Before thunderous applause at halftime of Saturday’s football game at Stambaugh Stadium, former Head Football Coach and Executive Director of Athletics Jim Tressel, the architect of four NCAA Division I-AA National Championships, was inducted into the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Joining Tressel, who won 135 games in 15 seasons at YSU, in the Hall of Fame was Darnell Clark (football), LeVar Greene (football), Tom Harder (football), Anthony Hunt (men’s basketball), Santi Nalluri (women’s tennis) and Mark Thomas (baseball).
Tressel, a three-time Chevrolet National Coach of the Year, spent 15 years (1986-2000) as the head coach and six as the executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics before being named the head football coach at Ohio State University in January 2001. He posted an overall record of 135-57-2, won national championships in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997 and had two national runner-up finishes in 1992 and 1999.
Clark was a four-year letterwinner on the football team from 1990-93 and rushed for 2,579 career yards, which ranks 10th all-time in school history. A member of the 1991 and 1993 national championship teams, Clark rushed for a career-best 1,212 yards in 1993 and had 1,011 yards in 1992. Clark also ranks 12th all-time with 3,471 all-purpose yards.
Greene, who lettered four times from 1998-2001, was named first-team All-America in 2001 after recording seven interceptions, 15 pass break ups and 38 tackles. He ranks fourth all-time with 14 career interceptions and is tied for third all-time with 25 career passes defensed.
Harder, who played for the football team from 1977-79, earned Honorable Mention All-America honors and was named first-team all-conference as a senior in 1979. Harder, a member of the 1979 Division II national runner-up squad, still holds the school mark for most tackles-for-loss in a career with 75.
Hunt, a three-year letterwinner on the men’s basketball squad, was an All-Mid-Continent Conference First-Team selection in 1998 after leading the Penguins to their most recent 20-win season. Hunt scored 1,015 career points in just three seasons and ranks third all-time with a .417 3-point percentage and fifth with 325 career assists. He was also named second-team all-conference as a junior in 1996-97.
Nalluri is the first women’s tennis player elected into the Hall of Fame after posting a school-record 58 career wins from 1993-96. A three-time all-conference selection, Nalluri won 21 matches in a single season on two different occasions.
Thomas, a member of the baseball program from 1997-99, was drafted in the 21st round of the 1999 Major League Baseball Draft. The 1997 Mid-Continent Conference Newcomer of the Year, Thomas ranks fourth all-time with a .372 career batting average and is tied for fourth with 45 career doubles. In 1999, Thomas batted .406 and set the single-season record with 80 hits, which now ranks tied for third.