SALISBURY — As an 18-year-old freshman at Catawba College, Danyel Jolicoeur remembers walking into Goodman Gym and “seeing all the plaques on the wall.”
Those plaques bear the names and faces of the school’s sports Hall of Fame members.
“I desperately wanted mine up there as well,” Jolicoeur recalls.
In November, the Pembroke native will get her wish as one of five new members to be inducted into the Catawba College Sports Hall of Fame.
“Now as an adult, a wife, a new mom, a teacher. … It still takes me back to the moment as an 18-year-old freshman,” said Jolicoeur, who starred as a women’s basketball player at Catawba.
“It has been a dream of mine to have a plaque with my picture and my name on the wall. To know it’s actually coming true still seems a bit surreal.”
During her time in Salisbury, Jolicoeur helped Catawba win three conference titles and a pair of league tournament titles. Catawba qualified for the NCAA II Tournament three times during Jolicoeur’s career.
She holds several school records, including most points in a game at 41 points and 1,838 points for her career. In 2004, Jolicoeur was named the SAC Player of the Year and also claimed tournament MVP honors that season en route to honorable mention All-America honors from the WBCA. She was a three-time first team All-SAC pick. Jolicoeur shot a career-record 57.4 percent from the field, ranked third with 985 rebounds, second with 134 blocks and fifth with 214 steals.
With no regrets from her time at Catawba, Jolicoeur said “there’s very little that I want to forget about my experience.”
“I honestly wish everyone could have a little bit of a Catawba experience,” she said. “I honestly loved everything about my Catawba experience. From the many memories, my teammates and I still talk about the friendships that will never end — regardless of the years or moments that separates us from being together.
“Being at Catawba was like being at home. From my first visit, I was embraced with love and support and that was extended from the coaches, staff and even from my classmates.”
After playing professionally in Belgium, Jolicoeur returned to her roots in Pembroke to take over as the girls basketball coach at Purnell Swett High School. In 2012, she was named the county’s coach of the year. She has spent six seasons with the Lady Rams.
On Nov. 10 inside Goodman Gym, Jolicoeur will get to savor her latest accomplishment.
“I am extremely thankful for the opportunity in even being considered to be a part of the family of the members of the Hall of Fame at Catawba College,” she said. “To actually be selected to be among this elite group, I feel as if it is an absolute honor.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.