January 30, 2014

Furman’s Clint Dempsey Elected To Southern Conference Hall Of Fame

Greenville, S.C. – Furman University men's soccer great Clint Dempsey has been elected to the Southern Conference Hall of Fame, the league announced today.

Dempsey, a three-time U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year choice, joins former Paladin and WNBA standout Rushia Brown in comprising the five-member 2014 SoCon Hall of Fame class, which will be formally inducted on Monday, March 10, at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C., as part of the league's basketball tournament.

Brown and Dempsey represent the fourth and fifth Furman athletic greats elected to the SoCon Hall of Fame, which began in 2008.  They will join charter inductees Frank Selvy (Basketball/2008) and Megan Dunigan (Women's Tennis/2008), and Paul Scarpa (Tennis/2012).

A 2002 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-America choice as a Paladin, Dempsey led Furman to a pair of Southern Conference titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances before joining Major League Soccer's New England Revolution in 2003.  The midfielder netted 17 goals and added 19 assists during his three years at Furman while earning All-SoCon honors all three years and garnering NSCAA All-South Region accolades in 2001 and 2002.

After scoring 25 times in 71 matches with the Revolution, capturing 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year honors and being selected to the MLS Best XI in 2005 and 2006, the Nacogdoches, Texas, native moved to English Premier League side Fulham in 2007.  Dempsey netted 23 goals in all competitions during the 2011-12 campaign while helping the London based club to a ninth place finish in the Premier League.  In five-and-a-half years at Craven Cottage, Dempsey totaled 61 goals, led the club to the 2010 Europa League final and twice earned Fulham Player of the Season accolades.

His 17 league goals during the 2011-12 season, tied for fourth most in the EPL, helping him finish fourth in league player of the year voting by the Football Writer's Association behind Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes.  During the 2011-12 season, Dempsey passed former Fulham striker Brian McBride as the highest scoring American in Premier League history and surpass Louis Saha's club record for goals in a single season in the top flight of English football.

The former Paladin joined Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League on a three-year contract in August of 2012.  The 30-year-old netted 12 goals in 43 appearances for Spurs, including the winning tally in a victory over league champions Manchester United at Old Trafford.  He returned to the United States on August 3, 2013, after one year at Spurs when he signed with the Seattle Sounders of MLS.  Dempsey was sent out on a two-month loan to Fulham in January.

As a member of the United States Men's National Team since 2004, Dempsey has scored 36 times for his country in 101 matches.  He helped the U.S. qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany and earned starts in two of three matches at the finals.  Dempsey became the only American to score at the event when he hammered home a DeMarcus Beasley pass versus Ghana in the final game of group play.

After leading the U.S. to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup title and earning 2007 U.S. Male Athlete of the Year honors, Dempsey earned the Bronze Ball at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa by scoring in victories over Egypt and second-ranked Spain to lead the Americans to the finals against Brazil.  

Following the United States' qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Dempsey scored in the opening round of the finals versus England to help the U.S. advance to the round of 16.  This past year, he started eight matches and scored five goals for his country to help the U.S. capture the top spot in CONCACAF qualifying and earn a spot at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

One of the finest basketball players in league history, Brown was a four-year starter and first team All-SoCon selection who captured SoCon Freshman of the Year (1990), Player of the Year (1992), and Tournament MVP (1994) honors in a career that saw her key Furman to 35-10 league record (.778) and three regular season championships.  She still holds 17 school single season and career records, and her 2,169 points rank third all-time in SoCon history.

A finalist for 1994 WBCA Player of the Year, Brown was the first SoCon player to join the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), where she played seven seasons (1998-03) — first with the Cleveland Rockers and later with the Charlotte Sting.  She also enjoyed a highly successful 10-year professional career in Europe, competing in Spain, France, and Italy.  She enjoyed her most success with Parma (Italy), where she was selected an Italian League All-Star after keying squads to a Ronchetti Cup title in 2000 and Italian League championship in 2001.

Brown, who grew up in Summerville, S.C., and starred as a prep at Irmo (S.C.) High School, was a two-time Furman-Edna Hartness Female Athlete of the Year selection.  She is one of only two Furman women's basketball players to have her jersey (No. 34) retired and was inducted into Furman's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.