The rolls for both the Ashland University Hall of Fame and Student-Athletes of the Year have grown once again, as a combined nine deserving honorees have been selected for their respective honors.
AU's 2017 Hall of Fame class features Brandon Cornell (baseball), Heather Lefford Edborg (softball), Amber Rall Groves (women's basketball), Tim Houseman (football), Kelly Jacobs (women's soccer), Roger Lyons (men's basketball) and Mark Smithberger (baseball). The AU 2017 male and female Student-Athletes of the Year, respectively, are Adam Shaheen (football) and Kelsey Peare (women's basketball).
In addition, Mark McClintock has been chosen as the 2017 Eagle Forever Award recipient.
The annual Ashland University Hall of Fame induction and brunch will be Saturday, Oct. 14, at 9:30 a.m., in the Faculty Room at the John C. Myers Convocation Center. Reservations can be made by contacting the AU athletic department at 419-289-5441.
Information on this year's Hall of Fame inductees follows:
Brandon Cornell (Baseball/Class of 2005) – An outfielder from 2001-04, Cornell's statistics more than have stood the test of time since his Eagle career came to an end. A second-team National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) All-American and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a senior, Cornell continues to have the most career triples (22) and total bases (434) in Ashland history, and is second all-time in career hits (255) and runs scored (213).
Cornell also continues to claim the program's single-season record for triples (10), and is third all-time at Ashland in career batting average (.392). He earned first-team American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) all-region honors in 2003 and 2004, and was a three-time All-GLIAC choice – two first-team (2003-04) and one honorable mention (2002).
Following his days as an Eagle, Cornell played two seasons in the independent Frontier League.
Heather Lefford Edborg (Softball/Class of 1995) – A third baseman/shortstop in 1993 and 1994, Edborg came to Ashland after two seasons at Erie Community College. In just two seasons as an Eagle, she quickly put her stamp on the program.
Edborg continues to sport the highest career batting average (.467) in Ashland history, and has the second-most career triples of any Eagle (19). Her .497 average as a senior also is the Eagle program record, and her 10 triples in 1994 and nine in 1993 are second and third in program history, respectively.
The AU female Student-Athlete of the Year in 1995, Edborg was a two-time second-team All-American, and, in 1994, a first-team GTE Academic All-America. She would stay at Ashland for one season as a student assistant coach in 1995. Edborg passed away in 2013.
Amber Rall Groves (Women's Basketball/Class of 2007) – The most prolific scorer in Ashland women's basketball history, Groves, a guard from 2003-07, becomes the first player in the program's NCAA tournament era to be inducted. Groves continues to claim program records for most career points (2,087), most points in a game (42), most field goals made without a miss in a game (11), highest single-season scoring average (23.4), most career field goals made (774) and most career free throws made (484).
Groves, who started for one NCAA tournament team and came off the bench for another, also has the program's second-best career scoring average (17.8). She was the GLIAC Freshman of the Year in 2004, was named All-GLIAC first team three times and was a member of the All-GLIAC Tournament team in 2005.
Tim Houseman (Football/Class of 1994) – A tackling machine at linebacker for some of the best defenses in program history, Houseman (1990-93) is the last Eagle to record three consecutive 100-plus-tackle seasons. In two of those campaigns, 1991 and 1992, Ashland led NCAA Division II in total defense, and in 1992, Houseman was a key member of the top rushing defense in the country.
Houseman's 400 career tackles for fourth-most in Eagle football history, and his 143 stops in 1992 are sixth-most in a single season in Ashland history. He led the team in tackles as both a junior and senior, and was an All-American in 1993. Houseman was a two-time All-Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference selection (first-team as a senior, second-team as a junior), and he played in the D-II All-Star Game following his senior campaign.
Kelly Jacobs (Women's Soccer/Class of 1999) – Jacobs was a standout at two positions for the Eagles at the start of the women's soccer program from 1995-98. As a forward, she earned first-team CoSIDA All-American, co-GLIAC Freshman of the Year and first-team All-GLIAC honors. As a senior defender, Jacobs was first-team All-Great Lakes region and first-team all-conference.
Jacobs was an integral member of the freshman class which started the Ashland women's soccer program in 1995, and played in the NCAA postseason in both 1997 and 1998, including a Division II Final Four appearance as a senior. She is tied for first all-time at Ashland in games played (78), sixth in career goals (33) and points (81), and tied for eighth in career assists (15).
In Ashland's single-season rankings, Jacobs is eighth in goals (17, 1995) and ninth in points (38, 1995).
Roger Lyons (Men's Basketball/Class of 1974) – Lyons was a staple of the Ashland College/University men's basketball program for two decades, first as a player and then as the program's winningest head coach.
In two stints as Eagles head coach (1986-87 to 1988-89 and 1996-97 to 2008-09), Lyons won a program-high 246 games, including a career-high 20 during the 1999-2000 season. Guiding Ashland in both the Great Lakes Valley Conference and the GLIAC, Lyons led the program to the Division II postseason in 1987-88, and recruited and coached LeBron Gladden, the program's all-time leading scorer. In 1988, he was named National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) district and GLVC Coach of the Year.
As a player (1970-71 to 1973-74), Lyons took the floor for legendary head coach Bill Musselman, and was a team captain as both a junior and senior.
Mark Smithberger (Baseball/Class of 2002) – A left-handed pitcher from 1999-2002, Smithberger continues to rank as one of the top hurlers in Eagle baseball history.
Smithberger is tied for first in Ashland and GLIAC history in career wins (37), and is the program's all-time leader, as well as the GLIAC's all-time leader, in innings pitched (358 1/3). He also is third among all Eagle pitchers in career strikeouts (299), and fifth in all-time appearances (68). Smithberger was a member of a pair of College World Series teams (1999 and 2002).
As a freshman, Smithberger earned second-team all-region and All-GLIAC, and GLIAC Freshman of the Year honors. He also was second-team all-region in 2001, second-team all-conference in 2000 and 2002, and first-team all-conference in 2001.
The Ashland University Hall of Fame now boasts 199 members.
The newest Ashland Student-Athletes of the Year, Shaheen was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the No. 45 overall pick in the 2017 National Football League Draft after catching an Ashland-record and Division II single-season tight end-record 16 touchdown passes as a junior in 2016, while Peare helped the Eagle women to a 37-0 record and a D-II national championship by hitting 51.5 percent from 3-point range and averaging 11.3 points and 3.8 assists per game.
The AU Student-Athlete of the Year award has been presented each year since 1988.
McClintock (Class of 1969) is a decades-long supporter of Eagle athletics, and serves on the AU Hall of Fame Committee. He becomes the 21st recipient of the Eagle Forever Award.