Muskingum University will induct its newest members into the Athletic Hall of Fame during Homecoming Weekend on October 14 at the M-Club Breakfast. This year's class includes Shawn Douglass '04 (Track and Field), Rudy Gerlach '56 (Football), William C. Hockaday '01 (Wrestling), Cara Thompson '04 (Cross Country) and Dan Hughes '77 (Special Category).
The event will be held on campus as part of Muskingum's 96th Homecoming Weekend. The honorees will also be recognized during halftime at the Homecoming football game against Baldwin Wallace in McConagha Stadium at 1:30 p.m. They will join 166 other Muskies who have been selected for this prestigious honor in the last 37 years.
Shawn Douglass '04 (Track and Field)
Shawn Douglass is one of 12 outdoor men's track and field athletes who have notched All-American status during his athletic career at Muskingum. He achieved this honor during the 2002 campaign, placing sixth at the NCAA Division III National Championships in the 200-meter dash (21.73 seconds).
Douglass went on to be a three-time 100-meter dash Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Champion (2001-03), a two-time 200-meter dash OAC Champion (2002-03), a 4x100 meter OAC Champion in 2002, and 4x100 meter OAC Runner-Up in 2001. He also broke the school record in the 4x100 meter race in 2002 (41.82 seconds). The record still holds today for outdoor track and field.
For indoor track and field, he was a 4x160 meter All-OAC (2002), a 4x400 meter All-OAC (2003), and broke the school record in the 4x400 meter (2003) with the time of 3:21.99. That record still holds today.
Shawn Douglass graduated from Muskingum in 2004 with a B.S. in business.
Rudy Gerlach '56 (Football)
Rudy Gerlach helped lead the Muskingum football program to a 14-2-1 record and an Ohio Athletic Conference championship during his final two years on the team. In his first year of playing, the 1954 squad registered a 6-2-1 overall record and a 5-1-1 OAC record. His second and final year turned out to be one for the record books, as it was the first undefeated season (8-0 overall, 7-0 OAC) in Muskingum football history under the legendary Head Coach Ed Sherman in 1955. During that same year, the squad captured the OAC Football Championship.
In 1954, Gerlach was named Outstanding Offensive Lineman of the Year and named Outstanding Defensive Lineman honoree in 1955. He earned All-Ohio honors in 1954 and 1955, while notching Little All-American honors in '55. He also served as the Faculty Athletic Representative in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and in the OAC.
Though his football career at Muskingum was cut short due to serving in the Marines for three years, he not only excelled on the field, but in the classroom as well. From 1957-1993, he served as a professor at Muskingum teaching chemistry and chemical safety to industrial personnel.
Rudy Gerlach graduated from Muskingum in 1956 with a B.S. in chemistry.
William C. Hockaday '01 (Wrestling)
William C. Hockaday was a four-year letterwinner on the Muskingum wrestling team from 1998-2001 and was the team co-captain in 2000 and 2001. In 1999, he placed third in the OAC 126 pound weight class and was named to the All-Ohio Athletic Conference team. The 2000 season would be one to remember as Hockaday led the Muskies to an OAC Championship title. During that same year, he was named the National Sports Writer's Academic All-American. The accolades continued to pile up for Hockaday in 2001 as he was an NCAA Division III National Qualifier, NCAA Division III Academic All-American, the OAC Champion in the 133 pound weight class, All-Ohio Athletic Conference, and was the Gregg Riggar "Dedication to Sport Award" winner.
William C. Hockaday graduated from Muskingum in 2001 with a B.S. in environmental science and chemistry.
Cara Thompson '04 (Cross Country)
Cara Thompson excelled on the cross country course as she was a three-time NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional Qualifier and Muskingum Invitational Champion from 2000-2002 for the Muskingum women's team. In addition, she was a two-time First Team All-OAC and two-time NCAA Division III All-Great Lakes Regional Team selection in 2000 and 2001. Other honors include being crowned the Marietta Invitational Champion, being named to the All-Ohio Intercollegiate Cross Country Team and earning the prestigious USTCA Academic All-American award in 2002. In 2000 and 2002, she collected the Most Valuable Runner Award from her peers at MU.
Cara Thompson graduated from Muskingum in 2004 with a B.A. in psychology.
Dan Hughes '77 (Special Category)
Dan Hughes, who is the newly appointed Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) head basketball coach of the Seattle Storm, has been highly successful in the basketball world. He has coached hundreds of athletes between the high school, college, and professional level for the past 38 years. He has mentored and helped more than 25 former players and assistant coaches get a head basketball coaching or administrative job in the college and professional ranks.
Before Hughes stepped into the WNBA, he got his first coaching job as a men's graduate assistant coach at Miami University (Ohio). At Miami, he helped the squad to a Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship and soared through to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division I Tournament. After that, he was named the head boys basketball coach at a local high school. During the five years there, he clinched a Sectional and District Championship. From 1982-1997 he would go on to be an assistant men's college basketball coach at Mount Union, Baldwin Wallace, and Toledo.
He received his first professional assistant coach offer from the newly formed WNBA league at the Charlotte Sting in 1998. From 1999-2016, he went on to be the Head Coach and General Manager of the Charlotte Sting, Cleveland Rockers, and San Antonio Stars. He led the three different franchises to the WNBA playoffs, most in history of the league. He has also gathered 11 playoff appearances, four conference finals, and won the Western Conference Championship in 2008. Hughes holds the second most career wins in WNBA history.
Hughes tallied the highest honor a coach in the WNBA can get, twice, winning Coach of the Year. He collected his first in 2001 with the Cleveland Rockers and notched the second in 2008 with the San Antonio Stars.
For the USA Women's Basketball team, Hughes was a Player Selection Committee member for eight years (2008-2016), winning two Olympic gold medals and two World Championship gold metals.
Notable players and assistant coaches he has worked with include: Becky Hammon, who was named the first woman full-time National Basketball Association (NBA) Assistant Coach; Dawn Staley, who won her first NCAA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship as a head coach for South Carolina in 2017; Cheryl Reeve, a four-time WNBA Champion as the head coach for the Minnesota Lynx; and Sandy Brondello, the head coach of Phoenix Mercury and the 2014 WNBA Champions.
He has also worked as an ESPN/Fox television basketball analyst.
Hughes was a two-sport athlete for the Muskies, playing basketball for two years and baseball for three. As a two-time men's basketball letterwinner, he won two OAC Championships in 1973 and 1974, finishing with a 19-4 overall, 10-2 OAC record, and 16-6 overall, 10-2 OAC record, respectively. For the remaining two years, he was a student assistant coach, winning yet another OAC Championship in 1977. As a three-year baseball letterwinner, he was the OAC stolen base leader during the 1975 season.
Dan Hughes graduated from Muskingum in 1977 with a B.S. in physical education and history.