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Clarion Resident Nellis One of Five to Be Inducted into Clarion U. Sports Hall of Fame
(Photo: Ken Nellis when he was wrestling at Clarion. Photo courtesy of Clarion University Athletics)
Nellis, the current athletic director at Penn State DuBois was a standout on the mat for the Golden Eagles from 1982-86 before going into coaching at the school, first as an assistant coach under the legendary Bob Bubb and then Jack Davis and finally as the head coach from 1998-2006. He then worked in the Clarion University foundation from June 2007 through Dec. 2009 before becoming the AD at Penn State DuBois in January 2010.
Joining Nellis in entering the Hall will be Laurie Carter (1981-84; women’s track), John Hughes (1982-85; football), Lisa McAdoo (1985-88; women’s basketball) and Dan Payne (1991-95; wrestling).
Clarion University’s 30th Annual Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, May 4, 2018, at the Gemmell Center Multi-Purpose Room, located at the corner of Payne Street and Wilson Avenue. The event is open to the public. A social is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Second Floor Rotunda at the Gemmell Center. Ticket orders are being handled by Events & Promotions Coordinator Scott Courtney, Room 225 Ralston Hall. Tickets are $40 per person and are available by contacting Courtney at 814 -393-2057. Checks should be made payable to Clarion “Sports Hall of Fame”. Ticket order forms and induction information are available at www.clariongoldeneagles.com.
A 1981 Shaler High grad where Nellis was a two-time PIAA State Champ with a career high school record of 124-3, Nellis came to Clarion and had an amazing career.
As a true freshman at 142 pounds, he posted a 23-9-1 record and was runner-up at PSACs and EWLs while qualifying for the NCAA Division I Nationals.
In 1983, also at 142, he forged a 29-9 record, won his first PSAC title, was second at EWLs and again qualified for the NCAAs. The 1983 team won the PSAC team title at Edinboro and had a record seven champions.
In 1984, a team co-captain, Nellis was 34-5-1 at 150 pounds, placed first at PSACs, second at EWLs and again went to the NCAAs. The Golden Eagles were 11-3-1- in duals.
Red-shirting in 1985, Nellis came back to co-captain the team as a senior to the top dual meet season in school history in 1986.
The Golden Eagles finished third in the nation behind Iowa and Iowa State with a 17-0-1 dual meet record under Bubb. Nellis was 27-5-3 at 150 pounds, first at PSACs and second at EWLs.
Nellis finished ranked sixth at Clarion in career wins with 113 (113-28-5), was a three-time PSAC Champ, four-time EWL runner-up and a four-time NCAA Qualifier.
After graduating in 1986 he went into the private sector but returned in the 1990-91 season as an assistant coach under Bubb. He was the first assistant under Jack Davis from 1993-97 and head coach of the Golden Eagles from 1998-2006. In his nine seasons as head coach Nellis had seven NCAA D-I All-Americans, 11 EWL and 16 PSAC champs. Clarion was 24th at the NCAAs in 1998 and 26th in 2000 and 2003.
Ken and wife, Cindy, have a daughter, Brianna, and two sons, Luke and Seth.
Here is a brief look at the other soon-to-be-members of the Hall of Fame Class.
Laurie Carter, a two-time national qualifier, was an outstanding hurdler, athlete and leader of the Clarion Women’s Track Team from 1981-84 under coach Bill English. A native of Rutherford, N.J. and a 1980 graduate of Hackensack High, Laurie came to Clarion in the fall of 1980 to join her sister Taryn Carter (2014 HOF Inductee) and made an immediate impact.
Laurie placed 2nd at PSACs in the 100 and 400 hurdles and qualified for the 1981 AIAW Division II National Championships. She ran a school record 1:05.43 in the 400 setting a school record that lasted for 26 years, while also running a 14.5 in the 100 – second only to her sister. The duo led Clarion to a 4th place finish at PSACs as a team, another school record.
In 1982 Laurie placed 2nd at PSACs in the 100 hurdles, 3rd in the 400 hurdles, qualified again for the D-II nationals and earned all PSAC honors in the 4×100 relay.
She placed 3rd at PSACs in 1983 in the 100 hurdles.
A team captain for three seasons (1982-84), she was unable to compete during the 1984 season due to injury.
The Golden Eagles did not lose a dual meet from 1981-83 with Laurie and her sister Taryn leading the way. They are the first sisters elected to the Clarion Sports HOF. Laurie contributed in other events in dual meets including sprints and in the long, high and triple jump. Carter earned a B.S. Degree from Clarion in 1984 and her M.A. from William Patterson in 1987 in Communications. She went on to receive her Juris Doctor Degree in Law from Rutgers in 1993. Carter was honored with the Clarion University “Distinguished Alumni Award” in 2007. Employed from 1988 – 2013 at The Julliard School, she was VP & General Counsel/Executive Director of Jazz Studies at the completion of her work there. She worked for the New York Performing Arts Center (2013-14) and was Executive VP and University Counsel at Eastern Kentucky from 2014-17 before being named President at Shippensburg University on August 7, 2017. Laurie and husband, Gary, have a son, Carter.
JOHN HUGHES – FOOTBALL
John Hughes, one of the top defensive players in Clarion Football history, was a dominating player who played for legendary head coaches in Charlie Ruslavage and Gene Sobolewski, both members of the Clarion Hall of Fame. A native of Akron, Ohio, and a 1982 grad of Canton Central Catholic, Hughes helped the Eagles to a 7-3 record as a true freshman in 1982 contributing 12 tackles and three sacks at linebacker.
Moving to the defensive line, Hughes was instrumental in helping the Golden Eagles to the PSAC West and PSAC Championship titles in 1983 with a 9-2 overall record and 5-1 mark in the West. In six games, Hughes collected 55 tackles, six sacks, four broken-up passes, one fumble caused and recovered and one interception. He posted four sacks in the PSAC title game win (27-14) over East Stroudsburg.
In 1984, John posted 51 solos and 50 assists for 101 tackles, seven sacks, two break-ups and fumbles recovered, a blocked kick and a fumble caused. Clarion tied for first in the West (4-2) and was 7-3 overall. Hughes was named first-team PSAC West.
In 1985, his senior year, Hughes captained the Golden Eagles to an 8-2 record and a 5-1 mark in the West. He led the team with 125 tackles, seven fumbles caused and a blocked kick. He also had eight sacks, three break-ups and two fumbles recovered at noseguard. He was an Associated Press All-American, First team PSAC West, Pittsburgh Press and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette All-District team.
He finished his career with 293 tackles, 24 sacks, nine fumbles caused and nine passes broken up, two blocked kicks and one int. Clarion’s overall record was 31-10 and West mark 17-7 over his four seasons.
A 1986 Clarion grad in Business – Marketing, he also earned a Masters in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon in 1996. He was Vice President of St. Francis Hospital in New Castle, Pa., from 1992–2000 then acquired Avalon Nursing Center in 2001 and Avalon Springs in 2009 – both were sold recently to UPMC Senior Communities. Also part of Americare Management Corporation in New Castle, Pa., he is currently Senior Property Manager of five facilities. John has a son, Tyler, a daughter, Alaina, and his fiancé, Monica, has a daughter, Makayla.
LISA McADOO – WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Lisa McAdoo, the Golden Eagles first 1,000-point scorer in women’s basketball, was responsible for helping turn around a losing women’s basketball program to a championship team during her days at Clarion from 1985–88.
New head coach Doris Black recruited McAdoo from Fallsburg (N.Y.) High School after she earned team MVP honors in 1984.
In McAdoo’s first season (1985) at Clarion, she played in 24 games and contributed 124 points.
In 1986 Clarion started making its move posting an 11-15 overall record and a 5-5 mark in the PSAC West. Lisa was second on the team with 250 points, 164 rebounds and 15 blocked shots plus added 39 steals.
In 1987 McAdoo led the Golden Eagles to the first PSAC West title in school history with an 8-2 league record, along with a 16-9 overall mark. A co-captain of that team, she led Clarion in scoring (305 points) and rebounding (170) while adding 45 steals and 12 assists. Lisa was a first-team PSAC West selection.
Then, in 1988, the Golden Eagles had their best season to date posting an 18-9 overall record and an 11-1 mark in winning the PSAC West for the second straight year. Clarion was 14-2 in its final 16 games of the season. A tri-captain, she led the team with 168 rebounds and was second on the team with 331 points and 77 steals. A first-team PSAC West selection, she was also voted team MVP.
McAdoo posted 1,010 career points and 629 rebounds, both No. 1 in the program when she graduated. She also had 177 career steals.
Following graduation Lisa had a 25 ½-year work career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, mostly at the facilities in Philadelphia and Otisville, N.Y. and retired in February of 2016. She is currently Character Education Coordinator in the Fallsburg Central (N.Y.) School District and is the founder and operator of More Than Music DJ Institute, LLC – Philadelphia. She resides in Fallsburg, N.Y.
DAN PAYNE – WRESTLING
1995 NCAA Division I Wrestling All-American Dan Payne, a 1995 NCAA Division I Wrestling had a fantastic career at Clarion University under head coaches Bob Bubb and Jack Davis.
A native of Victor, N.Y. and Victor High, Dan had a productive true freshman season in 1991, red-shirted 1992 and then embarked on three outstanding seasons.
In 1993 Dan was 28-8 at 177-pounds, PSAC champ, 2nd at EWLs and an NCAA Division I Qualifier going 2-2 at nationals.
In 1994 Payne was 31-8 overall, PSAC champ, 3rd at EWLs and again went to the NCAAs posting a 1-2 mark. The team was outstanding. Clarion won the PSAC and EWL titles, notched a 15-2 dual meet record, finished the year ranked sixth in the nation in the final NWCA Dual Meet Poll and placed 15th at D-I Nationals.
As a senior, Dan moved up to heavyweight and had his best year with a 39-4 record. He was a PSAC and EWL champ and earned All-America honors with a seventh-place finish – defeating Justin Harty (North Carolina) 5-3 in overtime for his final win. Clarion finished the 1995 season with a 9-3-1 record, its second straight EWL title, ranked 10th in the final NWCA Dual Meet Poll and ended 15th at D-I Nationals.
Payne posted a career record of 111-35, tied for 10th at Clarion in career wins and was a three-year captain. A three-time PSAC champ and an EWL winner, he was voted Male Athlete of the Year at Clarion in 1995.
After earning his degree in 1995, he received his MBA from Pitt in 1999 while being an assistant coach with the Panthers. Payne embraced the sport of Rugby and played on the USA National Team in the World Cup in 2007 and was an assistant coach on the USA World Cup team in 2011. After spending 11 years at Life University – the last five as Athletic Director, he was named the CEO of USA Rugby on August 1 of 2016. Dan and his wife, Kelly, have a son, Wesley.
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