Thursday, May 17, 2018

           Five athletes who excelled in football, basketball or track will be feted in the 14th class of Legends of Ohio Valley Athletic Conference schools.
           Tom Rataiczak, Executive Secretary of the OVAC, announced the five Legends selections will be honored at the 15th annual OVAC Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, August 18 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.
           The honorees include Dominic (Mac) Cara, football standout who played at Bellaire High, North Carolina State and the Pittsburgh Steelers and also coached an Ohio state baseball championship team at Powhatan; Dail Harper, a three-sport performer and two-sport all-stater who set shot put records at Caldwell High and Kent State; Bob Henderson, a three-sport Cambridge High athlete who earned all-state and All-America honors in football before competing at the University of Illinois; Eddie Sterling, who earned All-Ohio basketball honors at Martins Ferry before serving as team captain at West Virginia U. and competing for the Wheeling Blues' pro team; and Kim Tullis, who became the Ohio Valley's first 2,000-point girls basketball scorer at Jewett-Scio before becoming team co-captain at Miami of Ohio.
           The OVAC Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Robinson Automotive Group of Wheeling, and the OVAC Sports Museum are located inside WesBanco Arena.
           "The Legends of OVAC schools is an effort to honor athletes and coaches who competed prior to the conference start in 1943 or while their schools were not OVAC members," Rataiczak said.
 Capsule summaries of the Legends' honorees follow:
           DOMINIC (MAC) CARA (Bellaire, 1933)--An All-Valley end, and four-year multi-sport performer, for the Big Reds, he earned three football letters at North Carolina State and served as 1936 team captain as a senior. He was selected on an All-Time Wolfpack team. All-State, All-Conference, All-South and honorable mention All-America. He was the first Wolfpack to be drafted--in the 19th Round of the 1937 NFL Draft by the Boston Redskins and played two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
          He returned to the Ohio Valley and coached old Powhatan High School to the Ohio state Class B championship in 1940 with a 3-1 finals' win over Milford Center after 14-0 and 13-0 tourney wins. From 1940-47. he coached the Steubenville Central football team to a combined 50-17-7 record including marks of 9-0-1, 8-0-1, 8-1 and 8-1. Also, during that period, he coached the Steubenville Pros team for three years.
          In 1948, he started a 12-year college assistant coach stint including a year at Georgetown, five years (1949-53) at Mississippi State and six years (1954-59) at the University of Florida. He recruited 37 Ohio Valley players to those schools including OVAC Hall of Famers Joe Fortunato (Mingo) and Don Fleming (Shadyside).
            He returned to the Ohio Valley in 1961 and was an assistant coach under head coach Tom Keane from 1962-65 with the Wheeling Ironmen, which won a United Football League title in 1963.
 Cara, who was inducted into the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan and Bellaire High Halls of Fame, is deceased.
           DAIL HARPER (Caldwell, 1986)--A three-sport prep athlete who set shot put records in track and earned all-state honors in football. As a senior trackman, his school record shot put effort of 64-feet, 9-inches at the Fulton Relays in Lancaster was the record for an area weightman for 23 years and ranks second all-time. After a state Class A runner-up as a sophomore with a 52-9 1/4 toss, he won two Ohio titles with efforts of 58-7 and 59-2 1/4. He also was a state discus qualifier as a senior.
           The three-time Pioneer Valley Conference shot put champion also won the Kiebler International Meet in Chicago and was runner-up at the National Junior Olympics. USA Today selected him as Ohio Track Athlete of the Year for 1986.
           In football, he was a four-year letterman starter at running back and earned three All-Pioneer Valley Conference honors while leading team to two PVC championships. A two-time All-Eastern District pick, and Offensive Player of the Year as a senior when he rushed for 1,625 yards and 25 TDs. In Caldwell's first-ever Ohio playoff game, he rushed for 260 yards vs. Crooksville. He ended with 3,486 career rushing yards. He also was a three-year starter in basketball.
           A Kent State recruit for track, he was a three-year letterman and a two-year Mid-American Conference outdoor champion in the shot put (58-6, 58-9) and an NCAA All-American as a junior when he placed 5th in the national indoors. He ranks 4th all-time in school indoor and 7th all-time in school outdoor shot put.
           BOB HENDERSON (Cambridge, 1955)--One of the Bobcats' most honored football players, the center-linebacker was a first team All-Ohio selection as a center by both wire service polls and also the first Bobcat to be cited on an All-America team by Scholastic Coach. He also is in rare company by having his uniform No. 24 retired by the school.
           The three-time All-Central Ohio League first team honoree helped the Bobcats win back-to-back league titles in 1952 and 1953. He also was a four-year basketball player and All-COL honorable mention choice as a senior and competed two years in baseball.
           The 6-foot-1, 205-pound athlete earned a scholarship to the University of Illinois where he was a three-year letterman at center-linebacker. In a 20-13 upset in 1956 of nationally-ranked No. 1 Michigan State, he had an ironman game by playing 58 minutes of the 60-minute contest. Future Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Nitschke was a fellow linebacker.
           After serving armed services duty, he coached the Illinois freshman team for a year with a roster including another future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Dick Butkus. He later coached high school football for 25 years in Illinois.
          He passed away in 2016.
           EDDIE STERLING (Martins Ferry, 1943)--The 6-foot-1 forward competed at high levels on the high school, college and professional levels. He earned first team All-Ohio in the largest Class A as a senior Purple Rider while scoring 357 points for an unbeaten regular season team which ended 24-1 including sectional, district and regional titles before bowing to Newark in the Ohio State Tournament. At Ferry, he was a four-ytear basketball player, three years as a track long jumper and one year in football and baseball.
           At West Virginia University, he was a three-year starter on teams with a combined 48-20 record and was team captain as a senior. He scored 559 career points. He later returned to the Ohio Valley where he played fro 1950-52 with the Wheeling Blues of the Tri-State Pro Basketball League.
 He also coached basketball from 55-60 at old Cadiz High School where his final five teams went 88-14 after a 4-17 first year start. His 1959 and 1960 Cardinal teams won the OVAC Class A titles and he led teams with won-lost marks of 17-2, 16-3, 19-3, 18-2 and 18-4.
           KIM TULLIS (Jewett-Scio, 1984)--The 5-foot-4 guard was the first Ohio Valley girl to break the 2,000-point career mark with 2,072 in 90 games during a four-year starting career. She scored in double figures in 89 games with a single game high of 53 vs. Indian Valley North, the fourth OV player to reach the 50-point mark. She led the OV in scoring two straight years and, as a senior, averaged 27.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.4 steals, and eight assists while shooting 46.4% from the floor.
             The three-time first team All-Valley honoree, and co-captain as a senior when she earned first team All-Ohio. She averaged 25.1 as a junior and second team All-Ohio pick and 25.2 as a sophomore and a third team All-Ohio honoree. She also was a three-time choice as All-Eastern District and All-District 5.
           She was a four-year letterman at Miami of Ohio and a senior team co-captain while earning All-Mid American Conference Tournament and honorable mention All-MAC her final season. In 110 career games, she scored 940 points with 315 assists and 172 steals. She led her team in assists as a senior.
           Tullis resides in Kent, Ohio.
Wheeling's Miller to receive OVAC Denny Magruder Distinguished Service Award at OVAC Hall of Fame Banquet
          Wheeling’s Ron Miller – another individual who has been a valuable contributor behind the scenes to the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference – has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Denny Magruder Distinguished Award. He will be honored at the 15th annual OVAC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony slated Saturday, Aug. 18 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.
          Miller has spent the past 20-plus years volunteering in various capacities not only for the OVAC but also at Linsly and Wheeling Jesuit University and for the Cancer Research Classic basketball tournament.
          With the conference, he’s been the driving force behind the 50-year all-star football reunion - a program that started in 2007 to honor the participants of past OVAC All-Star Football Games - doing countless hours of research locating and contacting the individuals.
          “Back in 2007, the OVAC decided to begin honoring those athletes who played in the All-Star Football Game 50 years ago,” said OVAC Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak. “While it seemed like a good idea then, we failed to understand the work required to locate these people who were spread all over the United States. At our initial meeting with the 1946 team ‘locals,’ we were introduced to Ron Miller who was willing to help out and the rest, as they say, is history.
          “Miller has been invaluable in locating members from 1946-1969,” he continued. “That’s 24 years and over 700 players. His ability to track these men down has allowed them to enjoy and relive an event that meant so much to them. He attends each reunion and personally connects the face and the name, shares stories, and researches news articles.
           “While I have worked with countless individuals over my tenure,” Rataiczak added, “none can match Ron’s enthusiasm and determination. He alone has made our 50-year reunion the success that it is.”
          He was the Director of the Museum/Archives at Linsly; assisted the athletic department at Wheeling Jesuit with ticket sales and the senior citizen program for 16 years; and managed ticket sales for the CRC for the first seven years of the event.
          Born and raised in Wheeling, Miller attended Linsly Military Institute where he was a letterman in four sports, earning second team all-City honors in football as a quarterback/kicker and a participant in the 1955 OVAC All-Star Game. He also played on the Wheeling Post 1 American Legion baseball team that finished as the state runner-up.
           He then attended Washington & Jefferson College (graduating in 1959) where he played baseball for four years and football for one.
          Past recipients of the OVAC’s Distinguished Service Award include Denny Magruder (2010), Bob Robinson (2011), Carpenters Local $3 of Wheeling (2012), Judge Frank Fregiato (2013), WesBanco Maintenance Staff (2014), Ohio University Eastern (2015); Oglebay Park (2016); and Mickey Duffy (2017).
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