UCF Athletics to induct four into Hall of Fame

GO KNIGHTS Sylvester Bembery played for UCF from 1984-87, and went on to become an AFL legend.
Sylvester Bembery played for UCF from 1984-87, and went on to become an AFL legend.

Feb. 17, 2009

Orlando, FL (www.UCFAthletics.com) - UCF Athletics will induct four new members into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame during the upcoming UCF Athletics Hall of Fame Weekend, April 10-12, on the UCF campus.

To be honored at a dinner event the evening of Friday, April 10, in the J. Rolfe Davis Recruiting Room at Bright House Networks Stadium will be four former letterwinners getting inducted as Legendary Knights. Joining a list of 50 previous UCF athletics greats to be enshrined into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame will be former letterwinners: Sylvester Bembery (football), Chariya Davis (women's basketball), Bennie Shaw (men's basketball) and Bob Spitulski (football).

Now is your chance to be a part of the entire weekend for $60 through the Hall of Fame Pass, which includes a ticket to the prestigious Hall of Fame dinner Friday night, UCF Spring Football Game (including priority placement for the post-game Autograph Session) on Saturday, a weekend pass to the UCF Baseball vs. Tulane series and a weekend pass to the UCF Softball vs. Marshall series.

To purchase a Hall of Fame Pass, contact Misty Knight in the Golden Knights Club at (407) 882-1289 or mknight@athletics.ucf.edu.

Each of the Legendary Knights inductees will be in attendance at the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner. During the UCF football spring game on April 11, this year's Hall of Fame Class will also receive an on-field introduction to the thousands in attendance at Bright House Networks Stadium.

The UCF Athletics Hall of Fame was established in 1998 and has honored 50 former coaches, athletes and administrators.

Brief biographical sketches of each of the inductees:

Sylvester Bembery
Football - 1984-87

Sylvester Bembery was a four-year standout for the Knights from 1984-87, playing under three head coaches Lou Saban and Red Anderson in 1984, then the first three years of the Gene McDowell era. From 1985-87, the team would improve on its win total from the season prior, culminating with a 9-4 mark in 1987. That year, the Fighting Knights advanced to the Division II Playoffs, knocking off Indiana (Pa.) in the first round, and then falling to perennial power and eventual National Champion Troy the following week. Several early footnotes occurred during Bembery's tenure, including UCF's first game against an NCAA Division I opponent, at Louisville, in 1985 and the first big attendance game when 23,760 came to watch then 4-1 UCF take on Wofford for Homecoming at the Citrus Bowl in 1986. That 1986 season's 6-5 mark was the first winning season for UCF since the inaugural 1979 campaign. Bembery's 1987 squad was simply impressive, holding opponents to just 67 points all season, just over five points allowed per game. He was subsequently named the team's Lineman of the Year. Despite being an unstoppable force along the UCF defensive line, Bembery did not go onto to play in the NFL, rather to the fledgling Arena Football League. Bembery quickly became a superstar in the new AFL, earning all-league six times. His 11 seasons, from 1988-2001, led to such accolades as: #7 among the 20 Greatest AFL Players in 2006; 2001 Second Team 15th Anniversary Team; 1999 All-ArenaBowl Team; 1996 Second Team All-Arena; 10th Anniversary Team; 1995 Second Team All-Arena; 1993 All Star Game; 1992 First Team All-Arena; 1991 First Team All-Arena; 1990 First Team All-Arena; 1988 Second Team All-Arena. Bembery first played in with the New England Steamrollers in 1988 then went to the Albany Firebirds for four seasons, 1990-93. Bembery would reclaim his local legend status spending six seasons with the Tampa Bay Storm, 1994-99. The Storm would go onto win two ArenaBowls Championships during his tenure in 1995 and 1996. He would play the 2000 season with the Buffalo Destroyers, before returning to the Storm in 2001. His jersey was retired by the Storm in 2002.

Chariya Davis
Women's Basketball - 1995-99

Chariya Davis was a four-year standout for the Knights women's basketball program from 1995-99, helping the school reach the NCAA Tournament twice, in 1996 and 1999. Davis is UCF's all-time leader in assists (531) and steals (284) and finished her career second in rebounding (634), second in made free throws (393) and third in career scoring (1,517). Among her accolades, was earning All-Atlantic Sun honors twice, second-team in 1997-98 and first-team in 1998-99. The same year she was a first-team pick, Davis was also the A-Sun Player of the Year and A-Sun Tournament MVP. She was twice named to the A-Sun All-Tournament team and twice earned A-Sun All-Academic honors. As a freshman, playing for the late Jerry Richardson, the Knights went 15-14 overall in 1995-96, but impressively swept through the A-Sun Tournament en route to the team's first-ever trip the NCAA Tournament. It marked the first time a No. 6 seed had won the A-Sun. During the next three years under Lynn Bria, who took over after Richardson was taken in a tragic car accident, Davis would help the program improve in each season. Momentum for the program really started during Davis' junior season as the team finished 17-11 and 11-5 in the A-Sun, marking the most wins by UCF in a season in 14 years. Davis was the team's top scorer and assists leader that year. In her final campaign, Davis helped the team back to the NCAA Tournament with a 20-10 overall mark and 13-3 record in conference play. She was certainly the team's leader with 19.2 points per game along with 6.1 rebounds a contest. Everything went perfect in her final campaign as she swept league honors, while the team won the regular season and conference titles.

Bennie Shaw
Men's Basketball - 1974-76

Bennie Shaw, who wore jersey #22, played under legendary head coach Torchy Clark during the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons, with team finishing 14-10 and 20-5, respectively. During his final season when the team posted an impressive 20-5 mark, Shaw helped led the Knights to a perfect 10-0 mark in Sunshine State Conference play and a berth in the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional tournament. During Shaw's tenure, UCF basketball had some impressive feats, including an astonishing 163 points scored in a game against Clearwater Christian in December 1975. A couple of weeks later, Shaw, himself, would hit a school-record 15 free throws in a 131-70 win over Medgar Evers. On June 8, 1976, Shaw became the first UCF player selected in the NBA Draft, as a ninth round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks. For his career, he totaled 1,238 points scored, which ranked in the top 10 all-time at UCF for many seasons. His 25.3 points per game average still places among the top marks all-time at UCF. A prolific scorer, Shaw had three of the school's top 11 single-game scoring performances during his career, while leading the team in both of his seasons of play. He was recognized in 1974-75 as an honorable mention All-America selection by the Associated Press. Shaw joins former head coach Torchy Clark (1998) and teammates, Bo Clark (1998), Jerry Prather (1999) and Calvin Lingelbach (2001) in the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame.

Bob Spitulski
Football - 1988-91

Bob Spitulski, then known as "Bobby", was a dominant outside linebacker over his four-year career with the Knights that ultimately led to his third round selection by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1992 NFL Draft. As a player for UCF, Spitulski was remarkable. He still ranks among the top career tacklers at UCF close to 20 years later. He currently owns the school-mark for tackles for loss in a game (7 vs. Savannah State in 1991). His 46 career tackles for loss are fifth-most at UCF. In 1990, he put together the third-most sacks in a single season (13), while his 22 career sacks tie for fifth all-time. Getting to the quarterback was an art form for Spitulski, as he led the team in sacks three of his four seasons. In 1991, as a senior, he was a preseason All American, team captain and would go on to become a third team All-American from the Associated Press following the year. As a redshirt freshman in 1988, the team started 5-0, including a big 26-18 win over National Champion Troy State at the Citrus Bowl, in front of a school-record 31,789. In its final year playing at the Division II level in 1989, the Knights defeated three Division I-AA schools and won six of its final seven games to end the year 7-3. The first year playing at the Division I-AA level was a memorable one. UCF put together one impressive debut, going 10-4, while advancing all the way to the national semifinals. UCF was the first program to qualify for the playoffs in its first season at that level. A diamond in the rough, Spitulski was the highest rated linebacker at the 1992 NFL combine. After his third round selection, 66th overall, Spitulski would go on to spend three years in Seattle, 1992-94.


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