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1989 inductees

  • Jeff Merrow
    Football 1989

 Merrow didn’t like it when he was told that a 1979 poll by the Washington Post rated him as the fourth dirtiest player in the National Football League – behind only Conrad Dobler, Cliff Harris and Mean Joe Greene. But he didn’t poke anybody’s eyes out. “I’m no dirty,” Merrow told the Beacon Journal in ’79. “I just like to intimidate people and try to take advantage of it. I just play with a lot of enthusiasm. But I guess I’m moving right up in this league, aren’t I?” The Firestone High grad had a long way to go. Injuries hampered him during his junior and senior years at West Virginia University, lowering his stock to the pros. He was admittedly disappointed when he wasn’t selected until the 11th round of the NFL draft in 1975. However, an injury to All-Pro Claude Humprhey put him in the starting lineup at defensive end as a rookie for the Atlanta Falcons. He kept the job for nine years. He had 10 sacks in 1977, when Atlanta’s defense gave up a league-low 129 points. In 1981, he had eight sacks and 31 solo tackles as the Falcons made the playoffs with a 12-4 record. And the defense was the third best in the league against the run. He retired after the 1983 season.

  • Bobby Jo Mason
    Basketball 1989

Mason was one of the most heralded basketball players to ever enroll at Bradley University in the 1950s. As a freshman guard out of his native Centralia, Ill., Mason broke the Bradley Field House individual scoring record with 38 points. He played on two Bradley teams that won NIT championships in 1957 and ’60 and finished his career with 1,229 points. He twice was named All-Missouri Valley Conference. After a 2-year stint in the U.S. Army, Mason joined the Harlem Globetrotters. His 12-year career with the Globetrotters, in which he eventually served as captain, ended in 1976. He has been inducted into both the Bradley University Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Greater Peoria (Ill.) Sports Hall of Fame. Mason lived and worked for awhile in Akron.

  • Darrington Seals
    Football 1989

Seals was a rare breed at the University of Akron in the early 1960s because he was one of the very few athletes who came from out of state to play at Akron. Seals was brought from Pennsylvania to Akron by Gordon Larson in 1961, his first season as the Zips’ head football coach. Little did Larson realize he had a Hall of Famer in the making. It was players like the 5-foot-10, 150-pound Seals who helped take Akron from a 1-8 record in 1960 to a 6-2 mark in 1961. He would go on to three more winning campaigns – 7-2 in ’62, and 6-3 in both 1963 and ’64. Seals began his career as an offensive halfback, but his coaches quickly discovered he had defensive talents as well. As a result he was a 2-way performer his first two seasons and in his final year. He gained first-team All-Ohio Conference honors as a defensive back in 1962, was second team in ’63 and recaptured first-team honors as a senior. He also lettered four years in track – and with similar success. A sprinter and 440 man, he was on teams that captured Ohio Conference Championships in 1962, ’63 and ’65 – winning 30-of-32 meets in the process.

  • Al Campbell
    Coach 1989

Currently the Zip cross country and track coach, Campbell first flashed on The University of Akron sports scene as a freshman in 1960. In his first two cross country races, Campbell garnered first-place finishes while establishing course records. The precedent had been set as Campbell’s assault on AU cross country and track records continued while lettering four years in both sports. In 1960, Campbell won the Touchdown Club Award as the Most Valuable Runner as a freshman. It was an honor Campbell was to receive in all four years of varsity competition – an achievement reached by no other Akron runner before or since. He was a member of three undefeated track teams that captured the Ohio Conference Championships in 1961 (9-0), ’62 (8-0) and ’63 (8-0). The latter two seasons the Zips captured the NCAA Mideast Regional title as well. By the time Campbell concluded his career with another MVP Award in track he owned the records in the 2-mile, 3-mile and 4-mile events.

  • Bob Whaley
    Basketball 1989

 Although he ended his collegiate career as one of Akron U’s all-time leading scorers, Whaley didn’t play basketball at Akron’s East High. Instead, he developed his skills in the U.S. Air Force, eventually earning All-Air Force honor in 1953-54. After his enlistment was up, Whaley enrolled at Akron U on the recommendation of another all-time Zip great, Mike Harkins. Whaley immediately became a regular, playing in every game in his four seasons, in which time Akron U compiled a 76-23 record. The Zips won 21 consecutive games during Whaley’s junior season. He was all conference three consecutive years, concluding his career by scoring 351 points as a senior, earning honorable mention All-American honors from the United Press International. He scored a career total of 1,217, fifth on the all-time list at the time. Whaley later played for the Cleveland Pipers, who won the 1961 National AAU championship.

  • Bill Bertka
    Administrator 1989

Bertka never played in the National Basketball Association and his last head coaching job was in 1961. Rather, the Buchtel High grad earned his position as Pat Riley's assistant for four world NBA championship seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers the hard way - as a super scout who charted hundreds and hundreds of basketball games. He still owns and operates, along with his wife, Solveig, reputedly the largest basketball scouting service in the country - Bertka's Views. Bertka's last head coaching job was at his alma mater, Kent State, from 1957-61. In 1968, the Lakers hired him as their head scout and he quickly gained a reputation as one of the best. In 1973, Bertka joined the fledgling New Orleans Jazz (later Utah) NBA franchise, serving as personnel director and later as an assistant coach. He rejoined the Lakers after Riley was named head coach in 1981. The rest is NBA history. With the help of a couple of guys named Magic and Kareem, the team won world championships in 1982, '85, '87 and '88.

  • Ruth Aucott
    Tennis 1989

Mrs. Aucott was the Akron women's tennis champion in 1962 and the 1987 winner and 1988 runner-up in the Ohio Senior Women's Golf Tournament. However, it is in the sport of field hockey that she became a legend. A native of Abington, Pa., Aucott earned four letters each in basketball, tennis and field hockey at Ursinus College from 1952-56. As a senior she was selected first team All-America by the United States Field Hockey Association (USFHA). That honor earned her a spot on the 1956 United States national team that traveled to Australia for an exhibition tour. Subsequently, Aucott played on the U.S. team for 10 years at many international tournaments. She has remained at the forefront of the game's evolution, serving as an umpire and as a member of the USFHA Rules Committee. She is the wife of former Firestone Tire and Rubber CEO and President George Aucott.

  • Jim Corrigall
    Football 1989

During his three seasons (1967-69) as a football starter at Kent State, Corrigall established records for the most tackles with 334 on 183 solos and 151 assists while playing defensive tackle and a line-backer. He became the first KSU gridder ever named first team All Mid-American Conference each of his three seasons and first Golden Flash named captain two years in a row (1968 and ‘69). In addition, Corrigall garnered honorable mention All-America honors in 1967 and 1968, and in 1969 was a first team choice by the Newspapers Enterprise Association and played in the North-South Shrine Game in Miami, Fl. Corrigall’s jersey number 79 was retired after his senior campaign and in 1976 he was a charter inductee into the KSU Sports Hall of Fame. A true scholar-athlete, Corrigall was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Blue Key honoraries. After earning his degree in history and political science in 1970, he was drafted in the second round by the St. Louis Cardinals but, joined the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. During his 11-year playing career Corrigall was named Rookie of the Year (1970), All-Pro four times, All-East six times and in 1975 was the CFL’s Outstanding Defensive Player award recipient. In 1990 Corrigall was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame.

  • Bob Meeker
    Football 1989

If you cut Bob Meeker, he’d probably bleed green. When it comes to football, he’s Irish through and through. He was an All-District football and basketball player for the Fighting Irish of St. Vincent High School. Then he was a 2-year starter at offensive tackle for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. At South Bend, Meeker was an integral part of the renaissance of the most fabled college football program in the country. In his junior year, the Irish brought in another Akron man to be their head coach – Ara Parseghian. The turnaround began immediately for Notre Dame and Meeker. Meeker started all 10 games in 1964 as Notre Dame finished 9-1 and received the MacArthur Bowl as the College Football Hall of Fame’s selection as the national champion. He started again in ’65 and earned a spot in the North South College All-Star Game.

  • Rick Davis
    Bowling 1989

Davis has earned virtually every honor bestowed upon area bowlers. But perhaps nothing in his career can top his performance of April 29, 1982, less than a week before his 30th birthday. The evening began as a roll off for the All-Star Classic League championship. It ended, sometime after 2 a.m., as the Late Night With Rick Davis Show. Using a new ball, Davis rolled two consecutive perfect games – 31 strikes in a row – en route to an 849 3-game series, believed to be the highest in Akron history. Incidentally, his team, Ace Mitchell’s won the roll off. He was Beacon Journal Bowler of the Year in 1974 and seven times a member of the BJ All-Star squad. He was a member of the Kent Lincoln Mercury state championship team in 1976 and 1981. He won the state doubles title with Chris Neidert in 1975 and with Ron Bell in 1980. He won the Ohio Tournament Bowlers Association championship in 1973 and 1983.

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