Six added to Maryville College's Wall of Fame

One competed with scholarship athletes from large schools like the University of Tennessee, Tennessee Tech and the University of Chattanooga – and often won. One was a member of a football team that still enjoys the College’s second-best four-year record in 114 years of football. Three were crucial in establishing the winning reputations enjoyed today by their respective sports at MC. Four have their names in the MC record books, and one has been instrumental in keeping student-athletes healthy and strong for nearly 25 years.

On Friday, Maryville College inducted six individuals into its Wall of Fame: James Thurston, cross-country and track legend and a member of the class of 1951; William Napier, a gridiron champion from 1961 until 1964; Kandis Schram, current head volleyball coach and outstanding student-athlete of the early 1980s; soccer standout Randy Evans, a member of the class
of 1992; Leah Onks-England, a record-holder from the 1990-1994 basketball squads; and team physician Dr. Ken Bell.

The six were presented plaques and honored during a luncheon ceremony attended by nearly 100 people in the Proffitt Dining Room.

Established in the mid 1970s, the Maryville College Wall of Fame award recognizes outstanding individuals who have contributed to Maryville College athletics. Recognition is in two categories: "Regular Membership" is reserved for those student-athletes who competed for Maryville College, displaying excellence in athletic competition. Nominees for regular membership must be graduates of the College. "Special Membership" is granted to those people who have been of outstanding value to the Maryville College Athletic Program.

Thurston outstanding leader for cross country and track
Jim Thurston was a runner at Maryville College, joining the cross country and track teams in 1948.

"Jim Thurston loved to run," said Randy Lambert, Maryville College athletic director and emcee for the presentations.

Lambert said that between 1948 and 1951, the cross country teams posted a 19-1 record, with their only loss coming from the University of Tennessee, the 1948 SEC champions.

Selected captain by his teammates, "Jim Thurston was a leader as he often finished in front of the pack," Lambert said. "The long, lean Thurston would blaze the trail for his teammates."

As a track star, Thurston participated in up to seven events during every meet.

In 1950, the college’s mile relay record was set by Thurston and three teammates at a meet against Tennessee.

Unfortunately, during the second track meet of his senior year, Thurston pulled his hamstring and was out most of the season. After going through intense physical therapy, Thurston was able to come back for the last meet of the season and the last meet of his collegiate career.

Following MC, Thurston joined the Navy and eventually the Naval Reserve. He returned to school to earn a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Florida and started his teaching career in the Pinellas County School District. He coached nine All-Americans.

Before retiring in 1989, Thurston took a three-year break from teaching to be a salary negotiation specialist in Washington D.C.

Jim married long-time girlfriend, Betty Hyman, a member of the class of 1953, and had four children. After Thurston’s retirement, he and Betty spent their time traveling until her death in 2004.

Napier leader of winning football teams
William "Bill" Napier, a former offensive and defensive lineman, started nearly every game for the Scots from 1961 until 1964.

Referring to Napier as "a powerful young man from Loudon, Tennessee," Lambert told those in attendance at the induction ceremony that the alumnus was a major factor in "impressive wins" over rivals Centre, Georgetown, Mars Hill and Hanover colleges during the time he wore the No. 72 jersey.

A 4-4 record posted after the 1962 season "did not sit well with the competitive Napier," Lambert said. "He was motivated to lead his team to winning records for his final two collegiate seasons."

And he did. The 1963 and 1964 squads finished 8-1 and 7-1, respectively. The 1963 season ended with a come-from-behind victory against rival Carson Newman.

From 1961 until 1964, the Scots posted a record of 25-8, which is the second-best four-year span in the 114-year history of Maryville College football.

After graduating in the spring of 1965, Napier received master’s degrees from the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama. Enrolling at Ohio State University, Napier not only received his doctorate, but stayed to become the executive assistant to four presidents. He also served as secretary of the Ohio State University Board of Trustees.

He is married to the former Susan Quigg, a member of MC’s class of 1964. They have two children.

Currently, he is the vice mayor of Upper Arlington, Ohio, and serves on the city council. Napier is also the senior advisor to the president at Cleveland State University.

Schram still a major part of college athletics even after graduation
"In the fall of 1981, Maryville College was the host of the first-ever NCAA Division III Final Four championship for volleyball. An MC volleyball player volunteered to be a ball girl for this prestigious event," Lambert began his introduction of inductee Kandis Schram, head volleyball coach and associate athletic director at the College. "Little did she know that Maryville would become her home for the next 25 years and she would be coaching the sport she loves as her career."

A setter on the volleyball court, she ended her first season with the Scots as the squad’s most improved player, contributing to a 25-13 record and a No. 10 national ranking. In the spring, she contributed to the women’s softball team as pitcher.

In her junior year, Kandis Schram was awarded the Coaches Award in volleyball and made a smooth transition into the world of fast-pitch softball, eventually becoming the first pitcher in the school’s history to pitch a shutout in fast pitch. At the end of the softball season that year, she was awarded Offensive MVP Honors.

During her senior year, Schram was awarded the Coaches Award for the second consecutive year for volleyball. And in acknowledgment of her efforts over the previous four years in three sports, she was named the 1985 J.D. Davis Award winner.

Only one month after she graduated, the alumna was hired to head the college’s volleyball team. In her 21 seasons, Schram has led her teams into post-season play, including five NCAA national tournaments, and earned numerous coaching awards. She has been named the Great South Athletic Conference’s Volleyball Coach of the Year five years in a row.
On Oct. 10, she celebrated her 500th victory in a game against Fisk University.

Evans put best foot forward with soccer team
Randy Evans transferred to Maryville College from Tennessee Wesleyan in 1987.

"The fast, quick-footed forward set the Old Dominion Athletic Conference on its heels and led the conference in scoring in 1987," Lambert told the crowd. "[Evans’] efforts helped the Scots to an 11-6-1 season, and he earned a spot on the All-South team."

Subsequent seasons improved on the 1987 record and enjoyed national rankings. In his sophomore year, Evans produced one of the top offensive seasons in the history of Maryville College soccer, scoring 28 goals in 20 games. With that statistic, he led the nation, and his 28-goal total is still a school record.

"During his three year stint with MC soccer, Randy helped the Scots to a 38-16-3 record. He is firmly implanted in the Maryville College record book ?"

Before Randy Evans graduated cum laude in 1992 with a degree in business, he made the 1990 Olympic development team and played in France. After graduating he continued to play soccer with the United States Indoor Soccer League for the Nashville Metros. In 1992, Evans joined Vanderbilt University as assistant coach for the Lady Commodores. In the next seven years, he helped build Vanderbilt into a "perennial top-25 program," Lambert said.

In 1999, Evans was named head coach of women’s soccer at Oklahoma University. He married Kendyl Michner in 2003.
Evans’ responsibilities as a head coach kept him from attending the luncheon. MC Head Soccer Coach Pepe Fernandez accepted the award on his behalf.

Onks-England led fellow teammates in basketball seasons
In her first year on the women’s basketball team, Leah Onks-England, a William Blount High School graduate, led the team in scoring in more than half the season’s games. The trend of scoring and leading stayed with the young Blount Countian through out her collegiate career, Lambert said at the induction ceremony.

"Her freshman year was a success, but this was only a glimpse of what was to come," the athletic director continued. "Head Coach Wes Moore would rely a little more on Leah during her sophomore season. She would again lead the team in scoring in 18 of 28 games. She raised her scoring efforts to an outstanding 18.4 points per game and scored over 500 points for the season."

Adding the 500 points to her contributions from the previous year, Onks-England celebrated her 1,000th career point during her sophomore year and helped her team get a bid to the NCAA championship.

As a junior, she was named the team’s first Kodak All-American, and in her senior year scored her 2,000th point. Overall, she had helped the 1991-1994 teams establish a 93-13 record and a winning percentage of 85 percent.

The two-time Kodak All-American was the leading scorer in 73 out of 109 games, earning a total 2,222 career points, which places her second in the record books for all-time leading scorer on the women’s basketball team.

After graduation, Onks-England became a teacher and girls’ basketball and softball coach in the Blount County School System. She and husband Patrick England have two children.

Bell provides high level of care as team physician
Inducted under the "special membership" guidelines, Dr. Ken Bell, physician and surgeon with Maryville Orthopedic Clinic, was honored for his nearly 25 years of "dedicated service to hundreds of MC student-athletes" as team physician, Lambert said in his introduction.

Originally from Oak Ridge, Tenn., Bell graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, attended medical school at the University of Tennessee at Memphis and completed his residency for orthopedic surgery in that city.

Though not a graduate of Maryville College, Bell’s connection to the liberal arts school goes back more than a century, Lambert told the crowd. His grandfather, Arthur Bell, attended preparatory classes at Maryville College in 1905, and his
father, Bill, graduated from the college in 1940.

The connection was a "fortunate" one for the College, the athletic director pointed out when talking about the Bells’ decision to move to the Maryville community after Ken completed his education in Memphis.

"When most people think of a team physician, they think of preseason physicals or a doctor coming to the aide of an injured athlete on the field," Lambert said. "Dr. Bell has served admirably in that role, but it is his vision of what sports medicine should be that has guided our sports medicine program to its level of excellence.

"When our coaches bring a recruit to Maryville College, they always bring the athlete by the athletic training facility to brag about the quality of care that our athletes receive," the athletic director continued. "This is a testament to the guidance of Dr. Ken Bell."

Lambert went on to say that the Bells’ contributions to the College didn’t end in athletics. Bell also serves as medical director for the College’s Mountain Challenge program. He and wife Patty are members of the President’s Circle for annual giving and financially support improvements in the athletic training facility, including donations of needed equipment.

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