OVAC gears up for annual Hall of Fame banquet

WHEELING, W.Va. — The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference will honor its own once again Saturday when the 14th Annual OVAC Hall of Fame Ceremony takes place with the induction of the Class of 2017.

WesBanco Arena in downtown Wheeling is once again the site of this year’s OVAC Hall of Fame Banquet – which is sponsored by the Robinson Auto Group.

A total of 18 individual associated with the conference will take their place among the elite who have helped make the OVAC — embarking on its 75th year — one of the premier high school athletic leagues in the nation.

This year’s inductees include:

OVAC ‘Family’ — Arthur “Butch” Joseph of Shadyside

OVAC ‘Contributor’ — Ross Stoltz of Wheeling

Media — Jeff Harrison of The Daily Jeffersonian in Cambridge

Coaches — Dave Caldwell of Beallsville and Terry Leggett of Buckeye Trail

Official — Roger Sowers

1940s Athlete — Bill Gompers of Wheeling Central

1950s Athletes — Tom Franckhauser of Steubenville Catholic and William “Catfish” Hearst of Wellsburg

1960s Athletes — Roger Alford of Wintersville and Dick Tomlinson of Wheeling

1970s Athletes — Gary Repella of Steubenville

1980s Athletes — Scot Maffe of Bellaire and Chris Jones of John Marshall

1990s Athletes — Jami Bendle-Frazier of Edison and Mike Snively of River

2000s Athletes — Nate Davis of Bellaire and April Rotilio of St. John Central

Five “Legends of OVAC Member Schools” will also be recognized at the banquet, including George Cherokee of Shadyside, Harry Diehl of Stanton, Frank Gilliam of Steubenville, Tom Harp of Barnesville, Ed Oliver of East Liverpool.

The “Legends” category recognizes athletes and coaches who competed prior to the inception of the OVAC in 1943 or while their schools were not members of the conference.

This year’s group of inductees bring the 14-year total of Hall of Famers to 255, with 65 others honored in the “Legends” category.

A special Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Mickey Duffy of Wheeling Central.

Plaques of the OVAC Hall of Fame inductees are on permanent display in the outer concourse at WesBanco Arena as part of the OVAC Museum.

The OVAC Hall of Fame selection committee includes Tom Rataiczak, executive secretary/treasurer of the OVAC; Jeff Harrison, sports editor of The Daily Jeffersonian in Cambridge; Doug Huff, retired sports editor of The Intelligencer in Wheeling; Robert “Bubba” Kapral, executive sports editor of The Times Leader/The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register; Ron Mauck, long-time OVAC Wrestling Championship director; Kelly Rine, athletic director at St. Clairsville High School; Tom Tisher, teacher/coach at Magnolia High School; Dick Wolf, East Liverpool City Schools Board of Education member; Don Zinni, former OVAC Football Commissioner; Seth Staskey, sports editor of The Times Leader in Martins Ferry; Bob Koch, director of the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game; and Joe Dunlevy, athletic director at Indian Creek.

John Sorrenti, former sports director of WEIR radio, will again serve as master of ceremonies while Woody Biggs of the Stop Nine Church of Christ in Byesville will offer the invocation and benediction.

Dinner will be served at 5:30 and the induction ceremony starts at 6:30.