Making the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame is always a great honor for any Buckeye athlete, but joining the class of 2012 might have a little more juice.
The nine inductees that will go into the hall run by Varsity “O” over the Sept. 14-15 weekend comprise a particularly outstanding group, led by football assistant coach and school all-time sack leader Mike Vrabel.
Vrabel won Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year honors in 1995 and ’96 and finished his four-year career with 36 sacks and 66 tackles for loss. His 26 TFL in 1995 still serves as a school single-season record, and his total of 13 sacks that season was a school record before Vernon Gholston broke it in 2007. He ranks third all-time in the Big Ten in sacks and sixth in TFLs.
The northeast Ohio native also starred in the pro ranks, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods and helping the New England Patriots to three Super Bowl titles, before returning to Ohio State a season ago to join the football coaching staff.
He is joined on the men’s side by fellow gridders Pete Cusick, Joseph Gailus, Ray Griffin and Dick Schafrath along with wrestlers George Downes and Rex Holman. On the women’s side, longtime volleyball coach Jim Stone will be joined by fencer Louise Bond-Williams (a 2012 Olympian), basketball star Jessica Davenport and field athlete Keturah Lofton.
Thumbnail bios of each follow.
Louise Bond-Williams (fencing, 2002-04): The Brit earned All-America honors in sabre all three seasons at Ohio State, finishing with the silver medal at the NCAA meet in 2002. She also helped OSU to its first team combined fencing title in program history in 2004. Bond-Williams has also competed for Great Britain in the 2004 Olympics and will again do so in her home country in the 2012 London Games.
Pete Cusick (football, 1972-74): Cusick stood out on a star-studded team, earning captain honors and first-team All-America laurels as a senior in 1974. The defensive tackle was a first-team All-Big Ten choice in ’73 and ’74 and finished with 242 career tackles before moving on to a short NFL career.
Jessica Davenport (women’s basketball, 2004-07): Davenport was a star at center for Ohio State’s early teams under Jim Foster, becoming the first player in league history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year three times. She was also a three-time All-American and finished her career with 2,303 points, good for third in school history. She added 1,094 rebounds and was the first player in conference history with 2,000 points, 1,000 boards and 300 blocks.
George Downes (wrestling, 1938-40): Downes was Ohio State’s first national wrestling champion, winning the heavyweight title in 1940. He was also a team captain that season – one in which Ohio State finished fourth in the country – as well as in ’38.
Ray Griffin (football, 1974-77): Ray joins brother Archie in the Hall of Fame. While the latter was a two-time Heisman Trophy winner and one of the legends in his sport, Ray was no slouch either. He started for three seasons, earning first-team All-America and All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 1977, and finished his time in scarlet and gray with 192 tackles. Griffin’s interception of Rick Leach was key in OSU’s win against Michigan in 1975.
Joseph Gailus (football, 1931-33): Gailus isn’t one of the household names in OSU football lore, but perhaps he should be. A three-year starter, Gailus played both ways, earning All-America and all-league honors in 1932 and ’33. He posted numerous interceptions in his OSU career and was a co-captain with Sid Gillman his final season.
Rex Holman (wrestling, 1992-93): Holman captured the NCAA championship at 190 pounds in 1933 and also won the Big Ten at that weight in both of his seasons in the scarlet and gray singlet. He was undefeated in 1993, finishing the campaign 29-0 while also serving as co-captain. Holman’s mark of 69-3 (.958) places him second all-time at OSU in win percentage.
Keturah Lofton (track and field, 2002-04, 2006): Lofton is one of the best throwers in school history, earning three All-America honors during her time at OSU. She arrived in Columbus as a walk-on but won both the hammer throw and weight throw events at the Big Ten championships in her career. She left school holding the Ohio State record in both of those events. Lofton also won the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2006.
Dick Schafrath (football, 1956-58): “The Mule” is one of the most beloved players in Ohio football history, suiting up for three seasons at OSU before becoming a Cleveland Browns legend. As a Buckeye, he lined up at offensive tackle and defensive end, winning the national title in 1957 and serving as a team captain the next season. He also spent nearly 20 years in the Ohio Senate.
Jim Stone (volleyball, 1982-2007): Stone’s career as the women’s volleyball coach is almost without peer. He went 531-294 and captured three Big Ten titles in what is the nation’s toughest conference. Ohio State made 15 NCAA appearances in his career, reaching the Final Four in 1991 and ’94. He was a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year honoree, was named the ’91 national coach of the year and mentored 19 All-Americans.
For full bios, click here for Ohio State’s release.