BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern College Hall of Fame class of 2016 was inducted Friday night. Frank “Buddy” Cairns (deceased), Rachel Malmborg Skweres, Joe Nasco, John Quinn, and Joe Thigpen join the long list of Panthers immortalized in the hall.
“All of our inductees tonight made significant impacts to their respective programs and to our athletic department during their time on The Hilltop,” said Director of Athletics Kyndall Waters. “I’m thrilled that we are able to recognize them for their individual contributions and afforded them the opportunity to have their families here to celebrate their successful collegiate athletic careers. They’ve all helped lay the foundation and set the standard for our current student-athletes.”
Frank “Buddy” Cairns ’26 (deceased) – Football, Track & Field, Tennis
A true all-around athlete, Cairns was a three-sport letterman for BSC from 1923-25, competing in football, track and field, and tennis. On the tennis court, Cairns and Aubrey Miller won the Jaffe Jewelry Company trophy as doubles champions. In his junior year, he ran track for the BSC squad that finished runner-up in the Munger Bowl on May 9, 1924. The Panthers competed against the likes of Furman, Mississippi College, and Mercer that day to finish second in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
As a member of the Panther football team, Cairns played both offense and defense and was considered one of the team’s premier tacklers. In 1925, he helped lead the Panthers to a second place finish in the SIAA with a 7-3-1 record. That season marked the most wins in program history to date and included four shutouts.
Cairns was also a member of the “B” Club and was active in Kappa Alpha Fraternity during his time on the Hilltop, earning his degree in 1926. He is survived by his two sons, Frank G. Cairns and John R. Cairns, as well as several grandchildren.
Rachel Malmborg Skweres ’05 – Women’s Volleyball
A four-year letter winner on the Hilltop from 2001-05, Malmborg was a dominating offensive presence at the net for the Panthers during her career. She holds the school’s NCAA Division I career kills record of 1,541. She is also currently BSC’s statistical leader in single-match kills, single-match service aces, single-match attack attempts, and single-match kills per game. But Malmborg was more than just an offensive weapon for the Panthers. Her game was well-rounded, and the record books prove that with her name still listed top five in five other career categories.
A Big South Player of the Week, Malmborg was also named to the conference all-academic team and earned a spot on the Big South All-Tournament team. The Panthers co-captain went on to become a professional volleyball player competing on the EVP Tour, AVP Next, AVP Qualifiers, and the Bud Light Tour. She competed in over 40 professional beach volleyball tournaments across the country, placing in the top three in nearly half of them.
Malmborg graduated from BSC in 2005, and currently resides in Boiling Springs, S.C. along with her husband Brandon Skweres, their 18-month old son Connor Scott, and their dog Daisy.
Joe Nasco ’08 – Men’s Soccer
Perhaps the most tenacious player to ever suit up for the Panthers, Nasco defended between the posts as BSC’s goalkeeper from 2004-07. Battling through multiple injuries during his collegiate career, Nasco refused to let it slow him down, earning second-team all-conference honors for his role in helping the 2005 Panther squad earn the Big South regular season title. During his senior year, Nasco was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Region Team and earned the Laura Malone Courage Award before graduating in 2008.
Nasco went on to play professionally in the North American Soccer League with the Atlanta Silverbacks and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. While with the Silverbacks, he was a Best-11 Team selection and helped them win the 2013 spring championships. In 2014, he signed with the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer where he appeared in four games during the season.
Nasco, along with his wife Amber and their two-year-old daughter Caroline, are currently living in Birmingham, Ala., where Joe has begun his coaching career as an assistant with the Panther soccer program.
John Quinn ’05 – Men’s Golf
A talented player, and an intense competitor, Quinn was a big reason for the success of BSC’s golf team in the NCAA Division I era. With Quinn leading the way, the Panthers were welcomed into the Big South Conference and made an immediate impact. During his junior year in 2004, he was the Gulf Coast International Champion, becoming the first BSC golfer to win individual honors at a college tournament. He was also named to the Big South All-Conference team that season.
In 2005, Quinn followed his performance up with another all-conference selection and was named a Cleveland Golf and Golf Coaches Association of America All-America Scholar. Today, Quinn still holds the BSC single-round record score of 62.
A 2005 graduate, Quinn still lives in Birmingham, Ala. along with his wife Mary, and their three children, Margaret Curran, Sallie Catherine, and newborn John Michael.
Joe Thigpen ’11 – Football
As BSC prepared to lay the foundation for their football program in 2007, Thigpen quickly became a cornerstone building block for the Panther’s return to the gridiron. A four-year starting quarterback for the new NCAA Division III program from 2007-10, he becomes the first modern-era football player to be inducted into the hall of fame.
BSC’s career leader in passing yards, pass completions, pass attempts, and passing touchdowns, Thigpen was the ultimate dual threat quarterback. He also rushed for over 1,300 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. A three-time second-team all-conference selection in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Association, Thigpen was named SCAC Offensive Player of the Week twice and earned the SCAC Character and Community Male Student-Athlete of the Week Award.
A three-year member of the SCAC student-athlete academic honor roll, Thigpen was also the recipient of the Johnny Johnson most inspirational senior student-athlete award. After suffering what was supposed to be a season-ending injury, Thigpen still managed to return to the field and score the final touchdown of his career in the season finale.
A 2011 graduate, today Thigpen resides in Raleigh, N.C. along with his wife Laura.