And the Varsity "K" Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees Are ...

Actors have the Academy Awards, musicians have the Grammy Awards and Kent State athletes have the Varsity “K” Athletic Hall of Fame. Eight athletes, a distinguished alumnus and an honorary Varsity “K” member were inducted into the hall of fame last Saturday at a ceremony in the Kent Student Center Ballroom.

The 2005 inductees are Maggie (Downey) Potter, ’00, field hockey; Larisa (Grinbergs) Kins, ’98, volleyball; Mike Bishop, baseball; Carrie (Templin) Gates ,’00, women’s basketball; Bryan DeCorso, ’95, men’s golf; Roberta Collins, ’00, women’s track and field; Kim Featsent, ’79 football; and Danny Hall, baseball. Anthony DeCarlo, ’62, is the 2005 distinguished alumnus, and Rose Fathauer is the honorary Varsity “K.”

The Varsity “K” Athletic Hall of Fame is the highest award bestowed upon an athlete by Kent State athletics, says Denise Zehner, director of Varsity “K.” It’s similar to the pro football hall of fame, but at the college level, she adds.

“These are the best of the best,” Zehner says.

Following are profiles of the 10 members of the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame’s 27th anniversary class.

Maggie (Downey) Potter

Potter was a four-year letterwinner during her time at Kent State. She was a two-time All-American for the field hockey team in the late 1990s and helped lead the team to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1998 and 1999. She holds the school record for career assists (58); ranks in career points (156); and places fifth in goals (49).

Larisa (Grinbergs)Kins

Kins was a three-time team captain and a four-year letterwinner. She is the first former volleyball player to be inducted into the hall of fame. At the close of her career, Kins was the school’s all-time leader in kills with 1,394, a mark that ranks third. She also is Kent State’s career leader in digs with 1,416, which is more than 300 higher than any other player.

Mike Bishop

Bishop was a four-year letterwinner, first baseman and team captain in 1988 for the Kent State baseball team. He was a three-time All-MAC selection, earning team honors in 1986 and 1987. He earned an honorable mention in 1988. He is tied for the Kent State career lead with 49 home runs and is fourth in career RBIs (163).

Carrie (Templin) Gates

Gates was the 1998 Janet Bachna Award winner and a three-time Academic All-American. In 1997 and 1998, she earned second team honors, while placing on the third team in 1996. She played 106 career games, scoring 1,531 points, which is eighth all-time. Gates ranks second in school history in field goal (.533) and three-point field goal (.387) percentage.

Bryan Decorso

DeCorso was a member of three straight MAC championship teams and earned an All-America honorable mention from the Golf Coaches Association of America in 1995. The medalist at the 1995 MAC championships, DeCorso averaged 73.4 strokes per round that year, including a career-low round of 65. He ranks seventh in stroke average at Kent State, with a career 74.92. His seven tournament titles are second all-time.

Roberta Collins
Collins was a three-time All American in the discus who competed at the national championship in the event each of her four years. Her throw of 185-8 in the discus is the second best ever at Kent State. Collins was an eight-time MAC champion, winning the indoor weight throw four straight years, while winning the shot put once and discus three times at the outdoor championships. She ranks second on Kent State’s all-time performance list in the weight throw (60-2.5).

Kim Featsant
Featsent, a wide receiver, was a four-year letterwinner. He was named to the Associated Press Honorable Mention All-America Team in 1977 after leading the team in receiving with 39 catches for 549 yards and two touchdowns. He closed his career with 118 receptions, 1,662 yards and eight touchdowns, all Kent State records. He still ranks fourth in receptions and receiving yards and sixth in touchdowns. Featsent was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 12th round in the 1978 NFL draft.

Danny Hall

Hall coached the Kent State baseball team from 1988 to 1993. During his tenure, 18 players were chosen in the MLB Amateur Draft, with five former players going on to play in the major leagues. Hall coached fellow inductee Bishop in 1998, as well as Kent State’s current head baseball coach, Scott Stricklin. Hall is now the head coach at Georgia Tech.

Anthony DeCarlo

DeCarlo was a two-year letterwinner in football and a two-year participant in wrestling at Kent State. He is now the director of athletic development at John Carroll University. Prior to that, he was the school’s director of athletics. DeCarlo was the wrestling coach from 1964 to 1985; his teams won 21 consecutive Ohio Athletic Conference championships, 13 national catholic championships and the 1975 Division III championship. He is the fourth distinguished alumnus to enter the hall of fame.

Not every Kent State athlete can be inducted into the hall of fame. Candidates are selected from a list of almost 300 people.

“They (the inductees) have distinguished themselves as student athletes at Kent State by doing something extraordinarily special,” says Laing Kennedy, athletic director.

A selection committee votes on eligible Varsity “K” Athletic Hall of Fame candidates during the summer. The initial criterion for athletes to be considered for Varsity K is that they have to be letterwinners at Kent State. Records and statistics are very pertinent in the decision process, Zehner says. Once the athletes achieve All-American status, they remain on the committee’s nomination list indefinitely.

The distinguished alumni nominations differ in that they consider the alumnus’s professional careers after leaving Kent State. In addition to having outstanding careers, those athletes must also have been Kent State letterwinners.

An honorary Varsity “K” letter is awarded to someone who was not an athlete at Kent State. They never had the opportunity to earn an athletic letter. Instead, they worked in the best interests of Varsity “K” and supported the athletic department, Zehner says.

The Varsity “K” Athletic Hall of Fame was pursued in the early 1960s as a way to honor the best athletes of Kent State. The first class was inducted in 1979, and the hall now honors 218 members.

Other members of the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame include Jack Lambert, Lou Holtz, Jud Logan, Dustin Hermanson and Thurman Munson. Shannon Gallagher and Barbara (Moonis) Gallagher make up the only mother-daughter pairing in the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame. Numerous Olympians are also honored in the hall of fame.

The plaques honoring all 218 members of the hall of fame are located in the hall of fame gallery on the second floor of the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center.

“It is a permanent recognition covering — literally — the history of the university, in terms of athletic excellence,” Kennedy says.

- Beth Baldwin, Kent State public relations major

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