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Sept 16, 2014

CSU Hall of Fame taking nominees

By Kevin Liszka

There is an air of nostalgia as alumni descend onto the campus of Cleveland State University in celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary. The Cleveland State athletics department routinely recognizes great athletes from years gone by with inductions into their Athletics Hall of Fame.

“Every year we are considering between 40-50 candidates,” Greg Murphy Sports Information Director said.

Between the months of September and October, a screening committee composed of athletes and administrators — with experience spanning much of the five decades of Cleveland State athletics — will halve the nominees to a top-20 list.

Once the list is narrowed a second committee — a selection committee — is congregated to vote on the remaining coaches and athletes. Murphy said there is no set threshold for induction, rather the committee opts to induct the top three-five vote-getters amongst the group.

In November, the inductees are invited to the university and treated to a Hall-of-Fame weekend — being honored at a Friday night dinner and at the halftime of a Saturday basketball game.

This past year’s Hall of Fame class featured volleyball player Nickole Kennedy (2005), softballer Grace Luginbuhl (2006), pitcher Kevin Parrish (1989) and swimmer Peter Pelser (2006). Long-time- swimming head coach Wally Morton was also inducted after announcing his retirement after coaching 31 years at Cleveland State.

In all, the hall has amassed a total of 132 members since it began in 1975.
One curious omission is former men’s basketball head coach Kevin Mackey — who to this day stands as the winningest coach in school history.

His 1986 team that knocked off Bob Knight’s powerhouse the Indiana University Hooisers and took NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson’s Navy team to the brink in the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA basketball tournament is often referred to as the “first cinderella” team in the history of the NCAA tournament. The success during the Mackey era is often credited with drumming up the funds to catapult the Vikings into the new Wolstein Center in 1991.

For his part, Murphy said Mackey’s unceremonious dismissal for substance abuse violations has not inhibited his Hall of Fame candidacy.

“In my four years as a member of the selection committee his name has never come up [nominated],” Murphy said. “But there is nothing stopping it.”

Murphy explained that it is an open nomination process - with the nomination form available online at the Cleveland State athletics homepage under the Hall-of-Fame tab.

Any coach or athlete can be nominated. Athletes must been graduated from the university at least 10 years. Coaches are immediately eligible for nominations.