Softball Inducts Two to UNCG Athletics Hall of Fame
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Last month, two former UNCG softball players were inducted to the UNCG Athletics Hall of Fame on November 12. Lara Long Smith and Leigh Irwin were inducted in the 16th class in program history and were also recognized at the men’s basketball home opener November 11, against nationally ranked Virginia at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Long Smith was a four-year letterwinner for the Spartans from 1995-98. She led the Spartans to a 150-99 (.602) record during her career; including the two seasons with the most wins program history with 49 in 1995 and 40 in 1997. During her career, she guided the Spartans to the Big South regular season championship twice (1995, 1996) and the Big South Tournament title in 1997. Additionally, the Spartans advanced to the NCAA Regional in Columbia, S.C., in 1997.
Long Smith was named the 1998 Southern Conference Player of the Year and was a two-time all-conference selection (1995, 1998). She finished her career atop the charts with a .370 batting average, which currently ranks second in program history. She holds the UNCG career record with 55 doubles and owns the top two single-season marks with 21 (1998) and 20 (1997). She is eighth all-time in career hits (203), ninth in career runs scored (107) and sixth in career RBI (111).
Irwin was also a four-year letterwinner for the Spartans from 1998-2001 and was a teammate of Long’s her freshman year. She guided the Spartans to a 131-114 record (.535) during her career, including four 30-plus win seasons. She led UNCG to a 37-win season in 2000, the fourth highest-total in program history.
Irwin was named the 2001 SoCon Player of the Year and was a two-time All-SoCon selection (2000, 2001). She was named to the NFCA All-Region Second Team in 2000 when she posted 71 hits, the third most in a UNCG single-season. She holds the UNCG career record for stolen bases with 102, leading the team for three years. She finished her career third in games started (243), eighth in runs scored (108) and ninth in hits (196).
The duo becomes the sixth and seventh former softball players in UNCG’s Athletics Hall of Fame.