Greene County News
WILBERFORCE — The Central State Department of Intercollegiate Athletics inducted five individuals and four teams into the Hall of Fame during a Friday afternoon sold out ceremony at the Country Club of the North.
This year’s Hall of Fame class included: Leonard “Tony” Blaine – 1962, John E. Day – 1971, Eric Love – 1983, Dr. Paul Nitz, James Rollins – 1996, 1960 & 1962 CSU Men’s Cross Country Teams, 1983 Football Team and 1991 Women’s Track and Field Team.
“We are proud of the inductees and appreciate all they have done for Central State University,” Vice President of Athletics Jahan Culbreath said. “It is extremely important that we recognize and honor for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the success of Marauder athletics.”
In addition to this year’s inductees, Central State payed special tribute to Grace Baptist Church, an organization that has provided tremendous service and support to Central State student-athletes. Leaders Brian Hanson and Don Callan accepted the recognition on behalf of the church.
TV analyst Chris Broussard served as the keynote speaker for the event. An internationally known sports analyst, Broussard has regularly appears on a variety of sports talk shows such as “Outside the Lines,” “First Take” and the network’s flagship program, “SportsCenter.”
Following Broussard’s speech, each inductee was called up for their official induction into the CSU Hall of Fame. A variety of eras were represented in this year’s class, which was made of players, contributors and teams that were part of the athletic program in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
Leonard “Tony” Blaine is from the Class of 1962 and was a men’s basketball team co-captain and a three-time Midwestern Athletic Association All-League selection from 1959 to 1962. After an outstanding career at Hamilton High School, Blaine enrolled at Central State to begin his academic and athletic pursuits. He quickly earned a starting spot in the Marauder frontcourt and would go on to establish himself as one of the top post players in CSU history. After graduating from Central State, Blaine went to build a rewarding career as a civic leader and contributor in the community. Blaine has served as the executive director on the Butler Metropolitan Housing Authority, director of the Booker T. Washington Commission, and a member of the Butler County Community Action Committee.
John E. Day was a member of the Class of 1971 and enrolled at Central State in 1966 after graduating from Xenia Woodrow Wilson High School a private school for children of the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphans Home. While attending school there, he was an outstanding running back, point guard, hurdler, pole vaulter and high jumper in track. After graduating from high school, Day enrolled at Central State. Day also lettered in basketball as a guard and track as a pole vaulter and hurdler. He went on to play football for four years at Central State and was selected as a Black College All-American in 1968. After college, he played semi-professional football for many years for the Columbus Bucks, Columbus Brewers, Dayton Colts, Springfield Sun Devils and the Dayton Metro Pros.
Eric Love is a member of the Class of 1983 and finished his career as one of the top scorers and rebounders in the Central State basketball record books. The 6’4 versatile player from Dayton was a premier player from the time he stepped on to the CSU campus to the time he graduated. As a junior, Love was selected to the 1980 NCAA Div. II All American Team after a season in which he led CSU in points (22.0 ppg) and rebounds (9.3 rpg). Love had his best year as a senior. In front of a sold out crowd on Jan. 14, 1982, Love scored a career high 40 points against Wright State University. Averaging 22.3 points per game, Love became the second player in school history to eclipse the 2,000 career point plateau.
Dr. Paul Nitz has been serving Central State University since 1992 as the athletic department’s primary team physician. While being asked year after year to serve teams on the professional and NCAA division I level, Dr. Nitz has remained dedicated to catering to the needs of athletes at Central State University. In addition to his duties as the physician, Dr. Nitz has been instrumental in a number of athletic initiatives including the success of the Marauders’ fall football camp and integral improvements to athletic facilities. Dr. Nitz served in the U.S. Army receiving an honorable discharge with the rank of Major. While in the service he served as a staff orthopedic surgeon and later as chief of orthopedic surgery at Reynolds Community Hospital in Fort Sill, Okla.
James Rollins is a member of the Class of 1996 and established himself as one of the all-time great track & field athletes while competing at Central State in the 1990s where he helped the Marauder men’s track & field program to three NAIA National titles. His top times of his collegiate career include a 13.89 pace in the 110 meter hurdles and a time of 7.40 in the 55 meter hurdles. After graduating from CSU, Rollins went on to compete in the USATF National Championships in 1996 and 2000. He began his coaching career with youth athletes competing in events hosted by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) while serving as the Director of the Total Effect Sports Academy in Columbus, Ohio. In 2013, Rollins returned to Central State to serve as the Head Coach of the cross country and track & field programs.
Central State University 1960 & 1962 Men’s Cross Country Teams were recognized for the first two national titles in school history. A small but powerful squad, the teams went undefeated in dual meets on their way to earning the ‘60 and “62 NCAA College Division Cross Country Championships.
The 1983 Football Team helped solidify the Marauder football program as a perennial football powerhouse while gaining uncharted publicity and exposure for the university during its magical run to the NCAA Div. II finals. Coached by the legendary Billy Joe, the Marauders opened the ‘83 campaign with convincing wins over Salem College and Ferris State College. The Marauders edged a tough opponent in Grand Valley State College in week three, 21-14. The Marauders went on to dominate in final seven games of the regular season, beating opponents by an average point margin of 31. The Marauders finished the regular season with a perfect 10-0 record for the first time in school history. Despite the loss in the title game, Central State’s winning streak of 12 games remains the longest in school history.
Also recognized was the 1991 Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Team as the first group to win the track and field program’s first NAIA national title. Coached by CSU Hall of Famer Joshua Culbreath, the team claimed the ‘91 title with a total of 105 points, winning the event by a 28-point margin. The Lady Marauders earned crucial points in the 200 meter thanks to a second place finish from Wallace, a fourth place finish from Carolin Sterling and fifth place run sprint from Audrea Sterling. Carolin Sterling was named the NAIA Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Most Valuable Athlete at the conclusion of the event. The title was the first of seven national crowns earned by the women’s program between 1991 through 1997.
Story courtesy of Central State University Athletics.