Courtesy of GoXavier.com
CINCINNATI — Xavier University announced the 2017-18 Xavier Athletic Hall of Fame Class, an impressive five-member group that covers five decades of Xavier athletic success and four different sports. This year’s class, which will be inducted in December, includes former basketball standouts “Tu” Holloway and Rashid Abdul-Rahim, known during his XU playing days as Nick Daniels. Football’s Michael Conaton, volleyball’s Jill Hampton and rifle’s Matt Bykowski round out the impressive five-member class that will bring Xavier’s Hall of Fame ranks to 133.
The induction dinner is slated for the evening of Friday, Dec. 8 at Cintas Center. The class will also be honored at halftime of the men’s basketball game vs. Colorado on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Cintas Center. Details and reservation information for the induction dinner will be announced at a later date.
Matthew J. Bykowski (’90) was one of Xavier’s first-ever shooters to earn All-America honors in air rifle. Bykowski, who won the 1990 O’Connor Award as Xavier’s top male senior student-athlete, competed in three consecutive NCAA Championships (1988-90) as an individual and was a 1990 NRA Collegiate All-America selection as a senior. That same year, the Musketeers also earned their first trip to the NCAA Championships as a team and finished the season ranked fifth nationally. Bykowski, a two-time team captain, was recognized at the conference level all four years of his collegiate career in the Lake Erie Conference and the Western Conference.
Bykowski’s coach at Xavier, XU Hall of Famer Alan Joseph, stated, “Matt’s intensity for the sport of rifle helped propel Xavier University into national prominence in intercollegiate rifle. XU improved from obscurity to the fifth-ranked team in the nation during his four years.”
Michael J. Conaton (’55) earned three letters in football as a student-athlete but had an impact on Xavier University and Xavier Athletics in countless other ways after graduation. Conaton earned three letters as a lineman on the football team and helped Xavier notch notable wins over Boston College as a sophomore (6-0 in 1952) and a senior (19-14 in 1954). The game his senior year, which was played at Fenway Park, was BC’s only loss of the season and the Eagles finished the season ranked eighth in the nation. XU defeated Louisville (27-13) and Dayton (14-13) in addition to BC his sophomore year. There was a sophomore star on that Louisville squad named Johnny Unitas. The top highlight of his junior season, 1953, was a 7-0 win over Dayton.
Over the years Conaton has assisted Xavier in a variety of capacities, including as board chairman and interim president. The university has recognized his service by granting him an honorary doctorate. The Learning Commons is named after him. Conaton, a long-time member of the Xavier University Board of Trustees, served as Chairman from 1985-2004, including the key period of decision making and building of the Cintas Center. He remains a member of the Board and is the only lay person ever to serve as Xavier’s President. That was in 1990-91 before the University hired James Hoff, S.J. as the University’s 33rd Jesuit president. Conaton became a trusted adviser and close friend to Fr. Hoff, as he continued to serve as chairman of the Board of Trustees.
Terrance A. “Nick” Daniels (’79), who is now known as Rashid Abdul-Rahim, was one of the most explosive offensive players in Xavier history. Daniels, a three-time XU Most Valuable Player award winner, still ranks 11th on Xavier’s all-time scoring list with 1,690 career points and ranks third in steals in a season with 79. He ranks fourth in career steals (202) and tied for tenth in career blocked shots (81).
Daniels was the MVP of one of the greatest regular season Xavier championships of all time. He poured in 24 points to help defeat NCAA-bound and No. 12-ranked Southern Cal in the semifinals and 22 points in the championship game against highly-favored host Tennessee in the 1978 Volunteer Classic, XU’s first holiday tournament win since 1955. During his senior season, the team also defeated Detroit, another NCAA participant, on the Titans home court. Daniels was a seventh round pick in the 1979 NBA Draft by the Kansas City Kings, where he was one of the last guards to be cut by that team.
Jill M. Hampton (‘02), who is now known as Jill Bakker, was a star on Xavier’s first-ever NCAA Tournament team for volleyball and left her mark in the Xavier record books. Hampton, a cum laude graduate as part of XU Occupational Therapy program’s Pi Theta Epsilon, finished her career at Xavier ranked in the top 10 all-time in kills, attempts and digs. She still ranks eighth in kills (1,358), 11th in digs (1,191) and ranks high in attack attempts (ninth with 1,225 in 2000) for a season and a career (fourth with 3,930). Her career numbers in kills and digs earned her a spot in the prestigious 1,000-1,000 club with 1,358-1,191 (kills-digs), one of only 12 Xavier players ever to make that elite group.
Hampton, a two-time Atlantic 10 All-Conference First Team selection, also earned Atlantic 10 All-Academic and All-Tournament team honors during her career while helping XU win 89 matches in four seasons. XU captured its first-ever Atlantic 10 Conference Regular Season Championship with a 16-4 record her freshman year. XU was 23-8 overall her sophomore year, finishing second in the A-10 at 13-6. XU also finished second in the A-10 her junior year at 13-3 and finished runner-up in the A-10 Championship, while recording a 22-7 overall record. Hampton helped XU break through her senior year, the historic 2001 season, as Xavier finished 25-6 overall and second in the Atlantic 10 Regular Season race at 13-3 before going on to win XU’s first-ever Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship and XU’s first-ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Terrell “Tu” Holloway (’12) put up some gaudy individual numbers and earned All-America honors during his four-year Xavier career but the best way to describe him can be summed up in one word: Winner. Holloway left a legacy as one of the best clutch performers in the history of Xavier basketball, a trait that showed up even more in the biggest games on the schedule.
Individually, Holloway scored 1,833 career points, which ranks sixth on XU’s all-time scoring list and dished off 550 career assists, which is third on XU’s all-time list. He dished off 100 or more assists and led the team in assists in three straight seasons. His career free throw percentage of 85.2 percent is a school record, breaking the XU record previously held by XU Hall of Famer Joe Geiger since 1964. Holloway’s teams won 100 games in four seasons, while making four NCAA Tournament appearances, including three Sweet 16s. He also led Xavier to three Atlantic 10 Conference Regular Season Championships.
As a senior, Holloway earned a spot on the 2011-12 Lute Olson All-America Team (CollegeInsider.com), his second straight year on that team, NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) All-District 4 First Team and Atlantic 10 Conference First Team for the second straight year. He led the team in scoring at 17.5 ppg. (second in the A-10) assists (fourth in the A-10 at 4.9 apg.) and steals (eighth in the A-10 at 1.5 spg.). Holloway’s list of accolades during his junior year were even more impressive, being named 2010-11 Third Team Associated Press All-American and also 2010-11 Third Team All-American by Sporting News, Basketball Times, SI.com, CBSSports.com and FOXSports.com. He was the 2011 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year and member of the A-10 All-Defensive Team while ranking second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring at 19.7 ppg. and first in the A-10 in assists at 5.4 apg. He pumped in a career-high 33 points in the win at Richmond and recorded two triple-doubles as a junior, the only XU player on record with more than one career triple-double.
Holloway, who was named to the 2016 NBA Development League All-Star Game, has been playing professional basketball overseas for most of the time since his graduation.