Five to go into WKU Athletic Hall of Fame

20 09 2010

Per release:
Four former Western Kentucky University athletes and one Hilltopper coaching legend will be inducted as the 20th class into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies set for Homecoming Weekend this fall.

The members of the 2010 class are: Chuck Durrant (track); Al Ellison (men’s basketball); Tellis Frank (men’s basketball); Coach Bill Powell (swimming & diving); and Joey Stockton (football).

The induction of the 2010 class will bring to 122 the number of former WKU athletes and coaches who have earned berths in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame since its founding in 1991.

The 2010 class will be inducted in ceremonies during the annual W-Club Homecoming Brunch, set for 10 a.m. (CT), Saturday, Oct. 30, on the Main Floor of E.A. Diddle Arena on the WKU campus in Bowling Green.

Tickets for the event, which is open to the general public, are $15 each and can be purchased and/or reserved: online at

http://www.alumni.wku.edu/wclubbrunch10&lt;http://www.alumni.wku.edu/wclubbrunch10>, or by calling 1-888-WKU-ALUM (1-888-958-2586) or, locally in the Bowling Green area, 745-4395; * or, by contacting either W-Club Treasurer Bill Edwards (270-745-6026; bill.edwards@wku.edu<mailto:bill.edwards@wku.edu>) or W-Club Secretary Paul Just (270-792-4247; paul.just@wku.edu<mailto:paul.just@wku.edu>).

Each W-Club member who has paid his/her 2010-11 dues is entitled to two complimentary tickets to the event; however, seating is limited and reservations MUST be made – either online, or with Edwards or Just – to ensure seating is available. Non-members, and the general public, are required to purchase tickets ($15 each). Letterwinners who have not yet paid their ’10-11 dues may do so online via credit card or at the door with a prior reservation.

The inductees will also be honored in ceremonies on Jimmy Feix Field at halftime of the annual Homecoming Football Game, set to kickoff at 2 p.m. (CST), that afternoon. New Head Coach – and member of the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame – Willie Taggart will pit his Hilltoppers against Sun Belt Conference foe North Texas at Houchens Industries – L.T. Smith Stadium.
* Tellis Frank, was recruited by Clem Haskins in 1983 out of Gary, Ind., to play basketball on The Hill. Four years later (1987) he was the first-round draft pick (14th overall pick) of the Golden State Warriors. Frank stood 6-10 and like to play out on the floor facing the basket. The dominate player in the Sun Belt Conference as a senior, he earned league Player of the Year honors while leading the Toppers to 29 wins (the second highest total in school history), the league regular season championship and a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament (both of those teams advanced to the second round in the tournament) averaging 18.0 points. When he completed his Hilltopper career, only three Toppers on record had played more minutes in a WKU uniform. Versatile and quick, at 6-10 he could play both inside and at guard. Frank finished his career with 1,323 points (13th among all Toppers at the time and still 16th on that list). His 684 points as a senior ranked as the fifth highest total ever on The Hill and is still sixth best. He was one of 15 Topper greats elected to the WKU Centennial Team by Hilltopper fans. He was also a member of the Sun Belt’s 30th Anniversary Team in 2006. Frank played five seasons in the NBA with Golden State, Minnesota and Cleveland and also played for a number of years as a pro in Europe. He now resides in the Los Angeles area. *

*Chuck Durrant came to The Hill from Portland, Mich., in 1972 and went on to earn four letters in track (1973-74-76-77) on his way to becoming the premier high jumper in WKU school history and one of just four in Ohio Valley Conference annals to win the conference title in the event with a seven-foot-plus jump. He is one of only two individuals in OVC history to win the league crown in the high jump four times (the other was WKU track star Henry Jackson, already a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame, who took top honors in the event from 1967-70).

* Al Ellison, one of the great basketball figures (as both a player and a coach) in Tennessee sports history, came to WKU from Linden, Tenn., in 1956 and lettered three times (1958-59-60; freshmen were not eligible for varsity play at the time), totaling 887 points and 612 rebounds. He averaged 12.5 points per game on the ’58-59 Topper club that was the runner-up in the OVC; and 14.0 ppg on the ’59-60 team that featured five starters with double-figure scoring averages, went 21-7 and was co-champ of the OVC and the league’s representative in the NCAA Tournament. In one of his outstanding performances, Ellison scored 36 points in a 78-69 victory over Seton Hall in Madison Square Garden as a senior. That was the highest point total ever for a Topper in The Garden and remained so until Jim McDaniels equalled the number there more than a decade later. The ’60 Toppers beat Miami (Fla.) in the NCAA first round, then lost out to eventual national champ Ohio State (after leading by 6 at the half and by 3 with about 5 minutes left) before defeating Ohio U in the regional consolation.

* Bill Powell left his high school coaching position in St. Joseph, Mich., in 1969 and, at the invitation of WKU President Kelly Thompson, quietly moved to Bowling Green to take on the task of establishing a Hilltopper swimming program. Thirty-six years later (2005), now the second winningest coach in the history of NCAA Division I swimming, he retired as the head coach of a tremendously successful program, but couldn’t leave the pool altogether, remaining with the program as an assistant coach. That 36-year dual meet record was, by the way, 330-74, a very impressive 81.7 percent success ratio.
That first team (’69-70) was his only team with a losing record, narrowly missing.500 at 3-4. From that point on, it was 35 straight winning seasons.

* Joey Stockton, one of the great receivers, kick return and all-purposes runners in WKU football history, came to The Hill from North Hardin High School in 1994 and went on to earn All-America recognition in each of his last three seasons. He earned four letters (1994-95-96-97) and was named to the I-AA Independent All-Star Team both his junior and senior years. Stockton owns the top two pass receiving yardage games in WKU history – 276 yards on seven catches at Austin Peay in 1995; and 194 yards on seven receptions in a three-overtime 52-50 win at Murray State in ’97. His 33 catches for 863 yards in ’95 is still the fourth highest season total ever for a Topper. His career total of 2,057 yards receiving places him among the five Toppers with 2,000-plus yards on catches – a remarkable feat since he played on teams noted primarily for their option offense!). In the kickoff return category, he holds school records for returns in a game (8) and a career (94) along with net return yards in a career (2,302). And, his two KO returns for TDs in ’96 – both in the Southern Illinois game (one for 100 yards and one for only 42 yards – a return of an onsides kick for a score) tied a school record for TDs. Stockton is one of only two Toppers on record
to return a kick 100 yards. And, his 467 all-purpose yards at Austin Peay in ’95 – 276 yards receiving, 144 yards on KO returns, 29 yards rushing and 18 on punt returns) – is still an NCAA record. Stockton has accounted for more yardage carrying the football than any athlete in WKU history and holds the WKU school record for career all-purpose running with a total of 5,280 yards (2,057 receiving, 2,302 yards on KO returns, 695 yards on punt returns and 226 yards rushing). Stockton is now the head track coach and assistant football coach at Campbellsville University.

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