Tallahassee, Fla. — The Athletics Hall of Fame at Florida State University will induct seven members on Friday, September 5, including former standout running back Amp Lee and softball star Jessica van der Linden Boulware.
Lee, who came from nearby Chipley, FL, played nine seasons in the NFL. Joining Lee and 2004 national softball Player of the Year van der Linden Boulware, will be the top tackler in Seminole football history Aaron Carter, a pioneer in women’s athletic Harlien Johnson, one of FSU’s greatest swimmers Sara Linke Valentine, baseball star Jeremy Morris and Moore-Stone Award winner Russ Morcom.
The 2014 class will be formally inducted at a banquet the night before the Seminole’s first home football game. A very limited number of tickets to the event are available to the public for $75 via email at email@example.com or by calling 850-556-0433.
One of the greatest defenders in Florida State football history came from Gainesville, Fla. of all places. Aaron Carter signed with FSU in the midst of one of the worst periods for the Seminole program but played a big role in turning everything around.
Carter was clearly a talented defender when he arrived at FSU in 1974 and coaches used him all over the field as he played defensive back, linebacker and defensive end at various times. But when Bobby Bowden took over the program in 1976 he moved Carter, then a rising junior, into a starting role at linebacker. The two then set the tone for great FSU defenses of the future.
FSU won just four games over Carter’s first two seasons but finished 5-6 in 1976. As a senior, Carter led FSU to a 10-2 final record and a ranking of 14th in the Associated Press poll. FSU held nine opponents to 17 or fewer points in 1977, including Texas Tech in a 40-17 win in the Tangerine Bowl.
Carter’s senior year was literally one for the record books. He led the team with 181 tackles, which still stands as the all-time single season FSU record 36 years later. Carter also amassed a school record 512 career tackles from 1974-77 which is also a record that has not been broken.
Coaches and Administration
Florida State led the charge into fully funding and supporting women’s intercollegiate athletics and Harlien Johnson was one of the important figures in the history of athletics at FSU.
Johnson’s service to Seminole athletes and athletics began during her undergraduate years. She became the first trainer for women’s athletics in 1969 taking a non-paid position when equipment and supplies were scarce. Harlien put in many hours caring for FSU’s athletes while earning her undergraduate degree in Physical Education in 1972.
After receiving her degree, Harlien became a graduate assistant trainer under Bill Baggett and Don Fauls and earned her Certificate in Athletic Training in 1975 making her one of the first females in the country to achieve the distinction.
From 1976-1981, Johnson was the first full-time head trainer for women’s athletics at FSU where she was responsible for an average of 120 athletes in eight sports. She earned a Masters in exercise physiology from FSU in 1981 and left her position to take pre-medical classes. She earned a degree from the California College of Podiatric Medicine in 1989.
Amp Lee came to Florida State on a football scholarship in 1989 from nearby Chipley, Fla. and over three years became one of the best, and most popular, running backs in FSU history.
FSU coaches recognized immediately that Lee’s unique running style and sure-handed receiving ability would fit perfectly into the Seminole’s system. Lee was remarkably elusive using quick cuts and shifty moves to leave would-be tacklers grabbing air most of the time.
Lee totaled 290 yards rushing and 272 receiving as a true freshman on FSU’s 10-2 Fiesta Bowl champion team in 1989. He had a tremendous sophomore season gaining 825 yards on just 158 carries and was voted MVP of the inaugural Blockbuster Bowl following FSU’s 24-17 win over Penn State. He gained 977 yards as junior in 1991, which was the fifth best single season mark at FSU at the time. FSU finished 11-2 that season and defeated Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. Over his three year career, the Seminoles never finished ranked lower than fourth in the AP poll.
Amp finished with 2,092 career rushing yards and a remarkable 38 career touchdowns, which is tied for the fourth most TD’s in FSU history. Lee left early for the NFL where he was a second round draft pick and played nine years in the league with the 49ers, Vikings, Rams and Eagles.
Sara Linke Valentine
Swimming and Diving
Sara Linke came all the way from Walnut Creek, California, to be a part of the Seminole swimming and diving program. Over just three seasons she managed a swimming career that stacks up as one of the best in school history.
Linke arrived at Florida State in 1983 as an accomplished freestyle, butterfly and individual medley competitor. She quickly gained a reputation for fast swims among her teammates and her elegant style in the water was impressive.
Sara was a two-time All-American as a sophomore in 1984 and earned honorable mention All-America status three times during her freshman and sophomore seasons. She set a total of four school records over her first two years at Florida State. Her time of 2:03.36 in the 200 Butterfly in 1983 was a school best. As a sophomore, she set the FSU marks for the 200 Freestyle (1:48.29), 500 Freestyle (4:45.80) and the 1000 Freestyle (10:01.00).
Linke’s records stood the test of time as her freestyle marks were in place for a long time. Her record in the 200 lasted 16 years, the 500 for 26 straight seasons and the 1000 record was in place for 23 years. She also became the first FSU swimmer to win a U.S. national title with her first place finish in the ’82 long course Senior Nationals.
Florida State University graduate Russ Morcom has been extraordinarily generous with both his time and his support both to athletic and academic programs at FSU. He and his wife, Genie, are usually in the front row of most athletic events and are popular throughout campus.
Morcom, who earned a degree in engineering at FSU, is one of only four people to serve two terms as chairman of Seminole Boosters. During his first tenure from 2006-08, the $75 million Seminole Boosters Legacy Campaign was launched.
Russ was named a Trustee to the FSU Foundation Board and the FSU Alumni Association inducted him into the Circle of Gold.
The Morcoms provided the lead gift to the Morcom Aquatic Center, which the Seminole swimming and diving programs call home, and which has become one of the nation’s premier venues for national competitions. They have also made lead gifts to the Booster Endowment Fund and substantial gifts to football, academic diving and the psychology department.
In 2013, Russ received the George Langford Award from the Seminole Boosters.
Florida State outfielder Jeremy Morris did not have to travel far from his hometown of Quincy, Fla. to become of the best players in the history of college baseball.
Morris came to FSU in 1993 as a football and baseball player, but quickly concentrated on baseball where he played on some of the best teams in Seminole history. With great size, strength and speed, Jeremy teamed with JD Drew to give the Seminoles one of the game’s best one-two punches. FSU advanced to the College World Series three out of the four years (1994, ’95, ’96) that Morris played.
A first team All-ACC selection as a junior and senior (96-97), Jeremy earned second team All-America honors in 1996 and was named to a numerous All-America first teams as a senior. Morris had a 20-game hitting streak in 1996 and finished his Florida State career with a .336 batting average, 222 runs, 302 hits, 78 doubles, 46 home runs and 273 RBI, all of which rank among career bests for FSU players. He set the NCAA single-season record for doubles in a season as a junior with 36.
FSU won at least 50 games in each of Morris’ four seasons and won the ACC Championship twice. The Seminoles finished sixth, third, fifth and ninth nationally over his career.
Jessica van der Linden Boulware
Florida State softball star Jessica van der Linden is among the most highly decorated athletes in the history of FSU and widely considered one of the best to ever play the game collegiately.
A pitcher and outfielder from Cerritos, Calif., van der Linden swept the USA Softball Player of the Year and the Honda Award as a senior in 2004. In addition she was a back-to-back ACC Player of the Year selection in 2003 and 2004 and was also a two-time first team NFCA and Easton All-American those same seasons.
Jessica is considered the most complete player in FSU softball history with hall of fame worthy achievements as a hitter, pitcher and outfielder. She averaged over .400 as a hitter in 2003 and 2004, won 29 games with 20 shutouts her senior season in the circle and finished her career with a .361 batting average and 76 wins. She led the Seminoles to the Women’s College World Series in 2002 and 2004.
Van der Linden was a three-time All-ACC selection as well as the ACC Rookie of the Year in 2001. In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the ACC, the top 50 players in league history in each sport were named and Jessica was selected as one of the all-time Top 50. Van der Linden is married to former FSU football player and 2004 NFL draft pick Michael Boulware.