Archive for January, 2016
By Paul Helgren
Seven former student-athletes and one coach will be inducted into The University of Toledo Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame Friday, Jan. 29, at Savage Arena.
Social hour for the event will begin at 6 p.m., and dinner will follow at 7 p.m.
The Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame also will present the Distinguished Service Award to the late Don Reiber, who passed away last September after working for 37 years as an associate professor in the Department of Communication. Reiber also produced video for the Athletic Department for most of that time; his work included TV broadcasts, coaches’ shows, and all of the in-house video seen at Rocket games in the Glass Bowl and Savage Arena.
In addition, Sylvester “Sonny” Smith, the longtime president of the Varsity ‘T’ Club, will be honored with a Varsity ‘T’ Lifetime Membership Award.
Tickets for the Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame induction dinner are $45 or $360 for a table of eight and can be purchased by calling the Athletic Development Office at 419.530.5087.
The 2016 Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame inductees are:
Jim Brown, Men’s Basketball, 1971-1975. The 6-foot-9-inch center scored 829 points and captured 790 rebounds in a three-year Rocket varsity career. Playing in 78 games, he averaged a double-double of points/rebounds (10.6/10.1) for his entire career. Brown’s career field goal percentage (56.0 percent) is the third-highest in Rocket history. He averaged 8.2 points and 7.0 rebounds as a sophomore, 11.6 points and 12.5 rebounds as a junior, and 11.8 points and 10.5 rebounds as senior. Brown also had strong shot-blocking ability, which keyed the Rocket press and fast break (shot-blocking statistics were not recorded in his era). Brown was named as the team MVP in his junior year in 1973-74. That season, UT went 19-9 and participated in the Conference Commissioner’s Tournament in St. Louis after finishing second in the Mid-American Conference. In the tournament, UT defeated Arizona State and lost by one point in overtime to Bobby Knight’s Indiana Hoosiers in the semifinals. Brown later played two years of professional basketball in Tenerifa, Canary Islands, Spain. Brown passed away in 2013.
Barry Church, Football, 2006-2009. Church played safety for the Rockets and is the only UT player in history to earn first-team All-MAC honors in four seasons. At the time, he was only the third four-time first-team All-MAC player in league history. As a senior, Church was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back) and the Bronco Nagurski Award (top defensive player). Church had 98 tackles as a senior, but his most memorable game came in a 20-19 win over Northern Illinois in which he blocked two kicks, including a potential game-tying field goal with 37 seconds left. As a junior, he was second on the team and 15th in the MAC with 7.8 tackles per game, and led UT with six passes broken up and three forced fumbles. As a sophomore, Church was third on the team and tied for 18th in the MAC with 92 tackles, adding three interceptions and four pass breakups. He had a career-high 19 tackles, including three tackles-for-loss, vs. Iowa State that year. In 2006, Church was named second-team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News and by Scout.com. He placed third in balloting for MAC Freshman of the Year and led the Rockets with four interceptions. He also ran back two interceptions for touchdowns, tying a school record. Since graduation, Church has played six seasons in the NFL as a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. He was named defensive captain for the Cowboys in 2015.
Molly Cornwell, Women’s Soccer, 2006-2009. Cornwell was a two-time MAC Player of the Year, winning the award in 2007 and 2008. In her four-year career, she scored 33 goals, which is tied for second in UT history. She is the co-record holder for goals in a season with 15, and is UT’s all-time leader in assists with 30, 13 more than the player with the second most assists. She also holds the UT career record for points in a season (41) and career (96). Cornwell was a first-team All-MAC pick in 2007 and 2008, and earned second-team honors and was a member of the MAC All-Freshman Team in 2006. Cornwell led the Rockets to MAC Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament berths in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and a regular-season MAC title in 2008. In 2007 and 2008, Cornwell was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas All-Great Lakes Region Third-Team. Cornwell led the MAC in goals (15), assists (11) and total points (41) in 2007. She was tied for third in goals (8) in the MAC in 2008. Cornwell was named UT’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council vice president for the 2008-09 academic year.
Myriam Cueva-Neville, Women’s Tennis, 2003-2007. She was a three-time All-MAC tennis player who also earned team MVP honors four times. When she was named first-team All-MAC as a sophomore in 2005, she became the first UT women’s tennis player to make first-team all-league in 12 years. After redshirting in 2002-03, Cueva went 19-12 in singles play and 20-13 in doubles in 2004-05, earning team MVP and Newcomer of the Year honors. As a sophomore, Cueva went 21-7 in singles, including 16-6 at No. 1 singles and 18-13 in doubles. She had a winning streak of seven matches, including MAC wins over Buffalo, Akron and Miami, and went on to earn first-team All-MAC honors. As a junior, Cueva earned second-team all-league recognition, going 13-5 in singles and 16-4 in doubles. She also was undefeated in her MAC doubles matches. In her senior season in 2007, Cueva led UT to a third-place showing at the MAC Championship Tournament, its best finish in school history. Cueva, a native of Quito, Ecuador, again earned first-team All-MAC honors, going a combined 49-18 at No. 1 singles and No.1/No. 2 doubles as a senior.
Mark Ehlen, Women’s Basketball Coach, 1995-2008. He coached the Toledo women’s basketball team for 13 seasons and was one of the winningest coaches in MAC history. He was named MAC Coach of the Year four times and led the Rockets to eight MAC titles and six post-season berths. A two-time Women’s Basketball Coaches Association District 4 Coach of the Year, Ehlen posted a 240-149 record and finished his career at Toledo second in MAC history in conference wins and fifth in overall winning percentage. He coached four teams that made it into the NCAA Tournament (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2001). His 1995-96 team won an NCAA tourney game with a 65-53 victory over 24th-ranked Mississippi, before falling to sixth-ranked Old Dominion, 72-66, in second-round action. His 1998-99 team was ranked No. 25 in the final Associated Press poll. Ehlen’s teams also had a penchant for performing well in the classroom. In Ehlen’s tenure, Rocket players were selected first-team Academic All-MAC eight times and Academic All-District IV first-team seven times, including one College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America pick. The Rockets’ success in the classroom was recognized by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Academic Top 25 Team Honor Roll four times during his tenure. In 2001-02, the Rockets posted a 3.465 overall team GPA to finish second nationally among more than 300 Division I programs. The Rockets finished in the top eight on three other occasions and posted a 100 percent graduation rate for four-year players during his tenure. Ehlen also was the head coach at Xavier for nine seasons before joining the Rockets in 1995. He was inducted into the Cincinnati Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1986. Since leaving UT in 2008, Ehlen has served as an assistant coach at Cincinnati, Miami University and Xavier.
Harold McGuire, Football, 1982-1986. McGuire is a three-time All-MAC safety who earned third-team All-America honors by the Associated Press as a senior in 1986. A four-year starter at UT, McGuire started in 42 games in his career, every game in which he played, making 273 tackles and grabbing eight interceptions. The Rockets were 30-15-1 in his four years, winning one MAC title and finishing in second place twice. As a redshirt freshman in 1983, McGuire started in nine games, missing the last two due to injury. He had 43 tackles and one interception. In 1984, McGuire led all UT defensive backs with 78 tackles and added three interceptions. He earned second-team All-MAC honors and helped UT win the MAC Championship and earn a trip to the California Bowl. As a junior, McGuire made first team All-MAC, once again leading UT’s secondary with 72 tackles. He added two interceptions, including an 18-yard TD return, and forced four fumbles that season, helping UT lead the MAC in total defense. McGuire was a repeat choice on the All-MAC first team in 1986, as well as team captain, making 80 tackles and leading the team with three interceptions. McGuire earned his degree in electronic engineering technology from UT in 1986. He is a contract engineer in industrial automation.
Randy Schafer, Baseball, 1972-1975. He won four letters from 1972 to 1975, earning first-team All-MAC honors and team MVP honors as a designated hitter in 1975. A catcher and first baseman, Schafer served as team captain in 1975, leading the Rockets in home runs (4) in 1974 and batting average (.325). He became the second player in Rocket baseball history to collect more than 100 career base hits. At the end of his career, he was UT’s all-time leader in hits (107), and ranked in the top three in seven other categories: home runs (9), RBI (57), doubles (18), triples (8), runs scored (59), walks (47) and total bases (171). He played professionally in the Expos and Tigers farm systems until 1981. After retiring from baseball, Schafer returned to his hometown of Fort Loramie, Ohio, where he coached the high school baseball team for 15 years. Schafer serves on the board of directors at the Shelby Oaks Golf Course and as the secretary of the Schafer Oil Co.
Brent Williams, Football, 1982-1985. He was a two-time first-team All-MAC defensive end. He was named first-team All-MAC as a senior and was second on the team with 101 tackles. Williams was captain of the defense that was ranked third nationally in total defense that season. In his junior season, Williams also was selected first-team All-MAC. He finished the season with 84 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. His 1984 team was ranked nationally in scoring defense (No. 2), total defense (No. 4) and rushing defense (No. 5). The Rockets also won the MAC Championship and met UNLV in the California Bowl. After graduation in which Williams earned a business degree, he was drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the 1986 NFL draft. Williams played 11 seasons in the NFL, the second-longest tenure of any former Rocket. He played eight seasons at New England and was a starter in 64 consecutive games as a Patriot. Williams is fourth all-time with 41 sacks for New England. He later played for the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets. Currently, Williams is a bank vice president.