By Cameron Blair
Three of the inductees played a combined 20 years in the National Football League.Two of the inductees played for a couple of the most-storied teams in the history of the National Basketball Association.
Another of the inductees won four consecutive Cross Country conference championships.
Throw in a former scoring machine for the women’s basketball team, a two-time conference outdoor track and field athlete of the year and an athletic director for nearly 20 years, and you have the 2007 inductees into Eastern’s Athletics Hall of Fame.
The 2007 class was inducted Friday following a banquet in the ballroom of the Keen Johnson Building.
Interim University President Charles Whitlock kicked off the festivities with a taped speech in which he characterized Eastern athletics as a “prominent strand of the university’s DNA.”
“I can’t put into words how I feel when I swell with Colonel Pride,” Whitlock said on the video.
Dr. Whitlock was unable to attend the banquet because he was out of the country at the time.
The ceremony veered from the serious to the lighthearted and from laughter to tears.
Aaron Jones, the third OVC football player to be selected in the first round of the NFL draft, made the crowd laugh when he mentioned the treatment he received from Roy Kidd’s wife, Sue, when he was injured.
“She treated me so good when I was hurt that she kicked Coach Kidd to the curb,” Jones said.
Eddie Bodkin, the only Colonel basketball player to score 1,500 points and grab 800 rebounds in his career, made light of his difficulties getting up the steps to the stage.
“Getting up those steps was harder than shooting a hook shot,” the former Chicago Bull said.
Chrissy Roberts won the 1998 OVC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year award and holds Eastern records for most 3-pointers made in a season (84) and highest career 3-point percentage (.475).
Instead of highlighting her numerous accomplishments, Roberts chose to poke fun at herself for shooting too much.
“I’d like to thank my teammates because they kept passing me the ball,” Roberts said. “They knew whenever I got it, it was gone.”
Four-time OVC Runner of the Year John Nganga’s induction speech touched on the more serious topic of foreign relations. The Kenyan native spoke of his gratitude toward the United States and its people.
“I can not repay Americans for what they have done for me,” the Kenyan native said. “Throughout my life, Americans have been my family.”
Myron Guyton started in the Eastern secondary for all four of his seasons and led the OVC in interceptions during his senior season in 1988. However, Guyton said the most important thing he learned as a Colonel had nothing to do with how to cover a team’s best receiver.
“I grew up and learned to become a real man at Eastern,” Guyton said.
George Floyd brought the tally of 2007 football inductees to three. Floyd was a two-time OVC Defensive Player of the Year and was a member of the 1979 National Championship team.
Rounding out the 2007 Hall of Fame inductees were track and field middle-distance runner Pam Raglin, the late four-sport star Goebel Ritter and athletic administrator Donald G. Combs Sr.
The late Donald Combs was the son of Earle Combs, the Eastern alum and outfield mate of Babe Ruth in New York. Combs devoted 34 years of his life to Eastern as the swim team coach (1956-75) and director of athletics (1972-91).
Combs’ son, Donald Jr. spoke of his father’s accomplishments at Eastern.
“My dad’s dedication, persistence and hard work really paid off in a big way,” Combs said.
The nine 2007 inductees bring the number of the Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame to 47 members. A confidential selection committee is responsible for choosing the nominees for the Hall of Fame, which was created in December 2005.
Nominations for the 2008 class must be submitted to the selection committee by March 1, according to the Athletics Hall of Fame charter.