May 10, 2012
Cleveland, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference announced today the 2012 MAC Hall of Fame Induction Class as six new members will be inducted in the MAC Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 17 at the MAC Honor's Dinner at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.
The six inductees are WAYNE EMBRY (Miami, men's basketball), Ben Curtis (Kent State, men's golf), Herb Deromedi (Central Michigan, football), Karen Fitzpatrick (Ball State, field hockey), Bob Nichols (Toledo, men's basketball) and Mike Schmidt (Ohio, baseball).
"It is only appropriate for our conference to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our former student-athletes and coaches, specifically these six individuals, and their achievements during their time competing in the Mid-American Conference," said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, MAC Commissioner. "We are honored to welcome them to the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame."
The MAC Hall of Fame was approved by the MAC Council of Presidents in 1987. The charter class was inducted in 1988 and subsequent classes were added in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994. After six induction classes, the MAC Hall of Fame maintained 52 members until it was reinstated this May. This year's class brings the number of MAC Hall of Fame inductees to 58 individuals from seven classes.
"I am extremely proud that we are reinstating the MAC Hall of Fame, which was originally started by former MAC Commissioner Jim Lessig. Our Hall of Fame is a testament to the achievement of those that have competed in this great conference," added Steinbrecher.
Complete Bios on the 2012 MAC Hall of Fame Class:
WAYNE EMBRY- Miami (men's basketball):
Wayne Embry has performed record-setting accomplishments as a player at Miami University, as an 11-year veteran of the NBA, as a pioneer for his race as the NBA's first African-American general manager and team president, and as a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Embry was a three-year letter winner in basketball (1955-56; 1956-57; 1957-58) at Miami up to his graduation with a Bachelor of Science in 1958.
Embry was a two-time All-MAC player and was a third-team Helms Athletic Foundation All-American as a senior in 1957-58. He led Miami to conference championships and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1957 and 1958. Embry led the MAC in scoring and rebounding his last two seasons and still holds several school records, including best career rebounding average (15.5 rpg).
He currently ranks No. 12 on Miami's all-time scoring list with 1,401 points and No. 2 on the all-time rebounding list with 1,117. Embry holds both Miami records for most rebounds in a game (34) and season (488). Embry is one of only 14 players in MAC history to total more than 1,000 career points and rebounds.
Miami University retired jersey number 23 in his honor. Embry also received the highest honor a basketball player/coach/contributor can achieve with his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., as a contributor.
Following his graduation, he was originally drafted by the St. Louis Hawks. Embry played 11 seasons of professional basketball with the Cincinnati Royals, Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, and was a five-time NBA All-Star. Embry won an NBA Championship with the Celtics in 1968. Embry scored 10,380 career points (12.5 ppg), recorded 7,544 rebounds (9.1 rpg) and dealt 1,194 assists (1.4 apg) in 831 career NBA games.
In 1971, Embry was named Milwaukee's General Manger, becoming the first African American GM in the NBA. From 1985 to 1992, Embry was vice president and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers and became the NBA's first African American team president with the Cavaliers in 1994.
The Sporting News named him NBA Executive of the Year in 1992 and 1998. Embry was inducted into the Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1970. He currently serves as the Senior Basketball Advisor to the President for the NBA's Toronto Raptors.
Outside of basketball, Embry has served as a Member of the Board for the following companies and organizations: Centerior Energy Corporation, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Kohl's, M.A. Hanna, Ohio Casualty Insurance Company, and PolyOne. Within the last decade, a stretch of U.S. Route 40 in front of Tecumseh High School near Springfield, Ohio, was named in Wayne Embry's honor. He has also been a generous donor to Miami University.
Embry and his wife, Terri, have three children, a son Wayne, R., and daughters Debbie and Jill. The couple resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.
KAREN FITZPATRICK- Ball State (field hockey):
During Karen Fitzpatrick's 21 year tenure as head field hockey coach at Ball State, Fitzpatrick built the Cardinals into one of the premier programs in the country, accumulating a 285-130-11 mark for a 68% winning percentage. Her 285 victories placed her in the top five nationally among active Division I head coaches at the time of her retirement. Fitzpatrick was head coach from 1980 through 2000 and the Cardinals produced a .500 or better record in all but two seasons.
Upon her retirement, Fitzpatrick was the winningest coach in the 19-year history of field hockey in the MAC. She was an 11-time recipient of the MAC Coach of the Year accolades, and led Ball State to a remarkable 153-29 all-time mark vs. conference opponents for an .841 winning percentage. Under her guidance, Ball State teams captured an unprecedented 16 regular season MAC titles and 10 league tournament crowns, plus advanced to four NCAA Championship Tournaments, including three quarterfinal appearances. The success of her program garnered the respect of national pollsters, placing Ball State in the national poll on a regular basis, including several times in the top 10.
The national exposure that Ball State received was increased by the outstanding players that Fitzpatrick brought into Ball State and developed. She tutored 18 players to All-America recognition, including five with first-team distinction. A league record 71 of her players claimed first-team All-MAC accolades--twice the number of any other conference school at that time. In addition, a Ball State player was named MAC Player of the Year six times over the nine-year history of the award at that point in time.
Fitzpatrick also stressed high academic standards. Cardinal players collected Academic All-American accolades six times, including five with first-team mention. The combination of outstanding success in both the athletic and academic areas positioned Ball State field hockey players among the top student-athletes in the country. After the 1999 season, Sally Northcroft was honored with the Honda Award for the sport of field hockey and was further lauded as the recipient of the NCAA Top VIII Award. Jen Brown was named the 1997-98 Wood Hayes National Division I Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, making her the top Division I female athlete in all sports. In addition, Janelle Tranquillo and Kerri Schoultz were the recipients of NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships in 1998 and 2000, respectively.
Fitzpatrick retired from Ball State following the 2000 season and currently resides in Atlanta, Ga.
HERB DEROMEDI- Central Michigan (football):
Herb Deromedi is recognized as one of the iconic figures in the history of the Mid-American Conference. The accomplishments of Herb Deromedi, both as a head football coach and administrator at Central Michigan as Director of Athletics, are impactful and impressive. Deromedi was head football coach at Central Michigan for 16 years from 1978-93, and then served the program as Director of Athletics for a 13 year span from 1994-2006.
Deromedi is the winningest football coach in the Mid-American Conference history with an overall record of 110-55-10. He posted a record of 90-39-9 in conference games, and the 90 conference wins also is a league record. Deromedi lead the Chippewas to MAC Championships in 1979, 1980 and 1990, and was named MAC Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1990. During his coaching career, he led Central Michigan to a 20-3 win at No. 18 Michigan State in 1991 and a 24-20 win at Michigan State in 1992. He coached 71 All-MAC first team performers and seven players went on to NFL careers. Deromedi also served as the defensive coordinator on Central Michigan's 1974 Division II national championship team.
Deromedi was a 2007 inductee into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, one of only two MAC football coaches enshrined with this honor.
As Director of Athletics, Deromedi oversaw the $28 million renovation and expansion of Kelly/Shorts Stadium (football) in 1998 and construction of the Indoor Athletic Complex in 1999, the renovation of the CMU Softball Complex, now named the Margo Jonker Stadium), construction of the new Theunissen Stadium (baseball), relocation of the Lyle Bennett Track and construction of the CMU Field Hockey Complex.
Deromedi lead an athletic department that won the MAC Academic Achievement Award for the highest cumulative grade point average by a conference school eight times in a nine-year span, winning it outright in 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2001-02, 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05 after sharing it in 1996-97.
Central Michigan teams captured 34 MAC Championships during Deromedi's tenure as Director of Athletics--the most ever in any 10-year period in school history. After a school record six titles for Central Michigan in 2002-03, Chippewas teams won seven titles in 2003-04.
Deromedi is also a member of the Central Michigan Athletics Hall of Fame, Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame and Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
Deromedi and his wife, Marilyn, have three children, David, Tom and Lori. The couple resides in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
BEN CURTIS- Kent State (men's golf):
Long before his 2003 British Open Title and four PGA Tour wins, Ben Curtis made a name for himself at Kent State University. A three-time All-American, Curtis earned honorable mention honors in 1998 and second-team honors in 1999 and 2000. In addition, Curtis was named MAC Golfer of the Year, Sportsman of the Year and was the MAC Championship medalist as a senior in 2000.
Curtis led the Golden Flashes to a MAC title in each of his four years and helped Kent State to a ninth-place finish at the 2000 NCAA Championships. Curtis is the Golden Flashes all-time leader in career top-10 finishes with 28, and stroke average at 72.23. In the classroom, the honors continued to follow Curtis who was chosen to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Second-Team in 1998 and 1999.
Upon reaching the PGA Tour in 2003, Curtis immediately made a name for himself by winning the British Open in just his 16th Tour start, becoming the first player in 90 years to win the first major golf championship he ever played.
Proving the victory was no fluke, Curtis has won three more times on the Tour since with his most recent victory coming at the Valero Texas Open in April, 2012. Along the way he secured a spot on the winning United States Ryder Cup squad in 2008, following a summer in which he tied for second place at the PGA Championship, had another top 10 at the British Open and finished in ninth-place in the FedEx Cup standings.
A native of Stow, Ohio, Curtis is married to former Kent State golfer Candace Beatty and the couple has a son, Liam, and a daughter, Addison.
MIKE SCHMIDT- Ohio (baseball):
Mike Schmidt is a legend within the Ohio University community and throughout Major League Baseball, where he received the ultimate honor being named into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.
Schmidt lettered in baseball for four year from 1967-71 and was named an All-American for both the 1970 and 1971 seasons. He was named First Team All-MAC during three seasons of his impressive career, receiving the honors for the 1969, 1970 and 1971 seasons. For his efforts during the 1970 and 1971 seasons, Mike was named to the District IV All-Mideast Regional Teams.
Schmidt was one of the most clutch hitters in Ohio Baseball history, amassing a slugging percentage of .640 throughout his career, a figure which still ranks fifth all-time for the Bobcats 40 years after the conclusion of his career.
Schmidt was selected in the second round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1971 with the 30th overall pick. Schmidt went on to play 18 years for the Phillies (1972-89) and was named to 12 All-Star Teams, 10 Gold Glove Awards at third base, was three-times named National League MVP (1980, 81, 86), was a member of the 1980 World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies and received the ultimate honor as he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY in 1995.
A legend within the Ohio University community, Schmidt was inducted into the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame in 1977.
BOB NICHOLS- Toledo (men's basketball):
Bob Nichols name is synonymous with Toledo Rockets basketball excellence. Nichols earned three varsity letters in basketball at Toledo as a player from 1950-53, served as assistant basketball coach for two seasons (1964-65) before serving as head basketball coach for 22 seasons (1965-87).
Nichols' lifetime record at Toledo was 376-212 and still ranks today as the most wins by any basketball coach in Mid-American Conference history. Nichols led the Rockets to 20 consecutive winning seasons from 1965-66 through 1984-85. His 1966-67 squad posted a 23-2 record, the best record in school history, and was ranked No. 11 in the nation in the final UPI poll that season.
During his coaching career, Nichols led the Rockets to the NCAA Tournament in 1967, 1979 and 1980. The 1979 squad advanced to the Sweet 16 with a win over Big Ten Champion Iowa before falling to Notre Dame. Nichols also coached six Academic-All Americans and 18 Academic All-MAC honorees.
His teams earned five MAC titles and he coached five MAC Players of the Year. Nichols also had a 5-0 record against Big Ten teams from 1976-79, including wins over Michigan (twice), Ohio State, Indiana and Iowa. The victory over Indiana came in the inaugural game in Savage Arena, as Toledo upset the defending national champion Hoosiers, 59-57, snapping their 33-game win streak.
Nichols in the only four-time winner of the Ohio College `Coach of the Year' award (1967, 1972, 1979, 1980). Nichols is a member of the Toledo Varsity T Hall of Fame, the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame and the basketball floor at Savage Arena is named in his honor.
Nichols resides in Sylvania, Ohio.