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Snubbing the Hall

August 19, 2013 - Robert "Bubba" Kapral
THE OHIO Valley Athletic Conference staged its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Saturday night at WesBanco Arena. It's hard to believe this was the 10th edition of honorees. For anyone who thought that after a few years that it would be hard to find worthwhile candidates, guess again. When it takes someone with the coaching resume of Jim Thomas a decade to get inducted, that speaks volumes of the quality in the OVAC. Thomas guided three schools. He cut his coaching teeth at Yorkville, leading the Ductillites to a perfect season before landing the job at Wheeling Central. He had two tours of duty with the Maroon Knights, sandwiching a short tenure as head coach of Wheeling Park. Thomas directed Wheeling Central to four state football crowns, while winning more than 250 games. His teams won seven OVAC titles. He undoubtedly ranks with the premier coaches in Ohio Valley prep grid annals. Yet, it took 10 years for Thomas to earn his rightful place in the HOF. Much of the same can be said of Larry Marmie. The Barnesville native finally got his call to glory Saturday night after a nine-year wait. Marmie starred on the gridiron for the Shamrocks and collegiately before embarking on a college and pro football coaching career that makes your head spin. Marmie was a prep product of the 1960s, a decade so rich in Ohio Valley athletic talent that it was the only era that had three OVAC Hall of Fame inductees. That came about in the first year when Bobby Douglas (Bridgeport), Allan Hornyak (St. John Central) and Weir's Fritz Williams were all too worthy to leave out. The OVAC is in its seventh decade of operations. Its athletic tradition is so rich that a shortage of worthy HOF honorees will never come to fruition. What is a problem, however, is when an enshrinee such as Sylvia Crawley of Steubenville fails to attend and has no one at the banquet to represent her, as was the case Saturday night. The OVAC Hall of Fame is the exclamation point on one's career, it is not something that should be snubbed.


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