Six Hall of Fame Honorees Announced

West Virginia University has announced their thirteenth class of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.

The 2003 class includes national boxing champion Sam Littlepage, multi-sport standout John Doyle, football's Tommy Allman, retired coaches Don Nehlen and Kittie Blakemore, and sports historian Tony Constantine.

Induction ceremonies will take place around the WVU-Cincinnati football game the weekend of September 12-13. This class brings the number of total inductees to 83.

The late Tommy Allman was a star fullback for the Mountaineers from 1950-54. A Charleston, W.Va., native, he earned all-Southern Conference honors three consecutive years and was named NEA third team All-America.

Winner of the 1953 Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the Southern Conference's toughest and most proficient in that skill, Allman was captain of WVU's 1953 Sugar Bowl team. He played in the Senior Bowl and Chicago all-star games, and was drafted by the NFL's Baltimore Colts. He played for the Colts and Green Bay Packers before being drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Following his discharge, Allman played for the Vancouver B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League before returning to Morgantown. He was the 1984 recipient of the Morgantown Touchdown Club's Proficiency Award and a member of WVU's all-time team.

Allman, married to the former Donna Woydak, had five children: Tommy, Mark Allan, Tina, Timberly and Michele. He was a top sales representative for companies such as Pennzoil, Long Airdox, Hewitt Robbins and Fidelity Union, as well as operating his own antique business. He was instrumental in the formation of a WVU Letterman's Club, and helped organize the Art Lewis Memorial Fund and Sugar Bowl reunions. Allman died June 22, 1996, at age 64.

Coach Kittie Blakemore was the first women's basketball coach in WVU history and a pioneer in the establishment of Mountaineer women's athletics. Starting the women's basketball program in 1973, she compiled a career record of 301-214 over 19 seasons, including the 1989 Atlantic 10 tournament championship, the 1992 regular season A-10 title and NCAA berths in 1989 and 1992.

The 1984 and 1992 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, Blakemore was a member of numerous regional, conference and NCAA committees. She brought in co-head coaches Bill Fiske and Scott Harrelson to work with her in improving the basketball program, which produced All-American Rosemary Kosiorek, all-conference players Donna Abbott, Alexis Basil, Olivia Bradley, Jenny Hillen, Cathy Parson and Georgeann Wells, the first player to dunk in a women's collegiate game.

Following her retirement from coaching, she served as WVU's assistant athletic director for sports development and senior women's administrator until her retirement in 1997. She was the 1989 recipient of the Morgantown Touchdown Club's Proficiency Award, the 1992 recipient of the Mary Catherine Buswell Award in recognition for service to WVU women and the 1993 recipient of the Celebrate Women Award from the West Virginia Women's Commission in the field of sports.

Blakemore holds a bachelor's degree from James Madison (1950) and a master's degree from WVU (1961). She started her career at Stratford Junior High in Arlington, Va., then spent six years as a teacher and basketball coach at Fort Meade (Fla.) High before coming to WVU in 1960 as a physical education instructor. Eventually gaining the rank of associate professor, she was named Outstanding Teacher in the School of Physical Education five times. Blakemore has lived in her hometown of Manassas, Va., since her retirement.

Tony Constantine is regarded as the most knowledgeable expert about West Virginia University athletics ever. A Morgantown, W.Va., native and the son of immigrants, Constantine served 37 years as sports editor of the Morgantown Post from 1936-72, and continued to write for the Morgantown papers through the 1980s.

An avid fan of Mountaineer teams since 1919, he was adopted by those early squads as their unofficial mascot and attended all contests. A newspaper sales boy in his youth, Constantine, who worked at the Morgantown Glassware Guild, in construction and in the restaurant business since age 16, helped local news reporter and longtime friend Dave Jacobs keep statistics at the games, and that experience led to a job at the Post.

He has been prolific in his contributions to compiling and preserving the Mountaineer athletic tradition. He wrote two books on WVU football: "Mountaineer Football 1891-1969" and "A Record of West Virginia University Football - The First 100 Years," and has written numerous articles for the athletic department, Alumni Association and other University publications, serving until recent years on WVU's Sports Hall of Fame and all-time team selection committees.

Self-educated and a devoted reader of the classics, Constantine, now age 94, and his wife, the former Winnie Dorrell, raised five children – Marc, Karen, Steve, Jane and Leah – 23 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. The Constantines live in Westover.

The late Dr. John Doyle, a native of Pennsboro, W.Va., excelled in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field at WVU from 1929-32, playing halfback in football, forward in basketball, and catcher in baseball, earning a tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Besides lettering in all four sports, Doyle was voted captain of the football and basketball teams in his senior year, and helped WVU to some memorable victories. In football, those included a 9-6 upset of Oklahoma A & M (State) in 1929 on the road, and a 14-7 win at Georgetown and a 23-7 win over the Kansas Aggies here in 1930. A 19-0 upset of Penn State highlighted the 1931 season. Doyle scored the only touchdown against national power Fordham in a 20-7 loss at New York's Polo Grounds his senior season. In basketball, Doyle participated in significant victories over Pitt, Penn State, Georgetown, Temple, Duquesne and Navy.

After earning his bachelor's degree in 1932, Doyle went on to study at the Medical College of Virginia and completed requirements for an MD degree at the Chicago Medical School in 1940. In 1941, he entered the U.S. Army medical corps, and served on Utah Beach on D-Day. He earned seven battle stars, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service.

He spent 60 years as a physician in Ridgeway, Ill., where he was active in community events. In recognition of his medical service to his community, coupled with his athletic achievements, Sports Illustrated named Doyle in 1956 to its first Silver Anniversary All-America football team.

Dr. Doyle and his wife, the former Joyce Clark, had three children, Cynthia, Jack and Patti. Dr. Doyle died on December 15, 2002, at the age of 93.

The late Sam Littlepage was the 1938 NCAA boxing champion at 165 pounds, and helped WVU earn a three-way tie of the national team title that year (shared with Virginia and Catholic).

Littlepage was one of only three Mountaineer boxers to win a national title during the history of the boxing program from 1930-60; others were his 1938 teammate heavyweight Ashby Dickerson and 1936 115-pounder Mickey Brutto. Littlepage was the Eastern Intercollegiate Conference champion at 155 pounds in 1936 and at 165 in 1938, and served as team captain his senior year for Coach Eddie Vacheresse.

A native of Charleston, W.Va., after completing his bachelor's degree at WVU and ROTC training, he served in the U.S. Army (1940-46) during World War II. Littlepage, who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, saw action on Saipan, Okinawa, Iwo Jima and was decorated with the Purple Heart for his service as a tank division commander. After the war, he returned to WVU to attend law school. Following graduation, Littlepage, whose family can count five generations of West Virginia lawyers and judges, joined a family firm in Point Pleasant. Also the Mason County prosecuting attorney later in his career, he remained in private practice there until his death in 1974 at age 58.

An avid hunter and marksman, Littlepage was shot in the left leg in a hunting accident when he was 12 years old. Although amputation was considered, his family sent him to the Mayo Clinic, where he recovered for six months and taught himself tennis while still wheelchair-bound. After high school, he attended the Kentucky Military School, where he began to show promise as a boxer.

He was active in encouraging athletics and was one of the founders of a tennis program in the Point Pleasant community; Littlepage himself was tennis champion at Edgewood Country Club in Charleston. Littlepage and his wife, the former Jean Cole, had five children – Kemp, Samuel II, Stephen, Alison and Jennifer - and 13 grandchildren.

Coach Don Nehlen, the winningest football coach in WVU history, served as Mountaineer coach from 1980-2000, posting a 149-93-4 record in Morgantown. One of the five winningest coaches in the nation at the time of his retirement, Nehlen's career record of 202-138-8 (including nine seasons as head coach at Bowling Green from 1968-76) made him one of only 17 coaches in NCAA history to record 200 wins.

Taking WVU to 13 bowls and 17 winning seasons, Nehlen coached 15 first team All-Americans, 82 all-conference players, six first team Academic All-Americans and 80 players who went on to professional football. He received coach of the year honors from Kodak, AFCA, Bobby Dodd Award, Walter Camp, Scripps-Howard, Playboy, Woody Hayes Award, Joseph Sheehan Award and was the unanimous choice as the 1993 BIG EAST coach of the year.

In 1997, Nehlen served as president of the 10,000-member American Football Coaches Association, the culmination of a career that saw him on the AFCA's Board of Trustees, chair of the College Football Association's coaches committee and a nominator for the College Footbal Hall of Fame.

After quarterbacking Bowling Green to a MAC championship, Nehlen began his coaching career in 1958 at Mansfield (Ohio) High School. He served as head coach at Canton South and Canton McKinley Highs, and was an assistant coach at Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Michigan. His last game as a head coach was a 49-38 win over Ole Miss in the 2000 Music City Bowl.

A member of the Mid-American Conference, Bowling Green and Gator Bowl halls of fame, Nehlen has a bachelor's degree (1958) from Bowling Green and a master's (1966) from Kent State. A native of Canton, Ohio, he and his wife Merry Ann have two children - Dan and Vicky - and five grandchildren.


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