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D.C. Sports Hall of Fame announces 2020 class, including title-winning Nats and Mystics

Coach Herman Boone talks with guard Johnny Colantuoni (62) and other players from T.C. Williams High in 1977. (AP)

Herman Boone, who led T.C. Williams High to a Virginia state championship in 1971 and inspired the film “Remember the Titans”; Washington Redskins wide receiver Gary Clark; two-time World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis; and Maryland men’s basketball great John Lucas are among the members of the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame’s 2020 class, announced Tuesday.

The 2019 Washington Nationals and Washington Mystics will be honored as “Teams of Distinction” after capturing their first titles last year, while radio personality Ken Beatrice, 1971 NBA draft No. 1 pick Austin Carr and local basketball coaching legends Bob Dwyer and Wil Jones round out the list of eight individuals who will be inducted on a date to be determined. The ceremony is typically held at Nationals Park before a game, but the Major League Baseball season remains suspended amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the players and owners have been unable to agree on a plan to return.

“The adage, ‘good things come to those who wait,’ is certainly applicable for this year’s outstanding group of honorees, especially since there will be a necessary delay in formally inducting these impressive individuals and championship teams into the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame,” chairman Bobby Goldwater said in a news release.

Boone, who died in December at 84, became the only black head football coach in Northern Virginia in 1971 when school officials surprisingly tapped him to lead T.C. Williams after Alexandria merged its three high schools. With Bill Yoast, who died in May 2019, serving as Boone’s top assistant, the Titans shut out eight of their 12 opponents en route to the championship game, where they blanked Salem’s Andrew Lewis High to complete a perfect 13-0 season. Boone retired from coaching in 1979, and Denzel Washington portrayed him in the 2000 Disney movie.

After a standout career at JMU and a brief stint in the USFL, Clark played eight of his 11 NFL seasons in Washington, helping the Redskins win two Super Bowls.

Ellis was born in England but moved to Northern Virginia as a teenager and starred at Robinson Secondary School and Braddock Road Youth Club before playing college soccer at William & Mary. She announced she was stepping down as coach of the U.S. women’s national team after leading the Americans to their second consecutive World Cup title in July.

Lucas leads this year’s basketball-heavy class of honorees. A four-year starter and three-time first-team all-ACC selection at Maryland, where he also starred for the Terrapins’ tennis team, Lucas played 13 seasons in the NBA after the Houston Rockets made him the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1976. After battling drug addiction during his pro career, Lucas has operated a substance abuse recovery program for athletes since 1986, and he coached 431 games in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Carr was the No. 1 pick five years before Lucas, after the former Mackin High star guard averaged 38 points in his final season at Notre Dame. He went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA.

Dwyer, who died at 91 in 2007, led the Archbishop Carroll boys’ basketball team, which included John Thompson Jr., Edward “Monk” Malloy and George Leftwich, to a 55-game winning streak from 1958 to 1960. During Dwyer’s nine seasons at the helm, Carroll became the first integrated team in the Washington area’s Catholic league.

Jones, who died in 2014 at 75, was a star point guard at Dunbar High and American University before getting into coaching. In 1982, he led the University of the District of Columbia to the Division II national title.

Beatrice talked about many of these names as the host of WMAL-AM’s “Sports Call” from 1977 to 1995. Beatrice, whose signature was introducing callers by shouting, “You’re next!” continued hosting “Sports Call” on what is now The Team 980 until retiring in 2000. He died in 2015 at 72.

What Ken Beatrice meant to one long-time D.C. sports fan

Last year, the 2017-18 Capitals became the first team to be honored by the Hall for making “a significant and positive impact in the Greater Washington community through outstanding achievement.” Now they’ll be joined by the Nationals and Mystics.

The D.C. Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1980 but went dormant for about a decade starting around 2001. Nominees for inclusion, as determined by a 13-member selection committee headed by Goldwater, “must have gained prominence in the Washington area through their achievements in sports as an athlete, coach, owner, executive, member of the media or contributor.” Honorees’ names are displayed on a sign hanging beyond the left field bleachers at Nationals Park.

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