Valpo Athletics Connects Past, Present During All-Sports Reunion Weekend
Monday, February 12, 2024
Valpo Athletics Connects Past, Present During All-Sports Reunion Weekend

The Valparaiso University Department of Athletics celebrated its proud past while also supporting student-athletes of modern vintage at this weekend’s inaugural All-Sports Reunion.

Two of the centerpiece events of this pillar weekend for the department were the Class of 2024 Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame Induction and the 2024 Valpo Athletics Letter Jacket Ceremony, both of which took place on Saturday morning.

This year’s Hall of Fame Class featured Raitis Grafs ‘03 (men’s basketball), Jon Robisch ‘64 (men’s basketball/baseball), Jordan Rutkowski ‘12 (softball) and Ozzie Young ‘96 (football). They were interviewed by emcee Todd Ickow during the event to share memories of their time at Valpo and catch the audience up on their post-collegiate endeavors.

The Hall of Fame induction was followed by the department’s inaugural Letter Jacket Ceremony. Director of Athletics Dr. Charles Small addressed the audience, then a video voiced by Valpo Athletics Hall of Famer Lloyd McClendon, a former Major League Baseball player and manager, welcomed the Valpo letter winners to the club.

All of the student-athletes in the room were then instructed to put on their letter jackets for the first time. Finally, Deputy Athletic Director for Revenue Generation / Senior Woman Administrator Laurel Hosmer called each team to the stage one by one for a photo with their letter jackets. Since the tradition of handing out letter jackets was rekindled this year, all student-athletes who had completed at least one season as team members prior to the start of the 2023-24 campaign received their letter jackets. In future years, sophomores and other student-athletes in their second season at Valpo will be the recipients at the ceremony. The Valpo Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2024 was in attendance for the event, and current student-athletes shook their hands after receiving their letter jackets.

The Friday night women’s basketball game and Saturday afternoon men’s basketball game were “Love Valpo” themed as fans and alumni celebrated their passion for Valpo Athletics. Numerous women’s basketball alumni were on hand for Friday’s game and were recognized during the contest. In addition, the newly-inducted Hall of Fame quartet was recognized on the court during halftime of the men’s basketball game with a presentation that featured a congratulatory video message for Grafs from Baylor head coach and former Valpo head coach Scott Drew. Following Sunday’s game, alums gathered at Sidebar by Peddlers in Valparaiso for an All-Sports Social Event, capping a weekend of stories, memories and laughs.