Inaugural class honored in ceremony tonight

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Troy University Hall of Fame class.

The inaugural class of the Troy Athletics Hall of Fame will be honored at a ceremony inside the new Trojan Arena tonight.

11 of the most influential people in Troy athletics history will be enshrined in a state-of-the-art hall of fame that will be located at the entrance of the arena.

“It is certainly going to be a first-class event,” said Director of Special Events & Fundraising Michael Murphy. “It’s Troy’s finest being celebrated and honored in one night. Not only the athletics but the school as well.”

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Troy University is celebrating its 125th this year and the hall of fame representatives will cover the near 100 years of the athletics program.

Virgil Parks McKinley was Troy’s first football coach in 1909 and helped create the gridiron tradition at the university.

NFL star DeMarcus Ware, current head coach Larry Blakeney, former coach Billy Atkins, former quarterback Sim Byrd, and former quarterback Mike Turk, who led the Trojans to the national title in 1984 and 1987, will all go in as football members of the elite class.

Ralph Adams, who served as the school’s president from 1964 to 1989, guided Troy from NAIA to Division II and saw the school win national championships in football, baseball and golf during his tenure in the 1980s.

Don Maestri, current men’s basketball head coach, Chase Riddle, Troy baseball’s all-time leader in victories and coach of the 1986 and 1987 national championship teams, Denise Monroe, the school’s all-time leading women’s basketball scorer, and track and field athlete, coach and administrator Charles “Coach O” Oliver will all also be enshrined at the ceremony.

Barry McKnight will serve as Master of Ceremonies. En lieu of acceptance speeches, special presentations filled with highlights and interviews for each inductee will be played on the new video boards in the arena.