Varsity "K" Hall of Fame to Welcome Eight New Members
Kent State University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics has announced its 2016 Varsity "K" Hall of Fame class consisting of eight new members who will be introduced as part of the 38th induction ceremony on Sept. 17.
Joining the Kent State Varsity "K" Athletics Hall of Fame are Adam Brinker (ice hockey, 1984-87), Kirby Dreher (women's golf, 2006-09), John Edwards (men's basketball, 2001-04), Daniel Muir (football, 2003-06), Nick Nemeth (wrestling, 1999-2003), Kylie Reynolds (softball, 2007-10), Matt Rundels (baseball, 1989-92) and Jessica Toocheck (softball, 2005-08).
In addition to the inductees, four other awards will be presented. The 2001-02 men's basketball team will receive the Team of Distinction honor. Norbert "Nobby" Lewandowski, '59, will be recognized as a Distinguished Athletic Alumnus. Jim "Jimmy D" DeVincentis, '75, will be the 2016 Varsity "K" Person of the Year, and Gregg Floyd will be this year's Honorary Varsity "K" Member.
Brinker, '87, '93 M.A., was the most accomplished goalkeeper in the ice hockey program's history. He earned All-American Collegiate Hockey Association First Team honors in 1987 and was named Team MVP. A four-year letter winner and team captain as a senior, Brinker holds Kent State's career record in goalkeeper wins and goals against average.
Dreher, '09, was a three-time All-Mid-American Conference First Team selection from 2007-09. She earned MAC Freshman of the Year honors in 2006 and was named MAC Golfer of the Year in 2009. A four-time MAC All-Tournament Team member, Dreher led the Golden Flashes to four conference titles and earned medalist honors in 2008. After finishing with the second-lowest career average at Kent State, she played for three years on the LPGA Futures Tour.
Edwards, '03, was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and earned a spot on the all-conference first team. He finished his career as Kent State's all-time leader in blocked shots and ranks second in career field goal percentage. A member of two MAC championships teams, Edwards went on to play two seasons in the NBA.
Muir, '14, was a two-time All-MAC selection, claiming first team honors in 2006. A four-year letter winner and captain as a senior, he finished his career ranked third in sacks at Kent State. Muir played in the NFL for seven seasons with his most notable year coming in 2009, when he made 52 tackles helping the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl appearance.
Nemeth, '03, graduated as Kent State's career leader in victories and was just the third wrestler in program history to be a four-time NCAA qualifier. He was a three-time MAC champion and four-time MAC finalist. As a senior, he helped the Golden Flashes to a MAC regular season title. Known now by many as Dolph Ziggler, Nemeth has reached superstar status in the WWE.
Reynolds, '10, ended her career as the MAC's all-time leader in wins and still holds the conference record for career strikeouts. She was named MAC Pitcher of the Year three times and was a four-time member of the all-conference first team. A two-time, all-region selection, Reynolds threw six career no-hitters. She was a part of three MAC regular season championship teams from 2007-2010.
Rundels, '92, earned All-MAC honors in four seasons and was named an All-American in 1992. As a senior, he captained a team that broke the program record for wins in a season (45) and began a trend of conference dominance that has continued to this day. Drafted by the Montreal Expos, Rundels holds Kent State's career record for triples and ended his career among all-time leaders in numerous other categories.
Toocheck, '08, helped take Kent State's softball program to the next level as a four-year starting shortstop and three-time All-MAC First Team selection. As a captain in 2008, she led the Golden Flashes to a program-record 46 wins along with a 20-2 mark in conference play and an NCAA Regional finals appearance. Toocheck was named MAC Player of the Year and was named to CoSIDA's Academic All-America First Team.
Coming up on the 15th anniversary of their legendary Elite Eight run, the 2001-02 men's basketball team will be honored as the Team of Distinction. Winning Mid-American Conference regular season and tournament championships, the Golden Flashes finished with a program record 30 victories. Under head coach Stan Heath, Kent State put together a MAC-record 21-game winning streak, including NCAA Tournament victories over Oklahoma State, Alabama and Pitt.
Floyd recently retired from Kent State as senior vice president for finance and administration. Through the years, he was a tireless supporter of the Golden Flashes, spearheading several athletic facility upgrades, including major renovations to Schoonover Stadium. Floyd also played a critical role in the revitalization of downtown Kent.
DeVincentis was inducted into the Varsity "K" Hall of Fame in 1984 for his success as a swimmer. He spoke at Kent State's Commencement ceremony this past May. Now a managing partner at Przyborski Productions, DeVincentis has been a lifelong supporter of his alma mater and sits on the National Athletic Development Council board.
Lewandowski was the first Kent State baseball player to receive a scholarship in 1955. Inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, he was a member of Kent State's Board of Trustees for 10 years. Lewandowski now travels the country speaking at seminars and workshops.
This year's group of eight inductees brings the membership of the Varsity "K" Athletics Hall of Fame to 307 since the original 13-member charter class of 1979. The 2016 class and honorees will be introduced at halftime of Kent State's football game against Monmouth.
For reservations to this year's ceremony in the Kent Student Center Ballroom, visit https://commerce.cashnet.com/athleticevent. Contact Alicia Gaffney with questions at 330-672-8399 or firstname.lastname@example.org.