Longwood honored two pioneers of its athletics programs this year, naming its field hockey turf in honor of Dr. Elizabeth Burger Jackson and retiring an honorary jersey for Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Shirley Duncan.
The two served Longwood in careers spanning several decades, each molding generations of students. Now the names of the Longwood Athletics Hall-of-Famers will be further coupled with their respective athletics programs following the Oct. 29, 2016, naming of “Elizabeth Burger Jackson Field” and Duncan’s Jan. 28, 2017, jersey retirement in Willett Hall.
“Longwood athletics would not be where it is today without the contributions of many, many people, but Coach Duncan and Dr. Jackson are certainly at the top of that list,” said Longwood Director of Athletics Troy Austin. “They helped lay the foundation not only for Longwood’s women’s sports but also for our athletics department as a whole. Each was phenomenal in her chosen profession, but more importantly, they are both true examples of teachers who use their platforms to develop young people in all areas of life.”
Jackson starred on the Longwood field hockey team from 1930-32, graduated from William & Mary in 1934 and went on to play for the United States Field Hockey Team from 1947-50 and 1954-55. Her impact on Longwood extended well beyond the playing field, however, as she served the university for nearly 40 years as a professor of natural sciences until her retirement in 1976.
A 1979 recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award and a posthumous inductee into the inaugural Longwood Athletics Hall of Fame Class in 2005, Jackson will continue to inspire future generations of Lancers through gifts in her name. The Burger and Jackson families have donated more than $500,000, establishing scholarships for field hockey players, nursing majors and academically outstanding students while also providing support and funding for the field hockey program.
Duncan, meanwhile, made her mark on the hardwood during a 23-year coaching career that included four NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and 16 winning seasons. She took the Lancers to the NCAA postseason for three consecutive seasons from 1995-97 and again in 2003 before retiring as the program’s all-time winningest coach with 356 career victories.
Elected to the Longwood Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016, Coach Duncan remains a familiar face in Willett Hall. She regularly attends Longwood women’s basketball home games and, for several years, served as an analyst on the Big South Network. Dozens of former players made the return trip to campus to celebrate their former coach when Duncan’s jersey was retired.