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Aug. 20, 2002
Miami University's athletic department has announced that seven individuals are to be inducted into its 2002-03 Hall of Fame class. Among those receiving the honor are Don Barnette '56, an all-Mid-American Conference basketball performer as well as the first African-American to suit up for the Red and White; Kristy Burch '90, Miami softball's only two-time first-team all-MAC athlete; Nancy Denny '92, a two-time NCAA all-American and three-time MAC javelin champion; Terry Morris '87, the 1986 winner of the MAC's Vern Smith Award for the league MVP and the quarterback of Miami's last MAC championship squad; Russ Pickering '80, a three-time MAC wrestling champion; Chris Sexton '93, the 1993 MAC Baseball Player of the Year and a three-time first-team all-league selection; and Bucky Walter '50, one of the top pole vaulters in Miami history as well as a member of three MAC championship track teams.
With the addition of the seven, Miami's Hall of Fame has now grown to 174 members. This year's class, the 34th edition, is to be inducted at halftime of the Miami-Iowa football game on Saturday, Sept. 7.
A two-year letterwinner in basketball, Barnette broke the color-barrier at Miami University when he came to campus in 1952, becoming the first African-American to play basketball at Miami. A member of Miami's 1954-55 championship team, he went on to earn first-team all-MAC and honorable mention all-American honors during his final season in 1955-56. Following his three years as a starting guard for the Red and White, Barnette went on to spend three years in the Navy where he made the fleet and all-Navy team. From there, the Middletown, Ohio native spent his next four years earning world-wide notoriety as the "Dribbling Wizard," playing for the Harlem Globetrotters.
One of the most prolific pitchers in Miami softball history, Burch left Miami in 1990 holding every school single-season and career pitching mark, including 15 records she set during her senior campaign. Burch's onfield accomplishments over her last two years at Miami made her the first and only Miami softball player to be named first-team all-MAC two years in a row. Her record of 25-9 with a 0.74 ERA in 1990 led Miami to its second winning season since joining the MAC.
In a conference where women's track and field has a great tradition of nationally successful athletes, Denny earned a spot as one of the MAC's all-time great javelin throwers. From 1990-92, she dominated the MAC, winning all three javelin titles and setting the league and school marks at the 1992 Track Championship with a throw of 172' 11". In 1991 and 1992, she finished sixth and eighth, respectively, at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, qualifying for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials. In 1992, she was named Miami's Female Athlete of the Year.
In a football program that had stressed the run over the pass, Morris set the Miami faithful on its ear from 1985-86, putting together some of the best passing marks in school history. His 1986 season totals for pass attempts (308), passes completions (193), yards (2,365), completion percentage (.627) and touchdowns (19) still all rank among the top 10 in school history. In his remarkable 1986 season, Morris lead the Red and White to an upset victory at LSU and its first MAC title in seven years, earning himself first-team all-MAC and MAC Player of the Year honors.
In the history of Miami wrestling, Pickering is one of most indelible names. After getting off to a slow start his freshman campaign, Pickering put together one of the most successful careers in Miami history, running off three straight MAC Championships in the 167-pound class from 1978-80. In 1979, he posted a single-season record of 36-11 and finished eighth at the NCAA Championship, earning MAC Outstanding Wrestler of the Meet and all-America honors.
One of just two players in Miami baseball history to win MAC Player of the Year, Sexton will long be remembered for his exceptional hitting and stellar defense as an outfielder for the Red and White. A three-time first-team all-MAC selection, Sexton set four school single-season records, including batting average (.429), doubles (19), triples (6) and walks (39), while lettering four times for the Red and White. His career marks for batting average (.382) and triples (14) still stand today. In 10 career offensive categories, Sexton still ranks in the top 10 in nine. Besides his work on the field, he also excelled academically, earning Verizon Academic All-District honors in 1991 and 1993.
The final member of the 2002 Hall of Fame Class will go down as one of the most decorated pole vaulters in Miami history. Between 1946 and 1950, Walter was a part of three MAC championship squads, individually capturing three MAC titles, two Central Collegiate crowns and five AAU championships. In his Miami career, Walters won the pole vault event an impressive 33 times, earning him a spot among the top 10 pole vaulters in the nation.