Congratulations to the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame 2017 induction class that includes Bethesda native and Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky along with Paul Tagliabue, Juan Dixon, Tom McMillen, Brenda Frese and former Washington Redskins defensive back and kick returner Mike Nelms.
Additionally, the class also included media celebrities Glenn Harris, Tony Kornheiser and Ron Weber who was a long-time Washington Capitals game announcer before he retired in 1997. These individuals were honored Sunday before the Washington Nationals-Atlanta Braves game at Nationals Park in Southeast D.C.
Ledecky, who could not attend the event, was represented by her brother, Michael.
“It’s such an honor to represent Katie,” he said. “The D.C. area means so much to us. We both grew up in this area our whole lives and watched and interacted with a lot of the honorees here today – and on that big poster outside Nationals Park as well.”
Besides Ledecky, Dixon, a member of the 2002 University of Maryland men’s basketball NCAA championship team, and Frese, the head coach of the University of Maryland women’s basketball team, were also unable to attend the induction ceremony.
Harris, the brother of Prince George’s Sentinel sportswriter Ron Harris, was host of Newschannel 8’s “SportsTalk” and also was a radio host at WHUR-FM back in the day.
The class inducted three Maryland Terrapins in Dixon, McMillen and Frese who has built the women’s basketball program into an NCAA powerhouse. In 2006, Frese guided the Terrapins to a national championship.
Meanwhile, McMillen, who played for the legendary Charles “Lefty” Driesell, has enjoyed a distinguished career in both sports and politics.
A member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team that captured a silver medal in a controversial loss to the Soviet Union, McMillen was an NBA first round draft pick in 1974 and spent eleven years in the league.
After retiring from the NBA in 1986, McMillen pursued a successful career in politics. He was elected to the U.S. Congress as a Democrat to represent Maryland’s 4th district where he served from 1987-1993.
A former Rhodes Scholar, McMillen reflected on his days in College Park.
“With Coach Driesell’s leadership, it became really ascendant so it was fun kind of getting something off the ground,” said McMillen. “I think the greatness of a program is that it can continue to grow and continue to build a tradition. I think that was one of the fun reasons why I came to Maryland in the first place, to kind of get something like that started.”
Tagliabue, a former NFL commissioner and Bethesda resident, earned an athletic scholarship to Georgetown University where he served as captain of the men’s basketball team during the 1961-62 campaign.
“Being recognized in your hometown is a unique thing and D.C. is basically my hometown,” said Tagliabue. “I came here in 1958 as a freshman at Georgetown on a basketball scholarship and I’ve been here basically ever since then. That’s 60 years – so you get recognition not just from family but from friends and neighbors that you’ve been living with for 60 years. It’s special.”