Seven newcomers will be enshrined in the MAC Hall of Fame. Those lucky few are Charlie Coles, Judy Devine, Harry Houska, Jim Lessig, Caroline Mullen-Kearney, Sally Northcroft, and Joe Novak. The class will be officially inducted May 13, in Cleveland, Ohio at the MAC's Honor Diner. The diner will be held at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.
With this year's class, there are now 72 members in the MAC Hall of Fame. Below is a brief biography of each of the new members.
Charlie Coles: Miami/CMU (Men's Basketball)
Coles, a graduate of Miami, began his coaching career at CMU where he stayed for six years (1985-91). Later he would go on to coach his alma mater for 16 seasons, retiring in 2012. Coles has more MAC wins than any other coach in MAC history with 218 and is second among MAC coaches in all time wins with 355. He lead four teams to the NCAA tournament (CMU: 1987; Miami: 1997, 1999, 2007) and two to the NIT (Miami in 2005 and 2006). His 1999 squad made it to the Sweet Sixteen and went 24-8, ending the season ranked 20th in the country. Coles passed away June 7, 2013 but he is survived by his wife Deloris and two children.
Judy Devine: Kent State (Administration)
Devine served as an assistant coach for three Kent State sports (women's basketball, field hockey, and softball) and was the head women's athletic trainer (1969-75) before becoming head coach of both field hockey (1970-80) and women's basketball (1972-77). In 1978 Devine became the Associate Athletics Director, a possition she would keep for over thirty years until her retirement in 2000.
Harry Houska: Ohio (Wrestling)
Houska started his collegiate career wrestling for Ohio in 1961. It was the start of a long and successful career there. In 1963 Houska was the runner-up at the NCAA title games but the next year he would go on to capture the title and finished his career with an amazing record of 76-3. He became Ohio's head coach just four years later in 1968. From there he would go on to win two national titles, have three top-10 teams, and won 11 MAC championships (winning seven in a row, from 1970-76). He was named Coach of the Year five times before retiring in 1997.
Jim Lessig: Bowling Green/MAC (Administration)
A graduate of Bowling Green, Lessig served as an assistant basketball coach there in the 1960s. He was named Athletic Director in 1978 and served for four seasons. Between 1982 and 1990 he was Commissioner of the MAC. During his tenure he was a pivotal force in getting the MAC exposure, putting together one of the first television deals for the MAC. He also helped add many women's sports to MAC schools including softball, basketball, gymnastics, and tennis among others.
Caroline Mullen-Kearney: WMU (Women's Track and Cross Country)
Mullen-Kearney was an All-American track and cross country runner for the Broncos between 1986-1990, where she is the only female to win three MAC cross country titles. She placed third in the 1986 NCAA Cross Country Championships and fourth at the 5000 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in both 1986 and 1987. Her time of 15:56.3 is still a MAC record for the 5000. Since graduating Mullen-Kearney has worked for Dell and the National Rehabilitation Board. She and her husband, John, have two children and live in Cork, Ireland.
Sally Northcroft: Ball State (Field Hockey)
Northcroft competed for the Cardinals between 1996-99. She finished her career at Ball State as the MAC leader in goals and points. Her 126 goals and 270 points also rank third all time in the NCAA. She was First Team All-MAC all four years and was MAC Player of the Year and an All-American First Team player in 1998 and 1999. Northcroft ended with a 64-21 overall record and has the all-time single season goal record, when she tallied 52 goals in 1999.
Joe Novak: NIU (Football)
Novak started out at Miami as a player under Bo Schembechler in the mid-1960s. In 1974 he returned to Miami as an assistant coach, where in his first two years the RedHawks went 21-1-1, winning both MAC Championships and beat South Carolina and Georgia in the Tangerine Bowl. Between 1980-83 Novak was an assistant at NIU, where they won the 1983 MAC Championship. In 1996 he took over at NIU and revived the football program. In 2003 he lead NIU to a 10-2 record, with wins over #15 Maryland and #19 Alabama and the Huskies were ranked as high as 10th in the country. He retired in 2007, but stays active at both NIU and Miami, attending games regularly.