2014 inductees

John Sarver
Baseball, Coach 2014

SARVER WAS A STANDOUT PITCHER AND THREE YEAR LETTERMAN IN BASEBALL AND ALSO PLAYED FOOTBALL AT ELLET HIGH SCHOOL. HE EARNED A BASEBALL SCHOLARSHIP TO VALENCIA JUNIOR COLLEGE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA AND AFTER TWO SEASONS THERE HE TRANSFERRED TO AUSTIN PEAY STATE UNIVERSITY IN CLARKSVILLE, TENNESSEE.

HE WON TWELVE GAMES IN TWO SEASONS AND AS A SENIOR HE POSTED AN EARNED RUN AVERAGE OF 1.73 AND TOSSED THREE SHUTOUTS INCLUDING A NO-HITTER AGAINST WESTERN KENTUCKY. FOR HIS EFFORTS HE WAS NAMED THE OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE PITCHER OF THE MONTH IN MARCH OF 1977 AND WAS NAMED AUSTIN PEAY’S PITCHER OF THE YEAR FOLLOWING HIS SENIOR SEASON.HE PLAYED LOCALLY IN THE AKRON AA LEAGUE UNTIL 1988 AND HIS BASEBALL CAREER CONTINUES TODAY AS HE IS A MEMBER OF THE ROY HOBBS LEAGUE.

IN ADDITION TO HIS PLAYING CAREER, SARVER HAS SPENT THE LAST 34 YEARS AS A HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL COACH AT KENMORE, BUCHTEL, HOBAN AND ELLET. HIS 1993 HOBAN SQUAD PLAYED FOR THE OHSAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP AND THE KNIGHTS WON FOUR DISTRICT TITLES UNDER HIS DIRECTION. HIS ELLET ORANGEMEN HAVE WON 10 CITY CHAMPIONSHIPS AND HE HAS BEEN NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR SIX TIMES. IN ADDITION TO HIS SUCCESS AS A BASEBALL COACH, HE HAS ALSO BEEN A MEMBER OF THE ELLET FOOTBALL COACHING STAFF FOR THE PAST 35 YEARS AND HAS SERVED AS A BASKETBALL OFFICIAL FOR THE PAST 32 YEARS.

James Beck
Basketball 2014

BECK WAS A THREE YEAR LETTERMAN IN BASKETBALL FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON FROM 1952-1955. HE WAS KNOWN FOR HIS HIGH-ARCHING SET SHOTS IN AN ERA LONG-BEFORE THE THREE POINT LINE WAS ADOPTED IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL. HIS FEET ON THE GROUND SHOOTING STYLE WAS DIFFERENT BUT EFFECTIVE AND EARNED HIM THE NICKNAME “THE BLONDE BOMBER.”

THE 5’11 GUARD HELPED LEAD THE ZIPS TO THE 1952-53 OHIO CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP AND AS A SENIOR BECAME ONLY THE FOURTH PLAYER IN AKRON HISTORY TO SCORE MORE THAN 400 POINTS IN A SEASON. DESPITE HIS UNUSUAL SHOOTING STYLE HE SET A PAIR OF MEMORIAL HALL RECORDS WHEN HE DRILLED 19 FIELD GOALS ON HIS WAY TO 42 POINTS AGAINST CAPITAL UNIVERSITY. HIS SCORING MARK WAS LATER ECLIPSED BY A PRETTY FAIR BASKETBALL PLAYER NAMED EARL “THE PEARL” MONROE WHO LED HIS WINSTON SALEM COLLEGE TEAM TO AN NCAA TOURNAMENT VICTORY OVER THE ZIPS.

A RENOWNED “DEAD EYE” FROM LONG RANGE, HIS SHOOTING SKILLS ALSO SERVED HIM WELL FROM THE FOUL LINE WHERE HE HIT 74 OF 79 FREE THROW ATTEMPTS AS A SENIOR. HE LEFT THE UNIVERSITY TO JOIN THE ORIGINAL HOUSE OF DAVID BARNSTORMING TEAM THAT PROVIDED COMPETITION FOR THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS AND LATER RECEIVED TRYOUT OFFERS FROM THE ST. LOUIS HAWKS OF THE NBA.

Christi Smith Ryan
Track & Field 2014

SMITH-RYAN IS ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING FEMALE ATHLETES IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON. A FOUR YEAR LETTER WINNER FOR THE ZIPS TRACK AND FIELD TEAM, CHRISTI SMITH-RYAN MADE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT FOR DENNIS MITCHELL’S SQUAD AS SHE SET SIX SCHOOL RECORDS AND PROVISIONALLY QUALIFIED FOR THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS AS A FRESHMAN.

NOT CONTENT TO REST ON HER LAURELS, THE TALENTED MULTI-EVENT PERFORMER SET FIVE MORE SCHOOL RECORDS AS A SOPHOMORE AND WAS NAMED THE MVP OF THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE INDOOR TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS. AS A JUNIOR SHE FINISHED SECOND IN THE HEPTATHALON AT THE NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS AND BY THE TIME SHE WAS A SENIOR SHE HAD ESTABLISHED HERSELF AS ONE OF THE TOP PERFORMERS IN THE COUNTRY.SHE PUT AN EXCLAMATION POINT ON HER COLLEGE CAREER BY SETTING A SCHOOL AND MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE RECORD WITH 5,797 POINTS TO WIN THE NCAA DIVISION I HEPTATHALON NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. HER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WAS A FIRST FOR A UNIVERSITY OF AKRON ATHLETE AS WERE HER MULTIPLE ALL-AMERICA HONORS.

HER IMPRESSIVE CAREER INCLUDED ELEVEN MAC INDOOR AND OUTDOOR TITLES AND SHE EARNED ALL-MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE HONORS SEVEN TIMES. SHE WAS NAMED AKRON’S CAROLINE PARDEE FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR THREE TIMES AND WAS THE FIRST UNIVERSITY OF AKRON FEMALE ATHLETE TO QUALIFY FOR THE OLYMPIC TRIALS. SHE WAS INDUCTED INTO THE U OF A SPORTS HALL OF FAME IN 2011.

Howard Curry
Official 2014

CURRY MADE HIS MARK IN ATHLETICS AS A COLLEGE FOOTBALL OFFICIAL BUT HE GOT HIS START LOCALLY AS A BASEBALL AND SOFTBALL UMPIRE. LATER, UNDER THE TUTELAGE OF THE LEGENDARY GEORGE DAVIS – ONE OF THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN OFFICIALS IN SUMMIT COUNTY, HE GOT HIS START AS A HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL OFFICIAL IN 1970.

FIFTEEN YEARS AND MORE THAN 150 GAMES LATER, HOWARD CURRY HAD OFFICIATED SIX AKRON CITY SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES, SEVEN STATE PLAYOFF CONTESTS – INCLUDING TWO OHSAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES, AND WAS ON HIS WAY TO A SOLID COLLEGIATE OFFICIATING CAREER. HE STARTED WORKING OHIO CONFERENCE AND NORTH COAST CONFERENCE GAMES IN THE EARLY 1980’S AND FOLLOWED THAT WITH A STINT AS A FIELD JUDGE IN THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE.

IN 1990 HE WAS CHOSEN FROM A POOL OF MORE THAN 100 APPLICANTS TO OFFICIATE IN THE COLLEGIATE INDEPENDENTS FOOTBALL CONFERENCE WHICH LATER BECAME THE BIG-EAST CONFERENCE. DURING THE COURSE OF HIS CAREER IN STRIPES HE WORKED MORE THAN 250 GAMES AS A SIDE JUDGE, INCLUDING TWO BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES, TWO ARMY-NAVY GAMES AND 16 POST-SEASON BOWL GAMES. HE CONCLUDED HIS CAREER ON JANUARY 1, 2012 AT THE TICKET CITY BOWL IN DALLAS, TEXAS.

Bruce Alexander
Basketball 2014

ALEXANDER DEVELOPED HIS BASKETBALL SKILLS ON THE PLAYGROUNDS AND BACKYARD COURTS IN AKRON’S NORTH HILL NEIGHBORHOODS. BY THE TIME HE STARTED HIGH SCHOOL HE WAS READY TO MAKE AN IMPACT.HE QUICKLY MOVED INTO THE STARTING LINEUP FOR THE AKRON NORTH VIKINGS AND BY THE TIME HE WAS A SENIOR HE WAS NAMED AKRON BEACON JOURNAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR AFTER AVERAGING 23 POINTS A GAME.

HE CONTINUED HIS BASKETBALL CAREER AT YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY WHERE HE WAS A FOUR-YEAR LETTERMAN FOR LEGENDARY COACH DOM ROSSELLI AND ESTABLISHED HIMSELF AS ONE OF THE TOP PLAYERS IN SCHOOL HISTORY. HE LED THE PENGUINS IN SCORING AS A JUNIOR AVERAGING 17.3 POINTS PER GAME AND WAS ALSO THE TEAM LEADER IN FREE THROWS MADE. AS A SENIOR HE EARNED ALL-CONFERENCE AND LITTLE ALL-AMERICA HONORS. HE WENT ON TO PLAY OVERSEAS FOR THE NETHERLANDS-HOLLAND TEAM IN THE EUROPEAN LEAGUE AND RETURNED TO THE U.S. TO PLAY A SEASON IN THE CONTINENTAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE. HE WAS INDUCTED INTO THE YOUNGSTOWN STATE ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME IN 1994.

Bob Lindsay
Coach 2014

LINDSAY IS THE FIRST COLLEGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COACH TO BE ENSHRINED INTO THE SUMMIT COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME. BOB LINDSAY’S RECORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF – 23 YEARS AS THE HEAD COACH AT KENT STATE UNIVERSITY – 418 OVERALL WINS – A RECORD OF 260-120 IN MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE PLAY - THE ALL-TIME WINNINGEST COACH – MEN’S OR WOMEN’S - IN MAC BASKETBALL HISTORY. WHICH RANKS AMONG THE TOP 50 DIVISION I COACHES NATIONALLY.

UNDER HIS DIRECTION THE GOLDEN FLASHES RECORDED THIRTEEN 20-WIN SEASONS, WON SEVEN MAC EAST DIVISION TITLES, FIVE MAC REGULAR SEASON CROWNS AND THREE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIPS. HIS TEAMS, KNOWN FOR THEIR TENACIOUS HUSTLE AND STIFLING DEFENSE, ONCE POSTED A 43-GAME HOME UNBEATEN STREAK, THEY PLAYED IN THE MAC TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME ELEVEN TIMES, INCLUDING SEVEN IN A ROW. THEY WENT UNDEFEATED, 18-0, IN CONFERENCE PLAY IN 1998 AND MADE EIGHT POST-SEASON APPEARANCES – FOUR EACH IN THE NCAA AND THE NIT.

THE HALLMARK OF LINDSAY’S COACHING CAREER HOWEVER, WERE HIS PLAYERS – THEY PLAYED HARD AND THEY ACHIEVED SUCCESS – INDIVIDUALLY AND TOGETHER, ON AND OFF THE COURT. SEVEN OF HIS PLAYERS EARNED ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN HONORS AND THREE-TIME HONOREE, LINDSEY SHEARER WAS NAMED THE COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN OF THE YEAR IN 2006. FIFTEEN TIMES KENT PLAYERS EARNED FIRST-TEAM ALL-MAC HONORS, THREE PLAYERS EARNED MAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR ACCOLADES – DAWN ZERMAN, LINDSAY SHEARER AND TWO-TIME MAC PLAYER OF THE YEAR – AMY SHERRY. NEVER ONE TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THE SUCCESS OF THE PROGRAM, HE WAS QUICK TO ACKNOWLEDGE HIS PLAYERS AND HIS STAFF FOR ANY ACCOLADES. HE WAS NAMED MAC COACH OF THE YEAR IN 1996 AND 1998 AND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL COACHES ASSOCIATION DISTRICT 4 COACH OF THE YEAR IN 2000.

 

Cathy Cook Russell
Golf 2014

COOK-RUSSELL WAS WALKING THE FAIRWAYS AT FIRESTONE COUNTRY CLUB AS A FOUR YEAR OLD PARTICIPATING IN THE JUNIOR GOLF PROGRAM DIRECTED BY HER MOTHER. GOLF WAS A BIG PART OF HER UPBRINGING AND SHE GAINED NATIONAL ATTENTION BY WINNING NUMEROUS TOURNAMENTS AS A JUNIOR GOLFER IN CALIFORNIA AND EARNED A VARSITY LETTER AS A MEMBER OF HER SCHOOL’S BOY’S GOLF TEAM.HER PROWESS ON THE LINKS BROUGHT HER HOME TO OHIO WHERE SHE WAS THE MVP OF THE BOY’S STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF TEAM AT UPPER ARLINGTON HIGH SCHOOL.

FROM THERE SHE MADE THE SHORT TRIP TO THE CAMPUS OF OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY WHERE SHE EARNED FOUR VARSITY LETTERS, HELPED THE BUCKEYES WIN THREE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS AND PARTICIPATED IN FOUR NCAA TOURNAMENTS.

IN ADDITION TO AN IMPRESSIVE COLLEGIATE CAREER SHE CAPTURED THE OHIO WOMEN’S AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP IN 1980 AND THE 1988 NEVADA STATE WOMEN’S AMATEUR TITLE BEFORE JOINING THE LPGA WHERE SHE PLAYED TOUR EVENTS IN THE UNITED STATES, JAPAN AND ASIA AND BECAME INVOLVED WITH THE FIRST TEE AND FIRST TEE NATIONAL SCHOOLS PROGRAMS.

 

Emmett Taylor
Track & Field 2014

TAYLOR GRADUATED FROM AKRON EAST HIGH SCHOOL AND WENT ON TO BECOME A FOUR-TIME ALL-AMERICAN IN TRACK AND FIELD AT OHIO UNIVERSITY. RECRUITED BY LEGENDARY COACH STAN HUNTSMAN, EMMETT TAYLOR BECAME THE BOBCATS’ FIRST NCAA TRACK CHAMPION AND THE SCHOOL’S ONLY TWO-TIME NCAA WINNER DURING HIS STELLAR CAREER.

A SPRINTER WHO RAN THE 100 AND 220 YARD DASHES, TAYLOR WAS NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING AT THE 1967 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP MEET WHEN HE CAPTURED THE 440 YARD DASH IN A RECORD-SETTING, PHOTO-FINISH IN FRONT OF NEARLY TWENTY THOUSAND FANS. HE ALSO RAN A LEG ON OHIO’S FOURTH PLACE 440 YARD RELAY TEAM. AT THE 1967 PAN-AMERICAN GAMES TAYLOR WON A GOLD MEDAL AS A MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES’ 1600 METER RELAY TEAM. AS A JUNIOR HE WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE 200 METER DASH, AND WAS A MEMBER OF OHIO’S SECOND PLACE MILE RELAY TEAM. THOSE EFFORTS EARNED HIM HIS THIRD AND FOURTH ALL-AMERICAN AWARDS. HE WAS NAMED OHIO’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR IN 1969 AND WAS INDUCTED INTO THE OHIO UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME IN 2011.