RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University inducted eight distinguished individuals into its Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday.
The 2018 induction class included: Richie Bancells (trainer, 1978-81), Yeremiah Bell (football, 1999-02), George Bryant (basketball, 1968-72), Rick Erdmann (track/cross country head coach, 1979-18), Nichole Gibson (track, 2001-05), Sheyenne Hussey (softball, 2007-11), Bob McIntyre (football, 1976-79) and Randy White (baseball, 1986-89).
Richie Bancells (trainer, 1978-81)
Bancells was a member of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Barton’s EKU training crew from 1979-1981. He was a part of the athletics training staff that served for the 1979 and 1980 football seasons which produced a national championship in 1979 and a national runner-up in 1980 for the Colonels. Following his time at EKU, Bancells earned a position as an athletic trainer for the Baltimore Orioles minor league affiliate in Bluefield, West Virginia. On his first day on the job, he met Cal Ripken, Jr., forming a bond that would last all the way to 2015 when Ripken retired and had eclipsed Lou Gehrig’s major league consecutive games played record. Besides being Ripken’s trainer, he has a lofty resume of awards including being a trainer in 1993 and 2004 for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Games and is a two-time recipient of the Major League Baseball Training Staff of the Year award in 1995 and 2011. In 1999, he received EKU’s prestigious Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has served three terms as President of the Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and has been a member of the Major League Baseball Medical Advisory Committee. Bancells also traveled the world as both a practicing athletic trainer and lecturer at many places, including to Japan to speak to the Japanese Pro Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. He served with the Baltimore Orioles organization for 40 years, 34 years with the Major League team, before retiring in 2017 and being inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame.
Yeremiah Bell (football, 1999-02)
Bell played safety for coach Roy Kidd for three seasons, highlighted his junior season by Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors and first-team All-America recognition from three different organizations. Bell contributed to the Colonels’ success from the outset of his collegiate career as he started as a freshman in 1999, recording 46 tackles, 16 assists, four caused fumbles and an interception. His sophomore season saw first-team All-OVC honors come his way as he collected 63 tackles, 47 assists and two interceptions. This was a season that also included a monster game where he had 15 solo tackles and five assists in a contest with Tennessee Tech. Bell’s award-winning junior season included a contest against eventual league champion Eastern Illinois where he had 11 solo tackles, two assists, a fumble recovery, two tackles for loss, two interceptions and a quarterback sack. For the year, he had 61 solo tackles, 25 assists and six interceptions. He was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan award after the 2001 season, which signifies the Defensive Player of the Year. He was not able to play his senior year because of suffering an injury in the summer prior to the 2002 season. However, he was drafted in the 6th round of the 2003 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins, which began an illustrious 11-year career in the league. This stint was highlighted by his 2009 season when he signed a four-year deal and with the Dolphins and he responded with a 114 tackle, three interception season that culminated with an appearance in the Pro Bowl. Bell was also named to Eastern’s All-Century Team in 2009. He finished his pro career by playing one season with the New York Jets and one season with the Arizona Cardinals.
George Bryant (basketball, 1968-72)
Bryant played four seasons for coach Guy Strong’s EKU basketball teams from 1968-72. He began his collegiate career in fine fashion as he finished his freshman campaign averaging 24.4 points per game, 19th best among all freshmen as the Colonels averaged more than 90 points per contest. He averaged 11.1 points per game as a starter his sophomore season and followed that up with a tremendous junior season where he won first team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors. Bryant closed as the 21st leading scorer in the nation that year, scoring 24.7 points per game. He was the nation’s ninth best free throw percentage shooter with his 85.3 mark. Bryant was also runner-up in scoring in the final conference stats and voting for MVP honors, scoring 592 points. As a senior, he scored 21.1 points per game and led Eastern to an OVC Championship as the Colonels compiled a 15-11 record, losing 83-81 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Florida State, who finished that year as runner-up to eventual national champion UCLA. A member of EKU’s All-Century Team, at the time of induction he was still listed in the EKU record books as the 15th all-time leading scorer with 1,345 points. He also has the fifth best career scoring average at EKU with his 19.5 points per game average and the seventh best career free throw percentage at 82.0. He also set school records for most field goals in a single game, 18 against Virginia Tech as a junior, and the most field goals attempted in a single season with 504 in that same year. Following graduation, he was drafted by Buffalo in the NBA, Utah in the ABA and was offered an overseas contract with a pro team in France.
Rick Erdmann (track/cross country head coach, 1979-18)
Erdmann closed his coaching career after 39 glorious years at the helm of Eastern’s track and field, and cross country teams. He guided the Colonels to 73 Ohio Valley Conference titles and picked up 70 OVC Coach of the Year awards along the way. He tutored countless All-OVC athletes, 46 All-Americans and three Olympians. Out of all Erdmann’s conference championships, the one that eluded him had been the OVC men’s outdoor track title. On May 12, 2018, the Colonels sent their beloved coach out on top, stunning the conference by winning the men’s outdoor title by more than 30 points. His storybook career closed with a storybook ending two days later when he announced his retirement. A native of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, like most Pennsylvanians life was all about football and as a youngster. In 1960, the speedy halfback earned a partial scholarship to play football at Ashland College of Ohio. In the off-season, he joined Ashland’s track team as a sprinter and upon graduation from Ashland served as a graduate assistant at EKU in the physical education department after visiting the school on a spring break trip to Florida. After earning his master’s in education from EKU, he coached football and basketball at Hamden Hall, a private institution just north of Yale University. After a couple of more high school coaching jobs, he landed at Hagerstown Junior College in Maryland where he became that school’s first ever track and field and cross country coach. He built Hagerstown into a junior college powerhouse, winning 13 consecutive Maryland Junior College titles and a second place finish at the National JUCO championship meet, the school’s highest finish ever, by any sport. This led to the 1978 National Junior College Cross Country Coach of the Year award which led to notice from EKU and an offer to be its men’s track and field and cross country coach. Erdmann accepted that offer and the next 39 years were filled with wonderful highlights, championships galore and a legacy that will be hard to match from any sport at any university. At the June 2018 Board of Regents meeting, he was honored by being named Head Coach Emeritus.
Nichole Gibson (track, 2001-05)
Gibson ran indoor and outdoor track for four seasons for coach Rick Erdmann’s EKU track teams. Her best season came during the 2005 outdoor season when she was named OVC Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year and Women’s Outdoor Track Athlete of the Championship. In this OVC meet, she was the 100 meter champion with a time of 11.79; won the 100 meter hurdles championship with a time of 13.58; and the 400-meter hurdles title with a time of 1:01.05. At the time of her induction, she was still listed with the second best time in the EKU record book in the 100 meter dash and the 100 meter hurdles, and fourth all-time in the 400 meter hurdles. Gibson was a four-time OVC champion having also been victorious in the 2003 outdoor 100 meters. She was also a member of EKU’s record-breaking 4x200 meter relay team in 2003. While a student at Eastern, she was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and helped tutor with the Office for Student Disabilities. Since becoming a police officer with the Lexington (KY) police department, she has received her third post-secondary degree and was chosen as the Lexington Police Officer of the Year in 2016. Gibson was named the 2017 Kentucky Women’s Law Enforcement Network Police Officer of the Year and earned the 2017 Time Out for the People Award which was presented by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. In addition to her duties with the Lexington police department, she has served as a mentor in the Fayette County Public School system.
Sheyenne Hussey (softball, 2007-11)
Hussey played four seasons at third base for coach Jane Worthington’s Colonel softball team. For her four years a Colonel, she put up batting averages of .371, .393, .349 and .412. She was a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference player in 2008 and 2009, and a second team all-conference choice in 2007 and 2011. Hussey also made the OVC All-Newcomer Team in 2007 and was an All-OVC Tournament pick in 2008. She finished her career with a .382 batting average, 28 home runs, 156 RBIs and a .602 slugging percentage. As a freshman, Hussey led the team in eight offensive categories and as a sophomore finished second in the OVC in RBIs and third in batting. Her sophomore year saw her hit a home run in each of EKU’s last three games, including two OVC Tournament contests. She had the 13th highest on-base percentage in the nation that season and had 14 multi-hit games and 15 multi-RBI games while hitting two grand slams and collecting an 11-game hitting streak. Hussey led the team in batting average as a junior and was sixth in the conference that season in that category. She saved her best season for her senior year when she led the team in batting average at .412, hit five home runs, knocked in 36 runners and had a .602 slugging percentage. When she finished her career, her name was firmly implanted in the Eastern record book including high marks for most doubles in a game with three in 2011; best on-base percentage for a season with a .531 mark in 2008; and best on-base percentage for a career at .492.
Bob McIntyre (football, 1976-79)
McIntyre played four seasons at linebacker for coach Roy Kidd from 1976-79. He was a four-year letter winner, a first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference choice and a selection to the Kodak First-Team All-America team and a second-team Associated Press pick for All-America honors in 1979 when EKU won its first national championship. McIntyre led the OVC in tackles that season with 67 solo tackles and 77 assists and was named OVC Defensive Player of the Week after the opening game of the year when he totaled 10 solo tackles, six assists, had a pass interception and a pass deflection and caused a fumble which was recovered in the end zone to stop a Kent State drive that helped EKU secure its first win in its history over an Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school, 17-14. Perhaps, his best game as a Colonel came in his first start as a sophomore in 1977 when he collected 12 tackles, 13 assists, recovered a fumble and graded 96 percent on his assignments in Eastern’s impressive 24-7 victory over the Delaware Blue Hens. This game also produced OVC Defensive Player of the Week award. McIntyre was a second-team all-conference choice his junior season in 1978 coming back from a knee injury that cut his sophomore year short. Upon graduation, he had tryouts with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers in 1981 and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 1982.
Randy White (baseball, 1986-89)
White played four seasons of baseball for Hall of Fame coach Jim Ward from 1986-89 as a right-handed pitcher. Known for his two-seam moving fastball, change of speeds and sweeping curveball at any time during the count, opposing batters beat the ball into the ground when he was on the mound. In his freshman season, White was used as a long reliever, compiling a 4-3 record in 41 and two-thirds innings of work. His last three years he became a starter, finishing his career with a 27-11 overall record, including a 9-2 mark his junior year with an ERA of 2.74, which included seven complete games and a string of 56 innings with only one earned run. During White’s senior year, he led the team with a 10-3 mark on the mound, six complete games in 15 starts and a 3.01 ERA in 95 and one-third innings, while striking out 76 batters. He was named Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year and chosen NCAA Division I All-South Region. During his career White was voted first team All-OVC in 1988 and 1989 and was a member of the 1986 and 1989 OVC Tournament Championship teams as those two Colonel teams advanced to NCAA Regional play. During these two years he won 10 consecutive games and had 18 victories in 19 decisions. In 1989, White signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Braves and played two seasons in the minor leagues. In 2009, he was selected as a member of Eastern’s All-Century Baseball Team. Being no stranger to campus, his vocation brings him to Richmond several times a year as his company provides graphics, murals and signage for several of EKU’s sports venues and locker rooms, including his own Hall of Fame Plaque.