For just the seventh time since the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame was created in 1987, the MAC announced a new crop of inductees. The seven new members from five different sports are just the second class announced in the past 19 seasons following last years HOF class.
Headlining the inductee class is the "Shaq of the MAC" Gary Trent. Trent, a former standout basketball player for the Ohio Bobcats in the mid-1990s is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes to ever play in the MAC. Trent is the only three-time MAC Player of The Year and one of just three MAC players to rack up 2000 points and 1000 rebounds in his career.
Trent dominated during his three seasons in Athens, Ohio, and was selected 11th overall in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. Trent was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers before ever playing for the Bucks and in 11 seasons in the league Trent averaged more than eight points and four rebounds per game for Portland, Toronto, Dallas and Minnesota. The once former tough-guy is now working as a cultural intervention specialist at a St. Paul, Minn., elementary school helping turn troubled children's lives around.
Also included in the class is former Akron track star Christi Smith who is the first Zip to be inducted into the MAC HOF. Smith ran for the zips from 1997-2000 becoming the first Zip to win an NCAA Divison I national championship and was a four-time All-American. She set numerous conference records during her time in northwestern Ohio and is currently a track coach at the University of Iowa.
Former Ball State punter Brad Maynard, was the first Division IA (now known as the FBS) punter to ever win his conference's Most Valuable Player award, which he won in 1996 is also in the 2013 class. During his four years as a Cardinal, Maynard was a two-time All-American and finished as the No. 1 punter in the nation in his junior season. Maynard was drafted in the third round of the 1997 NFL draft by the New York Giants where he set numerous records as a rookie. Maynard played in the league for 15 seasons with stops at Chicago and Cleveland as well.
Former Western Michigan linebacker John Offerdahl became the sixth Bronco to be named to the MAC HOF. Offerdahl played for the Broncos from 1982-1985 setting the MAC conference record for career tackles with 694 and is the WMU career leader in forced fumbles and fumbles recovered. Selected in the second-round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, Offerdahl won the 1986 NFL Rookie of the Year award. He made the Pro Bowl in five straight seasons to start his career but his career was derailed by a series of nagging injuries. He retired in 1994 but became a successful restaurant owner in life after football. In 1995 Offerdahl helped found the Einstein Bros. Bagel company.
Bill Mallory, a former standout football player for the Miami RedHawks in the 1950s who later became a successful college coach including two stints as a MAC head coach became the first Northern Illinois representative elected to the MAC HOF. Mallory coached the RedHawks from 1969-1973 leading the team to a combined 39-12 record including a perfect 11-0 season and No. 17 ranking in 1973. Mallory left to coach Colorado for five seasons before becoming the head coach of the NIU Huskies in 1980. In four seasons Mallory captured his second MAC championship of his career in 1983 and his second MAC Coach of the Year award in the same season. HE coached the Indiana Hoosiers for 13 seasons, retiring after the 1996 season.
Kim Knuth, former Toledo women's basketball star, won MAC Player of the Year twice (1998 and 1999) during her career as a Rocket. She remains the MAC all-time women's leader in scoring (2,509 points), field goals made (899) and steals (368). She led the Rockets to a 101-23 record from 1994-1999 and played in four straight postseason tournaments.
Rounding out the 2013 induction class is Dave Keilltz, former Central Michigan stud ballplayer and eventual head coach of the Chippewas baseball team for 14 seasons. Keilltz was the first CMU All-American during his senior season in 1964. In his first season as head coach of CMU in 1971 he led the team to a No. 1 national ranking and an appearance in the NCAA College Division national championship. During his 14 seasons as head coach the Chippewas compiled a combined 453-203-6 record and made six appearances in the NCAA tournament. Keilltz was named CMU's athletic director in 1984 and led the school to an unprecedented level of success during his 10-year tenure.
The class will be formally inducted into the MAC HOF on May 30 in Cleveland at the MAC Honor's dinner.