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.
An unsung hero on some great Ohio State defenses, Aaron Brown lettered in football from 1974 through 1977 and was a part of Big Ten championship teams in 1974 and 1975. Described as soft-spoken and respected by all his teammates, Brown was a three-year starter for head coach Woody Hayes at nose tackle and currently ranks No. 15 all-time with 314 career tackles. Brown also added 32.0 career tackles for loss. In Brown’s senior season of 1977, in which he was a captain for the Buckeyes, he was named a First Team All-American and closed his career with 14 solo tackles against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Brown still ranks 10th in program history in career tackle for loss yards with minus 181 and second in single-game TFL yards (minus 42 vs. Minnesota in 1976).
A member of four teams that won at least a share of the Big Ten title, Brown played in two Rose Bowl games along with an Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl. The teams he was a part of had an overall record of 39-8-1 with a 29-3 mark in conference play. Brown was drafted in 1978 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and went on to have a 10-year career with the Bucs, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Winnipeg of the Canadian Football League. In 2000, he was selected to the Ohio State All-Century Team by the Columbus Dispatch.
Men’s Soccer (2005-07)
Eric Brunner led the Buckeyes on an historical run in 2007 that culminated in an appearance in the NCAA College Cup Final after winning the Big Ten Conference championship.
The first Buckeye to earn First Team All-America honors, Brunner was a 2007 MAC Hermann Trophy candidate and a First Team All-Big Ten honoree in addition to making the 2007 College Cup All-Tournament team.
A Dublin, Ohio, native, Brunner was the first Buckeye to make the United States National Team (2008). He was drafted by the New York Red Bulls and played in 103 Major League Soccer games. As a Buckeye, the 2007 captain appeared in 89 games, starting 79.
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.
Olympian Amanda Furrer prepped for the competition against the world’s elite as a Buckeye for four seasons. She captured five All-America honors as a member of the Ohio State rifle team and thrice qualified as an individual for the NCAA Championships. Furrer placed Top 10 nationally in all three appearances, finishing as high as seventh. The Spokane, Wash., native finished 15th at the 2012 Olympic Games and also won multiple medals at the national championships.
On the conference level, Furrer’s five Western Intercollegiate Rifle Conference titles lifted the Buckeyes to three WIRC team crowns.
Men’s Volleyball (2008-11)
Steven Kehoe guided the 2011 Ohio State men’s volleyball team on a magical run which ended under the confetti as NCAA national champions. The Buckeye setter snagged Most Outstanding Player distinction for both the MIVA and NCAA postseason tournaments, leading to OSU Male Athlete of the Year recognition as well.
The 2011 title campaign also included Kehoe’s second of back-to-back All-America and MIVA Player of the Year awards. He corralled All-MIVA First Team status thrice (2009, 2010, 2011). Kehoe remains ranked Top 10 in school history for career assists (4,012), digs (595) and aces (97).
A Fisher College of Business student, Kehoe earned nearly every academic award out there, including the 2011 Big Ten Medal of Honor.
Men’s Gymnastics (1998-01)
Three-time All-American Daren Lynch enters the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame with an incredible legacy. Lynch, a Londonderry, N.H., native, wore the Scarlet and Gray from 1998-2001 and is one of only three Buckeyes to win the NCAA vault championship. Earning the title in 2001, Lynch also helped Ohio State capture its third NCAA team championship that same year. A standout in the Big Ten, Lynch was the 2000 Big Ten vault champion and captained the squad to its eighth Big Ten team championship in 2001. Lynch was a Big Ten Medal of Honor finalist as well as a four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-American.
After his standout career as a Buckeye, Lynch continued his education at Ohio State and received his master’s degree in physical therapy. He now has more than 15 years of professional experience as a physical therapist for Ohio State.
Regis Monahan, a Pittsburgh native, played for the Buckeyes from 1932-34 as a guard and tackle while also doubling as a kicker. In 1934, he was a team captain and First Team All-American while helping Ohio State win a share of its first Big Ten title in 14 years. Monahan also famously appeared on the front of a Wheaties box in 1935.
With Monahan leading the way on the line, Ohio State went 18-3-3 from 1932-34 and had one of the nation’s most explosive offenses his senior year in 1934. That Buckeye team compiled 267 points in just eight games and scored 30 or more points five times. He went on to the play four professional seasons with the Detroit Lions from 1935-38 and was part of the Lions’ 1935 NFL championship team.
Lance Palmer reached the All-America stand at the end of all four seasons wrestling for Ohio State as one of eight four-time All-Americans in school history. He advanced to the 2010 NCAA Championships finals for his highest national finish. Palmer also twice cracked the Top 4, including as a true freshman in 2007.
Postseason success came to fruition at the Big Ten Championships as well. Palmer was not only crowned the 149-pound B1G champ in 2010, but also garnered Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Championships recognition.
The 2010 team captain racked up 121 career victories, ranking in the Top 10 in Ohio State lore. He, too, excelled scholastically and earned the OSU Academic Achievement Award as voted on by the Ohio State faculty and staff.
Men’s Gymnastics (1952-55)
Don Perry was a four-year letterwinner for the Buckeyes from 1952-55 and was Ohio State’s first All-American in 1954 after finishing fourth on trampoline at the national championships. Perry, who captained the Buckeye squad for three seasons, earned CGA All-America honors in 1954 and 1955 in tumbling. Perry competed internationally and placed fourth at the 1956 Pan-American Trials. He also was a member of the Buckeye track team for a year.
He received his master’s degree in physical education from Miami University and pursued a career as a teacher and high school coach for nearly 30 years. He has also returned to the Big Ten as a gymnastics judge and served as the President of both the Ohio and National High School Gymnastics Coaches associations.
Women’s Basketball (2009-12)
Samantha Prahalis had one of the most productive careers in Ohio State women’s basketball history. She ranks in the Top 10 in school history in nearly every statistical category, including points, assists, steals, field goals made, three-pointers made and free throws made. Prahalis is still the Big Ten leader in career assists with 901 and is one of just three players in NCAA history with 2,000 points and 900 career assists.
A two-time All-American, Prahalis capped her career by being named the 2012 Big Ten Player of the Year after averaging 19.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. She was also part of a pair of Big Ten regular season titles, three Big Ten Tournament titles, 109 victories and four NCAA Tournament appearances.
After her Buckeye career, she was the sixth overall pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft by the Phoenix Mercury. She averaged 11.6 points and 4.5 assists in her first season and was runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. Prahalis then went on to make multiple stops overseas in Romania (2013-14), Russia (2014), Turkey (2015), Italy (2015-16) and Hungary (2016-17).
The Commack, N.Y., native coached three seasons at a pair of New York high schools from 2017-20 and is currently an assistant coach for the women’s basketball program at James Madison University.
Initially a walk-on to the Ohio State rowing team, Amanda Purcell worked to become a First Team Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Pocock All-American in 2005 while also earning CRCA All-Central Region and Second Team All-Big Ten honors as well that year. She was just the second Ohio State walk-on to earn All-America honors.
A three-time Ohio State letterwinner (2003-05), Purcell led OSU’s first 1V8 boat to a No. 1 ranking in 2004 in a season when the Buckeyes recorded just their second Top 4 finish (1V8) nationally. She was equally accomplished in the classroom becoming a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree while earning three Ohio State Scholar Athlete awards.
Following her Ohio State career, Purcell was a volunteer coach at Ohio State, coached the Upper Arlington High School team and coached at Brown, Virginia and Indiana. She currently coaches junior rowing in Dallas, Texas.
Football Coach (1934-40)
Francis Schmidt was the head coach of the Ohio State football program from 1934 to 1940 and his comments about arch-rival Michigan – “Those fellows put their pants on one leg at a time, the same as everyone else” – led to the tradition of awarding gold pants to players and coaches following wins over the Wolverines.
During his seven seasons with the Buckeyes, Schmidt’s team went 39-16-1 with an offense that was dubbed “razzle dazzle” by the media because of its use of reverses, laterals and passes. His inaugural team in 1934 scored 267 points, second most in school history up to that point. His second team, in 1935, was nearly as good, outscoring opponents 237-57. Those Buckeyes finished 7-1 and won their first Big Ten title in 14 years. The season was punctuated with a 38-0 season-ending win over Michigan, part of a stretch from 1934-37 that saw the Buckeyes outscore the Wolverines 114-0. In 1939, Schmidt led Ohio State to an outright Big Ten championship, the school’s first in 19 years. Schmidt, who also coached basketball and baseball at various stops prior to Ohio State, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.