Francis Marion University athletic officials recently announced that former women’s basketball All-American Daphne Donnelly and long-time track and field and cross country coach Dr. Thomas M. Whiteley are the newest inductees into the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame.
The induction ceremony will take place during Homecoming activities on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in the Smith University Center gymnasium at approximately 3:15 p.m. between the women’s and men's games of the FMU and GRU Augusta basketball doubleheader.
Donnelly starred on four Patriot basketball teams between 1979 and 1983, including the 1982 national championship squad, and also played two seasons on the Francis Marion softball squad.
Whiteley served as head track and field and cross country coach from 1977 until his retirement in 2001. He also served the university in various other administrative roles.
Donnelly, a native of Mullins, was a three-time All-America, All-Region, and All-State selection. She was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1982 AIAW Division II Final Foul as the school captured its first-ever national championship. Following her senior season, during which she averaged 24.6 points and 14.8 rebounds per game, she was also named to the KODAK All-American Team for the large college division. She helped Francis Marion to a four-year mark of 97-27 and national rankings at the end of three of the four seasons.
Donnelly finished her career second (now third) on the all-time Francis Marion scoring list with 2,403 points and is still the all-time rebound leader with 1,472. In 121 career games, she averaged 19.9 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 53% from the field and totaling 223 assists, 175 steals, and 57 blocked shots. She averaged a double-double every year, and had career highs of 43 points against Campbellsville College and 26 rebounds against Coastal Carolina College, both in 1983. During her career, she set school records for free throws made in a game (14) and consecutive free throws made (17), and tied the single-game record for steals (10).
Among her other accolades are Player of the Year honors for the region in 1983 and the state in 1981. She gained All-Tournament Team honors on eight occasions and Player of the Week recognition six times, including three occasions on the national level. She was named the NAIA District Six Co-MVP as a senior and was selected as the Francis Marion Team MVP as a freshman, junior, and senior.
Arguably, her best single-game performance may have occurred during Francis Marion’s 85-81 upset win over N.C. State in famed Reynolds Coliseum on Dec. 18, 1982. Donnelly tallied 36 points (on 16-of-27 shooting), 14 rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
On the softball diamond, she batted .386 in 26 games with four home runs and 28 runs batted in for a 22-7 Francis Marion squad that advanced to the 1981 AIAW Division II World Series. In 1983, she hit .295 in 17 games with a home run and six RBIs for a 21-7 Patriot team.
Following her playing career at Francis Marion, Donnelly played in the Spanish (Women’s) Basketball League for the Baloncesto Coronas Tenerife team on the Canary Islands, and then later in Sweden.
Donnelly earned a B.A. degree in Business Administration, completing her course work with Saint Leo University. She lived and worked for many years in Atlanta, but now resides in San Antonio, Texas.
In a 15-year span after coming to Francis Marion, Whiteley’s men’s cross country squads won eight NAIA District Six team titles and finished second each of the other seven seasons. Patriot runners won the district individual title 11 times in those 15 years, and participated in the NAIA National Championship Meet following 12 of those campaigns. During that time, Francis Marion accounted for nearly half (50 of 105) of the runners earning All-District Six honors. Whiteley himself earned District Six cross country “Coach of the Year” honors eight times, and was named the area “Coach of the Year” once. In 1992 after FMU moved to NCAA Division II affiliation and the Peach Belt Conference, his teams produced one individual champion and placed among the top five men’s teams at each of the Peach Belt meets between 1992 and 1998. The program also produced Division II All-Region performers.
Whiteley’s track and field teams won eight of 10 District Six championships in the 1980s, and 10 team titles over a 15-year span. At the 1987 district meet, 19 of his 22 team members scored en route to taking the team title. During his tenure, 84 Patriot athletes garnered All-District track and field recognition and he earned NAIA District Six “Coach of the Year” honors nine times and was named the NAIA Area VII “Coach of the Year” in 1986. Patriot athletes advanced to the NAIA national championship outdoor meet in 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1986.
He established the women’s cross country program in 1992, and the Patriots finished in the top five in six of their first eight Peach Belt Conference Championship Meets. The program produced All-Region runners. A year-and-a-half later, he organized the women’s track and field program, and led that squad to three consecutive Carolinas Track and Field Championship Meet titles between 1996 and 1998. He was named the women’s “Coach of the Year” in 1996 and 1998, and his athletes advanced to both the NCAA Division II indoor and outdoor national championships.
Overall, Whiteley’s four programs produced two All-Americans and his athletes earned Academic All-America recognition 19 times. Over his final four years, eight of his squads earned team academic honors.
In addition to his 24 years of coaching, Whiteley held various other posts at the university including Dean of Students (1981-1997), acting vice president for university activities (1994-95), intramural director (1977-80), temporary assistant professor of physical education (1977-81), assistant professor of physical education (1981-2001), interim director of academic advising and retention (1997-98), director of tutoring and athletic services (1998-2000), NCAA compliance official (1997-2001), and coordinator of physical education (2000-01).
He was also the advisor to the Student Government Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, served on various university committees, and co-chaired the FMU United Way campaign. Now retired, he holds the title of FMU Faculty Emeritus. He is an active member of the Florence Breakfast Optimist Club, and is a current and past supporter of FMU’s Swamp Fox Club.
Whiteley also directed the FMU (Summer) Day Camp for many years, impacting on the lives of thousands of area youngsters between the ages of five and 12.
Whiteley earned his undergraduate degree at Guilford College and went on to receive his M.Ed. degree from East Carolina University and his Ed.D degree from UNC Greensboro. While an undergraduate student at Guilford, the Greensboro native played on both the Quaker baseball and basketball squads.
Prior to coming to Francis Marion, he coached at the Carolina Military Academy in North Carolina, UNC Greensboro, and St. Andrews Presbyterian College.
Donnelly and Whiteley join 39 current members in the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame, which was formed in 1991.