Temple University inducted 12 individuals and the 1992 NCAA Champion fencing team into the Athletics Hall of Fame on Oct. 1, the largest class in the hall of fame’s 52-year history.
Among the individual inductees were world champion men’s rower Chris Kerber, NCAA champion men’s gymnast Darin Gerlach, football players Joe Morelli and Bob Mizia, former football head coach Al Golden, women’s track runner Afia Brown, women’s basketball player Kamesha Hairston, women’s volleyball standout Dr. Zenzile Johnson-Mendoza and men’s basketball player Mik Kilgore, who died unexpectedly in 2018.
The university also inducted three administrators, including former President Richard Englert, former director of athletics Bill Bradshaw and longtime public address announcer Merv Jones, who passed away in 2020.
The induction ceremony took place at the indoor pavilion of Temple’s Aramark Student Training and Recreation Center, where attendees enjoyed dinner and drinks.
Bradshaw was appointed the eighth director of athletics in June 2002 after previously serving at DePaul University and La Salle University in the same position. He returned to La Salle in March 2016 to serve as interim director before retiring in June 2019. He also is a former NACDA president.
During his seven years at Temple, Bradshaw is credited with making improvements to several athletic facilities and pushing athletics to take on a bigger role in community service through different community and non-profit organizations.
“Temple Athletics was the most challenging, satisfying, meaningful and enjoyable experience of my 40-year career as an athletic director,” Bradshaw said. “Tonight is the cherry and white on top of my career.”
Englert held 17 positions during his 45-year career at Temple before retiring in June, and was inducted into the hall of fame for serving as acting director of athletics in 1996 and overseeing the department of intercollegiate athletics as a former vice president of administration from 1998 to 2003, said Harry Donahue, former play-by-play announcer for Temple athletics and host of the event.
Temple honored Englert for being one of the biggest supporters of student-athletes over the last six decades, he added.
A former tight end for the New England Patriots, Golden was inducted into the hall of fame for his work as Temple’s football coach from 2006 to 2010. In 2009, Golden brought Temple its first winning season since 1990 and its first bowl appearance in 30 years, the team’s third in its 111-year history.
Golden was also named the 2009 MAC Coach of the Year and the Maxwell Club’s Tri-State Coach of the Year.
Upon accepting his award, Golden reflected on those that helped him during his career at Temple.
“Coach [John] Chaney sat me down and told me exactly what it meant to be a Temple owl when I got here,” Golden said. “He taught me what it meant to live here, to call this place home and to make sure you uphold the values of the university. I think it was because of that wisdom that we did what we did and so for that, I’m forever grateful.”
Kerber was honored for his time on Temple’s crew team from 1986 to 1990. A two-time world champion, he is the current head coach of Cornell University’s lightweight men’s crew team and has won multiple awards since his time at Temple, including two Pan-American Games gold medals, multiple U.S. National Championship titles and four Dad Vail Regatta medals.
Gerlach was a Temple gymnast from 1995 to 1998, and became one of 12 gymnasts at Temple to win an individual title. He earned NCAA All-American honors on floor exercise as a freshman and won the 1996 Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League title on the floor event.
Brown, a women’s track star at Temple from 1998 to 2001, won 12 Atlantic-10 Conferences and was named the 2001 Atlantic-10 Indoor Championship Performer of the Year.
Hairston played for Temple women’s basketball from 2003 to 2007. She was named the 2007 Atlantic-10 and Big-5 Player of the Year and recorded 1,573 points — Temple’s eighth all-time — as well as 757 rebounds and 235 steals.
Hairston was also selected with the 12th pick of the 2007 WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun and was inducted into the Philadelphia Big-5 Hall of Fame in 2019.
Johnson-Mendoza played for Temple volleyball from 1993 to 1996 and was one of the top defensive specialists in school history with 1,342 career digs, which is Temple’s ninth all-time. She was named first-team All Atlantic-10 in 1996 and currently serves as an emergency medicine doctor in Detroit, Michigan.
While being inducted into the hall of fame, Mendoza recalled her mother’s constant reminders that she was destined for greatness and should never be satisfied with mediocrity as she grew up.
“Don’t take for granted your abilities,” Johnson-Mendoza said. “Understand they were God given, but don’t let any day go by where you’re not trying to be the best person every single day.”
Morelli, a member of Temple football from 1961-64, led the Middle Atlantic Conference with five interceptions in 1963 and was selected as an all East Conference halfback. He received the 1964 Owl Award for outstanding student-athlete.
Mizia, one of the top return men in Temple football’s history, competed from 1973 to 1975 and ranked fifth on the all-time interception list with 11. He’s also tied with Anthony Young for two career punt returns for touchdowns.
“Temple was our family for four years and till this day, we still call each other, we still care about each other,” Mizia said. “They’re your best friends, they’re my best friends. To me, Temple is family.”
The 1992 NCAA Championship fencing team, under the direction of current fencing coach Nikki Franke, was also inducted into the hall of fame as part of the class of 2020. The team had a record of 17-1 and won the only championship title for the sport.
All-American Todd McNair, a Temple football player from 1985 to 1988, and Nicole Ross Burris, a women’s lacrosse player from 1995 to 1999, will also be inducted into the hall of fame as part of the class of 2020 at a later date.
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