First Women's Athletics Alumni Day

Posted on: Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 by Monica Hoel
Emory & Henry hosted its first Women’s Athletics Alumni Day on Saturday, Feb. 15. Despite challenging winter weather, turn-out was great and response was off the charts.

Emory & Henry hosted its first Women’s Athletics Alumni Day on Saturday, Feb. 15. Despite challenging winter weather, turn-out was great and response was off the charts.

The day began with a panel of alumni who talked about their careers and explained how Emory & Henry prepared them for their current vocations. Specifically, they each referenced ways that playing sports at E&H helped get them jobs and has helped them succeed in their work.

Dr. Rebecca Mumpower (E&H ’98) recalled the process of applying to medical school and noted that all they needed to know about her grades was on her transcript – the questions she received were about her involvement as a student-athlete. Her former basketball coach, Joy Scruggs, recounted that she, too, got questions when Rebecca was applying to med schools – but the questions were about what kind of team member she was.

Ashley Neese (E&H ’04), Assistant US Attorney, spoke of the alumni connections that opened doors for her after she finished her undergraduate preparation – citing opportunities in law school and first jobs that brought her in touch with fellow E&H graduates. 

Anne Wright Crutchfield (E&H ’89), head guidance counselor and basketball coach at Franklin County High School, backed up Ashley’s assertion of these important connections by stating “Your transcript will get you an interview, but your connections will get you a job.”

Other members of the career panel included elementary school teacher Brenda Copeland Byrd (E&H ’83), and physical therapist Sarah Caldwell Wellenhoffer (E&H ’04). Full biographies of each panelist are listed below.

All current female athletes were on hand for the event, and asked great questions of the panelists. Students also remained afterwards to meet and interact with the alumni presenters.

Former female athletes were also on hand to reconnect with old friends and meet current coaches and players.  After the morning session, alumni were offered tours of campus, a chance to shop at the bookstore, and an opportunity to watch the current women’s team beat Bridgewater 79-67.

During halftime of the ballgame, members of the 1988 E&H women’s basketball team were honored for winning the ODAC championship in 1988. A banner was raised in their honor, and former players joined Coach Joy Scruggs on the court for recognition.

Organizers are already making plans for the 2015 Women’s Athletics Alumni event!

Back Row: Shannon Piedmont (E&H '91, former softball coach), Beverly Sheddan Hatch (E&H '84, former women's tennis coach), Margaret Hutson (former volleyball coach, founder of E&H Sports Medicine program), Joy Scruggs (former women's basketball coach).
Front Row: Sarah Caldwell Wellenhoffer, Ashley Neese, Brenda Copeland Byrd, Anne Wright Crutchfield, Rebecca Mumpower.

Panelist Biographies:

Brenda Copeland Byrd (Volleyball/Track-E&H 1984).  Brenda is a Physical Education teacher in the Scott County, Virginia, school system, and was selected as a Project Fit America National All-Star Teacher in 2009.  She is also a trainer for Project Fit America program and has trained other teachers from across the U.S. to lead in the program.  Previous to accepting the position with the school system, Brenda worked in wellness centers at Eastman Chemical and at Holston Valley Medical Center.  After graduating from E&H, Brenda earned a Master’s degree in Physical Education/Exercise Physiology from University of Tennessee.  Brenda participated in both volleyball and track while at E&H, and in her senior year she received the Hall Award which goes to the most outstanding female athlete in the college.  Brenda is married to husband Dale and they have four children.  Oldest son Ked graduated from E&H in 2013, son Logan and daughter Maria are current E&H students, and youngest son Wesley is a student-athlete at Gate City HS.  Maria is a sophomore member of the E&H women’s soccer team and Logan is a student in the Athletic Training major at E&H.  Brenda and family reside in Weber City, Virginia.

Anne Wright Crutchfield (Women’s Basketball-E&H 1989).  Anne is the Head Girl’s Basketball Coach/Guidance Counselor at Franklin County High School where she has won 4 district tournaments and twice has been selected as the district Coach of the Year.  In her 7 years at Franklin County HS, Anne’s teams have appeared in 6 regional tournaments and she has a career coaching record of 122-66.  After completing a degree in mathematics at E&H, Anne went on to complete a master’s degree in Counselor Education at Virginia Tech and has had previous teaching/coaching stints at Patrick Henry HS and Martinsville HS.  Anne has also served as an assistant basketball coach at Ferrum College and helped guide that program to a NCAA Tournament appearance. She is also an active AAU coach.  While a women’s basketball student-athlete at E&H, Anne was a 4-time All-ODAC performer and was a member of the 1988 team that won the ODAC Championship.  She is a member of the Emory & Henry Sports Hall of Fame.  Anne is married to husband Jon (E&H Class of ’91), and the couple has three daughters: Hayley, Emily, and Maggie: Hayley and Emily are current E&H students.

Dr. Rebecca Mumpower (Women’s Basketball/Softball-E&H 1998).  Rebecca completed both medical school and residency at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  She served as an assistant professor at VCU before taking a position as a hospitalist with Carilion Clinic in Roanoke and later a similar position at Park Ridge Health in Hendersonville, NC.  She has also worked in primary care at Park Ridge.  Rebecca recently accepted contract positions with both Carilion Clinic and with Wellmont Healthcare in Kingsport again working as a hospitalist.  Rebecca has been very active in church-related mission work throughout her career.  Rebecca played two sports at E&H, and in addition to playing on the basketball team she was also a member of the inaugural softball team in 1995.   She was a 2nd team All-ODAC performer and was an Academic All-American in her senior year.  Rebecca, a Creed Fulton Scholar, completed her undergraduate degree at E&H in chemistry and served as a lab teaching assistant in both chemistry and physics.  Rebecca currently resides in Arden, North Carolina, with her dog, Angel and a cat, Lindy Sue.

Ashley Neese (Softball-E&H 2004).  Ashley attended law school at Ohio Northern University, where she graduated in the top 15% of her class and earned the Award for Excellence presented by the National Association of Women Lawyers.  A member of the bar in both Virginia and Tennessee, she currently serves as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Virginia.   She had previous stints in law offices in Bristol, Tennessee, and in Abingdon, Virginia, before assuming her current position in 2008.  While at E&H, Ashley majored in political science and minored in Economics.  She played center field on the softball team and earned All-ODAC honors as well as ODAC and state Academic honors.  Ashley is married to Curtis Bumgardner who is a soccer coach and teacher at Franklin County HS and they have three dogs, Oliver, Sadie and Tucker.

Sarah Caldwell Wellenhoffer (Softball-E&H 2004).  Sarah is a licensed Physical Therapist in both Virginia and Tennessee. She has been employed at Valley Health Care Center in Chilhowie since 2010 and was recently promoted to Director of Rehabilitation.  Sarah’s degree from E&H was in Chemistry with a minor in Biology, and she went on to earn a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from University of Delaware.  She was the recipient of the prestigious 2004 NCAA Ethnic Minority and Women’s Enhancement Post graduate scholarships (one of only three given to DIII athletes).  Sarah was part of the most successful era to-date in the history of the women’s softball program.  She was part of the 2003 ODAC Championship team that earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament. She was a 1st team All-ODAC performer as a pitcher in 2004 and was also 3rd team All-Region and in 2004 was the ODAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  She set school records that still stand for most wins in a season (17) and most wins in a career (56).  Sarah is married to E&H assistant football coach, Josh (E&H Class of ’04) and they have two children, Spencer (4) and Madison (2).

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