Ironton elects 5 new members to athletic Hall of Fame

Published 10:12 pm Saturday, September 17, 2022

By Jim Walker

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They span four decades and have great athletic talent. And now they are recognized forever in the athletic lore of Ironton High School.

The latest class of athletes to be named to the Ironton Athletic Hall of Fame include running back Woody Hall, coach Buddy Bell, three-sport standout Rick Boykin, pitcher and all-around player Jerry Murnahan and three-sport standout Mike Southers.

The group will be introduced at the Ironton home football game on Friday, Sept. 23.


Woody Hall is a graduate of Ironton High School in the class of 1960. Woody played varsity football as a freshman and lettered all 4 years of high school. Beginning as a halfback, he soon moved to fullback his junior year. As a junior, he led Ironton in rushing with 871 yards on 128 carries for 6.8 yards per carry.

In his senior year he was selected to the Associated Press All-Ohio first team and played in the North-South Game in Canton, Ohio. Woody was also selected to Jaycees all Ohio first team and was awarded the Tiger Clan Award and the Dick Gallagher MVP award.

During his high school career, Woody also lettered in basketball and track. In track he ran the 100 yard dash in 10.4 seconds, and he also threw discus. He was recruited by 40-plus colleges including Southern Cal, Alabama and Kentucky before choosing the Ohio State Buckeyes with coach Woody Hayes on a full football scholarship.

In 1961 OSU won the Big Ten. Woody received the Big Ten Championship ring and was a member of the Gold Pants Club.

Woody graduated from The Ohio State University in 1965 with a degree in Industrial Management. Woody was born Jan. 2, 1942, to Barney and Alyce (Rollyson) Hall. Woody was married to Stephanie (Scherer) for 59 years. They have 3 children, Chris Hall, Jennifer Weinzapfel and Patrick Hall. Woody passed away on Oct. 23, 2021.

Buddy Howard Bell, son of Howard and Helen Bell, is married to Ginny Bell, the daughter of Ralph and Leone Christian.

The Bells have two children, Mandy Crabtree and Julie Cook, and three grandchildren, Samantha and Chloe Crabtree, and Hunter Cook and Jayden Cook.

Buddy graduated from Ironton High School in 1956 where he was a two sport standout playing football and basketball.

He attended Morehead State University where he played football, graduating in 1961.

Buddy coached football and basketball at several schools including Ironton Junior High, South Point, North College Hill, Wilmington, Vinton County, and, of course, his stint at Ironton High School as the head boys basketball coach.

His Ironton basketball teams were some of the best in school history. He took two teams to the Class AA regional championship and won two SEOAL titles.

Richard “Rick” Boykin was born in Ironton to Maxine and Richard (Meat) Boykin and later supported by his stepfather Leroy Boykin.

At Ironton High School, Richard was a starting running back for four years in football. He was selected all SEOAL (3 years), All-Tribune (2 years), honorable mention Al-Ohio (1 year), and co-captain of the team in his senior year.

Richard also played three years of varsity basketball and baseball. His senior year,  1971, the football team was ranked number two in the state, his basketball team went to the regional playoffs, and the 1972 baseball team were Class AA Ohio State Champions.

Richard was awarded the Robert E. Christian Award for the best athlete for the class of 1972.

After high school Richard attended Ellsworth Jr. College in lowa before landing a football scholarship at Ohio University. A severely broken arm ended his football career with the Bobcats.

Richard relocated to Chicago in 1978. In 2013, God called Richard into ministry work and was eventually elevated to pastor of the Rogers Park Baptist Church in Chicago.

Richard wishes to acknowledge is parents, siblings, Jamie and Rodney, wife Adrienne, daughter Kia Nicole, sons, Corey and Justin, niece Mandy, nephew Darius, and five grandchildren, Corey, Justin, Sheena, Zion, and Christopher.

Jerry Murnahan is the son of the late Doyle and Mavis Murnahan. In 1970, his freshman year, he played freshman football and ran track. After his freshman year, he decided to concentrate on playing baseball only from 1971 thru 1973.

By the time he graduated, Jerry had compiled an impressive pitching resume. His three year pitching record appearing in 49 games was 31 wins against just 6 losses, 245.3 innings pitched, 322 strikeouts, a 1.51 earned run average, 9 shutouts (with back-to-back shutouts 3 times in 1973).

Jerry was instrumental in leading the 1972 baseball team to Ironton’s first state championship win in history finishing with a 29-3 record. That year he was 14-0 with 6 saves and an 18-game win streak.

He was selected all Southeastern Ohio Athletic League in 1973, and was also selected to play in the 1973 All-Ohio East and West game. His East team won the series three games to none with Jerry playing second base in the opener and pitching in the next 2 games allowing only one hit.

After high school he had scholarship offers to college but chose instead to join the Army serving 3 years, one-and-a-half of those overseas.

Mike Southers was a three sport standout at Ironton High School from 1984 to 1987. Southers was a mainstay on the basketball and baseball teams but he excelled on the gridiron.

During his football career, Southers earned all-district and All-Ohio honors his junior year. His senior season he was named co-captain of the team while earning all-league, all-district, and All-Ohio honors. His senior season culminated in being named to the North-South All-Star team.

Southers’ junior and senior years the football team won two league championships and earning two playoff appearances. His senior in the 1986 season saw the team go 10-1 and became the first Ironton team to finish number one in the Ohio A.P./U.P.I. Class AA final poll.

The 1986 team played one of the most storied games in the history of Tanks Stadium. The #1 ranked and undefeated C.A.P.E. Crusaders versus the #2 ranked undefeated  Fighting Tigers. Ironton won 21-14 with Southers making a crucial quarterback sack in the final seconds. The 1986 team finished the regular season 10-0.

Southers signed to play football at Ohio University. As a senior Southers was named co-captain and was the starting fullback. He earned four letters at Ohio University and graduated in 1992.

Southers resides in Hebron, Ky., with his wife Laura Allen Southers and two children, Mariah and Nolan.