Hall of Fame inductions highlight area#039;s 2003 sports year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 1, 2004

There were no state championships on the field, but there were Hall of Fame honors on the sidelines.

Ironton head football coach Bob Lutz and former Coal Grove head coach Dave Lucas were inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

But they weren't alone.

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Ironton's Tony Brown was inducted into the Shawnee State Hall of Fame and former Ironton baseball coach Mike Burcham was a member of the first class honored by the Southeast District Baseball Coaches Association.

And Chesapeake basketball coach Norm Persin was inducted into the Warren Harding High School athletic Hall of Fame during the fall.


Ironton's Tony Brown was elected to the Shawnee State athletic Hall of Fame. Brown, who golfed for the Bears from 1993-97, was the first All-American in any men's sport at the school.

Ohio State won the national championship with a 31-24 double overtime upset of Miami. Tight end Redgie Arden and assistant coach Mark Snyder, both former Ironton football players, were members of the Buckeyes title team.

Ironton All-Ohio senior fullback Matt White was selected to play in the 57th annual Ohio Football Coaches Association North/South All-Star Classic in June.


The Chesapeake Panthers boys basketball team won an 8th straight Ohio Valley Conference championship and finished 10th in the AP poll.

The Rock Hill Redwomen and South Point Lady Pointers shared the girls OVC basketball title.

Snowy and icy weather played havoc with sectional tournament scheduling.

Ironton's girls won the sectional title and upset Eastern Brown in the district semifinals.


The Ironton Lady Tigers finished as district runners-up in the Div. III basketball tournament as they lost 47-43 to Lynchburg Clay.

Ironton's boys upset Lucasville Valley but couldn't pull off a second upset as Chesapeake won 49-43 in overtime to take the Div. III district championship and advance to the regionals.

The Panthers suffered a cold-shooting night and lost to Marion Pleasant in the regional semifinals 46-33. Chesapeake (21-2) began and ended the season with losses to Marion Pleasant.

Long-time Ironton assistant Paul Fugitt was the recipient of the first-ever District 13 Basketball Coaches Assistant Coach of the Year awards.

The District 13 Basketball Coaches named Rock Hill's David Schug (D-2), Chesapeake's Aaron Gossett (D-3), and St. Joseph's Shawn Hacker (D-4) their Players of the Year.

Schug and Gossett were named the North/South All-Star Game representatives. Fairland's Jennifer Jones got the girls N/S nod in Div. III.

Symmes Valley's senior weightlifter Nathan Pinkerman won his fourth straight state championship and his second national championship in three years.

The Open Door Jets captured the Ohio Special Olympics Division III state championship with a resounding 61-39 win over the Cuyahoga Berea Meteors in New Philadelphia. It was the third state title for the Jets.


Fighting Tigers head football coach Bob Lutz and former Coal Grove coach Dave Lucas, now at Wellston, were inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame as members of the 2003 class.

Roger Snyder won his 300th career game as a high school baseball coach when Fairland beat Ironton St. Joseph 18-3 on April 15.

Fairland won its second straight Ohio Valley Conference baseball championship.


Chesapeake basketball standouts Matt Rucker and Aaron Gossett signed to play college ball. Rucker inked with Marietta and Gossett with Ohio Dominican.

Rock Hill Redwomen star Rachel Hartwig signed to play basketball at Midway (Ky.) College.

South Point's Zach Smith won the 800 meter run in the high school division of the Jesse Owens Track & Field Meet with a record time of 1:55.

Ironton All-Ohio lineman Tyler Whaley was given a preferred walk-on invitation to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Lady Tigers All-Ohio center Candace Ferguson signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at the University of Rio Grande.

Fairland won its third straight OVC softball championship.

At the OVC track meet, Chesapeake won a second straight title in the boys meet by edging South Point by a single point. Fairland claimed the girls title.

Marshall signed Fairland's Jennifer Jones to play softball and Britani Keeney to throw the discus on the track team.

Ironton's All-Ohio center Candace Ferguson inked to play basketball at the University of Rio Grande.

Ironton and Fairland advanced to the boys Division III regional tournament. Ironton was beaten by eventual regional champion Indian Valley 7-1 and Fairland lost to Bellaire 12-1.

Greg Justice, co-owner of Spare Time Recreation, qualified for the initial Senior Pro Bowler Association's first tour event held May 4-7 at Shawnee Lanes in Chillicothe. He finished 99th in a field of 168.


Ironton's Matt White played linebacker as the South beat the North 24-17 in the annual Ohio North/South All-Star Classic.

Justin Collins, a senior-to-be at Ohio State, placed second in the U.S. Public Links qualifier in Toledo and thus earned a berth in the national finals tournament.

Former Georgia head coach Ron Jirsa was named the new men's basketball coach at Marshall. Jirsa was an assistant at Clemson when he was hired.

The month ended on a tragic note as former Fairland track star Antwuane Brown was killed in an automobile accident as he returned home following orientation at the University of Rio Grande where he planned to run track.


Chesapeake's Nick Karle signed to play basketball at North Central College in Chicago, a Div. III school.

Ironton's senior league all-star team reached the championship round the state tournament before bowing out.


The Ironton 10-year-old All-Stars advanced to the state tournament in Hamilton where they finished fifth overall.

Chesapeake track star T. R. Hannan signed to compete at Morehead State University.

Norm Persin, a Ohio Basketball Coaches Association coach of the year, joined an elite group as he was inducted into the Warren Harding High School athletic Hall of Fame.


A sign was erected honoring Coy Bacon, a 16-year NFL veteran who was named All-Pro twice.

Doug Joseph won the Ironton Country Club championship, his first-ever ICC title.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers were third in the sectional golf tournament and qualified for the district in Div. II.

The Chesapeake Panthers won the Ohio Valley Conference golf championship, the Div. III sectional tournament, and the district title to qualify for its first-ever state tournament appearance.


Ironton's 28-0 win over Belfry, Ky., gave Bob Lutz his 300th career coaching win at Ironton and 320th overall. He is third on the all-time win list in Ohio.

Lawrence County landed five teams in the postseason playoffs: Ironton, Rock Hill, Fairland, Chesapeake and Symmes Valley.

Ironton's Brianna McCown was the only local runner to qualify for the regional cross country meet. McCown finished 35th in a field of 139 runners.

Rick Chapman, of Flatwoods, Ky., set the Ashland (Ky.) Bowling Association series record of 855 Oct. 22 at Spare Time Recreation in Ironton.

The Southeast District Baseball Coaches Association began a district Hall of Fame and former Ironton coach Mike Burcham was a member of the first class. Burcham is also a member of the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches state Hall of Fame.


Ironton was the only area team to win a playoff game, but the Fighting Tigers lost to Bellaire 20-14 in overtime in the regional semifinals .

Symmes Valley's Kyle Gilmore was a national finalist for the Wendy's High School Heisman. State finalists included Chesapeake's Lisa Perry and Symmes Valley's Cassie Myers.

Perry signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at West Liberty State University.

In the Associated Press all-district selections, 39 local players were honored. Chesapeake's Cody Hunt was Div. V co-Offensive Player of the Year, and in Div. VI Symmes Valley's Caleb Bland was the Defensive Player of the Year and Rusty Webb co-Coach of the Year. Ironton's Bob Lutz was the Div. IV Coach of the Year.

A total of 21 area players were named to the AP All-Ohio football teams. Hunt was first team offense in Div. V and Bland first team defense in Div. VI.

Former Ironton star Jason Harmon was named to the All-Big Ten special mention list by the coaches and media.


Professional women's boxer Nikki Eplion, ranked second in the world, knocked out Angela Hall of Columbus in a Tri-State Boxing Commission title fight.

Rock Hill assistant coach Todd Knipp was named the Redmen new head football coach.

As the New Year's bowl week got underway, former Ironton players Jason Harmon (Michigan State), Roman Fry (Clemson), Redgie Arden (Ohio State) and Tyler Whaley (Ohio State) were there as participants.