Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame class of 2024 enshrined | News, Sports, Jobs

Fred Sauro addresses the crowd during Saturday’s Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet.
(Photo by Aaron Lee)

VIENNA — Prominent sports figures from around the Mid-Ohio Valley gathered on Saturday at the Grand Pointe Convention Center to induct the class of 2024. The loaded class included Bryan Canterbury (Jackson County), Michael Cox (Pleasants County), Janet Frazier (Wirt County), H. Dugan Hill (Noble County), Megan McCauley (Washington County), David Mossor (Ritchie County), Rod O’Donnell (Washington County), Timothy Phillips (Wood County), Fred Sauro (Wood County) and Jim Wharton (Wood County).

Canterbury led things off as the first member to be inducted. The Ravenswood alumnus has had a hand in 17 of the 26 state titles that the Red Devils have accumulated. He guided Ravenswood’s boys cross country team to nine straight championships from 2000-2008 while also involved with track and field and basketball.

St. Marys’ Cox was a very successful running back for the Blue Devils, rushing for 3,000 yards in his high school career before playing at the next level. He played for both Ohio University and later Glenville State College, where he led the team in rushing before switching to the defensive side of the ball.

Frazier’s volleyball success with Wirt County led to her induction, having coached the Tigers to 11 state championships. Four of the team’s championships came in a row from 2005-2008, a record that still stands. Frazier has received many awards for her accomplishments, including the National Volleyball Coach of the Year Award in 2017 and a pair of NFHS West Virginia Coach of the Year awards in 2003 and 2017.

As the head coach of Caldwell Cross Country from 1987 to 2020, Hill led the boys team to nine state titles. He has coached a whopping 79 all-state athletes between track and field and cross country. The Redskins’ success is that much more impressive when considering the resources available to the program, “Probably the most amazing thing to me is, we don’t have a track,” Hill said. “Our school records from Caldwell, that graduated 55 kids last year, to have a 6-6 high jumper, a 21-foot long jumper, a 64-9 shot putter, 162-foot discus thrower, with no track and no facilities?

The Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2024 groups up for a photo prior to Saturday’s induction ceremony.
(Photo provided by The Journal-Leader)

“That says an awful lot about those kids. Those kids would work hard in the middle of the street. In my last few years of coaching at Caldwell, we threw in the parking lot at the high school with the curb as our toeboard, and had kids qualify for the state meet doing so. We were never blessed with good facilities. All of our running was on the road. All of our cross country practices were at the cemetery, and you don’t have any people complaining there,” said Hill.

Marietta’s McCauley was a well-rounded athlete in her time as a Tiger, earning 14 varsity letters across basketball, track, soccer and cross country. She cleared the 1,000 career point benchmark in basketball despite missing her last 10 games of her senior season with a torn ACL. McCauley continued her track and field career at the University of Cincinnati, where she earned four varsity letters in the sport and was a part of a school record 4×800 meter relay team.

Ritchie County softball coach David Mossor just crossed the 800-win mark as a head coach in the 2024 campaign. He has a career winning percentage of 72.5% with two state titles and eight runner-up finishes. He taught art for 36 years and has been inducted into several halls of fame for his karate accomplishments.

He discussed the process of becoming the Rebels’ skipper. After some hounding by Jim Carpenter, he came around, “Finally, I said I’ll coach for one year. That was 40 years ago. You know the reason I stayed? The first year, I’ve never laughed so much in all of my life. They were good athletes, but they had no clue on how to become a team… But then the next year, we were 22-3.”

A graduate of Belpre high school, Rod O’Donnell started Caldwell High School’s boys cross country program in 1971. After a runner-up finish in 1972, the Redskins earned a state title the following year. O’Donnell went on to coach at the collegiate level, including time spent at the then Rio Grande College, Marshall University and Kent State before returning to the high school level. After winning a state title as the coach of Hudson High School in Ohio, he returned to the MOV and coached the Parkersburg Big Reds to a pair of championships in 2014 and 2021.

Phillips dominated in the pool as a high schooler, winning eight individual state titles in four different events at PHS before continuing his swimming career at the Ohio State University. He swam for the Buckeyes from 2010-2014, earning multiple Big Ten titles including the 100-yard butterfly in 2010. That championship was also a Michigan University pool record, with the previous mark being held by Michael Phelps. Phillips was a member of the U.S. National Team from 2010-2017 and won gold medals while traveling across the globe.

Having recently retired after leading the Yellowjackets to a state title game appearance against Wyoming East, Sauro owns the record for the most wins in girls basketball in the state of West Virginia with 557. He coached for 54 years, 38 at Williamstown. Sauro was at the helm for 10 state tournament appearances, a state championship and two runner-up finishes.

“The first year we were 0-21. We did not win a game. The next year, we were much better… We were 2-19. It took us eight years to win 50 games, so that’s how we got started. A lot of perseverance. We stuck with it, and we loved it. We eventually did well from that point on, but it was a labor of love, that’s for sure,” commented Sauro on getting Williamstown to where it is today.

Rounding out the stellar class was Jim Wharton, legendary MOV sports broadcaster on WTAP. Wharton created both “Football Frenzy” and the Student Athlete of the Week segment in his time on the air. His extensive list of honors include an AP Lifetime Achievement Award.

Wharton mentioned how his love of sports prospered despite a lack of on-field talent, “I have a confession to make. I was not really a good athlete. I never hit the game-winning home run, never scored a touchdown or hit the buzzer-beater basket to lift my team to victory or won a state championship or set a school record. I was not good, but I did love sports.”

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