May 14, 2014
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference inducted seven new members into the MAC Hall of Fame as the 2014 MAC Hall of Fame Class was honored on Tuesday, May 13th during the MAC Honors Dinner at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.
The 2014 MAC Hall of Fame Induction Class included:
-Charlie Coles (Miami/Central Michigan, men's basketball)
-Harry Houska (Ohio, wrestling)
-Jim Lessig (MAC/Bowling Green, administration)
-Caroline Mullen-Kearney (Western Michigan, women's track and cross country)
-Sally Northcroft (Ball State, field hockey)
-Joe Novak (Northern Illinois, football)
"It is only appropriate for our Conference to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our former student-athletes, coaches and administrators, specifically these seven individuals, and their achievements during their time competing in the Mid-American Conference," said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, MAC Commissioner. "We are honored to welcome them to the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame."
"The Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame is a testament to the achievements of those that have competed and served in this great Conference," added Steinbrecher.
The MAC Hall of Fame was approved by the MAC Council of Presidents in 1987. The charter class was inducted in 1988 and subsequent classes were added in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994. After six induction classes, the MAC Hall of Fame maintained 52 members until it was reinstated in May of 2012.
This year's class brings the number of MAC Hall of Fame inductees to 72 individuals from nine classes.
Harry Houska- Ohio (wrestling): Harry Houska came to Ohio University as a student-athlete in 1960 and marked the beginning of one of the finest wrestling careers in Conference history collectively as a competitor (1961-64), assistant coach (1967-68) and head wrestling coach (1968-97). His toughness and tenacity left an indelible mark on Ohio University and elevated the national stature of Mid-American Conference wrestling. During his tenure, Ohio led the MAC in team championships, individual champions, All-Americans and NCAA Champions. Houska was a three-time Mid-American Conference champion and an NCAA qualifier in three different weight classes. In 1963, Houska claimed runner-up honors at the NCAA Championships at the 177-pound weight class. In the spring of 1964, Houska captured the NCAA title competing at the 191-pound weight class. He concluded his collegiate career without a single loss in dual competition, posting an incredible 76-3 record, with the only three losses coming to NCAA National Champions. A gold medal winner at the 1967 Winnipeg Pan-American Games, Houska also represented the United States that year by placing fourth at the World Championships in New Delhi, India. In 1968, he became just the third head coach in Ohio University history, at title he would hold for the next thirty years. In just his second season at the helm, Houska led Ohio to its first Conference championship in 13 years. The title began an unprecedented streak of seven consecutive MAC titles (1970-76), 11 total MAC team titles and three NCAA Top 10 team finishes in 1970, 1973 and 1997. Houska coached two National Champions, 13 All-Americans, produced 69 individual MAC Champions and was named MAC Coach of the Year five times. Houska was named the Ohio University Athlete of the Decade for the period 1960-70. He is a member of the Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame, the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, the Ohio Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the Parma Senior High School Hall of Fame. Houska graduated from Ohio University in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education and earned his Master's in Education. He is retired and currently resides in Athens, Ohio.