The new Hall of Fame members played baseball, men's basketball, football, men's golf, men's soccer, women's tennis and wrestling while participating for the Thundering Herd. The MU Hall of Fame, started in 1984 by Dr. Sam Clagg and former AD/golf coach Whitey Wilson, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary Year in 2008. The Hall of Fame honors the best of the best in the history of Marshall Thundering Herd athletics since the former Marshall college began competing in sports in 1895-96 in football and baseball up through the addition of women's programs in 1970 and the successes of recent teams and players.
Phil Ratliff, an assistant coach on the staff of current Herd head coach Mark Snyder since 2006, was an All-American lineman from 1989-1992 for the Herd and he leads the class. His head coach, Jim Donnan (1990-95), is also among this year inductees, and they both had a large part in winning Marshall's first National Championship when Ratliff was a team captain for Donnan in 1992. Donnan is number three in wins as the MU football coach with 64 total and is now a commentator on ESPN Radio (heard on football Saturday's on MU's flagship AM, ESPN 930, in Huntington), ESPN.com and calling games on the ESPN family of television channels.
The other members of the class include J.R. VanHoose, one of the all-time greats in men's basketball who played 1998-2002;
Byron Carmichael, a three-time All-Mid-American Conference player and leading scorer all-time in men's soccer, playing 1999-2002;
Anna Mitina, one of the best-ever in women's tennis from 1999-2002, and the first women's tennis player honored by election to the Hall; and
Tom Kies, a three-time All-Southern Conference player for men's golf, and 1988 All-American, playing from 1985-89.
Also named in the category of "Pre-1960s Thundering Herd Greats" is William "Bill" Harris, who starred in both baseball and football, and also helped launch and compete at a high level on the fledgling wrestling program at Marshall in the 1953.
Previously elected former MU football players who are currently pro athletes, Chad Pennington, Randy Moss (who also ran track) and Byron Leftwich may join the induction ceremonies if their NFL commitments allow this year, but they will retain their elected status until their pro careers come to an end and they can be inducted into the Hall. One possibility under review is for those three players is to have a separate induction for the professionals in the spring in conjunction with the annual Green-White Game, on the Friday night prior to the spring football game.
In addition, the Hall of Fame induction have been moved from Homecoming weekend to the Friday night before the opening game of the football season, August 29, for the banquet at the Marshall Memorial Student Center. On August 30, all of the class will be introduced to the crowd at the Herd's opening game of 2008 against Illinois State, a former rival of the Herd in the 1970s and in I-AA in the 1980s who will make its third-ever trip to Huntington and first since 1983.
"With so many events already held during Homecoming weekend, the committee felt it would be great for fans and alumni to not have to choose between attending the alumni receptions, class reunions and other activities or attending the Hall of Fame banquet," said Woody Woodrum, publicist and historian for the Hall of Fame committee since 1999. "Now, the Hall of Fame inductees will have a night before the Herd's opener that is dedicated to only this significant honor." The banquet will begin at 7 p.m., with Keith Morehouse of WSAZ TV-3 as master of ceremonies, on August 29 in the Don Morris Room of the Marshall University Memorial Student Union. HOF introductions will be on August 30 during pre-game or at halftime of the Herd's game with the Redbirds, a 4:30 p.m. kickoff.
Tickets for the banquet are $30 each, and are available at the Marshall University Ticket Office in the lobby of the Cam Henderson Center, where you can also purchase tickets for the 2008 season or the August 30 opener. Call 1-800-THE HERD or go to www.HerdZone.com to order tickets by phone or over the internet.
Here are bios, in alphabetical order, on this year's elected members for the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame. All of the class of 2008 have confirmed they will attend this year's ceremony:
Byron Carmichael, the leading all-time goal scorer for the Ocean City (N.J.) Barons, has been elected to the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame. photo courtesy of Ocean City Barons
Byron Carmichael, Men's Soccer (1999-2002). Carmichael is the Herd's career leader in goals with 58, nearly 20 more than fellow Hall of Fame member and second-place Andy Zulauf, who had 39. A three-time First Team All-Mid-American Conference, Carmichael was also named the MAC Newcomer of the Year in 1999. He was the MAC Player of the Year in both 2000 and 2002, as well as named to the All-Great Lakes Regionals Second Team in both 2000 and 2002, the only Marshall player to win those awards twice. Carmichael led the team in scoring, and set the season scoring marks at Marshall, with 41 points in 2000; 33 points in 2001; and 32 points in 2002. His 18 goals in 2000 is the MU all-time record for a season, and 15 in both 2001 and 2002 are tied for second-best in a season, while his 128 points in a career is No. 1 all-time at Marshall. His 10 goals as a freshman is tied for eighth-best in a season. Despite the goal scoring, he is still ninth all-time in assists with 12 in his career. He won the MVP Award for the Nike Gola Rush Classic in Fresno, Calif. in 2001 and led the Herd to a season-best 14 wins in 2000 when Marshall won the MAC Regular Season Championship. His d Marshall teams won 43 games total, losing just 33 and Herd reached the semi-final round of MAC tournament each season Carmichael played, best in school history. He was drafted in the sixth round of MLS Draft by Kansas City in 2003. Carmichael then played in the USL, and is currently a member of the Ocean City Barons of the PDL, scoring 20 points in 2005 in leading the team to the semi-finals and a third-place finish in the U.S. Open Cup. The Barons fell in the second round of the 2006 playoffs. He tried out with the USL Portland Timbers for 2006, but played with the Barons in 2007 and 2008, who are 2-2 through the end of May. Carmichael has two assists this season. Last season, Carmichael led the team with 22 points and nine goals and a second-place finish in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the PDL at 9-3-4 and a third trip to the playoffs in four years. The Barons have started the 2008 season 3-0-3, and on June 1, Carmichael capped off a successful two-game road trip by scoring a dramatic equalizer to save a point against the Rhode Island Stingrays (0-4-2, 2 pts.) on Sunday night. In the second game in as many nights, the Barons earned a 1-1 draw in East Providence, thanks to an 89th minute goal by Carmichael. With that game-tying goal, Carmichael, a Lumberton, N.J. native playing for in his home state, becomes the Ocean City Barons' all-time leading goal scorer with his 37th career score. He has two assists as well this season.
Marshall head coach Jim Donnan, who won 64 games and the 1992 National Championship with the Thundering Herd, is one of seven new members of the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame. photo from marshall.edu
Jim Donnan, Head Football Coach (1990-95). Donnan coached the Thundering Herd to the National Championship in 1992, to three finalist finishes in 1991, 1993 and 1995 and to the semi-finals In the I-AA playoffs in 1994, setting an NCAA record for five straight appearances in at least the semi-finals in the I-AA playoffs. Donnan won 64 games as head coach, third-most in school history, and his .750 winning percentage is second only to MU HOF member Bob Pruett for coaches with more than one season and his 10.6 wins per year coached is best for any coach. He produced 50 All-Southern Conference players, including the SC Athlete of the Year (three times), SC Offensive Player of the Year (five times), SC Defensive Player of the Year (once) and SC Freshman of the Year (twice). He had 18 All-Americans play for him at MU and recruited 17 more All-Americans. Donnan won the Herd's first outright SC title in 1994 and had the Walter Payton I-AA Player of the Year in 1992, Michael Payton. He moved to the University of Georgia in 1996, winning 40 and losing just 19 in the SEC. Donnan's Bulldogs were 4-0 in bowl games and He was the first football coach in school history to lead Bulldog teams to four consecutive bowl victories. Under Donnan, the Bulldogs won the Outback Bowl in 1997, the Peach Bowl in 1998, the Outback Bowl in 1999 and the Oahu Bowl in 2000. Since leaving Georgia, Donnan has become an analyst for ESPN college football on television, hosts the "Saturday Morning Tailgate" show on ESPN Radio and writes a blog on ESPN.com. Donnan, a former All-Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback and tennis player at North Carolina State, was 104-40 in ten seasons of being a collegiate head coach and should be considered for the College Football Hall of Fame eventually with a 72 percent win percentage over the minimum ten years for eligibility.
William C. "Bill" Harris, Football, Wrestling and Baseball (1952-1956). Harris, selected from the group of pre-1960s Marshall athletes in Hall of Fame voting, entered Marshall College after three years in military, 1948-51. The Spencer, W.Va., native went on to earn three letters each in football and wrestling, and one more in baseball, for seven total varsity letters. Harris started at tackle for Herd in 1954 and 1955 and was co-captain of his senior squad, being named Honorable Mention All-MAC in both 1954 and 1955. He played every down of seven of nine games in the ‘55 season. The Herd posted records of 2-5-2 in 1953 (first year in MAC), 4-5 in 1954 and 3-6 in 1955. The Herd beat Ohio in 1953, tying Morris Harvey and Wofford. Marshall beat Western Michigan, Morris Harvey and Morehead State to open the 1954 season, and later beat BGSU. In 1955, the Herd knocked off Morris Harvey, WMU and Youngstown State. In wrestling as 212-pound heavyweight, Harris helped Marshall start the wrestling program in 1953-54 under head coach Sam Clagg, who also coached Harris in football under head football coach Herb Royer. Harris was undefeated in regular season in 1954-55 and finished fourth in the MAC Tournament. He followed that with a 7-0-1 mark in 1955-56, and was the only wrestler to defeat Lester Nader of Kent State (the MAC champ) in heavyweight division. Harris was consolation match champion, finishing third in MAC Tournament, and helped MU to tie for fifth place, the second-best finish ever in MU MAC Wrestling Tourney action. He then lettered in baseball as catcher in 1956 for the 7-10 Herd of first-year coach Bill Chambers. Harris was member of Varsity Club, Veterans Club and the Student Senate. Harris worked as a graduate assistant coach for the freshman team in 1955 and 1956. He received his Bachelor's degree in 1956 and a Master's in 1957, then from 1958 through 1997 was a teacher, coach and administrator in Cincinnati, Ohio. Harris would spend six years as part-time adult supervisor at a vocational school, where Harris still works at substitute teacher.
Tom Kies, Men's Golf (1985-88). 1986 Southern Conference Champion and three time named First Team All-Southern Conference golfer. His senior year in 1988, Kies was named Honorable Mention All-American, Marshall's fifth All-American at the time (currently six). He won the Augusta Invitational in 1987 and the University of Kentucky Invitational in 1988. Kies became the fifth Marshall golfer to make the post season when he played in the NCAA Tournament in 1988 at University of Southern California (currently six). He finished as the MU team stroke leader three of four seasons, 1986-87-88, and is eighth all-time in stroke average with a 75.9 career mark. Kies' 74.5 average in 1988 is the seventh best at Marshall all time for a single season. Kies is the ninth MU golfer and tenth person from the program to make the Hall of Fame.
Anna Mitina, shown during her playing days, is the first Marshall tennis player to be inducted into the Marshall University Athletic Hall of Fame. photo from HerdZone.com
Anna Mitina,Women's Tennis (1999-2002). A four-time first team All-Mid-American Conference selection, Marshall's only four-time first team selection in tennis to date, Mitina is No. 2 in doubles victories (106) and No. 6 in singles victories (89) in Marshall history, as well as No. 2 all-time in career victories (195). Her combined winning percentage is fifth (195-86, .694), her career doubles percentage is seventh (106-37, .741) and she is eighth in career singles percentage (89-49, .645). Mitina set an all-time win mark with 33 singles victories in 2000 and won 27 in 2001 (tied for sixth-most in school history). That same season of 2000, she also won 33 doubles matches, tied for second at MU, and her 32 doubles wins in 2001 is tied for fourth most in a season. She won 26 more in 2002, 12th most in a year at Marshall. Her 66 combined wins in 2000 is Marshall's best all-time, while 59 in 2001 is tied for fifth. She helped the Herd win the Mid-American Conference regular season title in 2000 and win the MAC and appear in Marshall's first NCAA Tournament against Tennessee (who finished in Final Four) in 2002, posting a 21-8 season. Marshall won 21 and lost 6 in 2001, the first time any MU tennis team had won 21 matches, and the team was 20-6 in 2000. MU's win over Eastern Michigan in the MAC Tourney in 2002 was the first loss of the year in MAC play for the Eagles.
Phil Ratliff, Football, (1989-92); Assistant Football Coach (2006-Present). One of the "Kentucky Headhunters" on the early 90s line for the Herd (along with fellow Bluegrass State lineman, Chris Deaton), No. 56 out of Louisa, Kentucky had 107 tackles, blocked four punts, caused six fumbles and 11 quarterback sacks at Lawrence County High School where he won 10 letters in football, basketball and baseball. He was third-team All-Kentucky, first team all-area and three times First Team All-Northeastern Kentucky Conference. Ratliff was recruited in 1989 by George Chaump. and started as a freshman on the defensive side of the ball, both at tackle and nose. He played in eight games and made 20 tackles, 13th on the team. Jim Donnan's arrival as head coach in 1990 moved Phil to offensive guard and it was there he excelled. He started eight of 11 games for the 6-5 Herd, missing three with a broken hand. Those 16 starts in the first two years would be added to 30 straight in the next two, as Ratliff was the unquestioned leader of the 1991 team that was 11-4 and National Runners-Ups and the 1992 12-3 National Championship team, a new MU record for single-season wins. He won the Jacobs Blocking Award in 1992 as the Southern Conference's best offensive lineman, the first Marshall player to win the award in MU's first 15 years in the league. He was first team All-Southern Conference in 1991 and 1992, as well as team captain. He was first team All-American on the Walter Camp team and third team AP All-American in 1991, but was consensus First Team All-American in 1992 on the AP, Sports Network and Walter Camp teams. Since graduation, he has been a highly successful area high school, first as defensive coordinator at Lawrence County (where those teams advanced far into the Kentucky H.S. playoffs in numerous years). As the head coach of nearby Spring Valley H.S., Ratliff coached the Timberwolves to the state playoffs in three of his four years at the helm, 2001-02-03, was the MSAC Coach of the Year in 2001 and helped MU teammates Mike Bartrum and Troy Brown to found the Bartrum-Brown Football Camp at SVHS in 1999. Ratliff moved on to coach the tight ends at James Madison University, for former MU assistant/ JMU Head Coach, Mickey Matthews, and the Dukes won Ratliff a second national I-AA championship in 2004 in addition to winning 20 games in his two seasons in Harrisburg, Va. In 2006, Ratliff returned to Marshall to work on Mark Synder's second squad, coaching All-American tight end Cody Slate. In the upcoming 2008 season, Ratliff will coach tight ends and tackles for the Herd, adding the No. 1 scholastic tight end of 2005, Lee Smith, and the No. 1 JC tight end of 2007, Marcus Graham (6-foot-5, 300-pounds), to the mix with Slate for the 2008 season. He and his wife, Jenni, have two children, Haley (11) and Dylan (8).
J.R. VanHoose, shown leading Marshall to head coach Greg White's first win over West Virginia, is only one of two scorers and rebounders in Marshall histoy with to have over 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds. photo from HerdZone.com.
J.R. VanHoose, Men's Basketball (1998-2002). Another Herd great from eastern Kentucky, VanHoose was a four-time All-Mid-American Conference player, being named first team in 2001, honorable mention in 2000 and 2002 and named to the MAC All-Freshman team in 1999. VanHoose, 6-foot-9, was named an Academic All-American as a senior. He is No. 5 in scoring all-time at Marshall with 1,803 points, and No. 2 all-time in rebounds with 1,086 - the only player over 1,000 rebounds and over 1,500 points besides fellow Hall of Fame member Charlie Slack. VanHoose, coached by another Hall of Fame member in his head coach Greg White, also played alongside of Tamar Slay, who is sixth in scoring with 1,792 points and currently pursuing a professional career. VanHoose is third in free throws attempted and made (472-of-630); fifth in field goal percentage (56 percent); sixth in field goals made (664) and games played (113); eighth in blocked shots (74); 10th in field goals attempted (1,185); 22nd in steals (97); and 24th in assists (154). He led the Herd in scoring in 1999 (397 points, 14.7 average). VanHoose led the team in rebounds for four consecutive years (averaging 11.1 per game in 2001 - third best in the nation - and 10.6 per game in 2002, second in the MAC) as well as field goal percentage all four years (with a best of .594 as a freshman) and free throws made each of four seasons (best of 141-184 his sophomore season). He led the Herd in field goals made in both 1999 (149) and 2001 (160). VanHoose averaged a double-double his junior and senior seasons and his 39 as a junior led the nation. He became the first Marshall player to do that since Bob "Too Sweet" Williams in 1974-75 season, and he played 35 minutes a game as a senior despite a bone injury that plagued his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. VanHoose helped lead Marshall to 70 wins in four seasons and 2000 team advanced to the MAC Tournament semi-finals, MU's only trip that far in eight seasons, before falling to Miami, Ohio. He led Greg White to the coach's first victory over West Virginia in a 81-79 win in Charleston in February of 2002. His senior season, VanHoose won the Leo Byrd, Charlie Slack and Hal Greer awards. In 2002, he was drafted by North Charleston Lowgators of the NBDL in the seventh round. Later in 2002, he played for the Charleston (W.Va.) Bombers in the USBL. In April of 2006, VanHoose signed at West Virginia Wild of the IBL, and averaged 25.2 points per game, 15.5 rebounds, shot 54 percent from the floor and 30 percent from the three-point line that season. In 2007 the Wild went inactive and VanHoose returned to his native Paintsville, Kentucky where he is an assistant basketball coach at Paintsville and teacher at the middle school. As of this time, he is listed on the roster for the 2008 season which opens the end of May, and VanHoose did lace up the sneakers one more time and played for Marshall All-Stars versus the UK All-Stars in a game at Boyd County (Ky.) Middle School in May of 2008.
The Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame Committee is comprised of Dr. Sam Clagg, Dr. Dot Hicks, Bob Marcum, Randy Burnside, Joe Feaganes, Willard Hunter, Keith Morehouse, Linda Holmes, Greg Rowsey, Reggie Giles and Woody Woodrum. The Hall has inducted 166 members since its inception in 1984, plus the 1970 football team which was honored as a group on the 20th anniversary of the Nov. 14, 1970, plane crash. This will be the 27th class inducted since then (there were two induction ceremonies, spring and fall, in 1985 and 1986). The Hall of Fame requires former athletes to letter twice in one sport or one time each in two sports for initial eligibility. Over 100 of Marshall's greatest players, coaches and staff members were considered at the start of the 2008 deliberations.
Of the 173 member, including this year's projected inductees, includes 75 football players (plus the three pros who may or may not be available this year for induction); 56 basketball players (nine from women's basketball); 33 baseball players, 22 staff members or coaches (one student-manager and 12 athletes who have become coaches at Marshall, including Ratliff this year); 12 golfers (two from women's teams) ; 12 track & field athletes (plus Moss, and two are from women's track); seven from wrestling; four from men's soccer, two each from men's swimming and volleyball; and one each from co-rec badminton, softball and women's tennis (with Mitina going in this year).
There are 35 multi-sport athletes, and only four were three-sport athletes (Harry "Cy" Young, Tom Stark, Ramey Hunter and Bob Pruett - Stark and Pruett also coached at Marshall). 1984 saw the first inductions from football, coaches, baseball and basketball. 1986's class included the first golf and track & field inductees, and one year later the first wrestler was inducted. Since then, men's soccer ('94), men's swimming and volleyball ('96), co-rec badminton ('04), softball ('05) and this year women's tennis players have joined the Hall of Fame at Marshall University.
Contact HOF historian Woody Woodrum at firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of April, 2009, to nominate any outstanding former Marshall player or current/former staff member or coach that you believe deserves a shot at making it into the Marshall University Athletic Hall of Fame.