Five added to Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame Class for 2019
The Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019 will include representatives from baseball, football, men’s basketball, men’s cross country/track & field and women’s basketball.
The five-member class, the 11th to be inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame, will be honored during special ceremonies surrounding Liberty’s football matchup with Buffalo on Sept. 14 at Williams Stadium.
The five-member class includes Renard Brown (baseball), Johnnie Engelhardt (men’s cross country/track & field), Steve Isaacs (men’s basketball), Mickey Paige (football) and Sharon [Wilkerson] Emory (women’s basketball).
The Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Sept. 13 on the Club Pavilion level of the Williams Stadium Tower. Additionally, the five-member class will receive special recognition during the Buffalo contest the evening following the ceremony.
The Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame celebrates the best of the best, honoring those who helped shape the face of Liberty Athletics. The Hall of Fame’s now 57 members have each played a key role in helping Liberty grow from an NCCAA program in 1972 to its current status as a thriving NCAA Division I program.
Renard Brown’s impact on Liberty’s record book still stands today despite him last stepping on the diamond for the Flames nearly four decades ago.
Brown finished his three-year career at Liberty with a .376 batting average, which ranks second in school history to fellow Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Sid Bream. He also ranks inside the top 10 of several other career categories, including runs (eighth, 153), triples (third, 20) and walks (tenth, 88).
The native of Baltimore, Md., was an NAIA All-America honorable mention selection in 1981 and helped the Flames advance to the NAIA World Series after winning the NAIA District 19 and Area 8 tournament events. As a senior in 1982, he led the Flames with a .409 batting average, 56 RBI and 67 hits.
Following his stellar career at Liberty, Brown was selected in the third round of the 1982 Major League Baseball Draft by the Seattle Mariners. He had a six-year professional baseball career, playing four years in the Seattle organization and two more for Milwaukee, reaching as high as the AAA level in 1984.
Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field: 1982-84
Following a six-year stint serving our country in the United States Army, Johnnie Engelhardt came to Liberty where he became the Flames’ first NCAA Division II men’s cross country All-American.
Engelhardt individually placed 12th at the 1983 NCAA Division II Men’s Cross Country National Championship, which earned him All-America status. His 12th-place showing helped Liberty finish in 10th place as a team after the Flames captured the Division II South Regional title. En route to success at nationals, he also helped Liberty claim the program’s first-ever Mason-Dixon Conference title in 1983 with his third-place showing at the championship event.
The native of Willingboro, N.J., also found success in the distance events for the Flames’ track & field programs. He earned NAIA All-America honors in the indoor two-mile run in 1983 and was named the MVP of the 1983 NAIA Indoor District 29 Championship.
Engelhardt still holds the program record in the marathon when he clocked a second-place time of 2:25.19 in the Carolina Marathon in 1983. He also ranks among the Flames’ all-time top 10 performers in the indoor 1,500 (third place), outdoor distance medley relay (sixth place) and 10K (10th place).
Men’s Basketball: 1980-83
Liberty’s all-time career leader in rebounding, Steve Isaacs continually crashed the boards for the Flames to help him become the eighth men’s basketball player to join the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame.
Isaacs completed his stellar four-year career with 1,130 career rebounds and is one of only three players in program history with 1,000 career boards. He also ranks fifth in program history, having scored 1,777 career points, while averaging 14.2 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per contest for the Flames on the hardwood.
The Flames posted a pair of 20-win seasons during his time at Liberty, including a 28-11 record during his freshman year, which ranks first in school history in wins in a season in the pre-Division I era. Isaacs’ strong play as a freshman helped the Flames capture the 1980 NCCAA national championship.
Isaacs was named to two All-America teams during his collegiate career, earning NAIA All-America honorable mention status in 1982 and a spot on the 1983 NAIA All-America second team. The native of Cincinnati, Ohio, finished his career with 26 20-point games and three 30-point games.
Mickey Paige, Liberty’s first NCAA Division I football All-American, set standards at Liberty that have only been matched by a fellow Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer.
The hometown native of Lynchburg, Va., finished his four-year career as a Flame with 427 career tackles, which ranks second to 2012 Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame inductee John Sanders. The pair are the only two players in program history with 400 or more career tackles.
Paige, a linebacker for the Flames, was a two-time All-American. He earned Football Gazette first-team All-America status in 1997 and was named to the Football Gazette third team in 1988 during the Flames’ first year at the NCAA Division I level.
Paige finished the last three years of his career posting 100 or more tackles per season and set program records with 113 assisted tackles and four fumble recoveries in 1988 as a senior. His tackle total of 150 in 1987 still ranks second in school history, missing the program record by one.
Following his playing days on Liberty Mountain, Paige signed a free agent contract with the Washington Commandos of the Arena Football League in 1989 where he played for two seasons.
Sharon [Wilkerson] Emory
Women’s Basketball: 1997-2000
Sharon [Wilkerson] Emory is the second member of a key three-player group to be inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame, helping establish women’s basketball as one of the most dominant programs in school history.
Emory, along with her twin sister Sarah [Wilkerson] Erps and 2009 Liberty Athletics Hall of Famer Elena [Kisseleva] Bengds, helped turn a fledgling women’s basketball program that was 5-22 prior to their arrival into a team that won four straight Big South titles during her career and made the first four of the program’s 17 trips to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The native of Princeton, W.Va., ranks fifth in program history, having scored 1,733 career points, and is the program’s all-time leader with 304 career steals. She also ranks second in career three-point field goals (172), three-point field goal percentage (36.3) and minutes played (3,712) and fourth in free throws (361) and free throw shooting percentage (77.3).
Emory was a four-time All-Big South first-team honoree and was named to the Big South All-Tournament team three times. During her senior year, she was honored as the 2000 Big South Player of the Year after she averaged 13.9 points per game and shot 47.6 percent from the field (159-of-334) and 38.5 percent from three-point range (37-of-96).