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Wrestler Armand Taylor elected to Virginia Tech Hall of Fame

BLACKSBURG, Va. - All-America distance runner Mark Stickley, who competed successfully both at home and abroad on the way to establishing himself as one of the top track and cross country runners in Virginia Tech history, is one of five new members elected to the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.

Joining Stickley as 2005 inductees are:

  • Billy Hardee, a multi-talented football player of the mid-1970s who still ranks high in interceptions, kickoff returns and punt returns at Tech.

  • Robin Lee, an important figure in the early stages of women's basketball at Virginia Tech who went on to become the program's first 1,000-point scorer.

  • Terry Strock, a prominent member of Tech football teams from 1958-61 and a veteran of more than 35 years in college athletics as a player, coach and administrator.

  • Armand Taylor, a three-time Southern Conference wrestling champion who helped the Hokies to a 19th-place finish in the 1958 NCAA Wrestling Tournament.

The five new honorees will be inducted at a Hall of Fame dinner on the Tech campus on Friday, Nov. 25, the evening before Tech's home football game against the University of North Carolina. Each of the inductees will also be introduced to fans at halftime of the football game.

The new inductees will bring the total number enshrined to 126. The Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1982 and is currently located near the Bowman Room on the fourth floor of the Jamerson Athletic Center. Hall of Fame plaques engraved with portraits of all the members are displayed there. Under Tech Hall of Fame guidelines, persons are not eligible for induction until they have been out of school for a period of 10 years.

Biography of Armand Taylor

Armand Taylor entered Tech after finishing third in the 125.5-pound class of the National AAU Wrestling Tournament as a high school senior at Norfolk's Granby High School. Although he was unable to join the varsity immediately because of NCAA rules prohibiting freshmen from participating in varsity events, Taylor made the most of his time, adding some weight and strength.

As a sophomore in 1954-55, Taylor wrestled in the 137-pound weight class, going undefeated as the Hokies posted an 8-0 record in dual meets. Taylor capped his first varsity campaign by winning the 137-pound title at the Southern Conference Wrestling Tournament, helping Tech to the team championship.

Taylor was asked to move up a weight class as a junior, taking over the 147-pound slot. He suffered the only dual-meet loss of his career that season to VMI's Stu Jones, but bounced back to win the Southern Conference championship in his new weight class. Tech went undefeated again that season (7-0) and repeated as Southern Conference champions. Taylor was one of four Hokies to participate in the NCAA Tournament, where Tech tied for 19th.

As a senior in 1956-57, Taylor moved back to the 137-pound class, where he posted an undefeated record and helped the Hokies to another 7-0 regular season mark. Tech had to settle for second place in the Southern Conference Tournament that season, but Taylor earned his second league title at 137 pounds and his third overall. He finished his career with an overall dual meet record that included 14 pins, five decisions and just one loss.

After graduation, Taylor coached wrestling at schools in Norfolk and Virginia Beach for 15 years. He was the supervisor of industrial arts and curriculum specialist technology education for the Virginia Beach Public Schools from 1971 until retiring in 1996. He currently lives in Virginia Beach, where he volunteers as an assistant wrestling coach at Great Neck Middle School.

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