Growing up, Dawn Weeks – now Dawn Lybrand – often looked up to her older brother Bill Weeks as a “star.” Lybrand said she had the desire to at least be up on a level similar to him when she followed in his footsteps and became an athlete at USC Aiken.
“As a young kid, I just wanted to get his attention and be like ‘look what I can do’ to show my athletic ability,” Lybrand said of her athletic prowess. “From there, it just turned into something great.”
What it turned into was a storied collegiate athletic career. Weeks not only got the attention of her brother but of many Pacer fans in the early 1980s. Now Lybrand is clearly on the same level as her brother, as she joins an elite group as one of the newest inductees of the USCA Athletic Hall of Fame. Lybrand’s a member of the 2013 class.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” she said of the honor. “I never expected something like this; it wasn’t even on my radar.”
Lybrand, a two-sport athlete at USCA, is humble when it comes to the accolades she earned while at the school. She was a four-year starter in both volleyball and basketball and earned NAIA District 6 All-District honors in both sports. Lybrand was even a member of the 1980-81 Pacer volleyball team which went 35-13 and made it to the NAIA Nationals. Despite the individual accomplishments, Weeks gave most of the credit to her coaches and teammates.
“I had some huge influences from my brother to (former basketball and volleyball head coach) Johanna Gibbs, she kind of set the stage,” Weeks said.
Those who know Lybrand however, say she’s much too modest.
“She was the best athlete in the family,” said Weeks, enshrined as part of the inaugural USCA Athletic Hall of Fame class in 2007. “When she got to college, she only got better.”
The distinction of best athlete in the Weeks family is no small accolade considering each of the three siblings played sports on the collegiate level. While Bill and Dawn played at USC Aiken, their brother Scott played football at Clemson.
“The most amazing thing about Dawn to me was her playing two sports. Not only did she play two sports, but she excelled in both of them at a college level,” Bill Weeks said. “That to me explains why she’s a hall of famer.”
Lybrand said she’s most appreciative of some of the opportunities Aiken opened up for her off the court. She now resides in Phoenixville, Pa., where she lives with her husband of 15 years and has worked in health care for nearly two decades.
“Everything I’ve been able to accomplish in life I can say USC Aiken prepared me for. There are so many doors that were opened as a result of me learning to work with a team and other skills I picked up in college,” Lybrand said.
She has loved having the opportunity to do many different things. Her involvement in the church and various women’s groups around her area are some of the things she’s enjoyed most.
With all of her involvement in the community, she has still found time to stay active athletically. Among her favorites are biking and hiking with her husband. Also, Lybrand’s love of volleyball has never dissipated, as she played competitive doubles volleyball for several years.
“I played until my knees told me, ‘We need to stop this nonsense.’ I played until my early 40s. It was hard for me to let go of volleyball,” she said. “The basketball stopped a little bit before that except for the regular game of horse I play with my brother when I come visit him a couple times a year.”
For the record, Lybrand noted that she usually beats Bill in their horse competitions – a fact he doesn’t contest.
“Actually that’s the truth,” Weeks said “Even in my heyday, I couldn’t beat her. That’s one of the things that would bother me; she could shoot better than me, but I always thought she should shoot more when on the court.”
Nonetheless the two now share a spot in the annals of USCA athletics. It’s clear Lybrand accomplished what she set out to do all those years back when trying to impress her brother. Weeks said he may be most proud of his sister earning the hall of fame honor.
“Most people didn’t know how sweet of a person she was and what she went through to be where she is. That’s what makes her incredible,” Weeks said. “They’d just think she’s a tall pretty chick who could shoot, but she’s great and very deserving of the honor.”
Eric Russell covers sports for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from USC Aiken in 2012 with a degree in communications.
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