At Trinity High School in Garfield Heights, Vonda Ward was a two-time Ohio Ms. Basketball and a Parade Magazine All-American. As a junior in 1990, the 6-foot-6 center led Trinity to the state Division II championship. Heavily recruited by major colleges, she chose the University of Tennessee and was the tallest player ever recruited by Coach Pat Summitt. During her four years at UT, she started 49 of 125 games while the Lady Vols put together a 122-11 record and won three straight Southeastern Conference championships with 11-0 records. She averaged 6.7 points and 5.6 rebounds while blocking 98 shots – still the 10th most by a Tennessee player. The Vols did not win a national title during her career, but they finished second to Connecticut in 1995. After a brief pro basketball career, Vonda Ward turned to boxing and became the International Boxing Association heavyweight champion in 2002. She was the 2007 Cruiserweight Champion and the 2008 World Boxing Council Heavyweight Champion. She won 22 bouts, 17 by knockout before retiring in 2010.
Watch Vonda Ward’s enshrinement speech: