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Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Spotlight: Class of 2018 Inductee, Megan Silva Schultz

This is the first in a series of stories on the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame website profiling the eight members of the Hall’s stellar induction Class of 2018. Induction weekend is scheduled April 7, 2018, at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts at the Town Center of Virginia Beach.
By JACK BOGACZYK, Class of 2017
megan silva playing

There’s something about Virginia Beach for Megan Silva Schultz. Maybe it’s in that Atlantic Ocean water?

Ask Silva Schultz about her most memorable moments in a college basketball career that gained her election to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Randolph-Macon College basketball legend doesn’t hesitate to rekindle thoughts of the commonwealth’s largest city.

“The (2005) run through the NCAA Tournament to the finals in Virginia Beach has to be it,” Silva Schultz said of her junior season for the Yellow Jackets. “The semifinals and finals were at Virginia Wesleyan, and the year before, some of my teammates and I went down to Virginia Beach to watch the finals because we wanted to see what it was like. It planted the idea that we really wanted to be there the next year.

“We got to see a dream become a reality when we made it to the championship game. It took a lot of hard work, but it was an awesome experience for our team and for me. As teammates, we are still incredibly close to this day. It was tough dealing with what happened (a 70-50 title loss to Millikin), but that time was so special for us in Virginia Beach.”
Silva Schultz, 33, is about to have another of those Beach moments come April 7, when the former point guard is part of an eight-person class that will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. It is the first Virginia Beach ceremony for the Hall of Fame, which has moved to the city’s Town Center from Portsmouth.

Her selection adds to a wealth of honors for Silva Schultz, who has an All-American athletic resume that makes it easy to understand why she was selected by the Hall’s Honors Court.

After stardom at Hermitage High School, Schultz became a four-year starter at Randolph-Macon. By the close of her career, she had scored 2,371 points to go with 700 assists and 446 steals for Yellow Jacket teams that combined for a 99-23 record, including a national quarterfinals appearance in her 2005-06 senior season.

She won the Jostens Trophy, a national award presented by the Salem Rotary to the top Division III men’s and women’s players for basketball ability, academic accomplishment and community service. The Richmond native also was named national Player of the Year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and selected as the Honda Division III Female Athlete of the Year and the d3hoops.com All-Decade first team.

Her R-MC coach, veteran Carroll LaHaye, said she remembers something else about Silva Schultz, too.

“Megan had a killer crossover dribble,” said LaHaye, who is approaching 600 career victories. “Many playersafter the fact, throughout the (Old Dominion Athletic) Conference, would talk about her crossover dribble and how she controlled it. Many thought they could handle her if they studied that crossover dribble, but those many failed. She had it in control and used it very wisely.

“She would be the first to admit that practice was not her forte. She was what I referred to as a ‘gamer.’ She began to appreciate practices at the end of her sophomore year after we lost in the ODAC championship. From that day on, Megan and a couple of her teammates guided the team and molded the team into a championship contender. She would lead by example. She was not much of a vocal leader. However, as the point guard, she was able to communicate what she wanted done on each possession.”

Silva Schultz’s impact obviously resonated far beyond the Ashland campus, where she majored in business and economics … and she is the most decorated R-MC athlete in history, with her No. 11 retired.

“Megan’s presence was felt in our league from Year One,” said Brad Bankston, who is in his 20th season as the ODAC commissioner. “Her impact on the game during her four years has to stand out as one of the most impressive in conference history.

“Randolph-Macon’s program had a strong tradition and good deal of success in the conference prior to her arrival, but Megan helped propel the Yellow Jackets and the conference into the national spotlight with her stellar play and the team’s eventual advancement to the national championship game.”

Silva Schultz, who also owns a masters from VCU in sports leadership, is only the second former NCAA Division III athlete to reach the commonwealth’s Hall of Fame, following former Ferrum College and Major League relief pitcher Billy Wagner.

And to say her basketball roots remain deepwould be an understatement.

She met her husband of seven years, Wilson Schultz, at R-MC basketball practice, when Schultz was on the male scrimmage team that regularly went against LaHaye’s women Jackets in practice. And not long after Wilson and Megan were married in 2010, one of her husband’s birthday gifts to the former point guard was an in-ground basketball stanchion and goal in their suburban Richmond yard.

While she once carried her college team to great heights, Silva Schultz has spent much of her recent time lifting the couple’s twin boys, Chase and Gavin, age 2½. Her sports background also serves her well as the event director for Sports Backers, the Richmond non-profit that runs multiple events – including a 20,000-entry marathon – in the capital region.

megan silva playing

“I miss the competition, the game, miss it tremendously,” Silva Schultz said. “I was incredibly competitive … still am, and I satisfy some of that through work. The events industry takes competition. There are events everywhere. You want to get an event, and then you want to do it as well as you can. There’s competition in that.

“The success I had, I guess I’d say it was mostly because I was probably willing to outwork people. It wasn’t just about practice, it was putting in extra hours in the gym, working hard in the weight room, watching tape, those little things that add up. I think I understood the value of those things.”

LaHaye said Silva Schultz was also a great teammate.

“She was the most unselfish individual and unselfish player I have ever coached,” said LaHaye, who is in her 36th R-MC season in 2017-18. “It was always the team who accomplished something – never Megan by herself. She was very consistent with that message. I believe because she was so consistent with giving the credit to the team that the team believed they accomplished the same goals that Megan did.

“All of her teammates and coaches trusted her. She absolutely led by example in all aspects and areas of her days at Randolph-Macon. I am the one who learned from Megan what an outstanding young woman who is gifted with athletic ability can do for her team when she gives them all the credit for her successes. She has said time and again that she doesn’t believe she would have succeeded as she did without the complementary players that she had surrounding her … I am so proud to have been her coach.”

As part of an eight-person class that is the largest in the Hall’s half-century history, Silva Schultz said it “is incredible to be added to those names” among a group that is led by legendary Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer and former National League batting champion Michael Cuddyer.

“It’s kind of funny when people congratulate me on the Hall of Fame,” Silva Schultz said. “Then they’ll say, ‘Oh, and Frank Beamer is in that class, too!’ That list is pretty awesome. The one I look at is Kara Lawson. When I was in high school, I went up to watch her play basketball at (West) Springfield (High School), and then she went on to star at Tennessee and the WNBA and TV. I remember watching her play and being so impressed.”

As with plenty of college basketball players, the R-MC roster line on Silva Schultz embellished a little bit.
“They said I was 5-foot-6,” she said, through a laugh. “Honestly, it was more like 5-4.”
Obviously, that’s the only place Silva Schultz has come up short.

Retired award-winning sportswriter and columnist Jack Bogaczyk is a 2017 inductee to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. He spent more than 45 years in the sportswriting business, including 27 years at The Roanoke Times.