POINT PLEASANT — Steve Safford, president of the Point Pleasant High School Athletic Hall of Fame committee, recently announced the names of the new inductees for the class of 2016.
The new class consists of six players, two boosters and one coach. Entering as players are: Elliott Dorsey (1993), BJ Grady (1996), Steve Howard (1975), James Sanders (1990), Brent Rollins (1999) and Jay Minton (1980). Being inducted as boosters are Mario Liberatore and Charles Smith while David Bodkin is the lone coach.
Activities for the Hall of Fame weekend start at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16 in the common area of PPHS. This is a tailgate party open to the public with the inductees as honored guests. They will later be introduced during pregame ceremonies at the Point Pleasant vs. Logan football game. Following the game the public is invited to attend a gathering at the Lighthouse Pub and Grill. The Hall of Fame dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 in the common area at PPHS. The class of 2016 will again be introduced and presented with their individual Hall of Fame award. Tickets can be purchased at Ohio Valley Bank, Farmers Bank and the Point Pleasant River Museum or at the door prior to the dinner.
More on this year’s inductees:
David Bodkin came to Point Pleasant following graduation from Glenville State College in 1970. He had played baseball and basketball in college as well as being on the bowling team. Bodkin began his coaching career at Point Pleasant Junior High coaching basketball from 1970-1976. In 1972 he started a 15-year career of coaching football/track at PPJHS. He made the switch to high school varsity football and basketball in 1988, serving as assistant boys coach in both sports, 14 years in basketball and 26 years in football. Bodkin was also the girl varsity basketball coach for 7 years (1997-2003). His Point Pleasant coaching career has spanned over 40 years, during that time Bodkin earned his Master’s Degree from Marshall University.
Elliott Dorsey graduated in 1993 following an outstanding athletic career in basketball, tennis and golf. He was the leading scorer in Class AAA his senior season having a single game high of 44 points in the 1993 sectional tournament. Dorsey was the team MVP in 1992 and 93 while earning All-Conference honors in 1993 along with Special Honorable Mention All-State. He was also honorable mention in 1992. Being a tennis player for three years he won the sectional singles and doubles championship in 1992-93. He was a two-year letterman in golf with his team being conference champs in 1992.
BJ Grady graduated in 1996 after challenging several Big Black rushing records in a productive football career. He led the team in rushing all three years. At the time he had the second-highest single season rushing yards (1,178) in school history. He also had the second-highest career rushing yards (2,212) in school history and to top that, Grady had the second-most all-purpose yards (2,477) in school history. He was a three-year letterman being selected captain his senior year and named the MVP both his junior and senior seasons. He received the Iron Man Award his junior year and was Honorable Mention All-State in class AAA. During his senior season he was Special Honorable Mention All-State in AAA and named to the All-SEOAL team. Grady was selected to play in the prestigious North-South football game. His skills were not restricted to just football. He was a three-year letterman in baseball, receiving the Gold Glove award his senior year.
Steve Howard graduated in 1975 with several championships recorded to his credit. He was on the wrestling team in 1973-75 with records of (25-2) and (34-1). In 1974, he was Region 1 AAA champion and third place in the state championship. In the 1975 season Howard was again the Region 1 AAA champion and won second place in the state championship. He lost 5-2 to the top rated wrestler in the state. Howard went on to wrestle four years at West Virginia University being a starter his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. He helped coach the PPHS team when time permitted.
Mario Liberatore is being honored for his passion to serve this community and the significant improvements that have been made to PPJ/SHS school and athletic facilities. He was finance chairman of the Point Pleasant Jr/Sr High School Athletic Facility Committee. Liberatore was instrumental in raising the money for the new football field, bleachers and the eight-lane track. Contributions came from local businesses, individuals and local foundations (Gordon and Mildred Jackson) and Hell’s Bells Golf Tournament.
Liberatore put together a $700,000 bond issue to complete the funding so the complex could become a reality. He also assisted in raising funds for the restrooms and concession facility. PPJ/SHS now has four new tennis courts built to United States Tennis Association standards, thanks to the $240,000 he raised for the project. He also helped raise funds to improve the baseball and softball fields. At the same time, he co-chaired the Auditorium Committee to increase the seating capacity of the new auditorium from 365 seats, the state allowed, to 800 seats with an orchestra pit. This was completed at a cost of $850,000. Liberatore served on the committee to get a bond passed to build and refurbish the schools in Mason County. He also put together financing packages for several million dollars to go with state funding so all school projects could be completed. Liberatore has assisted many former players in obtaining opportunities after graduation from high school. He was a West Virginia Volunteer of the year for his many hours of work to make the Point Pleasant Sports Complex reality.
Brent Rollins graduated in 1999 after a stellar athletic career in football, basketball and baseball. Rollins was a four-year starter at quarterback and defensive back, leading three consecutive teams to the AAA playoff. He was selected MVP his senior year and recognized as Special Honorable Mention All-State both his junior and senior years. He had also been All-State Honorable Mention his sophomore season. Rollins was a two time All-Conference SEOAL player and All Academic four years. In basketball Rollins was a three-year letter winner being the starting point guard his junior and senior years. He was All-Academic for four years, earning the PPHS basketball GPA Award in 1998. He also excelled in baseball being a four-year starter with a lifetime batting average of .386. He had 120 career hits with 17 home runs. He earned All-State Honorable Mention his junior year while being co-captain and team MVP his senior season.
He was given the top offensive award in 1996 and 97 and named to the All-SEOAL team in 1997-98. Rollins was honored to be named the valedictorian of his graduating class, he went on to play baseball for three years at Ohio Northern University where he was Second-Team All-Academic All-Conference while earning a RPH pharmacy degree. In 2009, he obtained a Ph.D. in pharmacy administration at the University of Georgia, along with an associate professor of pharmacy administration-Philadelphia College of Medicine. In 2014, he co-authored and published a pharmaceutical marketing textbook.
James Sanders graduated in 1990, having played soccer since its inception in Point Pleasant in 1980. He was a three-year letterman for the Big Blacks. He played on the 1988 undefeated regular season team, reaching the regional finals, and in 1989, the Big Blacks were a state semifinal team. He was named defensive MVP, a team captain, All-PAC and a two-time First team All-State selection in 1988 and 1989. He was selected state goalkeeper in 1987 and represented West Virginia regionally. He also played three years in the West Virginia Olympic development program, playing every minute of every game.
On scholarship at Marshall University, an injury sidelined his playing career. He graduated with a B.A. and M.S. from Marshall and has been a coach now for more than 20 years. He coached at Point Pleasant High School, was a youth soccer coach and is now a soccer coach at Andover High School in Andover, Minn.
Jay Minton graduated in 1980, having been a three-year letterman in football and basketball. He was the fullback on the 1979 team that went 11-1. Their lone loss was to Saint Albans in the AAA state semifinals. He was a co-captain and named to the second team offense on the West Virginia Southern team. He earned a Bachelors of Education from Florida Atlantic University and a Masters in Education Administration from Xavier University.
He has enjoyed a 34-year coaching career in Florida and Ohio. His overall record is 215-72. His Boca Raton High School record was 53-24 and at Wayne High School in Dayton, Ohio, he was 162-48.
At Boca Raton playing in (5A) class his teams won two district championships, District 5A champions, was in the state 5A final eight in 1995. He was named coach of the year four times. In Division 1 at Wayne, he had nine conference championships, 13 playoff appearances, four times regional champions, and has been the runnerup four times in the state champion ship game, GWOC coach of the year eight times, Dayton All-Area Coach of the Year multiple times and Southwest District Coach of the year four times.
He coached 15 NFL players, NCAA All-Americans, and more than 300 football scholarship collegiate athletes. A few of the more notable players known in this area that he coached are: Braxton Miller (Ohio State), Jeff Berk (WVU), Khori Ivy (WVU), Marcus Freeman (Ohio State), and Will Allen (Ohio State/Steelers).
Charles Smith is being honored as he begins his 41st year as a devoted volunteer booster for the Point Pleasant Big Blacks football program. He is a welder by trade and each time the bleachers at former Sanders Memorial Field had to be repaired by replacing boards, scraping and painting or welding broken sections, he was there with his paint brush and torch.
In 1978, the old bleachers were removed and relocated at the end of the field, creating 2,000 more seats. New, much larger bleachers were then erected. Both projects required hours of welding by the volunteer force.
In 1984, Charles and Bill Rhodes built a large stainless steel grill, and along with other boosters, began cooking every Thursday night during the season to feeding the players. When scrimmage sessions were scheduled with other schools, they would feed both teams. When the Big Blacks play away games, he loads his truck with drinks and sandwiches to feed the players following the game. He has quietly been there all these years, not looking for personal attention or notoriety but simply wanting to help the coaches and players.