Ironton set to induct 5 new members to athletic Hall of Fame

Published 1:46 am Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Ironton High School Athletic Hall of Fame will have its induction of five new members on Saturday, Nov. 2, in the high school cafeteria.
This year’s induction class consists of Phil Murnahan, Walt Delong, Mike Smith, Beth Rist and late head football coach Charlton “Shorty” Davies.
Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the door.
The new members will be introduced on Friday, Nov. 1, at the home football game against Portsmouth.
A 1968 graduate of Ironton, Phil Murnahan was an outstanding baseball pitcher and football player for Ironton.
A 1968 graduate of Ironton High School, Phil Murnahan played football and baseball. Although an extremely talented running back for the football team, it was on the baseball diamond that Phil really excelled.
As a pitcher, his record over his sophomore, junior, and senior season was a combined 25-8. During that time span, he pitched five one-hitters and five no-hitters including three consecutive hitless games.
Phil’s 100-plus mile an hour fastball proved nearly unhittable as he racked up over 300 strikeouts in three seasons. He was instrumental in Ironton winning its only Central Ohio League championship in 1966 as he racked up 12 strikeouts in the championship game.
Phil was the winner of the Robert E. Christian Award as the best senior athlete while earning first team all-district honors and was voted first team All-Ohio. He was also chosen to be the starting pitcher in the All-Ohio All-Star Game for the East squad.
Although Phil received multiple scholarship offers to continue his pitching in college, he ultimately was drafted out of high school in the 13th round of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Oakland Athletics and signed with them at age 17. Phil pitched four seasons in the Oakland organization minor leagues reaching Triple-A level before arm trouble ended his pitching career.
Walt was a 3-year starter in football at Ironton. Walt had a high school record of 32-6 with three playoff appearances including a Division 3 state runner-up in 1993. Walt also played briefly at the end of his freshman season with the 1989 state championship team.
He was the Southeast District Lineman of the Year as a senior and was a first team All-Ohio selection.
An outstanding all-around athlete, Walt was a four-year starter in basketball and lettered all four years in track.
Walt was a High School Blue Chip All-American and rated nationally among the top 25 offensive linemen in the country. He was selected to play for Ohio in the annual Big 33 Game in Hershey Park, Pennsylvania, a game between the top players from Ohio and Pennsylvania. He was also a starter in the annual Ohio High School Football Coaches North/South All-Star game.
Rated the Number One offensive lineman in Ohio, Walt signed with Ohio State and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team. Walt was listed on the depth chart ahead of Orlando Pace — a future overall No. 1 NFL draft selection.
Walt later transferred to Georgetown, Kentucky, where he was a three-year starter and led the team to two NAIA national championships and one runner-up. Georgetown was 41-1 in in those three seasons.
Walt was a three-time NAIA first team All-American and two-time National Lineman of the Year. In 3 seasons, Walt never allowed a sack. He was a first team Kodak All-American, first team NAIA All-Decade Team and the NAIA National Lineman of the Decade.
He was inducted into the Georgetown Hall of Fame as a player and member of two national title teams.
Mike Smith was a two-sport standout for Ironton in football and baseball. He was a three-year starter in football and helped Ironton to a 10-0 season in 1981 and was a first team All-Ohio selection in 1982 when he helped Ironton to the Division 3 state runner-up, losing 21-14 to Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s at Ohio Stadium. Ironton was 12-1 in 1982 and beat No.1-ranked Urbana with Ohio State recruit Greg Rogan in the state semifinals. Smith ran for 1,400 yards and scored 22 touchdowns and was named the Southeast District Back of the Year.
A second team all-district selection as a junior, Mike was part of one of the best backfields in Ironton history along with fullback Dennis Bacon, halfback Jimmy Morris and quarterback Mark Snyder. The team went 10-0 and considered a favorite to win the Division 3 state title, but the Tigers narrowly missed the playoffs due to the old system that only took the top 2 teams in a region.
Mike was a four-year starter in baseball and was named first team All-Ohio as a senior and played in the All-Ohio All-Star Game. As a senior, Mike set the Ironton single-season record with a .571 batting average, a record that still stands today.
Mike signed with the Naval Academy and lettered in football behind All-American and Heisman Trophy candidate Napoleon McCallum. He then became the starter as a senior only to have his season cut short by an injury.
In 1984, Mike ran for 96 yards and scored on touchdown runs of one and 7 yards as Navy upset No.2-ranked South Carolina 38-21.
Mike graduated from the Naval Academy in 1987 and served seven years as a nuclear submarine officer. He currently works in the electric utility sector and lives with his wife Dianne and three children in s South Carolina.
Thomas Charlton Davies was a 1917 graduate of Ironton high School. During his time as an Ironton Tiger, “Shorty”, as he became known, was a standout on the track team but especially made a name for himself as a star on the football gridiron.
After graduating, he decided to continue his football career at Ohio State University and was a teammate in the backfield with the legendary Chic Harley.
His 1919 Ohio State team beat Michigan for the first time in school history. Shorty was an Ohio State letterman in 1918 and 1919 before transferring his talents to the University of West Virginia.
In 1919 Shorty also began his nine-year stint starring with the Ironton Tanks. He would travel back and forth, first from Columbus and eventually from Morgantown, to Ironton and help his hometown team.
He was instrumental in the rise of the Tanks to the professional powerhouse that we know today, and by 1922 was the captain and coach of the Tanks.
Shorty went on to be a teacher and principal at Ironton High School and was the head football coach three times for the Tigers: 1922-1924, 1927-1931, and his third time around was from 1943-1952. In those combined 18 years Shorty compiled an 82-58-12 record
Accepting the induction honor on behalf of Davies is Ohio state football historian Jack Park.
Beth, a native of Ironton, attended Ironton High School in the late 70’s and graduated in 1980. Beth played basketball all four years and three times was All-SEOAL first team.
In 1979, Beth earned honorable mention All-Ohio honors and as a senior she was named to the All-Ohio first team. Beth finished her career as the all-time leading scorer in school history and is still ranked eighth with 1,158 points.
Her senior year season was highlighted by leading the first Ironton High School basketball team to compete in the state championships with a record of 23-3.
Outside of basketball, Beth was also a majorette and field commander with the Million Dollar Marching Band.
Beth, earned a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Charleston in West Virginia. Beth is still the second all-time leading scorer in U.C. history with 1740 points. She is also in the top 10 in career steals, assists, blocked shots, and games played.
She was WVIAC All-Conference three years, second team All-American in 1982, and earned first team All-American honors in 1984.
In October of 2010, Beth was inducted into the University of Charleston Hall of Fame.

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