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5 OC standouts inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame

The five newest members of the OC Athletic Hall of Fame are (from left) Leah Carrell, Charlie Smith, Silas Kisorio, Kathy Nelson Belcoff and Kris Miller.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 20, 2012) – Oklahoma Christian inducted its five newest Athletic Hall of Fame members on Friday, including a first for the university – a current student.

Men’s basketball star Charlie Smith, tennis coach Kris Miller, track standout Kathy (Nelson) Belcoff, softball ace Leah Carrell and current track and cross country All-American Silas Kisorio participated in the formal induction ceremony, held in OC’s Gaylord University Center.

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 selected representatives from the campus community chose the inductees.

Don Meyer, the NCAA leader in career men’s basketball coaching wins with 923, was the keynote speaker. The former coach at OC’s sister institution, Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., praised the five inductees for developing their athletic gifts and encouraged the 250 people in attendance to do the same with the gifts they’d been blessed with by God.

“That’s what we have to teach in athletics and we have to teach every kid on this campus,” Meyer said. “It’s a natural thing, when somebody is giving you a gift, that you want to share it with somebody else.”

Meyer 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. You never know when that small task, that one little cup of cold water, that one little handshake, that one little nod, might make all the difference in the world.”

Among those attending the event were Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale, an OC Athletic Hall of Fame member; Oklahoma state Treasurer Ken Miller, a former OC economics professor; and Buffalo Bills wide receiver David Nelson, the son of Kathy Nelson Belcoff.

Smith was an NAIA All-America honorable mention selection in men’s basketball in 1970 after leading the Eagles that season in scoring (20.2 points per game) and rebounding (12.6 per game). The transfer from Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) scored 906 points in two seasons at OC.

Smith, from Henderson, Tenn., went on to serve as Freed-Hardeman’s athletic director from 1980 to 2003 and served at various times as a coach for that university’s volleyball, tennis, baseball and basketball teams. In 1997, he was named as an NAIA regional administrator of the year. Smith was a nine-time NAIA district tennis coach of the year and was inducted in 1995 into the FHU Athletic Hall of Fame. He now serves as the commissioner of the TranSouth Athletic Conference.

Miller, from Edmond, 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, in 1996 (men’s), 1998 (men’s and women’s), 2000 (men’s), 2003 (men’s) and 2010 (women’s), and received NAIA District 9 Coach of the Year honors in 1991, 1993 and 1994. He’s twice been an NAIA regional coach of the year.

Miller, who has served as a professor of biology at OC since 1994, has produced more than 50 NAIA All-America honorees. 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 (himself an OC Athletic Hall of Fame member) and Chris Young of Oklahoma State.

Belcoff, from Haslet, Texas, starred on OC’s track team in the late 1990s, earning NAIA All-America honors in the 200 meters in 1997 and the 400 meters in 1997 and 1998. She was named as an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 1998 and was a CoSIDA Academic All-America second-team pick in 1998. Belcoff, a single mother of three young boys during her time as an OC student, 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 (25.10), 400 (56.68) and 600 meters (1:38.28). Belcoff also holds outdoor school records in the 100 (11.84), 200 (24.12), 400 (56.48), 400-meter relay (49.08), 800-meter relay (1:47.65), 1,600-meter sprint medley (4:20.12) and 1,600-meter relay (4:00.61).

Carrell, from Minco, was a two-time NAIA All-America pick in softball, making the first-team list in 2001, and is the first player from her sport to be inducted into the OC Hall. 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 league’s player of the year in 2001.

She holds numerous OC pitching records, including most innings pitched (game 12, season 245 1/3, career 742 2/3); strikeouts (game 20, season 227, career 698); complete games (season 26, career 94); wins (season 25, career 86); best winning percentage (season .833, career .782); lowest earned run average (season 0.90, career 1.02); and shutouts (season 12, career 46). Her 20 strikeouts in an April 2001 win over Southern Nazarene stood as the single-game NAIA record until 2010.

Kisorio is the first person to be inducted into the OC Athletic Hall of Fame while still a student. The senior from Eldoret, Kenya, is a 10-time NAIA national champion in track and cross country and has a chance to win as many as three more titles during this school year. He’s captured All-America honors an astounding 18 times, excelling at events ranging from 800 meters to 8,000 meters. Kisorio was featured in the “Faces In The Crowd” section in the March 22, 2010, issue of Sports Illustrated.

He’s a three-time NAIA cross country All-America who won the 2009 individual title and is a threat to do the same again this season. Kisorio holds school records in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters, setting them four days apart during races in July 2011 in Canada. He ran a school-record 3:56.64 mile at the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 11, 2010. 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’s one of only five collegiate runners to be invited to race in the famed Wanamaker Mile during the Millrose Games in February in New York.