LEBANON, Tenn. – RSVP for Cumberland University's 29th Annual Sports Hall of Fame banquet by this Friday, September 30. The banquet is set for Friday, October 6 at 6 p.m. in Baird Chapel, with former student-athletes Danielle Henry (softball), Brandon Springer (basketball) and Corey Bleaken (wrestling) as well as administrator and contributor Pat Lawson set for induction that evening.
Tickets for the dinner are $25 per person and may be reserved by calling Jo Jo Freeman at 615-547-1350 or emailing email@example.com. The four individuals will be honored Homecoming weekend on October 6-7 with a dinner on Friday night and recognized during Saturday’s football game against Cincinnati Christian.
Henry played her final two seasons at Cumberland, enrolling in January 2001 after spending two years at Hiwassee College. The Knoxville, Tenn., native was a member of the Mid-South Conference Championship club in 2001 and ended her career with Mid-South Conference and NAIA Region XI Player of the Year accolades in 2002.
Springer earned Second Team NAIA All-America honors as a senior for the Phoenix, averaging 22.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per contest. The Nashville, Tenn., native added 2.1 assists and 2.2 steals that year, netting 20-plus points on 19 occasions along with six 30-plus point contests and 15 double-doubles.
He recorded 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds as a junior at CU on a club with seven seniors that was the last to reach the NAIA National Tournament. Springer netted double-digits in 23 of the club’s 31 games with six double-doubles and was named Honorable Mention All-America that season.
He garnered First Team All-TranSouth in both campaigns and was voted TranSouth Conference Player of the Year as a senior. He earned five TSAC Player of the Week accolades and one NAIA National Player of the Week honor during his career.
Bleaken was a three-time All-American at Cumberland and won the program’s second individual national championship, taking the title at 157 as a senior. The Clifton, N.J., native earned the prestigious Gorriaran Award as the NAIA Most Outstanding Wrestler in the national tournament in 2011, becoming the only CU student-athlete to garner the award. He posted a 27-7 mark as a senior and finished with 101 career victories.
He placed third in 2007 and seventh in 2009 at 149 to earn All-America accolades in each of those campaigns, collecting 40 wins on the mat during the 2007 campaign and 24 in 2009. Bleaken was a First Team All-Mid-South Conference selection and earned NAIA East Region Most Valuable Wrestler honors in 2011 as well.
Lawson spent almost 15 years at Cumberland continuously from 1993-2008, first as an undergraduate student, then a master’s student and finally in several roles within the Athletic Department before becoming Athletic Director in 2002.
The Nashville, Tenn., native was a student assistant for men’s basketball as an undergrad, working three years under Mike Petrone and one year with Paul Peck. After completing his bachelor’s, he returned the following year as a graduate assistant for Steven Corey.
He worked as Director of Marketing and Assistant Athletic Director before earning a promotion to Athletic Director in 2002, serving in that capacity for six years. Cumberland teams played in 22 national championships, including the 2004 baseball national title and a national runner-up finish from women’s basketball, during his tenure as AD.
He was instrumental in new construction and facility renovations in virtually every sport, including football, baseball, soccer, tennis, wrestling and softball, and helped secure the annual Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame banquet on the CU campus.
Lawson worked tirelessly on improving the overall student-athlete experience, grew the number of sports offered and the total number of student-athletes in the department, expanded the footprint of the athletic facilities and added to the staff size with full-time assistant coaches.