VIENNA, W.Va. - There's always a range of emotions at the yearly Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner.
And Saturday night's 2014 event was no exception with 12 more HOF enshrinees, who used words like proud, grateful, honored, humbled, thankful and appreciative to describe the experience.
Dave Barnes, who couldn't attend because of medical reasons, was a standout three-sport (basketball, football and baseball) at Marietta High School, and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1967. Barnes' brother Charles accepted the honor for him.
STEVE HEMMELGARN Special to The Times
Former Belpre High School basketball coach Dave Wilcoxen gives his Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction speech Saturday night.
St. Marys' Larry Butcher was a track and cross country pioneer in the Mid-Ohio Valley, and especially in the Little Kanawha Conference, which he said is "now one of the strongest track conferences in the state."
Bernie Buttrey won back-to-back Class AAA state football championships as the Parkersburg High head football coach in 2006 and 2007. "It's an honor that I got to coach against so many of these people here tonight," said Buttrey. "I had great influences growing up."
George Elliott, at defensive tackle, was one of the keys in PHS' 1976 state football title. "I got to play for some great coaches," he said of Dick Wildt at Washington Junior High, Buddy James at PHS, and Bob Pruett, Jim Grobe and Bill Stewart who were assistant coaches at Marshall, where Elliott started for our years in college.
John Flint, former athletic director at Parkersburg South High School who coached Harrisville to a 9-1 record and a state football playoff berth in 1973, said that "the people who give you the opportunities to succeed are special, and you have to thank them for that."
Joe Fox quarterbacked Ravenswood to the only undefeated football season in school history en route to the Class AA state championship in 1972 and also excelled in basketball and track in high school. "It's a real honor to be recognized in this way," said Fox. "It's an exceptionally-rewarding experience."
Susan Gardner was a multi-sport girls coach at PHS, and a part of girls sports when they were getting started in West Virginia the mid-70s. "We just wanted a chance to compete," said Gardner of girls sports, which she coached for 35 years. "I owe this honor really to countless gifted athletes."
Larry Phillips was the middle of three Phillips brothers who all won the Hunt Award at PHS as the best high school football lineman in W.Va. in 1977, when the defensive tackle was also a prep All-American. "It's an honor and and a privileged to here tonight," said Phillips. Jed Stephen, an outstanding all-around athlete at Shenandoah High School who was a finalist for both Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball in Ohio as a senior, went on to play baseball at Ohio State for four years with a career .304 batting average. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles and played several years in their farm system.
Jill Stephens was a basketball, volleyball and softball star at Parkersburg South. She is the South girl cagers' all-time leading scorer (1,942) and rebounder (1,276). She played in college at Cincinnati (2005-2008), and was twice the team MVP. "I'm fully aware that I did not get here on my own," said Stephens.
Dick Sturm coached football for 46 years at Ravenswood High School and was the head coach there for 15 years with a record of 111-56 and two Class AA state championships. "I was blessed to coach some tremendous young men, not just football players," said Strum.
Dave Wilcoxen coached basketball, both boys and girls, in high school from 1967-2000, including almost 20 years at Belpre. "A lot of people who influenced me in my life are either in this hall of fame or here tonight," said Wilcoxen.