OC Inducts Five Greats Into Athletic Hall of Fame
Oklahoma Christian inducted its five newest Athletic Hall of Fame members in January.
Men’s basketball star Charlie Smith (70), tennis coach Kris Miller (86), track standout Kathy (Nelson 98) Belcoff, softball ace Leah Carrell (01) and current track and cross country All-American Silas Kisorio (12) participated in the formal induction ceremony.
The addition of the five honorees raised the membership in the OC Athletic Hall of Fame to 41 people. A 25-person committee consisting of members of the OC athletic department staff and representatives from the campus community chose the inductees.
Don Meyer, the NCAA leader in career men’s basketball wins with 923, was the keynote speaker. The former coach at Lipscomb University praised the five inductees for developing their athletic gifts and encouraged the 250 people in attendance to do the same. He said it’s important for athletes – and everyone – to set a good example in today’s world.
“Your example is not the main thing that influences people,” he said. “It’s the only thing. It’s the greatest example in the world when you’re doing what you say everyone else should do. There is no sacrifice too big, no task too small.”
Among those attending the event were Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale (87), an OC Athletic Hall of Fame member; Oklahoma state Treasurer Ken Miller, an OC economics professor; and Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson, the son of Belcoff.
Smith earned NAIA All-America honorable mention in men’s basketball after leading the 1970 Eagles with 20.2 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. The transfer from Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) scored 906 points in two seasons at Oklahoma Christian.
He was Freed-Hardeman’s athletic director from 1980 to 2003 and coached FHU’s volleyball, tennis, baseball and basketball teams. He was inducted in 1995 into the FHU Athletic Hall of Fame. Smith now serves as the commissioner of the TranSouth Athletic Conference.
Miller is in his second stint as coach of OC’s men’s and women’s tennis programs. In 2003, he guided the Eagles to the university’s first national team championship. He’s been named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s NAIA coach of the year six times and received NAIA District 9 Coach of the Year honors three times. He’s twice been an NAIA regional coach of the year.
Miller, a professor of biology at OC since 1994, has produced more than 50 NAIA All-Americans. His coaching tree includes four current NCAA Division I head coaches – John Blackburn of Eastern Illinois, Dann Nelson of Southern Illinois, Sam Winterbotham of Tennessee and Chris Young of Oklahoma State.
Belcoff earned NAIA All-America honors in the 200 meters in 1997 and the 400 meters in 1997 and 1998. She was named an NAIA Scholar-Athlete and CoSIDA Academic All-America second-team pick in 1998. A single mother of three young boys during her time at OC, Belcoff received the NAIA’s A.O. Duer Award – recognizing excellence in character, playing ability and scholarship – at the conference and national level in 1998.
She holds OC indoor school records in the 200, 400 and 600 meters and holds outdoor school records in the 100, 200, 400, 400-meter relay, 800-meter relay, 1,600-meter sprint medley and 1,600-meter relay.
Carrell was a two-time All-American in softball, and is the first player from her sport to be inducted into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame. She made the NAIA All-Region team each year from 1998 to 2001. She was a two-time All-Sooner Athletic Conference first-team pick in 2000 and 2001, and was named the 2001 SAC player of the year.
She holds OC records for most innings pitched, strikeouts, complete games, wins, best winning percentage, lowest earned run average, and shutouts. Her 20 strikeouts in a 2001 win over Southern Nazarene stood as the single-game NAIA record until 2010.
Kisorio, a senior from Eldoret, Kenya, is the first current student to be inducted. He is a 10-time NAIA national champion and 18-time All-American in track and cross country.
He is a three-time NAIA cross country All-America and won the 2009 individual title. He won the NAIA outdoor title in the 800 meters in 2009 and in 2010, he won NAIA indoor titles in the 800 meters and mile run and outdoor titles in the 800 and 1,500. In 2011, he won the same four national titles. He holds school records in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters, and the mile.
He was featured in the “Faces In The Crowd” section in the March 22, 2010, issue of Sports Illustrated.
View more stories from the Spring 2012 issue of Vision magazine.