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Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet Set for Friday Night

Sept. 20, 2010

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Eight outstanding former student-athletes will be inducted into the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday night during the annual Hall of Fame banquet in the Don Morris Room of Marshall's Memorial Student Center.

The dinner is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased through the Marshall Athletics Ticket Office by calling 1-800-THE-HERD.

This year's MU Hall of Fame class includes Jim Canterbury (cross country and track from 1951-54); Doug Chapman (football from 1995-99); Jim Davidson (men's basketball from 1965-1969); John Grace (football from 1995-99); Jessica Johnson (tennis from 2001-04); Ashley Kroh (tennis from 2002-05); Brad Puryear (soccer from 1982-85) and Bob Wright (men's basketball and football 1946-50). Former baseball standout Mike Horan was also elected, however he is unable to attend the ceremonies and will not be inducted this year.

The newest Hall of Famers will be inducted at the dinner. On Saturday, the group will unveil their tiles at the Marshall Hall of Fame Cafe in downtown Huntington. The group will also be introduced at the Marshall-Ohio football game on Saturday night.

Biographical capsules on each inductee follows:

Jim Canterbury, Cross-Country and Track (1951-54): A three-year letter winner for The Herd on newly established Marshall cross country and track programs, coached by Otto "Swede" Gullickson (head coach for both, 1947-53). Canterbury won the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in Cross-Country in 1951, leading the Herd to a 4-1 regular season mark, with wins over Tennessee Tech, Cincinnati, Davis and Elkins College and Bethany College and falling only to Ohio University. Marshall won the OVC again in 1952, and Canterbury finished first again, as the Herd finished with just 62.25 points in the OVC meet. He helped Marshall to a second-place finish as team at the 16th Annual 1951 Southern Conference Indoor Invitational, winning the three-quarter mile run. Marshall won the 1951 OVC Outdoor Track title, out-scoring all teams with 262.5 points, and Canterbury won the mile and 880 run. In 1952, MU returned to the SC Indoor Invitational and Canterbury won the mile, upsetting Duke All-American Robert Mayer. He won the first 22 meets he competed in until losing the mile and 880 at Kentucky as a sophomore. Marshall moved to the Mid-American Conference in 1953, and dropped all track scholarships, but Canterbury still finished third in the mile in the 1954 MAC meet as Marshall's participant, and reportedly won 33 of 34 meets. He won the Penn Relays in the mile and 10,000-yards and competed in the 3,000-yard steeplechase. Later as a member of the military, Canterbury won the Second Army Championship in the 10,000 and was third in the 3,000 steeplechase. After the military, Canterbury taught and worked as a principal from 1956-1984 at DuPont Junior High, Woodrow Wilson Junior High and East Bank Junior High, all in Kanawha County, W.Va., He died in 2007 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. He will be represented by his daughter-in-law, Sharon Canterbury, and other family members.

Doug Chapman, Football (1995-99): Chapman was first team All-MAC in both 1998 and 1999, and was team captain both seasons for head coach Bobby Pruett. He is second all-time at Marshall in rushing with 4,016 yards and led the team in rushing for three seasons in a row. He is also second in touchdowns with 52 rushing, second in total touchdowns with 57, second in points scored with 344, eighth in points per game at better than a touchdown per contest, 7.17, is fourth in all-purpose yards with 4,790, and is seventh in all-purpose yards per game with 99.9 yards per game played. His best season was 1,184 yards in 1998 and he and Erik Thomas both topped 1,000 yards rushing on the 1996 15-0 team. Chapman played in the Hula Bowl in 2000 and was the first Marshall Player ever to be invited to that game. He was the MVP of the 1999 win over No. 25 BYU in the Motor City Bowl, catching a 30-yard touchdown from Chad Pennington for MU's first score. He went on to rush for 133 yards in the game, and added 40 yards receiving. He also had an explosive 87-yard touchdown run against the Cougars that was named the Compaq National Best Run of the Week. He is second at Marshall with 18 games of 100-plus yards rushing. As a group, the 1996-99 teams won 50 games in four years against only four losses and that is the best overall record as a class in MU Football history. Chapman came to MU from Chesterfield, Va. and Lloyd C. Bird H.S. where he was all-region and all-state. Chapman is now working for the NFL Players Association and as a broadcaster. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2000 NFL Draft and played three seasons for the Vikings. He finished his career with the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers in 2004.

Jim "Spider" Davidson, Men's Basketball (1965-69): Davidson was one of head coach Ellis Johnson's "Iron Man Five," the five players who did most of the playing for two consecutive trips to the National Invitational Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1967 and 1968. Davidson joins his four other teammates from the NIT trips - Bob Allen, Bob Redd, Danny D'Antoni and the late George Stone - in the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame, and those players scored 335 of 343 points in the four NIT games in 1967 and all of the 93 points scored in the double-overtime in 1968's first-round loss. Marshall reached the "Final Four" in 1966-67, topping Villanova and Nebraska before falling to Marquette in the semi-finals - in front of a crowd of 18,499 - and then losing the "consolation" game to Rutgers. In 1967-68, Marshall and St. Peter's locked up in a double-overtime thriller in front of 15,357 fans at the Garden, with St. Peter's topping the Herd 102-93, in a game tied at 83-83 at the end of regulation and 89-89 at the end of the first overtime. Davidson is 26th in scoring at MU with 1,240 points. He is No. 20 in field goals made and No. 12 in field goals attempted (486-of-1,112), 44 percent from the field for his career. He is No. 21 in free throws made and No. 17 in FT attempts (268-of-402), 67 percent from the line. He led the Herd in field goal percentage (.476) in 1967-68. In the NIT in 1967, He scored 75 points in four games, an average of 18,8 per game, and pulled down 35 rebounds, 8.8 per game. In 1968's double-overtime NIT game, he scored 26 points and had eight rebounds. For five NIT games, Davidson averaged 20.2 points per game; averaged 8.6 rebounds per game; shot 42 percent from the floor (40-of-95); and hit 62 percent from the free-throw line (21-of-34). His teams were 46-31. Davidson led the Logan (W.Va.) High School Wildcats to the school's first (of many) AAA state basketball championships in 1964 as a senior, and was a member of the inaugural Logan High School Athletic Hall of Fame. As a high jumper, he won three straight AAA titles with best of 6-foot, 7 & 3/4-inches in 1963, a record that stood for 12 years. Davidson won with jump of 6-foot, 4 & 3/8-inches in 1962 and 6-foot, 2 & 3/8-inches in 1964. He later taught and coached for 30 years after receiving his degree from Marshall.

John Grace, Football (1995-99): Grace (nicknamed "Amazing" Grace) was first team All-MAC in 1999 and second team All-MAC in 1998 for head coach Bobby Pruett. He was a three-time winner of the MAC Defensive Player of the Week Award, twice in 1998 and once in 1999. Grace was named the Defensive MVP of the 1998 Motor City Bowl for MU, as the MU defense held Louisville 200 yards under their national leading total of over 600 yards per game en route to a 48-29 win. Grace was a team captain in 1999. He is sixth all-time at Marshall in tackles, recording 414 while playing alongside Max Yates (No. 9 tackles), Larry McCloud (No. 3), B.J. Cohen (No. 12) and Rogers Beckett (No. 16). Grace led MU in tackles in 1998 with 135, 98 solos (only nine less than the MU record of 107). In 1997 and 1998, he was the leader in tackles-for-loss, with 14 for minus 60 yards in 1997 and 14 for minus a team-best 55 yards in losses. As group, team won 50 games in four years against only four losses, the best class total in MU history. The former Canadian Football League star was a league Defensive MVP (2005) and leader in tackles-for-loss in stops with the Ottawa Renegades (2001-03) and the Calgary Stampeders (2004-06) before finishing his career with the Montreal Alouettes in 2007. Grace spent 2000 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, signing as a free-agent out of college. Grace came to Marshall from Okeechobee, Fla. and Brahmans High School where he lettered three years in track and football, a second team all-area selection on the gridiron.

Jessica Johnson, Tennis (2001-04): One of two members of the Marshall women's tennis team to advance to the 2004 NCAA Doubles Championship against UCLA, a first-ever for the program, before falling to the Bruins, 4-6, 4-6. The duo beat Michigan, Northwestern and New Mexico on the way to the title game. Ranked No. 32 in the nation entering the NCAA Tournament (and climbed as high as No. 8 in the nation in February), the pair finished ranked 13th in the nation at the end of the tourney. Johnson was an All-American and first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection. Johnson helped the 2004 team extended its Mid-American Conference winning streak to 34 matches in a row. MU won the MAC three times, winning the tournament and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time for the program, finishing 20-6. MU won the regular season and tournament in 2003 (19-8) and 2004 (22-5, most wins in a season in program history). Johnson was 24-16 in the fall and spring combined as a senior, playing the No. 1 spot for the Herd. Johnson had 69 career singles victories, 99 career doubles victories (99-30, a .767 winning percentage), 168 overall victories (168-83, 67 percent wins) in her career. These marks were all top ten in school history when she graduated. Her 27 wins in 2002 was sixth best in Marshall tennis history, while she and her doubles partner - Ashley Kroh combined for a single season record of 39 wins in 2004, while Johnson had 31 wins in doubles in 2002, sixth all-time upon the completion of her career. Her 57 combined victories were seventh best in 2002, while 47 combined is still a top 20 number. Johnson was also first-team All-MAC in 2002 and 2003, and MAC Newcomer of the Year in 2002. Johnson also was ranked an all-time best No. 62 in the nation in singles in 2004, while the team was No. 8 in the East Regional in 2002 and 2004, No. 9 in 2003. Kroh and Johnson were No. 1 in the East in 2004, No. 2 in 2003 and No. 10 in 2002. She also made the MAC All-Academic team in 2004. Johnson spent one year at the University of Maryland, going 8-4 and being named All-ACC first team. She is a native of Sewickley, Pa. and played at MU for her sister and former MU tennis head coach Laurie Mercer and current head coach John Mercer, her brother-in-law.

Ashley Kroh, Tennis (2002-05): Kroh was one of two members of the Marshall women's tennis team to advance to the 2004 NCAA Doubles Championship against UCLA, a first-ever for the program, before falling to the Bruins, 4-6, 4-6. The 2004 team extended its Mid-American Conference winning streak to 34 matches in a row. MU won the MAC three times in her career. Kroh and Johnson combined for a single season record of 39 doubles wins in 2004. The duo was No. 8 in the East Regional in 2002 and 2004, No. 9 in 2003. Kroh and Johnson were No. 1 in the East in 2004, No. 2 in 2003 and No. 10 in 2002. She also made the MAC All-Academic team in 2004. Kroh finished with 91 singles victories in her career (fourth best at MU when she finished her career) and had the all-time best singles winning percentage, 78 percent (91-26). She finished with a Herd best 107 career doubles victories, passing Anna Mitina who had 106. Her career doubles winning percentage was 75 percent (107-35). Kroh also finished as the No. 1 player with combined wins in her career, 198 (recently broken by Kellie Schmidt, as well as singles mark), while her .764 winning percentage was also the best in program history (198-61). Her best singles season is still fourth all-time with 29 in 2002, also winning 25 in 2004. Kroh had 30 doubles victories in 2002, seventh best at MU, and her 64 combined wins in 2004 was second to only Mitina. Kroh was an All-American in 2005, winning first team MAC honors and being named the MAC Player of the Year. She was second team in 2003 and 2004. Kroh and 2004 partner, Alizee Paradis, were ranked No. 37 in nation heading into the 2005 season. Johnson and Kroh were No. 1 in the East in 2004 in doubles, and were No. 2 in the fall of 2003. Kroh was on the Academic All-MAC team in 2003 and 2005, and was a member of the MAC Commissioner's Award list (a 3.5 grade point average or better) over all four seasons of her career. She won the Dot Hicks Award as MU's top female student-athlete in 2005. She also won the ITA East Region's Arthur Ashe, Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship in 2005, and was an ITA All-American Scholar-Athlete in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Kroh is a native of Louisville, Ky. and was All-State four years in a row at Sacred Heart High School before playing for coaches Laurie and John Mercer at Marshall.

Brad Puryear, Men's Soccer (1982-85): Puryear came to Marshall as a walk-on in 1982 for new head coach Jack Defazio in the program's fourth year as a varsity sport. He played in both 1982 and 1983 as a non-scholarship starter. He received a tuition scholarship for his junior and senior years, starting every game in his four years at MU and playing every minute of every game in 1983. He played alongside MU all-time goals leader, and fellow HOF member, Andy Zulauf. In his four years at MU, Puryear never had a losing season with the Herd, as the team was 45-20-1 over that stretch and was 14-11 in the Southern Conference. The 1982 team tied a record with 15 goals in a game, against Kentucky Christian College, and set the record with 58 goals in a season on 57 assists totaling 173 points, both also records. He was first-team All-Southern Conference 1983, 1984 and 1985, and runner-up for Southern Conference Player of the Year 1983. He was team captain 1984 and 1985 and holds MU school record for most assists in a game with four, coming against Kentucky Christian. Puryear won the Cam Henderson Scholarship Award as MU Most Outstanding Male Student-Athlete for 1984. He is the only soccer player to win it in MU school history. He graduated Cum Laude (Economics) in 1986 and won the Julius Broh Economics Scholarship as Marshall's most outstanding Economics student in 1986. He was recognized several times with the Charles Kautz Memorial Award for student-athlete academic achievement. Puryear graduated from the University of Georgia Law School in 1989. In 2006, he became General Counsel for Mansfield Oil Company of Gainesville, Ga., He has served as President of the Gainesville Jaycees (1998-99), and is a leader in local and civic groups, as well as a Sunday school teacher and volunteer youth soccer coach in Gainesville, Ga.

Bob Wright, Men's Basketball (1946-50): Wright was a freshman on the 1946-47 National Championship NAIB Team (today's NAIA) and he played both basketball and football for Cam Henderson. Due to the championship, Marshall was invited west the next year and would eventually knock off Syracuse, 46-44, to win the Helms Foundation Los Angeles Invitational in 1947-48. Wright did not play with the 9-3 Herd football team that lost in Marshall's first bowl game on January 1, 1948, falling 7-0 to Catawba College in the second-ever Tangerine Bowl, as he was traveling to Los Angeles with the basketball team at that time. The basketball team earned a return to Kansas City, Missouri later in 1948 to defend its national title, advancing to the quarterfinals before falling. The championship team won five games in six days to clinch the only national title for the Herd in basketball, against Mankato State, who beat Arizona State to get to the finals, and is the school known today as Minnesota State. Marshall breezed in the finals, 73-59. Over 15,000 Marshall fans were waiting at the C&O Station on Seventh Avenue and Tenth Street when the team got back to Huntington the following night. Wright played in all five games to win the title. In 1948, Marshall won in the opener against Peru (Neb.) State, then fell in the quarterfinals to San Jose State, 74-72. Wright gave up football after his sophomore season to concentrate on basketball and was captain of the 1949-50 Herd. His 1946-47 team won 32 games against five losses, still the high-water mark for wins in Herd history. They also had a 17-0 start and 35-game home win streak stopped by Cincinnati in January of '48, still best ever at MU. In '47-48, the Herd was 22-11, then 16-12 the following year and 15-9 for Wright's senior season, including an upset that season of No. 19-ranked Louisville in Ohio Valley Conference play. Wright scored 1,019 points, 40th all-time and is the eighth member of the 1947 NAIA National Championship team to enter the HOF.