COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame will add 12 new members this fall. The Class of 2020 includes Aaron Brown (football), Eric Brunner (men’s soccer), Karen Dennis (director of track and field and cross country), Amanda Furrer(rifle), Steven Kehoe (men’s volleyball), Daren Lynch (men’s gymnastics), Regis Monahan(football), Lance Palmer (wrestling), Don Perry(men’s gymnastics), Samantha Prahalis (women’s basketball), Amanda Purcell (rowing) and Francis Schmidt (football coach).
As of this announcement, the Class of 2020 is scheduled to be officially inducted at a dinner Sept. 25 and introduced to the public at halftime of the Ohio State home football game vs. Rutgers Sept. 26.
The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame was created in 1977 and has inducted 446 athletes, coaches and administrators through 2019. Dennis and Schmidt will bring the number of head coaches in the hall to 30. Brown and Monahan will up the number of inductees for football to 128 and Brunner will be the fourth men’s soccer standout inducted. Furrer is the third woman from the rifle program selected for the hall of fame and Kehoe will bring the number of men’s volleyball inductees to six. Lynch and Perry will raise the total of men’s gymnasts inducted to 13 and Purcell will be the seventh rower enshrined. Palmer will be the 18th wrestling letterwinner placed in the hall and Prahalis will be the 14th women’s basketball player to be inducted.
Director of Track and Field and Cross Country (2003-present)
One of the most respected names in the track and field community, Karen Dennis joined the Ohio State staff in 2003. She spent four seasons as an assistant track coach (2003-06), served as the women’s track and field/cross country head coach from 2006-14 and was named the Buckeyes’ director of track & field and cross country prior to the 2014-15 campaign.
Dennis has had outstanding achievements thus far in her career at Ohio State. Under her direction, the Buckeyes have won eight Big Ten Championship team titles, including the women’s 2020 indoor conference title and 2018-19 indoor and outdoor sweep. The women’s program won their first conference indoor title and first outdoor title in 42 years. The men’s program swept both the indoor and outdoor conference titles in 2018, making Dennis the first woman in Big Ten history to lead a men’s team to a title in any sport. Since coming to Ohio State, Dennis has coached athletes to over 60 individual B1G titles, more than 50 First and Second Team All- Americans and has coached athletes to five national championships.
Dennis’s coaching has caught the eye of fans and athletes all over as she has been called a ‘Trailblazer’ throughout her career. The veteran coach is a seven-time USTFCCCA Regional Coach of the Year and a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. She has been inducted into the USTFCCCA and Michigan State Athletic hall of fames. Dennis was the head coach of the women’s 2000 Olympic Team, 1989 World University Games coach, 1991 Pan American Games coach and coached in the World Championships in 1995. She is an advocate on the USATF International Competition Committee and is a past president of the Athletic Congress Women’s Track Coaches Association.