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Mid-American Conference announces 2020 Hall of Fame inductees

The six new members of the MAC Hall of Fame join the pantheon of all-time greats.

Mid-American Conference

Earlier this week, the MId-American Conference announced its 2020 Hall of Fame class, which features six former MAC student-athletes and coaches.

Those inducted include: Wally Szczerbiak, Bryan Bullington, Stevi Large Gruber, Ellen Herman-Grimball, Margo Jonker and Brianna Shook.

“We have such a storied history within our Conference and it is important to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our former students, coaches and administrators, specifically these six individuals, and their achievements during their time competing in the Mid-American Conference,” MAC commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said via press release. “We are honored to welcome this year’s class to the Mid-American Conference Hall of Fame.”

It is unknown at this time if or when there will be an induction ceremony, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are biographies of all six inductees:

Wally Szczerbiak, Miami men’s basketball:

In his tenure with the Redhawks, he scored a total of 1,847 points. Wally is the program’s second all-time leading scorer and is 24th in the conference’s history. He was a crucial component of Miami’s Sweet 16 run in 1999, scoring 43 points in their first-round win over Washington, and then putting 24 points over the two seed Utah just two days later. Once the season concluded, he was voted First-Team All-American by the Basketball News, Sports Illustrated, and Basketball American after finishing his senior season averaging 24.2 points per game.

Szczerbiak is one of two Miami student-athletes to be named to the MAC All-Tournament team three times (1997-99,) and finished his career in Miami as the program’s record holder for points, free throws and 3-point field-goal percentage in a season. Szczerbiak made the post season in three of his four seasons at Miami, with two NCAA tournaments (1997, 1999) and one NIT tournament appearance (1996.)

Szczerbiak was the sixth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, starting his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and would go on to have a 12-year NBA career between three NBA teams.

Szczerbiak is currently a broadcaster with CBS Sports Network, and a studio analyst for the New York Knicks games on the MSG Network. He was inducted in the Miami Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bryan Bullington, Ball State baseball:

Bullington was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates as the first overall pick in the 2002 MLB draft, becoming the first student-athlete from the conference to be the first selection in any professional amateur draft.

No surprise, but Bullington holds the MAC strikeout record with 357 K’s, and the Ball State win-record with 29 victories. From 2000-2002, he lead the league in strikeouts. He didn’t stop just there; as a junior, Bullington led the conference with the lowest ERA, and he posted a record of 11-3.

A three-time All-MAC first-team selection, Bullington was announced to the All-America First-Team in 2002 by Collegiate Baseball, ABCA, Baseball America, and NCBWA. Bullington was also a member of the United States national team in 2001.

Bullington made his Major League debut with Pittsburgh in 2005, and would play for four different MLB organizations before ultimately finishing his career overseas in the Japanese professional leagues over the course of his 10-year career.

He was inducted in the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014, joining his father, Larry (baseball, basketball).

Bullington is currently a scout with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Stevi Large Gruber, Akron Women’s Track and Field:

Gruber became the third solo national champion in Akron history. In her senior year, in 2009, she broke her own record in the hammer throw, and ultimately received national champion recognition at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship.

Gruber was one of the most dominant athletes in Akron history, winning nine MAC championships from 2006-2009, and became the first lady in history to complete a sweep in a field event. Gruber was a four-time All-American in the hammer, indoor and outdoor shot put, discus, and weight throw.

She also earned the distinction of being undefeated in the hammer throw, winning the event in all four seasons she competed.

Ultimately, Gruber was Akron’s Female Athlete of the Year in three back-to-back seasons from 2007-09. At the time of her graduation, Gruber held program records in hammer, indoor and outdoor shot put, discus, and weight throw, as well as MAC records in weight throw and hammer.

A two-time all-MAC academic honoree, Gruber was inducted into the Akron Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

Ellen Herman-Kimball, Ohio Women’s Volleyball:

In her four years at Ohio, Herman-Kimball got her fair share of fame.

In 2006, she was named the MAC Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the MAC All­-Freshman Team. Herman-Kimball was instrumental in helping the Bobcats win the MAC championship and participate in NCAA Tournaments in all four years she attended the university.

Herman-Kimball would finish her Bobcat career as one of the most decorated volleyball players in conference history, with four All-MAC first team appearances and two Most Valuable Player awards (2008, 2009.) She was also a three-time All-MAC academic honoree, and was an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Honorable Mention in 2009.

Herman-Kimball ranks first in the MAC record in career kills with 1,984, and ranks fifth in career attack attempts with 4,925. She is also the program leader in career kills, career attack attempts and career points, while also holding three of the top-five seasons in program history in kills and two of the top-six in points.

Herman-Kimball played with the US National Volleyball team from 2009-10 before pursuing a professional career in Germany and Switzerland from 2010-2014.

She is currently the head coach of the UConn volleyball team, and was inducted in to the Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016.

Margo Jonker, Central Michigan Softball:

When Jonker retired in 2019, she was the winningest coach in MAC softball history and held the ninth-highest amount of wins (1,268) in the NCAA Division I record books. If you looked up winning in the dictionary, Margo Jonker and her Chippewas were pictured alongside the definition.

She brought the Chippewas to the NCAA Tournament 13 times, winning 10 MAC Tournament Championships, 10 MAC regular-season titles, and one berth each in the NCAA Women’s College World Series and the AIAW College World Series.

In her time at CMU, Jonker coached eight All-Americans, 53 All-Region selections (including 30 first-teamers,) 87 All-MAC first teamers, 39 All-MAC second teamers, seven MAC Players of the Year, three MAC Pitchers of the Year, six MAC Freshmen of the Year and seven MAC Tournament MVP’s.

She coached her fair share of successful student-athletes, graduating three Academic All-Americans and 67 academic all-conference players in her career at Central Michigan.

Jonker won plenty of individual acclaim as well, being named MAC coach of the year 10 times, NCAA Mideast Region Coach of the Year in 1987 and Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year twice (1994, 2000.)

Jonker is also an Olympic gold medalist, as she was an assistant coach on the United States Olympic softball team that won the tournament at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, and a World Champion assistant coach with the 1999 United States team.

If you wound up to be on her team, you were one lucky kid.

A beloved figure in the Mt. Pleasant and Isabella County community over her nearly 40-year career thanks to her extensive charitable work, Jonker was given the honor of the team’s softball stadium being named after her—while she was still coaching the team. She would ply her craft in Margo Jonker Stadium for 11 years after the distinction.

She is a member of five Halls of Fame, including the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame, the Grand Valley State Hall of Fame, the Michigan Amateur Softball Hall of Fame, the West Ottawa High School Hall of Fame and the Metro Detroit Amateur Softball Associtation Hall of Fame.

Briana Shook, Toldeo Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country:

Briana really “shook” the conference with awards. From 2000-2004 she took home 11 MAC titles, and was a three-time All-American in cross country and track & field.

Shook carried Toldeo to back-to-back MAC Cross Country Championships in 2001 and 2002, being named NCAA Great Lakes Region Cross Country Runner of the Year in the latter season.

Shook was named the MAC Outdoor Championship Meet Most Valuable Performer and was named NCAA Mideast Track and Field Athlete of the Year in 2004, after winning the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:22.46, and finishing second at the NCAA Championship meet in the steeplechase.

Shook set the American record in the 3000-meter steeplechase in 2003, with her 9:29.32 clocking in Belgium, a time that was fourth-best in the world that year. In 2004, Shook won the U.S. Olympic Trials but was, unfortunately, disqualified for missing a jump. To this day, she is the current MAC record holder in the indoor 3000 meters, with a time of 9:25.91.

Shook also had a successful career as a coach, coaching 13 All-Americans and two national champions at Heidelberg University from 2010-2013. In that time, she won Ohio Athletic Conference Women’s Track & Field Coach of the Year twice (2010, 2013.)

She was inducted into the University of Toledo Varsity Track Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Ohio Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2020.