Former Blue Hens Mench, Mills Selected to Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame
WILMINGTON, Del. -- A pair of former University of Delaware student-athletes who enjoyed record-breaking careers as high schoolers in the First State are among 10 athletes, coaches, and officials set to be inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame later this spring.
Kevin Mench, a slugging outfielder who earned All-State honors at St. Mark’s High School and later All-American honors for the Blue Hen baseball team before embarking on an eight-year Major League Baseball career, and Kristin Mills Caldwell, an outstanding scorer at Caravel High School who went on to compete for the UD women’s basketball squad for three seasons, were announced this week as inductees into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame.
The organization will hold its 42nd annual banquet on May 16 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, Del. Tickets for the event are available at $65 each from Lorrie Alesi at 302-547-6570, phone or text, or online from www.desports.org.
In addition to Mench and Mills, also being inducted are former National Hockey League standout Mark Eaton; Olympic figure skater and current UD Ice Arena coach Scott Gregory; longtime Newark High School football coach Butch Simpson; longtime Caesar Rodney High School lacrosse, football, and basketball coach John Coveleski; national-level race-walker Jacki Starr; U.S. Open tennis official Lois Huggins; former Archmere high school basketball and baseball coach Vince Filliben; and longtime Tower Hill high school track and cross country coach Bob Behr.
The greatest home run hitter in the University of Delaware’s rich baseball history, Mench was among the nation’s top sluggers during his three-year career with the Blue Hens in 1997-99 for head coach Bob Hannah. He earned all-conference honors three times, was a two-time conference Player of the Year, and a two-time All-American. He set UD records for home runs in a season (33) and career standards for home runs (71), batting average (.409), and slugging percentage (.875).
He captured the America East conference “Triple Crown” in 1998 when he batted .455, led the NCAA with 33 home runs, and knocked in 72 runs to earn Collegiate Baseball Magazine National Player of the Year and consensus All-American honors. He led the Hens to a three-year record of 123-45, two conference titles, and NCAA Tournament berths in 1998 and 1999.
He clubbed 89 home runs over eight major-league seasons as an outfielder with the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Washington Nationals between 2002-10.
Mills Caldwell, a Caravel Academy graduate, was the first Delaware high school girl to score 2,000 points in a career. A pitcher for the Buccaneers’ boys state baseball champions, she was a member of the first USA Baseball women’s national team and was the winning gold medal pitcher in the first Women’s World Cup. She currently serves as head coach of the successful Caravel Academy girl’s basketball team.
She played three seasons for the Delaware women’s basketball squad under head coach Tina Martin in 2000-03 and helped lead the Blue Hens to the America East title and an NCAA Tournament berth in 2001 and to consecutive Women’s National Invitational Tournament appearances in 2002 and 2003.
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