POINT PLEASANT — This year’s 2015 inductees will be welcomed into the Point Pleasant High School Athletic Hall of Fame this week.
The names have been released by the hall of fame committee and include nine athletes and one booster for his years of devoted service.
This is the ninth year for the induction ceremony which will take place this Friday night before the opening game of the season for PPHS against Lincoln County, which has a 7:30 p.m. kick off. Prior to the game there will be a tailgate party for the inductees in the commons area at the high school, sponsored by the football boosters. A banquet will be held at Point Pleasant High School beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday evening. Attendees can view the Wall of Fame sponsored by Pleasant Valley Hospital at this time. Tickets can be purchased at Point Financial Services, Farmers Bank, Ohio Valley Bank and the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center. Following the banquet an induction ceremony will be held honoring the new inductees as Hall of Fame members.
This year’s class includes:
William “Buck” Buchanan coached 33 years at Point Pleasant High School with 16 of those years as head varsity baseball coach and 17 years as an assistant. He was also head coach of girls varsity soccer for 12 years. His baseball teams appeared in nine regional tournaments accumulating over 500 wins. The teams played in five state tournaments and were state runners-up, twice. Numerous players went on to play at the college level and two went on to the pros.
His girls soccer teams had 109 wins with 58 losses and 12 ties. Two years the teams were rated in the top 10 state wide and in the top 20 for four years. His junior high teams won one conference championship and two tournament titles. Coach Buchanan has been very active in Mason County Youth Sports for over 25 years. He ran the Biddy League Basketball program from 1989-2013 (25 years) and started the Youth Flag Football League which ran for 4 years, or until Mason County joined the Tri-State League. He was involved with Toys for Tots for over 30 years and has been a member of the United Methodist Church 43 years.
Bryan Stepp played four sports at Point Pleasant High School, graduating in 1980. His senior year in football he was voted Most Valuable Player while making First Team All-State in class AAA. He was also named First Team All Big South (this included players from all classes). In basketball he received Honorable Mention recognition. He ran track and played baseball in the spring sports season. Bryan has been dedicated to serving his community. He has been President of the Mason County Development Authority, Chairman of the Polymer Alliance, President of the Rotary Club, President of Marshall University Mason County Club and received a special citation from the Small Business Association for lending. He currently is a Sr. Vice President and Chief Lending Officer for The Ohio Valley Bank Company.
Charlie Perry is remembered as a tough, hard nose player who could compete with the best in either football or wrestling. He was a three-year letterman in football and two years in wrestling and baseball. As a football player Charlie received Honorable Mention All-State in 1974 and 1975. The September 20, 1974 Charleston Gazette name Charlie the WV State Offensive Player of the Week for his play in defeating Barboursville. In 1976 he was recipient of the Wedge Scholarship. His career wrestling record was 32 and 11. In 1976 he was West Virginia AAU Wrestling Champion and third place in the WV State Regional. He was the TVAC wrestling Champion and won the Spencer Invitational Championship two times. Playing baseball in 1975 and 76 he was Honorable Mention All-State both years while leading the team with the highest batting average of .386 and .365. In 1975 he was named first team All-TVAC. During the 1976 season it is reported he broke two all-time PPHS school records of most hits in one season 32 and most extra base hits. Charlie received the team’s top offensive player award. Following graduation in 1976 Charlie went on to Marshall University to be the starting punter having the third highest one game punting average in Marshall’s football history of 46.7 yds. He started three wrestling matches as a freshman before moving on to Fairmont State College where he was the 190lb Intermural Wrestling Champion in 1978.
Chip Wood graduated in 1992 following an outstanding athletic career playing soccer, basketball and track. He was a three-year letterman in track and soccer and earned two letters in basketball. Chip played on the state semi-final soccer team in 1989 and was on the All-PAC team in 1991. In three seasons of soccer he scored 61 goals leading his team in scoring both his junior and senior year. In each of those years he was the offensive MVP and was named second team All-State. During this time he played for the WV Olympic Development Team for four years. He was a six-time PAC champion winning the high jump three times, long jump, 300 hurdles and 110 high hurdles once each. Chip’s State Record for the high jump (6-09.5) stood for eight years. His school records in the high jump (6-10.75), 110 high hurdles, and 300 meter intermediate hurdles still stand. He was twice an AAU/USATF junior Olympic national qualifier in the high jump (finished 3rd in the nation in 1989 and 10th in 1990). Chip’s record setting career carried over into college with a scholarship to the University of Louisville where he set the freshman record in the high jump (6-7.25) and the Pentathlon. He was All Metro Conference in the High Jump. Transferring to Marshall University he was a member of the school record shuttle hurdle team and was three-time All-Southern Conference, twice in the high jump and once in the 110 high hurdles. Chip graduated Marshall with a Master of Arts degree in communication disorders in 2000. He worked as school based speech therapist in Jackson and Mason County for 11 years and was an assistant professor at Marshall University for four years. Chip was the head high school soccer coach for six years winning three sectional titles and served 14 years as the girls head track coach, having two individual state champions.
Dale Smith joined the Point Pleasant Big Blacks family in 1975 when Coach Steve Safford arrived as the new head football coach. This will be Dale’s 40th season working the yardage chains on the Big Blacks sideline. Known with others, who have served over the years, as the chain gang, not only has he performed that task but has helped care for, and prepare the field, for the many games that are played there each year. He is thankful for the privilege he has enjoyed of being a part of the program and watching the many outstanding athletes who have played for the Big Blacks. Dale had three sons go through the system for which he is very proud and thankful.
Jason Pyles was a 2000 graduate of Point Pleasant High School that obviously enjoyed running. He was a three-year varsity starter in basketball scoring over 1,000 points (at the time only the fourth person in school history to do so). He averaged 19.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game his senior year. Jason was a two-time All-SEOAL Conference Player and was AAA Special Honorable Mention his senior year. While playing with the WV Junior National team he was named team MVP and had back to back 45 point games. Running track he was a two-time SEOAL Conference Champion in the 1600 meter. His 4:25 in the 1600m is a school record. Jason placed 3rd in the AAA State Meet in the 1600m and was a five-time AAA State Meet qualifier, three events his junior year and two events as a senior. Jason went on to participate in two sports at Marshall University. He was a one year letterman in basketball and a 2 time recipient of the Cross Country Leadership Award. Following college Jason continued to compete in running events. He was the 2nd WV native to win the Charleston 15- mile Distance Run (2010), won a 5k in Cincinnati and was awarded the honor of throwing out the first pitch at a Cincinnati Reds game. He has competed in numerous marathons, including the Boston Marathon, Chicago and San Francisco.
Jeremy Blain comes from a family of athletes and he lived up to expectations. He was a three-year starter in soccer and 2 years as a basketball letterman. His soccer teams played in regional title game and State Semi-final game. He was first team All-State and All-Conference in the PAC. He ranks in the top five in career goals scored at Point Pleasant High School. Following graduation in 1990 Jeremy went on to play soccer at Marshall University.
Kenny Durst graduated in 2004 while earning 7 varsity letters, 3 in football and 4 in baseball. As a senior he was quarterback and a co-captain of the football team and pitcher and outfielder on the baseball team. His baseball stats are most impressive as he was able to post a career record of 28 wins and 19 losses. His senior year was most productive where he was able to post an 11-4 record, a 0.81 ERA in 84 innings pitched. For a career he posted a 2.50 ERA, struck out a total of 430 batters and pitched one complete game No-Hitter as a freshman. As a switch hitting senior he was able to amass a batting average of .376 and a team high .560 on base percentage, with 30 walks, 8 doubles and 6 homeruns. During his career he hit 14 homeruns (11 left hand, 3 right). Kenny was first team All-SEOAL, and First Team All-State both his junior and senior seasons and was named a Louisville Slugger Preseason 1st Team All-American in 2004. In his 4 years at PPHS he set school records for wins in a season, 11, strikeouts in a season, 159 in 2004, and 141 in 2003. . Kenny was awarded a baseball scholarship to West Virginia University and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. During his 3 year collegiate career he pitched a total of 192 innings as both a starter and reliever, earned a career record of 10 wins and 12 losses while striking out 131 batters. Also as a junior he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 15th round where he opted to forego his senior year and pursue a professional career. Kenny played in the Rockies minor league system for 4 seasons and reached the high Class A level with Colorado affiliate in Modesto, California. Kenny and his wife, Abby, currently reside in Philo.
Michael Rhodes graduated in 1986 after earning 6 varsity letters in football, basketball and track. He enjoyed an outstanding athletic career earning First Team All-State honors in football and being a member of Point Pleasant High Schools first ever state championship team in any sport. Michael was 1st team All-State in football as a place kicker in 1985 as well as being 1st team All Pioneer Athletic Conference at quarterback and place kicker. He ran on the 4×400 relay team that clenched the state title in the 1986 state track meet. In that same track season he was honored with 1st team All Pioneer Athletic Conference. Michael received the prestigious Barry Nash Scholarship Award (1986) and was Tri-Captain of the track team. Following graduation he played football at Fairmont State College (1986-1987) and Concord College (1988). Michael ran the Intramural Sports Program at Concord College (1990-1992). He graduated from Concord with a BS degree 1992. He currently resides in North Carolina with his wife Karen and their two children, daughter Lauren and son William.
Miranda Durst graduated in 2002 having enjoyed an outstanding athletic career in softball (4 yrs), basketball (4 yrs), and soccer (1). Her senior year Miranda was 1st team All-State, All-SEOAL, named conference MVP and Player of the Year. She was 2nd team All-State her junior year. She was a member of PPHS first all girl soccer team. Miranda went on to West Virginia Wesleyan College to continue her softball career. She was a 4 yr starter at catcher and DH. She led the WV Conference in 5 hitting stats, extra base hits, doubles, RBI’s and on base Percentage. Hit 7 regular season HR and 1 HR in WV Conference Championship Game. She was 1st team All-Conference and 2nd team Region 5 All-American. Miranda graduated in 2006 with a B.S. degree Athletic Training and then went on to obtain a B.S. in Nursing in 2014 from the University of Charleston. She currently is employed at Womens and Childrens Hospital, Charleston, WV Neonatal Unit.