ALFORD, TOMLINSON SELECTED FOR OVAC HALL OF FAMESunday, February 26, 2017
Two multi-sport prep athletes who also excelled in college will be enshrined at the 14th annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, August 19 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.
Selected from the 1960's Decade are Roger Alford of Wintersville High School and Dick Tomlinson of Wheeling High School. Alford will be inducted postumously.
Additional honorees from the 1950's and 1940's Decades will be announced on March 12.
The OVAC Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Robinson Automotive Group, and the OVAC Sports Museum are located inside WesBanco Arena.
Capsule summaries of the last honorees follow:
ROGER ALFORD (Wintersville, 1962 Class)--He was a racial pioneer at West Virginia University and the Southern Conference after a three-sport career at old Wintersville High School.
Alford competed in football, basketball and track for the Golden Warriors and was labeled by Hall of Fame coach Bob Kettlewell as "one of the two best football players I coached" along with OVAC Hall of Famer Alan Jack, who later starred at Ohio State U.
In football, the 5-foot-10, 225-pound tackle was All-OVAC Class AA, All-Valley "Big School" first team, and All-Eastern Ohio first team all-class.
The Mountaineers broke the "color barrier" in 1962 when they recruited Alford and fullback Dick Leftridge of Hinton, W.Va., the first African-Americans to wear a WVU football uniform. After playing on the freshman team, Alford lettered three varsity seasons, and started the last two, as an offensive guard. He was named to the 1960-69 All-Decade Team at WVU.
In 1999, he was inducted postumously into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame.
He was the fourth Alford brother to attend college and play football. His brother Bob co-captained the Kent State team in 1961. Roger earned four degrees from WVU. completing his studies for bachelor's, master's, physical therapy and dental degrees. He was a dentist in Detroit when he died in 1996.
Alford was a starter in at least three memorable WVU games--the 63-48 win over Pitt in 1965; the 28-27 upset win over No. 9 Syracuse in 1964; and the 1964 indoor Liberty Bowl game vs. Utah in Atlantic City.
DICK TOMLINSON (Wheeling, 1961 Class)--He was a 6-foot-5, 210-pound three-sport standout who was a rare two-year "Big" all-class, first team All-State basketball honoree; state and OVAC track star with rare combination (shot put champion and top placer in 100-yard sprint); and football quarterback. He earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Florida and set a school game point record.
At old Wheeling High, he competed in basketball, football and track for three years and also golf as a senior.
In basketball, besides being a two-time "Big" all-class and Class AAA all-stater, he was twice captain of both the OVAC largest Class AAA and the five-school All-City honor rolls. He averaged 23 points a game both as a junior and senior--the top marks in the City and OVAC Class AAA. As a senior and team captain, he led the Wildcats to sectional and regional titles and into the state tournament before bowing to Beckley Woodrow Wilson in the Class AAA semifinals. He earned All-Tournament.
In track, the senior team captain won the state one-class shot put (51-4 1/2) and placed 4th in the 100-yard dash, He was 2nd in the shot put as a junior.
Tomlinson was All-Valley both in sprints and weights. At the OVAC meet, he won the shot put (51-5 3/8) and placed second in the 100 and third at 220 yards.
In football, the rangy quarterback was team c0-captain and team MVP as a senior. He earned All-City two years and was selected captain as a senior. He rated mention on the All-OVAC and All-State Class AAA two years. As a senior, he led the Wildcats to their fourth straight City title and 6-3-1 record including an 18-14 upset of eventual state Class AAA champion Weir, the only loss for the Red Riders led by Kennedy Award winner and OVAC Hall of Famer Bob Kelley.
At the University of Florida, after playing on the freshman basketball team, he started three varsity seasons and played in 72 games with 863 points and 529 rebounds while shooting 49.2% from the floor and 73.2% at the line.
As a junior, he set Gator school records with 44 points including 19 goals in a win over Tampa. The 44-points currently ranks No. 2 all-time in school history. As a senior, he averaged 12.9 points and 7.1 rebounds.
Tomlinson resides in Naples, Fla.