By David Fong
Regional Sports Content Manager
TROY — With another class inducted into the Trojan Athletic Hall of Fame Friday night, there’s only 364 days to start thinking about the 2015 class.
Friday night, the hall of fame committee got it right by choosing Leslie “Prep” Wells (football and baseball), Carlton Kazmaier (coaching), Mike Lyons (gymnastics), Heath Murray (baseball) and Levi Fox (cross country and track) for the 2014 class.
Wells was one of the first truly great athletes in Troy history. The turn-of-the-century star of the early 1900s went on to play both football and baseball at The Ohio State University. Kazmaier was a standout coach in four sports at Troy. Both Lyons and Fox won state championships, while Murray is one of two Troy graduates to have played Major League Baseball.
With those accomplishments in mind, the hall of fame selection committee should have a short list when trying to decide the 2015 class.
It would appear as though, based on previous selections, the first two to be considered for the 2015 Trojan Athletic Hall of Fame class would be Harold “Corky” Valentine and Todd Darbyshire.
Valentine was a former pitcher for the Troy High School baseball team. He pitched two seasons for the Cincinnati Reds and — along with Murray — is the only other Troy graduate to play in the big leagues. Like Lyons and Darbyshire — and swimmer Kami Mathews-Gardner, a member of the inaugural hall of fame class in 2014 — is one of only a handful of Troy athletes to have captured a state title. Darbyshire — regarded by many experts as one of the most dominant wrestlers in Ohio history as a senior — captured a state wrestling title in the early 1980s.
Also, former Troy bowler Alicia Benson captured a state title in 2009 — meaning she would now be eligible for induction into the hall of fame, based on its standards for inductees having graduated for a certain amount of time before being inducted. She likely would draw strong consideration as well.
From there, the selection committee — which opened the door for former Troy coaches with the inclusion of Kazmaier — has a number of coaching options. On the football field alone, Lou Juillerat, Jim Conard and Steve Nolan all have impressive resumes. Juillerat has the highest winning percentage of any Troy football coach (.828 in eight years), Conard coached arguably the most impressive teams in school history in the 1970s and Nolan won more than 200 games in 28 years at Troy.
While both Juillerat and Conard have passed away, Nolan still is coaching, having taken over at Troy Christian last season.
Troy has a handful of standout coaches in other sports, as well. Tennis coach Mark Goldner, track and field coach Herb Hartman, soccer coach Richard Phillips and baseball coach Fred McMullen all should be up for consideration as well.
Both Goldner and Phillips have been coaching for more than three decades at Troy and continue to coach varsity teams to this day. Hartman, meanwhile, continues to work as an assistant coach with the Troy track and field teams. The committee may want to wait until all three have completely retired from their respective sports and can no longer add to their already impressive list of accomplishments.
McMullen, meanwhile, passed away earlier this century. As the winningest coach in Troy baseball history — coupled with him taking a team to the state semifinals in 1990 — likely will be on the committee’s list for inclusion as soon as possible.
With so many noteworthy coaches, the selection committee may want to consider having a special “coaching class” moving forward and consider inducting all of Troy’s eligible coaches at the same time.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong