TERRE HAUTE, IND. - The Indiana State University Athletics Hall of Fame increased by six Thursday night as the 20th Class was inducted during ceremonies in the Heritage Ballroom in Tirey Hall. The induction ceremony was sponsored by Old National Bank.
Jessica Crowder Wayton, Jack Effner, Aubrey Herring, Fran McCann, Dennis Raetz, and Bob Warn were recognized with a video recalling their days at Indiana State before taking to the microphone for their acceptance speeches. Laughs, cheers and tears were the order of the night as many of the inductees fought to control their emotions.
"It is an honor to be among such great athletes," Jessica Crowder-Wayton said. "I attribute so much of my life to running and running at Indiana State was the best decision I ever made."
Crowder competed at Indiana State from 2000 to 2005 as a member of the ISU women's cross country and track & field teams. She recalled her days in the distance events running for Coach John Gartland who is just one of many people she credited for guiding her through high school and college.
"Coach Gartland convinced me that I had a gift that should not be wasted," Crowder said. "And he used tough love to fuel the flames that pushed me to excel."
Crowder's best season as a Sycamore harrier came in 2003 when she won the Missouri Valley Conference individual title and advanced to the NCAA Championships where she placed 47th to earned All-American status. She was a two-time All-Region selection, four-time All-MVC pick, and earned three MVC scholar-athlete recognitions.
Several of the records that the former Sycamore set still stand in the ISU record book. Crowder's collegiate career was also recognized by the Missouri Valley Conference with her inclusion on the MVC All-Centennial Cross Country team.
"My head is spinning right now," Jack Effner said. "This is a dream come true and a very special moment in m life."
Effner was the second former Sycamore to be inducted after a tremendous collegiate career in wrestling from 1982 to 1986. A two-time NCAA All-American, Effner went on to be one of the top wrestling coaches at the U.S. Military Academy and at Cleveland State University sending numerous athletes into the NCAA Championships.
"The lessons I learned at Indiana State gave me the opportunity to earn a living for me and for my family," Effner said. "I will always be grateful for the time I spent as a Sycamore."
The former Sycamore was sixth in the 1985 NCAA Championships and fifth in the 1986 Championships while competing in the 142 pound class.
"I could not have had the success that I had without a lot of help," Aubrey Herring said. "I was able to become what I was thanks to (John) McNichols, (John) Gartland, the assistant coaches, and my teammates."
Herring was an NCAA Champion and seven-time All-American as he competed for Indiana State from 1997 to 2001. He was also undefeated in the Missouri Valley Conference, winning four straight indoor titles in the 60 meter hurdles and four straight outdoor titles in the 110 meter hurdles.
"I am really proud to have my name etched alongside all these great athletes," Herring said.
The former Sycamore still holds several Indiana State and Missouri Valley Conference records in the hurdle events and was an eight-time All-MVC selection.
"I was so impressed when I came to Indiana State," Fran McCann said. "There was no animosity among the coaches and everyone got along."
McCann coached many of the wrestling legends at Indiana State including Hall of Famers Bruce Baumgartner, Doug Reifsteck, and 2011 inductee Jack Effner. He coached the Sycamores for eight seasons (1977-1984) and led Indiana State to their best single season record (14-2) and their highest finish in the NCAA championships during the 1982 season.
"Great athletes make for great coaches," McCann said. "And we had some great athletes. I am so proud that I was a part of their lives. They have all become successful and that is in large part to the same hard work and dedication they showed while wrestling at Indiana State."
Dennis Raetz coached the Indiana State football team from 1978 to 2007 and won more games than any other football coach at ISU.
"This is something you never expect," Raetz said of his induction into the Hall of Fame. "It is a very humbling experience."
Raetz led two Sycamore teams into the Division I-AA playoffs including the 1983 squad that finished 9-4 and the 1984 team that finished 9-3. The 1984 team was inducted in to the Athletics Hall of fame in 2002.
Many of Raetz's players and assistant coaches have gone on to outstanding careers in the professional ranks including two former assistants who became National Football League head coaches. He also coached eight players who were named First-Team All-American's, and 68 who were named All-Conference, eight Conference Player's of the Year.
"Any success you have is attributable to what the players could do," Raetz said. "And we have had some outstanding football players."
The evening wrapped up with the induction of former ISU baseball coach Bob Warn who guided the Sycamores for 31 seasons from 1976 to 2006.
"You really know that you have made it when you are inducted along with these great athletes," Warn said. "I'm just luck, that's all."
Warn was a three-time MVC Coach of the Year and led ISU to their only appearance in the College World Series in 1986. He coached 11 All-Americans, 30 All-Region players, 126 All-Missouri Valley selections, 72 All-MVC Tournament picks, and four players who were named MVC Tournament MVP. The 1986 team was inducted into the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002.
"I've always known that I wanted to be a coach," Warn said. "Nothing makes me prouder or makes me feel more honored than to be called a coach."
John Sherman, senior assistant athletics director and chairperson of the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame Committee, served as Master of Ceremonies and opened the evening by welcoming those attending. Dr. Daniel J. Bradley, president of Indiana State, also welcomed those in attendance and offered his congratulations to the inductees. Before dinner was served, Dan Doan, Region CEO of Old National Bank, offered his congratulations to the 20th Class.
Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman presented each inductee with a plaque and offered his own congratulatory remarks to close out the evening.
The 2011 Class will also be recognized during halftime of the Indiana State-Western Illinois football game on Saturday.
The 20th Class of the Indiana State University Athletics Hall of Fame was inducted during ceremonies Thursday night in Tirey Hall on the campus of Indiana State University. Members of the class were, left to right: Jack Effner, Fran McCann, Aubrey Herring, Dennis Raetz, Bob Warn, and Jessica Crowder-Wayton.