Five more head to OVAC Hall of Fame

WHEELING – Five high school athletes who later starred at Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Penn State and Wake Forest will be enshrined at the 11th-annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame banquet on Aug. 16 at WesBanco Arena.

Selected from the 1940’s decade is Paul Rickards, a three-sport all-stater at Wheeling High. Tapped from the 1950’s decade are Mike Ingram of Bellaire and Jim Kerr of St. Clairsville. The 1960’s decade selections are Alan Jack of Wintersville and James (Junior) Moore of Wheeling High.

Three will be honored posthumously – Rickards, Ingram and Kerr.

Previously announced inductees are Jim Potts and Bob Roe, Coaching; Jack Prettyman, Officials; Bill Brubaker, OVAC Family; and James Companion, OVAC Contributor. Also, five “Legends of OVAC Schools: will be feted – Connie Sanford Richardson, Caldwell; Porter Mackey, East Liverpool; Andy Tonkovich, Benwood Union; John Wood, Magnolia; and Bill Young, Martins Ferry.

The OVAC Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Robinson Auto Group of Wheeling, and the OVAC Sports Museum are located inside WesBanco Arena.

Capsule summaries of the honorees follow:

ALAN JACK (Wintersville, 1966) – He was a three-year starter as a 6-foot, 205-pound fullback-linebacker on teams coached by OVAC Hall of Famer Bob Kettlewell which went 9-1, 8-1-1 and 9-1 with only one loss to Ohio Valley foes. The last two teams also won Big Eight League titles. He was a blocking fullback but, as a senior, he also rushed 115 times for 583 yards and scored 60 points.

His senior honors included All-OVAC Class AAA back, All-Valley Big School, All-Eastern Ohio and All-Big Eight.

He earned a scholarship to Ohio State and, after playing on the freshman team, he became a three-year starter as a 6-foot, 220-pound offensive guard on teams with records of 6-3, 10-0 and 8-1. The unbeaten 1968 Big Ten Conference champion team defeated an O.J. Simpson-led Southern California team, 27-16 in the Rose Bowl and was crowned National Champion with a No.1 ranking in both national polls.

Jack was selected Buckeye co-captain of the 8-1 record 1969 team which was co-Big Ten Conference champion. He and Ingram are two of only eight OVAC players tapped as OSU team captains. Jack also played in the 1970 Hula Bowl game.

PAUL RICKARDS (Wheeling, 1944 Class) – He was a three-sport star who was labeled by Hall of Fame coach Roe as the best football player he ever coached. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder played center as a sophomore before becoming a running-passing quarterback-tailback-linebacker-punter for the Wildcats. He was the only two-time first team, one-class all-stater in 1942 and 1943 and was voted the top state passer for two years. As a senior, he completed 60 passes-a rare total at the time. for nine TDs and rushed for 10 scores. He also was the team’s top tackler. kick returner and punter. He earned nickname of “Pitching Paul” because of passing in era or mostly running.

In basketball, he was a three-year regular and helped Wildcats win state one-class title as a junior when Wheeling capped 26-1 record by winning final 21 games. He was first team All-OVAC on first-ever selections and first team one-class all-state as senior and second team as junior.

In track, he won a rare double title in the one-class state meet-the long jump and shot put for the state runner-up team. He also helped Wheeling win the first of three straight one-class OVAC crowns.

Recruited for football by Pitt, he was a four-year letterman who led the NCAA in passing yards as a freshman with a school record 897 yards.

He also played one year in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams. He passed away in 1999.

MIKE INGRAM (Bellaire, 1957) – Nicknamed “The Tank” because of his physical play as a 5-foot-9, 220-pound fullback-linebacker, he was a three-sport Big Reds’ stalwart in football, basketball starting guard, and track. He led Bellaire to football records of 7-3, 9-0-1, 7-3 and 5-5.

He was a two-time All-Eastern Ohio choice who was All-OVAC Class AA first team, All-Valley second team, and AP All-Ohio second team as a junior.

Recruited by Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, he was converted to offensive guard-linebacker and became a three-year Buckeye starter and 1961 team co-captain for the 8-0-1 record Bib Ten Conference champions which were ranked No. 2 in both wire service polls. The 8-2 record 1960 team was ranked No. 8.

He earned first team All-Big Ten as a senior and played in the East-West Shrine game and Hula Bowl game. He was drafted by the NFL Washington Redskins and AFL Boston Patriots but didn’t play pro ball. He passed away in 1981.

JIM KERR (St. Clairsville, 1957) – After playing quarterback as a junior, the first-year 6-foot, 180-pound running back led the Red Devils to a 7-0-2 record while leading the Ohio Valley in scoring with a school-record 150 points in nine games. He rushed for 1,298 yards (8.3 yards per carry) and landed six pass receptions for 81 yards.

As a defensive back, he had seven pass interceptions and the speedster also returned kicks (7 kickoffs for 323 yards and five punts for 133 yards).

He earned All-Ohio, All-Valley, All-OVAC and All-Eastern Ohio football honors and also competed in track.

The multi-threat back earned a scholarship to Penn State where he was a three-year regular running back-defensive back and kick returner on teams with records of 7-3, 9-2 and 6-3-1. As a senior, he was the Nittany Lions’ top rusher, pass receiver, kickoff returner and scorer. He scored three touchdowns against Army. In his last two seasons, Penn State won the first two Liberty Bowls over Alabama and Oregon.

He was drafted by the Washington Redskins and was a regular safety in his only two seasons. As a rookie, he led the Redskins in pass interceptions (7) and kickoff returns (14 for 385 yards) before being slowed by a leg injury.

He is deceased.

JAMES (JUNIOR) MOORE (Wheeling, 1969) – He was a three-sport Wildcat all-star in football, basketball and baseball who earned a football scholarship to Wake Forest.

In football, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound running back-defensive back-kick returner was the OV’s top Class AAA rusher with 1,142 yards on 189 carries with nine TDs plus 14 pass receptions for 181 yards and a score. He was first team All-Valley, All-OVAC, All-Mountaineer League and All-City Offense and Defense while earning second team Class AAA All-State while placing sixth in voting for the Kennedy Award. He was second team All-Valley as a junior.

A two-year basketball letterman on top Wildcat teams, the left-handed point guard led the 1969 team in scoring (20.0 ppg), steals and assists as Wildcats went 19-1 in regular season to win the OVAC Class AAA crown and ranked No. 2 in the final state regular season poll. He earned first team Class AAA All-State, All-OVAC, All-Valley, All-City and All-Mountaineer League. As a junior, he was sixth man on a Wildcat team which advanced to the state Class AAA semifinals.

In baseball, he earned three letters as a first baseman-pitcher and started on the state one-class championship team as a junior. He earned second team one-class All-State twice and, as a senior, was first team All-Valley while leading the Wildcats in hitting (.446).

At Wake Forest, he led the freshman team in rushing before earning three varsity letters and helping the Deacons, as a sophomore, win their first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference title. He was a running back, wide receiver, defensive back and kickoff-punt returner. He averaged over 20 yards per kickoff returns for his career and had an 89-yard TD return vs. Virginia Tech as a junior.