Varsity “K” Hall of Fame to induct seven members Saturday


Kent State Basketball

Richie Mulhall

Kent State assistant basketball coach DeAndre Haynes has done it all with the university’s basketball program.

Having played more minutes for the Flashes than any other player in program history, Haynes became the first player in Kent State history named Mid-American Conference Player of the Year in 2006, led his team to MAC regular season and tournament titles, helped clinch a MAC Tournament berth and still stands tall as Kent State’s all-time assists (625) and steals (229) leader.

After graduating in 2006 and embarking on a six-year professional basketball career overseas, Haynes returned to his roots and entered Kent State’s coaching ranks in 2013.

Given all Haynes contributed to Kent State, the Detroit native is now being recognized for his many accomplishments and will enter a new rank this weekend.

Haynes, along with six other former Kent State student-athletes and standouts, will be inducted into this year’s 2014 Varsity “K” Hall of Fame this Saturday, Sept. 6.

“It was really big for me, and I was excited,” Haynes said. “It’s one of the biggest achievements, and not only do I get the support of the staff here, but I have three boys, and for them to see me get into the hall of fame, that’s what it’s about for me.”

This year’s “K” Hall of Fame class consists of seven members who will be introduced at the 36th annual induction ceremony. The Kent State Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will hold the ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Kent State Hotel and Conference Center.

The Inductees

Joining the Kent State Varsity “K” Athletics Hall of Fame are Haynes (men’s basketball, 2002-06), Tara Delaney (women’s golf, 2004-08), Kimberly Dimitroff (women’s soccer, 2004-07), Bob Hallen (football, 1994-97), Mike Lude (administrator, 1970-76), Bill Swettenham (men’s soccer, 1966-69) and Mindy Wirtz (women’s track & field, 1993-96). 

1. Haynes played basketball at Kent State from 2002 to 2006 and said when he first arrived his freshman year, a number of veteran players took him under their wings and taught him how to be a true leader, including Antonio Gates, a current tight end for the San Diego Chargers and Kent State grad whose basketball jersey number (44) was retired in 2010.

“I had some big shoes to fill, but I had great leaders that showed me the way, and whatever I learned from them my freshman year, I took a lot from them to lead by example on and off the floor, and I think that helped me become who I am today,” Haynes said.


2. Dimitroff comes into Saturday’s ceremony as the first women’s soccer player to be inducted into the Varsity “K” Hall of Fame. 

“I was very shocked to hear that when my coach called me,” Dimitroff said. “It’s a huge accomplishment, and I’m very proud of it. I had my team to back me up. I would have never got to where I was without the team to help me.”

The Toronto native said Rob Marinaro, the longtime head soccer coach, was instrumental in helping her attain hall-of-fame status. Because Marinaro also hailed from Toronto, he and Dimitroff shared a common bond, and she always regarded him as a father figure in her new home away from home.

“The reason I went to Kent State was because of coach Marinaro,” she said. “He was so personable and so down-to-earth, and during our unofficial visit, he made me feel comfortable and at home.”

During her four years at Kent State, Dimitroff was a four-time All-MAC selection and earned first-team all-conference honors in three seasons.  She was named MAC   Freshman of the Year in 2004, helping the Flashes to a MAC regular season championship. She still holds Kent State’s single season record for goals (16) and points (36) and held the career record for goals scored for seven years until Jessacca Gironda broke it last season.


3. Wirtz, a three-time All-American in discus, is yet another byproduct of the track and field program’s rich history of success.

“I believe I’m part of a legacy, and to have been a part of that and to have done that is pretty awesome,” Wirtz said. “I was really happy when I signed with Kent State, and I knew they had a great throwing program and was glad when I did something when I was there.”

In 1996, Wirtz was named MAC Track Athlete of the Year and placed 10th at the NCAA Championships in shot put. Among shot put, discus and weight throw, she was a seven-time MAC champion with two second place finishes. 

Wirtz said one of her biggest obstacles in track and field was the NCAA Championships.

“My freshman year I was overzealous, my sophomore year I was too cautious and then my junior year, it just came all together,” she said.

Wirtz placed as high as second in the 1995 NCAA Championships and never looked back after that pivotal moment in her life.

“I didn’t walk away feeling like I lost because I didn’t get first because I threw the farthest I’ve ever thrown before in my life and I did it in that meet,” Wirtz said. “There’s nothing else I could have done.”

The Medina native held the Kent State discus record for 19 years until junior Danniel Thomas broke the record this year and ranks seventh in shot put.


Other Inductees

4. Hallen was a four-year starting center and an All-MAC First Team selection in 1997. In 1998, Hallen became the first Kent State player to compete in the Senior Bowl, and later that year, the Atlanta Falcons selected Hallen in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Hallen’s football career flourished, as he went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL as a member of the Falcons, Chargers and Cleveland Browns.


5. Lude will add an administrative presence to Saturday’s ceremony, as he served as director of athletics from 1970-76.  In 1971, he hired Hall of Fame coaches Don James and Ron Gray.  The following year, Lude hired Tod Boyle, who led the Flashes to four MAC swimming titles. Lude’s tenure at Kent State produced the Flashes’ only outright MAC championship in football and a second place finish at the Men’s NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.


6. Long before Kent State disbanded its men’s soccer program, Swettenham played soccer from 1966-68, finishing his collegiate career as Kent State’s career leader in both points and assists. In 1967, he was selected to both the All-Ohio Team and the All-Midwest Team, and he was also tabbed Kent State’s Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year.


7. Delaney was named MAC Golfer of the Year in both 2006 and 2007.  She earned first-team All-MAC honors in all four seasons and led the Flashes to four straight conference championships. Delaney was also the co-medalist at the 2006 MAC Championships, won three career tournaments and earned MAC Freshman of the Year honors in 2005.


Team of Distinction

According to, this year’s group of seven inductees raises the Varsity “K” Athletics Hall of Fame’s membership to 291. The 2014 class and honorees will also be introduced at halftime during Kent State’s football home football game against South Alabama this Saturday.

In addition to the seven inductees being recognized, the 1972 MAC Championship football team will receive the Team of Distinction honor, and FedEx Freight CFO Don Brown (Class of 1977), will be recognized as the Distinguished Athletic Alumnus.  Former track and field letter winner Glenn Peterson (Class of 1984) will be honored as the 2014 Varsity “K” Person of the Year and Dave and Sherry Joy will be this year’s Honorary Varsity “K” Members.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].