Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Six outstanding contributors to Mountaineer athletics make up the 19th class of honorees in the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame.

The 2009 class includes Aaron Beasley, Fred Graham, Jeff Merrow, Kristin Quackenbush, Bob Smith and Lowry Stoops. Induction ceremonies will take place prior to the East Carolina football game on Sept. 12. This class brings the total number of inductees to 121.

One of the greatest defensive players in Mountaineer football history, Aaron Beasley was a three-year starter and a first team All-America cornerback at WVU from 1992-95.

A Pottstown, Pa., native, Beasley was a consensus All-American in 1995 after leading the nation with a school-record 10 interceptions. He was a first team All-American by Football News, Walter Camp, American Football Coaches' Association, UPI and College Sports. A unanimous all-BIG EAST first-team selection, Beasley was a Jim Thorpe semifinalist and one of 15 semifinalists for the Football News' Defensive Player of the Year award.

For his career, Beasley tallied 19 interceptions, second-most in school history. Three of those picks were returned for touchdowns. He had 38 passes broken up, including a then-school record 18 his senior season.

He appeared in 43 career games, making 36 consecutive starts and tallying 143 tackles, including 97 solo. A sociology and anthropology major and member of WVU's Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll, Beasley was a member of the 1994 Sugar Bowl and 1995 Carquest Bowl teams.

Beasley was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1996 NFL Draft with the 63rd overall pick and played for the squad until 2001. He then spent two seasons with the New York Jets and played the 2004 season with the Atlanta Falcons.

For his professional career, Beasley played in 121 games, 105 as a starter, and recorded 362 tackles and 24 interceptions.

Beasley currently resides in Pasadena, Md., with his wife, Umme, (formerly Umme Salim, WVU gymnast) and their three daughters - Amirah, Dahlia and Layla.

Fred Graham, a native of Morgantown, W.Va., was a two-sport standout in football and basketball from 1921-25. Graham was a four-year letterman in football at end from 1921-24, serving as captain of the 1924 team. He earned first team All-America honors in 1924 and is a member of the 1919-29 all-decade team at WVU.

He was a member of the only undefeated Mountaineer football team that posted a 10-0-1 record in 1922. Graham also helped WVU win its first bowl game in school history, a 21-13 victory over Gonzaga in the 1922 East-West Bowl. During his Mountaineer career, WVU posted a 30-6-3 record.

In basketball, Graham was a two-year letterman in 1924 and 1925. He scored a career-high nine points against Allegheny on Jan. 10, 1925.

Following graduation, Graham played for the Frankford Yellow Jackets of the NFL in 1926 and the Providence Steam Rollers of the AFL in 1926.

Jeff Merrow, a native of Akron, Ohio, was a three-year letterwinner in football from 1972-74.

Merrow came to West Virginia from Firestone High in Akron, where he was an all-state, all-district and all-Akron standout. Playing on the defensive line, Merrow averaged more than 12 tackles per game. For his career, he registered 275 total tackles, 170 of those unassisted, and 22 career tackles for loss.

In 1973, Merrow led WVU's defense with 141 tackles, including 93 unassisted tackles. He posted a then-school record 15 tackles for loss, which now ranks third in school history. Merrow was selected to the ECAC weekly all-star team for his play against Illinois in 1973, when he collected 18 tackles, 13 of them unassisted, while he was double-teamed most of the game.

A member of the 1972 Peach Bowl team and captain of the 1974 team for then-head coach Bobby Bowden, Merrow participated in the 1974 East-West Shrine game. He won the 1974 John Russell Award, given to WVU's top lineman, and is also a member of the WVU 1970-79 all-time football team.

Merrow was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1975 NFL Draft in the 11th round and played nine years for the Falcons.

He played in 108 games, starting 101 of them. At age 30 in 1983, Merrow ended his professional career by playing in all 16 games, recording three sacks on the year.

Following retirement from the NFL, Merrow has co-owned an equipment business in Flowery Branch, Ga. Merrow and wife Lisa, who now make their home in Buford, Ga., have three sons, Jeff Jr., Ian and Thor, a former Mountaineer football player.

Kristin Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo excelled in two sports - gymnastics and track & field - earning seven All-America honors during her five-year (1994-98) Mountaineer career.

The Whitesboro, N.Y., native is the poster-athlete for the WVU gymnastics program, having earned five perfect 10 scores over the course of her career, including two in a quad-meet sweep over George Washington, Massachusetts and Rutgers (March 15, 1997).

Each of Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo's years as a Mountaineer gymnast was filled with honors and awards. Through her first three seasons, she earned six All-America honors, including a first team vault award that accompanied her third-place finish at the 1996 NCAA Championship - still the highest finish on the national stage for any WVU gymnast. The two-time team captain also captured three Atlantic 10 titles and two East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) titles. Additionally, she was named the 1994 Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year and the 1995 Atlantic 10 Gymnast of the Year.

Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo saved her most prolific season for her senior year, as she was named WVU's first-ever AAI American Award winner in 1997; the award recognizes the national collegiate gymnast of the year. She was also named the 1997 NCAA Woman of the Year for West Virginia, the unanimous EAGL Gymnast of the Year and the EAGL Outstanding Senior Gymnast. Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo was equally impressive in competition, taking the 1997 EAGL floor and all-around titles, and earning first team all-conference honors on each event.

Along with her national notoriety, Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo was repeatedly recognized within the gymnastics program and the WVU Athletic Department. A two-time Red Brown Cup winner (1996, '97), she also earned the 1996 and 1997 Joseph Medrick Award and the inaugural John Quackenbush Award in 1997.

Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo made the most of her collegiate experience, and with her fifth year of eligibility, moved from the gym to the track and excelled in the pole vault during her one season with the WVU track & field team, earning her seventh All-America honor with a fourth-place (12' 1½") finish at the 1998 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Additionally, she finished in 10th place at the NCAA Indoor Championships. As was her calling card in both sports, Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo captured the BIG EAST and ECAC pole vault titles at that season's indoor and outdoor championships.

Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo also excelled in a third arena - the classroom. A two-time NACGC/W Scholastic All-American, the 1998 physical education/teaching graduate was also a two-time EAGL All-Academic honoree and a member of the WVU Athletic Director's Academic Honor Roll. Quackenbush-DiBartolomeo earned her master's in business at WVU in 2000.

She continues to reside in Morgantown with her husband, David, and their two sons, Anthony (3) and John (1), and works as a project manager at Mylan.

Robert "Bob" Smith, a native of Charleston, W.Va., started every game of his basketball career from 1957-59.

Playing along side Jerry West, Smith scored 1,127 career points, averaged 12.3 points per game, averaged 6.3 rebounds per game and finished with 289 career assists.

As a senior, Smith was named second team all-Southern Conference and honorable mention All-America, averaging 12.6 points and grabbing 5.3 rebounds. In his senior season on the way to the NCAA finals, Smith scored a career-high 29 points against New York University.

As a junior, Smith averaged 12.4 points per game and was named to the Southern Conference all-tournament first team and averaged 11.7 points and 7.2 rebounds as a sophomore. He posted a career-best 14 rebounds as a sophomore against Washington & Lee.

Playing forward and guard, Smith was a three-year letterman and co-captain of the 1959 team that played for the national championship.

Smith was a part of three Southern Conference championships and three NCAA tournaments. During his career, the Mountaineers never lost a regular season or tournament game in the Southern Conference.

Following graduation, he played two years with the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA and the Pittsburgh Rens of the old ABL.

After his playing days, Smith coached on the prep level for 15 years in Northern Virginia, spending two seasons as junior varsity coach at W.T. Woodson High in Fairfax and 13 years as head coach at George C. Marshall High in Falls Church.

Smith was accorded numerous honors during his prep coaching career. He was on the coaching staff of the Suburban Prep All-Stars in the McDonald's Capital Classic in 1978 and the Metro All-Stars against the U.S. and Russian Junior Olympic teams in 1977. Smith was twice named Potomac District Coach of the Year on two occasions.

He came back to West Virginia in 1978 to serve as an assistant coach under Gale Catlett until 1985.

Following his coaching career, Smith moved to Naples, Fla., and has worked in the real estate profession.

Smith and his wife, Jean, have two sons - Steve and Scott - and two grandchildren.

Lowry Stoops was a longtime administrator in the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, serving as Assistant Athletic Director from 1926-62. He served with athletic directors Harry Stansbury, Roy Hawley and Red Brown.

A three-year letterman in baseball from 1916-18, Stoops served with the Army for 21 months during World War I, following his graduation from West Virginia. Before joining WVU Athletics in 1926, he held positions as principal of Weir High School, superintendent of the New Cumberland School District and athletic director at West Liberty.

A native of Tustin, Calif., Stoops served in many roles in his capacity as an administrator. He handled travel arrangements for WVU football, basketball, baseball and other varsity athletic teams. Stoops was the founder of the Mountaineer Scholarship Fund, which is currently known as the Mountaineer Athletic Club. He traveled throughout the state of West Virginia in difficult times speaking about the merits of West Virginia University, the athletic programs and its student-athletes. His ability to raise money helped lay the foundation for WVU athletics to move to a new level.

Stoops served as interim athletic director in 1954 following the tragic death of athletic director Roy Hawley. Stoops remained as assistant athletic director until his retirement in 1962. At his retirement, Stoops was honored alongside legendary Mountaineer great Ira Errett Rodgers at a testimonial dinner to celebrate their retirements.

Stoops died May 14, 1969, at age 77 in Morgantown. A.L. "Shorty" Hardman, sports editor of the Charleston Gazette said, "Stoops leaves many legends behind him. These legends will never die; the events which marked his life will be remembered as long as anyone talks about West Virginia University and its athletics." Stoops was married to Mary Lee Williamson and had two children, Lowry Stoops Jr. and Mary Alice Fite, both WVU alums.


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