Kirchmeyer, White, Worrell inducted into athletic hall of fame
Todd Worrell, Becky White, and Wade Kirchmeyer pose with their awards at the Inaugural Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 15. | Olivia Blinn/THE CHIMES
Everything has to start somewhere. And for athletic director Dave Holmquist and the Biola Athletic Hall of Fame, this was the year. Suiting up student athletes since 1960, Biola University inducted its inaugural class Saturday night, culminating in an evening ceremony filled with food, laughter and humility. Men’s basketball star Wade Kirchmeyer (‘85), two-sport athlete Becky White (‘86) of women’s volleyball and basketball, and three-time Major League Baseball all-star Todd Worrell (‘82) comprised the class.
A dream of Holmquist’s for years, according to vice president of enrollment management Greg Vaughan, the ceremony was slated to be the first of many to come.
“We’ve thought about it for several years but we wanted to have a big enough budget,” Holmquist said. “The last few years we’ve been looking at what other people have been doing to get different ideas.
“How you start will determine a lot,” he said. “We wanted the same thing for the first people that we’ll do for later people and not change it midstream.”
Kirchmeyer set basketball records
Kirchmeyer, a transfer from Mesa State University in 1980, played just two seasons with the Eagles under Coach Holmquist and managed to compile some remarkable statistics. His .662 career field goal percentage is the best in the program’s history and his 17.1 points per game average is good for fourth all-time.
But his defining moment came in 1982 — men’s basketball’s record-breaking 39-1 season — when Kirchmeyer recorded 10 double-doubles and scored in double digits 39 times, setting the all-time season scoring record at 691.
“We had so many great teammates on our team,” Kirchmeyer said. “It was our second year together and it was just an enjoyable team effort to go 39 wins and then lose the last one, but what a great time of friendships.”
The 1982 season finished with a 51-38 loss to the University of South Carolina Spartanburg in the NAIA National Championship game, ending their record-breaking streak at 39 games.
“It was what basketball life was supposed to be,” he said.
Attending Biola allowed White to play two sports
White, then Miller, was a two-sport athlete playing all four years of volleyball and basketball from 1982-1986. Her standout play in both sports earned her NAIA All-American honors each year, as she became the first woman to accomplish the feat in two different sports. Her career numbers stand to this day as the best in Biola’s history, including attack percentage and blocks in volleyball and points, rebounds, field goals made and free throws made in basketball.
Attending Biola allowed White to play both sports and served as a way to receive the education she desired. She recalled the heightened amount of support for both the volleyball team and the women’s basketball team, which produced an atmosphere that she says allowed her to further enjoy her student-athlete experience.
“The two sports I played they would come to in droves and it was a lot of excitement,” White said of the student turnouts for games. “It was a smaller campus then, so the support was great.”
White led both volleyball and basketball to their first NAIA National Championship appearances in her four-year run.
“I loved being a part of that community here in terms of athletics, but also I really loved being a student more than anything,” she said.
Worrell left Biola to major league success
Worrell rounded out the inaugural class, representing the baseball team on the major league level playing for the St. Louis Cardinals for six years and the Los Angeles Dodgers for four. A three time all-star, Worrell played almost every position while playing for Biola but made his mark as a pitcher. His 12-10 record with a 3.46 ERA in his final two collegiate seasons helped him to be a first-round selection in the 1982 draft.
“I was really at home on the mound,” Worrell said.
His work off the field following his professional career includes helping to pastor the Cardinals as well as providing head chaplain duties for the St. Louis Rams.
“We provide Bible study for the players, the wives as well as for the families on game day and couples if there is a need,” Worrell said.
Worrell’s younger brother Tim also played baseball for Biola and enjoyed a successful major league career, playing 14 seasons for nine teams.
Humility from all three inductees was evident, each honored by the opportunity to be part of the inaugural class.
“Sometimes it’s hard to accept because some athletes don’t always see themselves in that light,” Worrell said.
Holmquist has every intention of repeating this ceremony next year, barring any financial setbacks.
“I think the three inductees are wonderful people who had great careers here and have really had a ministry in life. This is a very good start for us, just what we wanted,” he said.