A former Heisman contender and a basketball standout are among the pioneering West Virginia University black athletes who will participate in a panel discussion Thursday (Oct. 11) at the Erickson Alumni Center on the Evansdale Campus.
The WVU School of Physical Education is organizing the eventpart of its monthlong 75th anniversary celebration.
The athletesCheryl Nabors Phillips, Garrett Ford, Georgeann Wells, Major Harris and John Mallorywill speak to students, faculty and guests from 9:30-10:45 a.m. during the African-Americans in Sport class. The course is taught by Dana Brooks, dean of the School of Physical Education.
Our speakers will highlight their achievements in both the athletic and academic arenas,Brooks said.They will talk about what they experienced while at WVU and also explain their days as athletes beyond WVU . They were human beings brave enough and full of life enough to say, �€~Hey. I have a place here, too.
Brief bios of the speakers follow:
Cheryl Nabors Phillips
Phillips competed on the first womens track and field team at WVU from 1976-79. As a sophomore at WVU , she joined the track club and got involved with fundraising activities.
During her junior year, WVU offered varsity track for the first time.
It was rewarding to see the sport evolve from a club status into a formal team arrangement,Phillips said.
While competing at WVU , she established the record in shot put. She graduated in 1979 with a degree in textiles and clothing.
Ford has been an assistant athletic director at WVU since 1985. He was an outstanding running back for WVU during the mid-1960s, becoming the first Mountaineer to top both 2,000 career rushing yards and 1,000 yards in a single season.
He tallied 2,166 yards from 1965-67, the WVU career rushing record at the time, with eight 100-yard games and 120 career points. His 453 career rushing attempts are still second highest in Mountaineer history, and his 236 attempts in 1966 are currently the WVU single-season standard.
In 1965, Ford led the team in rushing with 894 yards. His 1,068 yards as a junior in 1966 placed him first at that time and is still the fifth best on the WVU record books.
Ford is one of only three running backs to lead WVU in season total offense over the course of the last 35 years. He accomplished that with 1,082 yards of total offense in 1966.
A second-team All-American in 1966, he went on to play two seasons with the Denver Broncos before returning to WVU as assistant football coach in 1970. He served as West Virginias academic counselor from 1977-85 before being named to his current post.
Ford was inducted into the WVU Hall of Fame in 1995 and the School of Physical Education Hall of Fame in 2004.
At WVU , Mallory was ranked 11th in the nation his sophomore year in punt return with a West Virginia record of 342 yards. He started the last three games on the 1965 squad and as a result became primarily a cornerback.
He was an All-Southern and honorable mention All-American (Associated Press) defensive back his junior year. He ranked among the nations best punt returners with 34 for 596 yards (17.5 average) and five touchdowns.
During his career at WVU , Mallory intercepted 10 passes and returned 70 punts for 1,049 yards while scoring seven touchdowns. He would go on to be drafted in the 10th round by the Philadelphia Eagles. He played in all 14 games his rookie season.
The following year, he was traded to Atlanta, where he became the Falconsall-time punt return leader. He also played two seasons with the WFL s Houston Texans, recording seven interceptions.
Mallory was inducted into the WVU Hall of Fame in 2001 and the School of Physical Education Hall of Fame in 2004.
Wells, a center on the basketball team with a talent for dunking, averaged 11.9 points per game as a freshman.
At WVU , she scored 1,484 points, pulled down 1,075 rebounds and blocked 436 shots. She was named the 1985-86 MVP and All-Atlantic 1984-1986. Wells was also named to the All-America Third Team.
Wells made history against Charleston on Dec. 21, 1984, at ElkinsRandolph County Armory during the Mountaineer Christmas Classic. With 11:18 remaining in the game and West Virginia comfortably ahead, Wells took a full court pass and soared to the basket with a one-handed dunk. The performance instantly made her a national celebrity.
Network television, Sports Illustrated, an NCAA luncheon in New York, a display in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and induction into Houstons Phi Slamma Jama dunking fraternity are just a few of the highlights of her career.
Harris was one of college footballs most exciting performers in the mid-1980s. Coming to Morgantown at a time when West Virginia was coming off consecutive bowl-less seasons, the Pittsburgh native ignited a flame in the West Virginia football program that is still burning today.
After struggling through the early part of his freshman season, the elusive signal caller had a breakout game against East Carolina in 1987 and never looked back. He produced 1,200 yards passing and 615 rushing yards in helping WVU to a John Hancock Sun Bowl berth against Oklahoma State.
During the following season, he was nearly perfect in directing West Virginia to the schools first undefeated, untied regular season and a matchup against first-ranked Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship.
In getting the Mountaineers there, Harris baffled opponents all season with his daring, unpredictable style. That year, he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy race and earned Player of the Year honors.
As a junior, Harris was equally spectacular. He passed for 2,058 yards and rushed for 936 yards to finish third in the 1989 Heisman Trophy balloting. He earned first team Kodak All-America honors, was a second team Associated Press and Football News All-American and was again voted Player of the Year.
Harris established a WVU record with 7,334 total yards and became one of just two quarterbacks in Division I history to pass for more than 5,000 yards and rush for more than 2,000 yards.
The panel discussion is part of the School of Physical Education’s 75th anniversary activities. For more information, visithttp://www.wvu.edu/~physed/75thanniversary/.