Bridgewater to induct four into Hall of Fame

Three stellar former Bridgewater College athletes and a former coach have been selected for induction into the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday, Oct. 14, in the Kline Campus Center, as part of Homecoming activities. The inductees will also be recognized the following day at half-time of the Eagles’ Homecoming football game against the Guilford College Quakers.

The inductees for 2011 are former men’s Eagles basketball coach Bill Leatherman of High Point, N.C.; Ronnie Howard ’94, of Broadway, Va.; Joe Browder ’66, of Kernersville, N.C.; and Patti Ann Riffle ’75, of Lewes, Del.

Leatherman was hired as Bridgewater’s head basketball coach in 1985 and turned the Eagles program into one of the most respected in the region. In just his second season at Bridgewater, Leatherman led the Eagles to the ODAC regular season title and, a year later, to the 1987-88 ODAC Championship, earning the college’s first-ever NCAA appearance in any sport.

Leatherman was named the ODAC Coach of the Year four times (1987,1989, 1996, 2005) and South Region Coach four times (1987, 1988, 1996, 2005). Following the 2005-06 season, Leatherman received the Guardians Award for Advocacy by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). The honor is one of the top awards in the college coaching profession.

Leatherman retired following the 2007-08 season and finished his career with a 335-262 record – the most wins for a men’s basketball coach in Bridgewater College history. In 2010 Leatherman received the 14th Annual Division III Outstanding Service Award from the NABC.

Ronnie Howard finished his playing career as one of the most productive players in the college’s football history.

He was named to the All-ODAC first team in 1991 and then capped his career with a record-breaking campaign in 1993. As a senior, Howard rushed for 1,610 yards to rank No. 4 in the nation. He was named to the All-ODAC first team and was recognized as the conference Player of the Year. He also received recognition on two All-American teams following the 1993 season.

Howard finished his career with 3,561 rushing yards and ranks No. 3 on the college’s all-time rushing list. He also amassed 5,780 all-purpose yards during his career, a total that still ranks No. 1 on the BC all-time charts.

Joe Browder was one of the most prolific basketball scorers and rebounders in program history. After transferring to Bridgewater in 1962, Browder became a fixture in the Eagles lineup, starting 80 consecutive games. He was named to the Virginia State College Division team three times and was the Eagles co-captain during his junior and senior seasons.

Browder finished his career with 1,381 points, averaging 17.3 points per game. Upon his graduation, he was ranked No. 3 in scoring all-time at Bridgewater and still ranks in the Top 15. He grabbed 582 rebounds to rank No. 1 on the all-time BC charts at the time of his graduation.

Patti Ann Riffle was a three-sport standout while a student-athlete at Bridgewater College. She played basketball, field hockey and tennis during each of her four years, earning a total of 12 letters during her career.

She was a team leader in all sports and served as captain of the basketball team and field hockey squad during her senior year.

Riffle averaged 9.5 points per game, finishing her basketball career with 703 points. She averaged 2.1 steals per game during her career to rank No. 9 on the all-time Bridgewater leaders’ list. During her four years on the basketball team, the Eagles compiled a 48-26 win-loss record.


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