were football players Jared Singleton and Alvin Scioneaux (both played from 2009-12) and basketball player Howard Wilkerson (2002-06). Spartanburg associate chief magistrate Charlie Jones (class of 1973) was the honorary letterman and the late Rev. Talmage Skinner received the distinguished service award.
Gilmartin is the most recent graduate. He left Wofford early to turn pro and then returned last spring to finish his degree in history.
“Obviously, when you start school, you want to go ahead and finish,” he said. “I took a little break and then came back. It was different begin older than everybody else. Once I left pro ball, that was the hardest part of everything. But it felt really good.”
Gilmartin, from Moorpark, Calif., was a shortstop who started every game during his three years at Wofford and also became the team’s most reliable relief pitcher. He was all-Southern Conference all three years, batting .322, .364 and then .335 before being drafted by the Oakland Athletics. In his final season, he led the team in home runs (10) and saves (seven).
Singleton and Scioneaux, who both became All-Americans, helped Wofford to a couple of Southern Conference championships and three trips to the FCS playoffs with a postseason victory each time.
“We came in and we weren’t that great (3-8 overall and 2-6 in the Southern Conference during their redshirt season of 2009),” said Singleton, an offensive lineman who won the Remington Award for top center in the country. “Our class wanted to change things. So we worked extremely hard in the offseason. And it worked out fine.”
Singleton, from Lugoff-Elgin High School, was first-team all-conference three times. He finished with 399 knockdown blocks, including a school-record 224 as a junior. Scioneaux, a linebacker from Garyville, La., was all-conference three times and was on the watch list for FCS national defensive player of the year. They were both introduced by former head coach Mike Ayers.
“I really appreciated him being here,” Scioneaux said. “You can’t have a better person to induct you into the Hall of Fame than the legendary Coach Ayers. He gave us so many values that we applied not only to football but to life. … It was great to go in with Jared. We both came from redshirt seasons to winning championships to being All-American and now going into the Hall of Fame. It brings back a lot of memories about how far we actually came.”
Wilkerson was not at the ceremony because, even at age 35, he is still playing overseas. But after Wofford head coach Mike Young made the introduction, Wilkerson made his acceptance speech by recorded video.
“I’ve been all over the world and I’ve won MVP awards,” Wilkerson said. “But this tops it all.”
September 8, 2018 | Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC)
Author/Byline: Todd Shanesy | Section: News