Gelotti/Lowry Earn Hall of Fame Distinction; Seven Inducted into Hall of Honor
Matt Gelotti came to Southwestern after an illustrious high school career at St. Thomas High School via Creighton University in the fall of 1996 and became one of the most decorated baseball players in the history of the University.
Dr. Weldon Crowley was bestowed the honor of reading Gelotti’s citation and introduction, recalling that he never remembered a hitting slump in his four-years at Southwestern and that Gelotti was always good for the big hit needed to seal up a win. And winning games is just what the Pirates did as Southwestern won three SCAC conference championships in the four-years Gelotti competed for Southwestern.
In his acceptance speech, Gelotti referenced numerous times the important role his teammates played in his success, including calling pitches from the first base coach’s box. He also reflected on the impact Coach Jim Mallon had on him and could only sum it up in one word, "awesome", while holding back tears.
Gelotti was a three-time All-America pick and in 2000 was named the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Division III Player-of-the-Year. He was also a four-time All-SCAC selection and was named to the SCAC All-Tournament team three times. He was the SCAC Player-of-the-Year twice, earning the honor in 1999 and 2000.
A pitcher’s nightmare at the plate, Gelotti still holds the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) season records for most hits (93), triples (12), home runs (18), runs scored per game (1.73) and runs scored (88). He also holds career records in hits (327), hits per game (1.71), home runs (47), RBI’s (285), doubles (73), triples (38), triples per game (.20), runs scored (263) and runs scored per game (1.37).
During his four years at Southwestern, Gelotti led the league in triples all four seasons, hits and RBI’s three times, home runs and stolen bases twice and doubles and runs scored once. He also holds the NCAA Division III career records for hits and triples and led the nation in an offensive category six times during his career.
Upon graduation, Gelotti signed a professional baseball free agent contract with the Milwaukee Brewers where he hit .271 with an on base percentage of .368 during his time in the system. He earned a bachelor of arts in business from Southwestern in 2000.
Dr. Carla Lowry’s legacy has touched many lives and blazed a trail for women like few before her. A standout athlete at Wayland Baptist, Dr. Lowry’s influence began in her playing days on the court as a member of the Flying Queens.
Jody Conradt, University of Texas at Austin women’s basketball coaching legend, honored Dr. Lowry in her introduction and reading of the citation. She stated that Dr. Lowry “left the ladder” for her to excel in athletics and coaching as she followed closely behind Dr. Lowry in her professional years after guarding her on the basketball court. Though just an inch taller, Conradt felt as if Lowry was “6’5” out there on the court and really showed me just how much work I needed to do”.
Many firsts can be credited to Dr. Lowry including Southwestern’s first female Director of Athletics and Chair of the Department of Kinesiology and taught many the importance of Title IX. She also led Southwestern through the transition from a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III institution. The change meant moving from an athletics scholarship granting university to a non-scholarship athletics department. Dr. Lowry not only guided the Pirates through this philosophical change, but also strengthened the department and its influence on student-athletes by increasing sport offerings, overseeing new construction and building renovation of the Corbin J. Robertson Center.
Not only an administrator, Dr. Lowry’s illustrious career includes stints as an athlete, teacher, coach and noted scholar.
As a player, Dr. Lowry was an AAU All-America selection for the famous Wayland Baptist Flying Queens that won two AAU national championships. She also represented the United States on the gold medal winning 1959 Pan American Games team and in 1961 captained the US National Team that toured Russia.
Southwestern is the fourth institution to honor Dr. Lowry. She is a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Wayland Baptist University Athletic Hall of Honor, and Houston State University Athletic Hall of Honor. Additionally, she has received several national honors including the NAGWS Pathfinder Award and the NACWAA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Lowry earned a bachelor of arts degree from Wayland Baptist College in 1961, a master of arts from Texas Woman’s University in 1963 and completed her doctorate degree from Texas Woman’s University in 1972.
Even more impressive than her resume is Dr. Lowry’s humble demeanor. Even after all the numerous accolades and remarkable stories, Dr. Lowry shared few words about herself in her acceptance speech, instead using the time to thank others that have been so impactful in her life.
Prior to the induction of Gelotti and Lowry, Southwestern Associate Director of Athletics and Director of Athletic Training Services Glenn Schwab recognized seven student-athletes who have reached the national level either in the classroom or on the playing field with the Hall of Honor inductions. Those individuals included Amanda Ambrose (softball), Sarah Ayers, (swimming), Lyndsy Maus (softball), Christina Nicholls (volleyball), Lindsay Thompson (volleyball), Taylor Turpin (softball), and Lauren Zearfoss (softball).
Immediately following the ceremony the inductees had their picture taken with their plaques on the Hall of Fame/Hall of Honor walls in the Corbin J. Robertson Center.
Video of the Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor ceremony will be available on the Southwestern University YouTube page, shortly.