Anderson, McElhiney Ayers entering Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame

June 3, 2017

Chantelle Anderson and Ashley McElhiney Ayers were Vanderbilt teammates and best friends, leading the Commodores to deep runs in four straight NCAA Tournaments. Tonight, they will unite as members of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

Anderson, from Seattle, Wash., and McElhiney Ayers, from Gleason, Tenn., are among 11 sports personalities scheduled for enshrinement at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame 51st Anniversary Banquet Induction Banquet. Ceremonies will take place at the Omni Nashville Hotel, with activities starting at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Roy Kramer, the former Vanderbilt Athletics Director who went on to create the hugely successful Southeastern Conference Championship Football Game and envision the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) College Football National Championship as commissioner of the league, will receive the Hall of Fame’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anderson and McElhiney Ayers helped the Commodores to 97 victories from 2000-03. They also guided the Commodores to remarkable postseason achievement, including back-to-back NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearances in 2001-02.

“We are so proud of Chantelle and Ashley. They were both outstanding players that are deserving of this honor,” Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White said. “They represent leadership and excellence in everything they do and are outstanding representatives of our program and University.”

A 6-foot-6 center, Anderson is arguably the most celebrated player in Vanderbilt team history. She ranks as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,604 points, ending her career with a remarkable .651 field goal percentage.

Anderson was a three-time First Team All-SEC selection, and was the league’s Player of the Year in 2002 when she averaged 20.7 points for a Vanderbilt squad that finished 30-7 overall. Anderson also remains the only two-time Kodak All-American in program history.

In 2008, Anderson was among 12 former players, coaches and administrators inducted in the inaugural Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame class.

After her collegiate career, Anderson was selected No. 2 overall by the Sacramento Monarchs in the 2003 WNBA Draft. Anderson played four years in the WNBA before being forced to retire in 2009 due to injuries.

Many of Anderson’s baskets at Vanderbilt came by way of assists from McElhiney Ayers. One of the most beloved players in Commodore women’s history, McElhiney Ayers was a field general on the basketball court as a 5-foot-6 point guard.

An All-SEC performer in 2002, McElhiney Ayers ended her Vanderbilt career as the team’s all-time leader with 673 assists. She paced the Commodores in assists three straight seasons. Her 17-assist total against Louisville in 2003 remains a Commodore record. She was also an effective scorer, concluding with 1,093 points.

McElhiney Ayers was incredibly durable despite her frame. She ended her Vanderbilt career playing all 40 minutes in 38 games, the most by any former Commodore.

After graduating from Vanderbilt, McElhiney Ayers earned attention in 2004-05 as coach of the American Basketball Association Nashville franchise, becoming the first female coach of a male professional basketball team. She has also served as an assistant coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga and at high schools in western Tennessee.

The Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, located in Bridgestone Arena, enshrines and honors athletes, teams, coaches, sports writers and sports administrators who have made an impact on the history of sports in Tennessee. It pays tribute to those who have made an impact through sports in Tennessee.


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