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2016 Red Devil Sports Hall of Fame Inductees

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Red Devil Sports Hall of Fame of Collins and Oak Hill high schools will induct a new class of honorees at this Friday's Oak Hill-Fayetteville Hall of Fame football game.
Induction ceremonies are planned at halftime of the game for new members James C. Martin Jr. (coach), Cornelius Jackson, Kelly Jo Epperly, Michael Lamar Martin, Roosevelt Lamon Lynch, Monty Wright, Romel "Stuff" Lynch, Christopher Lee Robinson and Chandra Nelson.
A pre-game reception will be held in the high school cafeteria beginning at about 6 p.m.

• • •
The first meeting establishing the Red Devil Sports Hall of Fame was held at Collins High School on Dec. 19, 1975. Eight individuals — Clarence Bruffey, James P. Painter, John Scott, Bill Moore, J.A. Bumgartner, Floyd Warrick, John Duda and Avis Partain — gathered to discuss and exchange ideas on the setting up of a “Sports Hall of Fame” in Oak Hill. The main focus was to honor and show sincere appreciation for Oak Hill’s athletes, associates and contributors down through the years. Partain has been considered the “father” of establishing the Oak Hill Sports Hall of Fame.
During the first meeting, the group established the mission that by the first football game in August 1976, they would hopefully induct the first class into the Red Devil Sports Hall of Fame. They would select individuals who as athletes, contributors and associates had and were continuing to have respect and honor as to be an Oak Hill Red Devil.
In the meetings that followed, the group decided to establish the categories for selection as follows: first they would honor players and coaches, followed by associates, such as doctors of medicine, trainers, queens, administrators, etc. and contributors of time, labor, monetary and equipment. The group felt this would encourage and stimulate interest in all athletic programs at Oak Hill (Collins) High School.
The first class of the Red Devil Sports Hall of Fame was held on Oct. 7, 1977, during the Princeton vs. Collins football game.
• • •
The 2016 inductees are:
• James C. Martin Jr., coach
Coach Martin graduated from Concord College in 1974 with his bachelor of science degree and from West Virginia College of Graduate School in 1980 with his masters degree in secondary education. He started his teaching career at Collins High School after graduating from Concord.
Martin’s coaching career began as an assistant under Collins High School head football coach Tom Mason. He was the head football coach at Mount Hope High School from 1980-1984, Midland Trail High School from 1985-1996 and Oak Hill High School from 1997-2003. Martin is currently volunteering as an assistant in football at OHHS for the 2016 season.
Other coaching honors bestowed on Martin are New River Valley Conference Coach of the Year 1990, '94 and '95; Coalfield Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2001; North/South football assistant coach in 1994, 2000 and 2013; and North/South football head coach in 1997. His head coaching record stands at 140-109.
Martin served his country during the Vietnam conflict. He currently resides in Fayetteville with his wife, Ginny, and they have two children, Chris and Bridgette, and are the proud grandparents of Caleb, Quinlin and Olivia.
• Cornelius Jackson
Cornelius attended Oak Hill High School from 1992-1996, where he participated in freshman football and four years of basketball. He was a three-time first-team all-state selection, captain of the 1996 all-state team and named the 1996 West Virginia State Player of the Year. Cornelius was also selected to the 1995 Top 50 Nike All-American Camp. He was selected to participate in the West Virginia North/South basketball game, where he received the MVP award.
After graduation, Jackson was recruited by the University of Tennessee, where he participated on the varsity team as a freshman. He decided to transfer to Marshall University after his first year at Tennessee. While playing at Marshall, Cornelius started every game during his three years of eligibility and was the fourth all-time leader in assists in school history. He was also selected to the 2000 pre-season All-MAC team. Cornelius graduated in 2001 with a degree in sociology with a minor in health education and is currently as assistant men’s basketball coach at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Cornelius states he is very proud that he follows his father, Jerome Fruit, a 1984 inductee, into the hall of fame.
Cornelius has twin daughters, Valessa and Tierra Jackson. He currently resides in Lakewood, Ohio.
• Kelly Jo Epperly
Kelly attended Oak Hill High School from 1993 to 1997, and she participated in soccer, basketball and tennis. She was selected four times to the first-team All-Coalfield Conference basketball and three times was recognized as an honorable mention in the All-State Girls Basketball Team. While playing tennis, Kelly qualified to the state tennis tournament all four years of her high school participation and was selected to the All-Coalfield Conference first team each year.
The OHHS girls soccer program was started in 1995, which allowed Epperly to participate in high school soccer for two years. Despite being a new team, the Oak Hill squad advanced to the regional level in the first year. During her soccer career, Kelly was twice selected to the All-Coalfield Conference first team and was selected by the state soccer coaches association to be on the All-State second team in 1995 and 1996.
After graduation from high school, Kelly received a scholarship to West Liberty State College, where she played tennis and was named to the WVIAC all-conference tennis team three times. She graduated from West Liberty with a degree in exercise science with minors in cardio/pulmonary rehabilitation and sports medicine. Kelly received her masters in occupational therapy from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004.
Kelly, the daughter of Jerry and Maria Epperly, resides in Oak Hill and works for Genesis Healthcare.
• Michael Lamar Martin
Lamar attended Oak Hill High School from 1992 to 1996, and he participated in football, basketball and track. He was selected to the All-State Football Team and received all-conference recognition while playing football at Oak Hill. Lamar was also named to play in the North-South Football Classic at the conclusion of his senior year.
After graduation, Lamar decided to attend Marshall University to continue his education and participate in football at the collegiate level. After three years at Marshall, he transferred to West Virginia State University, where he received his degree in criminal justice. Upon graduation from college, Lamar joined the United States Army and was deployed to Iraq. During his service in Iraq, Lamar earned the distinguished Bronze Star Medal. He retired from the US Army in 2011 after 10 years of service to his country.
After retiring from the Army, Lamar returned to West Virginia, where he became involved in coaching midget league football and youth wrestling. Lamar, his wife, Beth, and their children, Michael, Mason and Isabella, live in Nitro.
• Roosevelt Lamon Lynch
Lamon attended Oak Hill High School from 1991 to 1995, and he participated in football, basketball and baseball. He was named to the All-State football team during his senior year and was selected to play in the North-South football game held in June of 1995. Lamon was also named the impact player of the year, offensive player of the year, along with several other honors.
After graduating from OHHS, Lamon attended Glenville State College, where he participated in football and earned his degree in business/sports management, graduating in 2001. After graduation, Lamon followed in his father’s footsteps and worked as a coal miner for several years, but currently works with Tranzact Insurance Solutions.
Lamon has been involved in his community with coaching midget league football, Joe Aiello basketball and currently coaching his daughters’ team at Sts. Peter & Paul. Lamon enjoys fishing, spending time with his family, supporting local schools and watching his children excel in sports and pushing them to do their best as his father did for him.
Lamon and his wife, Jillian, live in Fayetteville with their children, Dietrick Penn, Samiah and Jayla.
• Monty Wright
Monty graduated from Oak Hill High School in 1997 after participating in basketball and football. He achieved many awards during his high school playing career. Monty was selected first-team all-state in football and basketball and was named Most Valuable Player in the 1997 North-South football game. He was honored by being named the Coalfield Conference Impact Player and Athlete of the Year, as well as being selected to the All-Fayette County football and basketball teams.

After graduation from high school, Monty was recruited to play basketball at Marshall University. At Marshall, Monty received the Mike D’Antoni playmaker award in 2001-2002 and the Jeff Battle Steals Award in 2002-2003. He also was part of a trio of Marshall University players that led the country in 3-point shooting percentage in 2001-2002. Monty played one year professionally in Holland after graduating from Marshall.
Monty earned his degree from Marshall in sports management and marketing in 2003. He currently owns his own business, Wright Way Trucking.
Monty resides in Oak Hill with his wife, Jessie, and their three children, Mason, Liam and step-daughter Kaylee Cook.
• Romel “Stuff” Lynch
Romel “Stuff” Lynch attended Oak Hill High School from 1987-1991, during which time he played freshman football, baseball and basketball. Stuff was named to the Fayette County Basketball all-tournament team and was selected to the West Virginia basketball all-state team on three separate occasions. The Red Devils advanced to the WVSSAC State Basketball Tournament in 1989, where they were crowned the AAA champions. Lynch was named to the all-tournament team for his performance during the state tournament. Among the multiple awards Romel received during his basketball career, it culminated with being named to the McDonalds All-American team.
After graduation from high school, he attended Marshall University and the College of West Virginia, where he played basketball. After completing his college career, he continues to live in Oak Hill, where he works for the USWS Well Services and continues to be involved in the sport he enjoyed over the years by serving stints as a coach at Collins Middle School, Oak Hill High School girls’ head coach and served three years as an assistant for the boys’ team.
Stuff resides in Oak Hill with his wife, Heather, and children, Sidney Scarbro, Jacob and Kaleb Lynch.
• Christopher Lee Robinson
Chris Robinson attended Oak Hill High School from 1988-1992, where he participated in football. Chris played football four years during his time at Oak Hill and was always known for his hard play and powerful hits on Friday nights at Red Devil Stadium. During his playing time, he was named second-team all-state in his junior year and selected first-team all-state his senior year. Also, during his senior year, he was awarded the Nick Navicki Award, the Bill Tompkins Memorial Award and named the Fayette Tribune Defensive Player of the Year. At the end of his senior year, Chris was selected to participate in the prestigious North-South football game, held in Charleston.
Chris currently is employed with the West Virginia Department of Highways, where he serves the citizens of Fayette County, as well as the State of West Virginia. He also serves as a voluntary firefighter for the Oak Hill Fire Department. Chris was awarded the Adjutant General Coin by the governor of West Virginia for service during the weather crisis in Charleston with the Department of Highways.
Chris has also served as a coach for the midget league football and the youth soccer programs in the Oak Hill area.
Chris currently resides in Oak Hill with his wife, Jeanine, and children, Braden and Sawyer.
• Chandra Nelson
Chandra attended Oak Hill High School from 1991 to 1995, where she participated in track and softball. During her years of participation, Chandra excelled in track and field, with her specialty being the shot put and discus. She was undefeated in the shot put during her junior and senior years. Chandra advanced from the track regional competition to the state track meet during her four years of participation, placing third her freshman and sophomore year and capturing first-place honors her junior and senior years.
After graduating from high school, Chandra attended Marshall University and later Liberty University, where she was a member of the track team. She was selected as the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year and competed in the hammer throw and shot put. Chandra earned her degree in criminal justice and her MA in human services counseling. Chandra is currently employed at the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
As one of her coaches stated, Chandra was the "ultimate teammate that encouraged, cheered and supported all of her teammates." She is considered by many to be one of the most talented discus and shot put athletes to have attended Oak Hill High School.
— Biographies supplied by the hall of fame committee.

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