CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — A pair of former Tiger and Lady Tiger basketball players are the newest members of the Campbellsville University Athletics Hall of Fame, officials announced last week.
Ronnie Spry and Whitney Ballinger Hooper are the newest members of the athletics Hall of Fame. Spry played one season at Campbellsville in 1975 and went on to become the first African American head coach in the state of Kentucky. Ballinger, played under coach Ginger Colvin for three seasons and re-wrote the Lady Tiger record books during her time at CU.
The Hall of Fame ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 25 during the final basketball home games of the season vs. Life University. A Hall of Fame reception is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET in the Betty Dobbins Heilman President’s House. All teammates, former players, friends and family are invited for the reception. The ceremony will start at halftime of the men’s basketball game.
“We are pleased to announce the induction of Whitney Ballinger Hooper and Ronnie Spry into our athletic Hall of Fame,” said director of athletics Rusty Hollingsworth. “Both of these individuals are well deserving of this honor and we all look forward to the induction ceremony on February 25th.
“I would like to invite all former teammates, families, friends and coaches to the reception at the Presidents home beginning at 11:30 that day.”
A Carrollton, Ky. native, Whitney Ballinger Hooper started her Campbellsville University career in 2008 after transferring from Western Kentucky University prior to her sophomore season.
A 2011 graduate of Campbellsville University, Hooper played for three seasons under head coach Ginger Colvin from 2008-2011. During her basketball career, Hooper left her stamp all over the Lady Tiger record book. She was named All -Conference First Team three times, twice the Mid-South Conference Player of the Year, Academic All-Conference three times, NAIA Academic All-American twice, Capital One Scholar Athlete once, CoSIDA All-District Team once, NAIA First Team All-American twice, NAIA Player of the Year twice, First Team WBCA All American twice, WBCA Player of the Year once, NAIA National Tournament All-Tournament Team twice, and was a member of one Mid-South Conference tournament championship team, and three-time regular season team champion.
Campbellsville retired her No. 43 jersey after her playing days were over.
During her career she became the Lady Tigers’ No. 1 shot blocker (367), No. 1 rebounder (422), No. 2 in field goal attempts (571), No. 3 on the all-time scoring list (2,064), No. 3 in scoring average (20.0), No. 7 in rebounding average (11.7) and No. 8 in field goal percentage (52.3). She actually holds the Top 3 spots for blocked shots in a season: 147 (2009-10), 113 (2008-09) and 107 (2010-11).
She also picked up recognition for most blocks in a season (142), career (367) and a game (11). She also topped the record book with the most rebounds in a season (422) and is tied with Ruth Scott (1976) for most rebounds in a game (28). She holds the record for most free throws made in a season (191) and she also scored 813 points in a season (a record). Her 48 points against Oklahoma City tied her with Jackie Prather (1990) for most points scored in a game.
After graduating from Campbellsville with a Bachelors or Science in Math, Hooper began a teaching and coaching career at Taylor County High School in Campbellsville. She remained there for two years, before taking a similar position at Meade County High School, Brandenburg, Ky. She coached there for two seasons, and now just teaches in the system.
She married Clay Hooper three years ago and they reside in Brandenburg.
Ronnie Spry, a native of Princeton, Ky., attended and graduated from Caldwell County High School in 1971 and currently resides in Augusta, Ga., upon his induction. Spry is a graduate of Campbellsville College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work and navigated a 35-plus year career making a name for himself as a coach, athletic director, professor, fund-raiser, counselor, tutor and associate minister.
Spry started his administrative and coaching career at St. Catherine College in Springfield, Ky. where he was named Coach of the Year by the Kentucky Junior College Athletic Association (1977-1979). Spry has won more than 500 games in his career as a head basketball coach at Paine College in Augusta, Ga. He was named Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Coach of the Year five times; three SAIC Conference Championships along with numerous other coaching accolades, including: Kodak District Coach of the Year (1994), the Atlanta Tip-Off Club Coach of the Year (1994), Paine College Hall of Fame (1998), and the Augusta City Classic Hall of Fame (2014). The Paine College basketball court is named in his honor “Ronnie O. Spry Court” (2013).
Spry began his academic pursuit at Paducah Community College in 1971, then transferred to Campbellsville College. Later he earned a Master of Arts in College Teaching (Guidance/Counseling) from Murray State University, Murray, Ky. He did further studies in Educational Leadership from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.
Not only was Spry a basketball coach, he was also athletic director at St. Catherine College (1977-1979) and Paine College from (1980-2011) where he led and evaluated staff, organized and scheduled all athletic events including travel, hired coaches, and other athletic positions, conducted fundraising programs within the community and supervised the rules and regulations sanctioned by the institution, athletic department, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Kentucky Junior College Association, and the National Junior College Association.
He is married to the former Audrey Frazier. They have one daughter and son-in-law, ShaRon and Melvin George Dukes and one granddaughter, Shaelynn Dukes. Ronnie O. Spry is the son of the late Mrs. Florine Maxie Gray of Princeton, Ky.