MOUNT VERNON — Cliff Carpenter was a standout on the Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets football team. In 1973, he led the Jackets to a 7-3 record — a five-game turnaround from a year before — while earning First Team All-OCC and All-Ohio honors as a linebacker.
On Saturday, he was finally recognized for his efforts, when the Mount Vernon Athletic Hall of Fame hosted its first induction banquet.
“It’s a real honor,” Carpenter said. “This is great. It’s nice to see a lot of people that I went to school with, that I haven’t seen in years.”
Every member of the Hall, from the newest to the original class, were invited to the event, which took place at the Glenn A. Gallagher Centre at the Ohio Eastern Star Home.
There were 10 new inductees this year to the Hall of Fame. However, there had never been a banquet to honor the athletes, coaches and contributors who earned a spot. So, the spotlight shone on all of them.
The 10 newest inductees — who were each honored with a plaque and a certificate at the event — were Mike Abell (graduated in ’72), Corey Auker (’98), Carter Cassell (’10), Nick Coon (’05), William “Brownie” Corcoran (’21), Michael Lybarger (’07), Travis Popham (’06), Tom Spreng (’00), Norm Steagall (’53) and Andrew Thompson (’02).
The Hall was the branchild of John Fair and Kent Miller, both coaches at Mount Vernon High School at the time. They came up with the idea while eating pizza sometime in the late 1980s (they’re not actually sure when.)
“We wrote out a list of criteria,” Miller said. “Then we wrote out a list of people who fit those criteria. We gave it to the coaches, who played with it a bit. And before we knew it, we had the first Hall of Fame class.”
To be considered for the Hall, an athlete must meet one of the following criteria, which have not changed since that day many years ago:
•Reach the podium at the state level.
•Elected First or Second Team All-Ohio.
•Display outstanding athletic accomplishment in high school.
For a team to qualify, it must meet one of these criteria:
•Win the OCC championship.
•Win the district championship.
•Finish in the Top 5 at a state tournament or meet.
Each Hall member, both teams and individuals, were honored with pictures on the wall along a big hallway where student lockers were housed. The Hall has since been moved to an area near the gym.
“I prefer it where it was,” Miller said. “The students could walk to their lockers and look at all the past athletes. Now I feel like I’m straining my neck.”
The idea of a banquet had been discussed since the Hall was first created. However, in 20 years, no attempt to have one had been made.
That changed last year, when Lynette Auker and Sarah Glibert heard about the idea.