By May 5, 2014 Read More →

Two inducted into W.Va. Sports Hall of Fame

 

Charleston Gazette photo by Kenny Kemp Victory Awards Dinner honorees (from left) Rakeem Cato, Bob Pruett, Peachy Kellmeyer and Jon Elmore talk things over during the ceremonies Sunday at the Civic Center.

Charleston Gazette photo by Kenny Kemp
Victory Awards Dinner honorees (from left) Rakeem Cato, Bob Pruett, Peachy Kellmeyer and Jon Elmore talk things over during the ceremonies Sunday at the Civic Center.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Bob Pruett and Fern Lee “Peachy’’ Kellmeyer capped storied legacies Sunday evening.

Rakeem Cato and Jon Elmore added more hardware to their burgeoning careers at the 68th annual Victory Awards Dinner at the Charleston Civic Center.

More than 400 athletes, coaches and family members attended the West Virginia Sports Writers Association event, which is the nation’s oldest statewide sports fete.

Pruett, a former Marshall football coach from Beckley, and Kellmeyer, who came to prominence on the Charleston tennis scene and later as a female sports trailblazer, were formally inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame, which was created in 1950 and is located in the upper lobby at the Civic Center, now boasts 176 members.

Cato, the Marshall quarterback, was recognized as the Hardman Award winner, which goes to the state amateur athlete of the year, and Elmore, a George Washington High School standout, was the Evans Award recipient as the state boys basketball player of the year.

Capital’s James Walton, the Hunt Award winner as the state’s top prep football lineman, was also honored along with 26 all-state athletes and state title coaches from Kanawha and Putnam counties.

Pruett, a former multi-sport athlete at Woodrow Wilson High and Marshall, is the winningest football coach at his alma mater, guiding the Thundering Herd to a 94-23 record from 1996-2008 and a 15-0 mark and the Division I-AA national championship in 1996.

Pruett, who was the first state coach to win four straight West Virginia college coach of the year awards (1996-99), guided Marshall to five straight bowl wins, six conference titles and three Top 25 national rankings, including No. 10 with a 13-0 record in 1999. He also coached two Heisman Trophy finalists in Randy Moss and Chad Pennington.

“This is by far the proudest I will ever be with any award,’’ said Pruett on his Hall of Fame induction. “This is my home state and a dream come true. I never envisioned it happening. I had a number of goals and one of those was to come back to Marshall and be the football coach. So many great things have happened to me in this great state and I’m just humbled and extremely thankful to all those people who helped me.’’

Kellmeyer, who was born in Wheeling, captured two state singles titles as a teenager then became the youngest female (at 15) to compete in the U.S. Nationals. At the University of Miami (Fla.), she was the first woman to compete on a Division I men’s team. In 1966, while athletic director at Marymount College, she spearheaded legal action to gain college scholarships for females, paving the way for Title IX and equal opportunity for female college teams…

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