HARRISONBURG, Va., Jan. 24, 2013 -- Dean Ehlers, James Madison University's first athletics director, joins the class of 2013 in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. The Class of 2013 also includes Franklin Allen, Cornell Brown, Lawrence Burton, Robert Pratt, Bill Roth and Dick Tarrant.
Ehlers started at JMU in 1971, growing the school's athletic program with no conference affiliation, no football program and no athletics scholarships into a nationally-spotlighted Division I program. Over his 22-year tenure, Ehlers served as a leader for JMU athletics and intercollegiate sports. He was the president of the Eastern College Athletic Conference and was a founding father of the Colonial Athletic Association, which he also served as president. Ehlers assisted with multiple NCAA committees during his career, a true testament to his passion for intercollegiate athletics.
An advocate for student-athletes, Ehlers and Leotus "Lee" Morrison, former head of women's intercollegiate sports programs, lead the way in the ideals of teaching life-long skills through sports. Ehlers joins Morrison in the Virginia Hall of Fame, as Morrison was inducted with the Class of 2000.
After years of holding committee positions, serving as president of different conferences, coaching, and more, Ehlers retired from Madison in 1993. The Colonial Athletic Association established the Dean Ehlers award in 1995, which recognizes one male and female basketball student-athlete who "Embody the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship through their academic and athletics achievements."
Other previous JMU inductees include Morrison, football's Gary Clark (2007) and Charles Haley (2006), men's basketball coach Lefty Driesell (1995), women's basketball coach Betty Jaynes (2008), administrator Dr. Caroline SInclair (1996) and women's basketball and field hockey player and high school coach Gracie Lee VanDyck (2002).
Ehlers will be recognized during the men's basketball game against Old Dominion University on January 26, 2013 at the Convocation Center.
The 42nd annual induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel & Waterfront Conference Center. Tickets are available for the Hall of Fame weekend. For more information, call (757)393-8031 or visit www.vshfm.com