MOV Sports Hall of Fame to welcome new inductees

VIENNA — The Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame will be inducting the Class of 2019 Saturday at the Grande Pointe Conference and Reception Center in Vienna. This year will feature 10 new inductees from Wood, Washington, Jackson, Ritchie, Noble and Pleasants County.

The inductees will be Andrew Benford (Jackson), Ron Haught (Ritchie), Connie (Sanford) Richardson (Noble), Don Strahler (Washington), Larry Taylor (Pleasants), Jeff Deem, Tim C. McCartney, Donna J. Newberry, Pam Reeves and Steve M. Shaver (Wood).

BENFORD was a star cross country and track runner from Ravenswood High School. A 2006 graduate, Benford finished his prep career with multiple state championships in each sport. He ran the best time in West Virginia in 2004 and 2005 to win the Class AA-A state title.

He was the state runner-up in 2003 and was a four-time All-Little Kanawha Conference and all-regional runner. He was a member of four state championship cross country teams. In track, he finished as a three-time double-A high-point scorer at the state track meet, winning multiple state titles in the 3200, 1600 and 4×400 relay.

He went on to continue his running career at Richmond, where he earned several accolades.

He was the 2006 Atlantic 20 Cross Country Rookie of the Year. He was a nine-time A-10 all-conference performer, a five-time conference champion and in 2009 won the Atlantic 10 Outdoor Track Most Outstanding Performer and the Ray McCoy Award (West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s top track athlete).

Benford has enjoyed a successful post-collegiate running career, taking first place at the Snowball Hill Climb and the Gaspin’ in the Aspen 15K in 2014 in Flagstaff, Arizona.

HAUGHT was a three-sport standout at Harrisville High School in Ritchie County. A 1961 graduate, Haught quarterbacked the football team his senior year and was invited to play in the North-South L-K Bowl as a member of the North team. He was also a pitcher for the baseball team, but really excelled in basketball.

Haught was the LKC leading scorer his senior year with 401 points for a 22.3 average. He also led the league with 143 two-pointers made and 115 free-throws converted.

He netted 30 or more points in three games, his season-high being 47. In one game, he was a perfect 21 for 21 from the charity stripe to set a school record.

RICHARDSON had an illustrious basketball career for the Caldwell Redskins, but also was a softball and volleyball standout. A 1982 graduate, Richardson scored 1,254 points in her career and grabbed 693 rebounds in two seasons.

Her senior year, she averaged a 22.7-point, 13.6-rebound double-double, shot 65 percent from the field and 73.5 percent from the free-throw line en route to earning All-Ohio honors.

That was after averaging 25 points and 18.8 rebounds as a junior. She set five school records in addition to her career point total — points a game (41), assists in a season (43), rebounds in a game (34), made free-throws in a game (17 for 17) and most free-throws in a season (126).

She went on to play collegiately at Heidelberg, becoming a four-year starter who led the OAC in scoring (20.1 points per game) and rebounding (14).

She finished fourth all-time in career points for the Student Princes, amassing 1,691 points. She is tops all-time in school history in career rebounds (1,161) and career field goal percentage (54.5 percent). She was inducted into the Heidelberg Hall of Fame in 1993.

Richardson went on to coach the Otterbein women’s basketball team for 28 years, compiling 382 wins.

She was a two-time OAC Coach of the Year and helped guide the Cardinals to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012-13.

STRAHLER graduated from Fort Frye High School in 1959 and went on to teach at Fort Frye for 24 years. He was an assistant football coach, head girls basketball and head girls softball coach during that time. In six years, he guided the softball team to a spectacular 119-34 record, four Pioneer Valley Conference championships, three sectional titles and three district titles. His 18-year overall basketball record was 292-95, claiming 13 PVC titles, seven sectional titles and one Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship. After the 1993-94 season, he was named the Ohio High School Coach of the Year for girls basketball.

TAYLOR was a cross country and track standout from St. Marys High School. A 1980 graduate, Taylor was a four-time all-conference honoree in both sports. He was the league MVP three times and was a two-time high-point winner at the conference meets.

He went on to run at Glenville State, where he led the Pioneers to three cross country titles. Taylor’s shining moment came at the WVIAC Conference Track and Field events. He requested to run the 800, 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 meter events and went on to win all four events.

DEEM was an impact athlete in football, basketball, baseball and track during his prep career at Williamstown High School. A 1980 graduate, Deem was a Class AA first team all-state honoree in football in 1978 and 1979. His 94 points scored ranked in the top 15 among all classes in the state. He was a standout fullback and linebacker for the Yellowjackets, helping the North team win the 1980 North-South All-Star Football Game.

Deem earned a football scholarship to play at West Virginia. He was a member of Hall of Fame coach Don Nehlen’s first team. He became one of the team’s top tacklers as a sophomore in 1981, finishing with 87 tackles, two tackles for loss and two interceptions. He was a pivotal member of the WVU defense that dominated Florida, 26-6, in the Peach Bowl that season, a signature win in program history. Deem’s best game that year came against Pittsburgh in which he finished with 13 tackles and intercepted Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. He recorded 51 tackles his junior year before suffering a career-ending knee injury.

MCCARTNEY, a 1973 graduate of Gilmer High School, is being inducted for his contributions as a wrestling coach at Parkersburg South. During his tenure with the Patriots, they won five Class AAA state championships. He is one of the state’s all-time winningest wrestling coaches. McCartney also was a highly respected math teacher during his coaching days and went on to become the school’s principal.

NEWBERRY coached softball, basketball, field hockey and volleyball at Muskingum University for 36 years until her death in 2010. Newberry, a 1969 graduate of Parkersburg South High School, coached softball her entire tenure with the Muskies, leading the program to 907 wins during that span. That is the highest win total for any NCAA Division III softball coach. Muskingum won 18 Ohio Athletic Conference championships, made 18 NCAA Tournament appearances and made eight trips to the D-III College World Series. In 2001, Newberry guided the Muskies to the national championship.

Her basketball coaching career lasted 26 years. In that time, she led Muskingum to 403 wins, five conference championships and a national runner-up finish in 1991. Newberry won OAC Coach of the Year honors 14 times and NCAA Regional Coach of the Year seven times. She became the only coach in NCAA history to win receive National Coach of the Year honors in two different sports.

REEVES was a 1980 graduate of Parkersburg High School and went on to coach boys and girls tennis for 20-plus years at her alma mater. During her coaching career, Reeves guided the PHS boys tennis team to state championships in 1990, 1991, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Meanwhile, the girls team won state titles in 1991, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2010. In 2012, she earned the National Federation of State High School Association Coaches’ Award. She was named the Mountain State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2015.

Prior to her death in 2016, Reeves was instrumental in starting the Parkersburg City Park and Vienna Recreation Summer Leagues for adults and children. She oversaw the Vienna Recreation’s Summer Tennis Program at Jackson Park for more than 35 years. The area’s annual Volleyball Preview, which was Reeves’ idea to start in 2014, is now named The Annual Pam Reeves Preview in her honor.

SHAVER is being inducted for his dazzling race car driving career. A 1982 graduate of Parkersburg High School, Shaver played running back for the Big Reds’ football team and attended West Virginia for one year before leaving to pursue auto racing. He became a two-time winner of the North-South 100 at Kentucky Speedway, a five-time winner at East Bay Raceway Park’s Winter Nationals, six-time Harvest 50 winner at Skyline Speedway, a three-time winner of the Big Kahuna at Allegheny Motor Speedway, a two-time West Virginia State Champion at I-79 Speedway and a two-time Mark Balzano Memorial winner at West Virginia Motor Speedway, among many other accomplishments.

In 2018, Shaver was inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame.