Ironton to induct 5 new members into athletic Hall of Fame

Published 12:19 am Sunday, January 19, 2014

Jim Walker


The second class is far from second class.

The Ironton High School athletic Hall of Fame will induct five impressive new members on Saturday in the high school cafeteria.

This year’s class includes former NFL linebacker Danny Pride, outstanding all-around athlete and basketball star Ralph Snead, outstanding football player and current college coach Mark Snyder, high school and college golfing standout Justin Collins and All-American track star Anissa Campbell.

A Hall of Fame Showcase of basketball games will be held on Jan. 25. The St. Joseph Flyers play Portsmouth Notre Dame at 2 p.m. and the Ironton Lady Fighting Tigers face the Rock Hill Redwomen at 3:45 p.m.

The new Hall of Fame class will be introduced at the conclusion of the Ironton-Rock Hill game and then Ironton’s boys will play the Athens Bulldogs at 5:30. The Hall of Fame reception will follow the game in the cafeteria.

Tickets for the games and Hall of Fame are $10. Tickets at the door for the Hall of Fame reception are $15. The reception will begin following the boys’ varsity game.

For tickets, contact the high school (532-3911), the auto shop (532-6075) or Rick McKnight at (740) 525-8011.

Pride was a two-sport star in football and basketball at Ironton. He was a high school teammate of another future NFL player Coy Bacon.

Pride played college football at Jackson State and Tennessee State before being a 10th round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers.

He was released in training camp and then signed with the Chicago Bears. He worked his way up the depth charts and became a starting linebacker along side future Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.

However, a knee injury in the fourth game on the 1968 season ended his season prematurely. The Bears finished 1-13, the worst record in the franchise’s history.

Pride went to work in California and when the World Football League announced its formation, Pride took a two-week vacation and tried out for the Southern California Sun and made the team.

He played the inaugural 1974 season but opted not to play the next season. The league folded before the end of its second year.

Pride taught and coached for 30 years in California. He returned to Ironton in 2008 where he has helped coach football and girls’ basketball.

Snead is considered one of the finest all-around athletes to play at Ironton and was one of its best-ever basketball players.

Able to go left or right, Snead used his speed and quickness to drive off defenders and pull up for long jump shots. He scored 45 points in a game against Lancaster in 1958 in what was a school record, decades before the 3-point line.

Snead was a third team All-Ohio Class AA selection and played in the North/South All-Star Game with legends Jerry Lucas, Mel Nowell and John Havlicek.

There were only two classifications in Ohio during that period of time.

Snead attended Ohio University and led the team in scoring as a freshman. He set the single game scoring record in the Bobcats’ old basketball arena but joined the Army the next year.

In the service, Snead was often flown to other military bases to play in tournament. He scored 45 points in a game against the William and Mary freshmen team.

Snead had several professional offers but declined.

Snyder was an All-Ohio quarterback and safety for Ironton and helped the Fighting Tigers to the Division III state runner-up in football in 1982.

He played at several colleges before stopping at Marshall in 1988 where he set a school record with 10 interceptions in one season, helped the Herd to the NCAA Div. I-AA national championship game and was named a I-AA All-American.

Snyder began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1989 at Central Florida, served as an assistant to Jim Tressel at Youngstown State from 1991-96, coached defensive ends at Minnesota from 1996-2000, and was linebacker coach and defensive coordinator at Ohio State from 2001-04 including the 2002 national championship season.

He was named the head coach at Marshall from 2005-09 where he posted a 22-37 record. He was the defensive coordinator at South Florida from 2010-11 and took a similar job at Texas A&M in 2012. His defense was pivotal in the 2012 upset of No. 1-ranked Alabama.

Justin Collins was the most decorated golfer former Ohio State coach Jim Brown ever receruited. He played at Ohio State from 1999-2004.

Collins helped Ironton to four straight Division II state golf tournament appearances that resulted in three straight state championships and one runner-up.

Collins was the state medalist as a junior and was All-Ohio all four years. He was state medalist runner-up twice including his senior year when he lost in a playoff.

Also during his high school years, Collins won the Ohio State Optimist Tournament in Middletown and shot a course record 63.

The first female to be elected to the Hall of Fame is former track star Anissa Campbell.

At Ironton, Campbell won three straight 100-meter dash state championships. She also won the 200 meters her senior year, was fourth in the long jump and anchored the winning 4-by-100 meter relay team along with Christiana Saxton, Kristen Roach and Shawnta Allen.

Her performance at the state meet in her senior year helped Ironton finished as state runners-up as a team.

Campbell holds Ironton’s 100-meter dash record with a sizzling 11.81-second time.

During her time at the University of Tennessee from 1995-98, Campbell was a member of the 4-by-100 meter relay team that placed in the NCAA national meet, thus earning All-American honors.

Last year’s inaugural class included George McAfee, Coy Bacon, Ken Fritz, Bob Lutz and Mike Burcham.