COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - One of Tennessee Tech's all-time most honored student-athletes during her career as a distance runner, Dena Adams Fairley also served two-plus years as head coach of the Golden Eagle men's and women's cross country teams, and women's track & field squad.
In recognition of her success both in competition and in the classroom, Adams Fairley is one of five people who will be enshrined into the Tennessee Tech Sports Hall of Fame on October 30 as the school honors its athletic legacy with the 35th annual induction ceremony.
She will be the first inductee from the women's cross country and track & field programs.
The 2009 Hall of Fame Class will be honored during Homecoming weekend, Oct. 30-31. The induction will take place at the Hall of Fame Dinner Friday evening, and the group will also be recognized at the Homecoming football game Saturday against Tennessee State.
Adams Fairley showed a high level of commitment as a distance runner and harvested a long list of honors and awards. A three-time Academic All-America selection, she was also named the University's 1997 NCAA Woman of the Year and claimed all-OVC honors in both cross country and track.
After two years on the junior college level, she enrolled at Tech in the Spring of 1994 with no intention of competing in athletics. That plan changed at the urging of coach Ron Filipek, and she went on to set numerous school records, beginning with the 1994 track season.
In 1995, she ran the second-fastest 5K time in cross country history, and the following year established a new school standard with a run of 19:29. The record stood for three years, eventually being broken by one of Adams' recruits, Michelle Kline. Helping the team finish fifth and fourth in the OVC, Adams was named all-OVC on the cross country course as a senior and matched that honor with all-OVC selection in track & field in 1997.
In her final season of competition, she set the school records at 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters, and was among the best in the conference in every distance further than 1,500 meters.
She was chosen captain of both the cross country and track teams and was named Most Valuable and Most Dedicated on both squads. In 1996, she was selected as one of six OVC Scholar-Athletes. Tech picked her as winner of one President's Award in cross country and three consecutive President's Awards in track & field.
Adams Fairley accepted her bachelor's degree in accounting in 1995, and received her MBA in 1997. She returned to her alma mater as head coach in 1997 to take over the reins from her coach, Ron Filipek, upon his retirement.
Her classroom work earned her Academic All-America honors in track & field as both a junior and senior, and in cross country as a senior.
Joining Adams Fairley in the Class of 2009 are Jim Bishop, John Moorhead, Tony Stone and Branon Vaughn. With their induction, the Hall of Fame will grow to 153 since it was established in 1975.
Tickets to the Hall of Fame Dinner and the game are available by calling (931) 372-3940, or through the Athletics ticket office in Eblen Center. Reservations must be made for the dinner, and tickets are $25 each.