SSU hosted the 2017 Hall of Fame Banquet

Dr. Phil Blau giving his acceptance speech for the 2017 Ralph Kavanaugh Home Team Award.

Left to right: Jeff Hamilton, Director of Athletics, Corey Culbertson, Phillip Butler, Mallory (Albers) Pleiman, and President Rick Kurtz at the 2017 Hall of Fame.

PORTSMOUTH – Shawnee State University hosted its 2017 Hall of Fame this past Friday, Jan. 27 and welcomed three new members to be inducted as part of the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

At this year’s banquet, SSU honored Mallory (Albers) Pleiman (women’s basketball), Phillip Butler (baseball) and Corey Culbertson (men’s cross country) into the SSU Hall of Fame.

Albers is the 13th member in the history of the women’s basketball team to be inducted into the Hall of Fame; Butler marks the sixth member of the baseball team, and Culbertson is the second to represent the men’s cross country team in the Hall of Fame.

Dr. Phil Blau, professor of mathematics and Director of the general education program at SSU, was also recognized at this year’s banquet. Blau was named the 2017 Ralph Kavanaugh Home Team Award for his many contributions to Shawnee State’s Athletics as a Faculty Athletics Representative, as well as for his efforts in overseeing the additions of the six new intercollegiate teams as part of Athletics expansion.

Jeff Hamilton, head coach of men’s basketball team and Director of Athletics Department, was also present at the ceremony to announce future plans of the Athletics expansion, which included the addition of two new intercollegiate teams, men and women’s bowling. He also made the announcement that he will be stepping down as head coach at the end of the 2016-17 season as part of the expansion program. In correspondence to that announcement, Hamilton named Delano Thomas, current assistant coach of the men’s team, as the fifth head coach in SSU men’s basketball history and will start at the beginning of the 2017-18 season.

“I believe that Coach Thomas is the perfect candidate to continue leading our basketball program and take it where it should be in the Mid-South Conference. He already has the respect in the locker room and I know he will continue to grow as he takes over and makes his mark in the program,” said Hamilton. “I think this will be an incredibly smooth transition and I am excited to see him grow as a coach and mentor as he runs his own program.”

Hamilton also announced a preview of Phase III of the expansion plans, which includes renovations to the James A. Rhodes Athletic Center. Plans are already underway and will include renovations to the Warsaw Natatorium, an expansion to the Hall of Fame Lobby, as well as a new varsity weight room.

The 2017 Hall of Fame Banquet was made possible through the 2017 Hall of Fame Committee and the SSU Athletics Department.