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West Virginia State University Sports Hall of Fame to Induct Nine New Members

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
Oct. 14, 2021
West Virginia State University Sports Hall of Fame to Induct Nine New Members

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State University’s (WVSU) athletic booster organization, the National ‘W’ Club, will induct nine new members into the Sports Hall of Fame with a brunch beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, in the James C. Wilson University Union.

The event is open to the public. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the door.

In addition to the Hall of Fame induction, awards also will be given to current student-athletes. The ceremony will continue at the Canty House, home of the Sports Hall of Fame, immediately following breakfast. Hall of Fame inductees are: Jerry Lee Early, Ava LaVett Holloway-Robertson, Avis LaVerne Holloway, Walter Holman, Kyle Patrick Jones, Sean Loyd, John Painter, Teddi-Lynn Russell-Lofgren, and Barry Shelton. All inductees are given gold jackets to signify their induction into the Sports Hall of Fame.

Early graduated from Logan High School in 1980 and was offered financial assistance to attend WVSU and participate in cross country and track. While at WVSU, Early received the honors of WVSC Record Holder and WVC Freshman Record Holder in the 800 meters. He was also All-Conference in the 800 and 1600 meters, was a member of the WVIAC track championship team and was selected All WVIAC in track and cross country. Early graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in education and then earned a master’s degree in special education from Marshall University.  

Ava Lavett Holloway-Robertson and Avis LaVerne Holloway are both being inducted for accomplishments in basketball, tennis, and track. Both received athletic scholarships to WVSU in 1975. The sisters were both long jumpers, ran 200 and 400 meters, were high jumpers and ran on four different relay teams for the women’s track team. They were named to the WVIAC All-Conference Women’s Track Team two years in a row. They participated in women’s basketball and tennis from 1975-79. They both often scored double digits at the basket and in rebounding in basketball. Ava has spent the past two decades dedicating her free time to teaching children and adults the art of dance within her community and she enjoys theater. Avis also enjoys dancing and participates in her sister’s Liturgical Dance Club.

Holman attended WVSU from 1980-83 and was a member of the Yellow Jackets football team. He was awarded the Sportsmanship Award and became captain of the team in 1982. In that season, Holman received second team All-Conference and received the title of “best offensive player” of the Homecoming game by the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity that year. Holman also was on the conference championship track team in 1982 throwing the shot-put, discus, and javelin. Holman signed with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns in 1983. He also played for the USFL’s Pittsburgh Maulers and the Tampa Bay Bandits during his professional football career and was a part of the 1987 Super Bowl winning Washington Redskins team for the NFL. Holman was also a member of the Arena Football League’s Detroit Drive and played for the winning team in the 1988 Arena Bowl. Holman also was selected as the First Team All Arena.

Jones played baseball for the Yellow Jackets before graduating in 2007 from WVSU. He earned honors as First Team All-Conference, First Team All-Region, First Team All American, WVSU single season home run record and WVIAC single season home run record with 25, WVSU RBI record and WVIAC RBI record with 82, and was ranked second in the country in home runs in 2006. After graduation, Jones created the Kyle Jones Baseball Academy where he mentors young athletes.

Loyd is a 1995 WVSU graduate where he earned a physical education degree before completing a master’s in educational leadership at Marshall University. While at WVSU, Loyd won two WVIAC Championships in baseball. He went on to become an assistant coach at WVSU for head baseball coach Cal Bailey. In his first season, WVSU won the WVIAC Championship and the Yellow Jacket hitters led the nation in batting average. In his 20 years as Bailey’s assistant, the Yellow Jackets won 10 WVIAC or MEC Championships, had two NCAA World Series appearances, eight First Team All Americans and the single season home run record holder and career home run record holder. Loyd was named head coach for the Yellow Jackets after Bailey retired in 2014. Under Loyd’s leadership, the team has won two MEC Championships and had another championship appearance. The team also had automatic bids to two NCAA tournaments. Loyd also served as WVSU’s Athletic Director for eight years. In his time as Athletic Director he was part of the fundraising team and oversaw the renovation of Fleming Hall, the construction of the Walker Convocation Center, and the construction of the Gregory Monroe Complex.

Painter lettered as a freshman at WVSU in 1986, starting 9 of 10 football games at center after moving from guard for the team’s offense. His sophomore year was cut short after an injury and he was forced to miss the entire 1988 season because of a pre-season weightlifting injury that required surgery. After rehabbing, he returned in 1989 and 1990 and started every game as offensive guard. He was named team captain and earned First Team WVIAC All-Conference in 1989. In 1990, he was team captain again and earned First Team WVIAC All Conference and was a part of the NAIA All-American Team. After his college career, Painter coached football, basketball, and softball ranging from little league to high school for more than 30 years. In 2011, Painter started an AAU basketball program called Team Coal of WV to offer Kanawha Valley youth a chance to play highly competitive travel basketball locally and along the east coast.  

Russell-Lofgren was one of Coach John Simms’ first out-of-state recruits for tennis, coming from West Chester, Ohio. She played in the top three positions all four years of college. She helped lead the team to its first WVIAC regular season championship in 2006 as a freshman. The following year, the team won its second WVIAC regular season championship and its first conference tournament championship. The team finished the 2007 season with 96 match wins and just three losses. Russell-Lofgren and her teammates led WVSU to its first NCAA appearance and first national ranking. She earned the WVIAC All-Conference award in both 2007 and 2009. She also spent extra time teaching tennis at Teays Valley Tennis Center for Bob Mooney while in college. After graduating in 2010, Russell-Lofgren spent two years coaching tennis for Lakota East High School in Ohio where she attended and has spent the last 10 years teaching tennis at Queen City Racquet Club with her husband, Wil, and his family.

Shelton earned All-American and Regional Player of the Year as a junior third baseman for the Yellow Jackets baseball team in the 1990s. After his junior season, he was selected in the 21st round of the 1995 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox and played professionally for four seasons. He played for the Sarasota White Sox, Bristol White Sox, Hickory Crawdads and Ohio Valley Redcoats. In the off-seasons during his professional career, Shelton volunteered as a coach for WVSU. He later became an assistant coach for three years after playing professional baseball. During his tenure, the Yellow Jackets won three WVIAC Championships and the 1999 team placed third at the NCAA DII World Series. He coached three seasons of baseball at Harwick College in New York before moving to Ferrum College where the Panthers won a USA South Conference regular season title in 2004 and tournament championship in 2005. Shelton then went to the Virginia Military Institute and served as assistant baseball coach for three seasons. Currently, Shelton teaches science at Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount, Virginia, and serves as the Eagles Head Baseball Coach.

The ‘W’ Club Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony is part of Homecoming activities at WVSU. For more information, and a complete schedule of Homecoming events, visit https://connect.wvstateu.edu/pages/events/homecoming-2021.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
- WVSU –
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