The Ohio State athletics department announced its 2023 Hall of Fame class late Thursday afternoon, and this year’s class features a litany of Buckeye greats. Among the football names are former cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, former center Nick Mangold, and former linebacker Rick Middleton.
Current wrestling coach Tom Ryan is also being inducted this year, as are former women’s basketball player Kelsey Mitchell and former men’s volleyball player Nick Szerszen.
Here is the full release from Ohio State with bios on each inductee.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – This fall, 14 Buckeye standouts will be enshrined in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. The Class of 2023 includes Maureen Cogan (women’s cross country/track & field ), Malcolm Jenkins (football), Miho Kowase (women’s tennis), Yesenia Luces (field hockey), Nick Mangold (football), Sean Melton (men’s gymnastics), Rick Middleton (football), Kelsey Mitchell (women’s basketball), Steven Moneke (men’s tennis), Renee Powell (women’s golf), Joe Roberts (men’s basketball), Tom Ryan (wrestling coach), Taylor Sandbothe (women’s volleyball) and Nic Szerszen (men’s volleyball).
The group will be officially inducted during a dinner Oct. 6 in the Covelli Center and recognized at Ohio Stadium when the Buckeye football team hosts Maryland Oct. 7. Tickets for the dinner will go on sale in August.
The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame was created in 1977 and has inducted 473 athletes, coaches and administrators through 2022.
The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame was created in 1977 and has inducted 473 athletes, coaches and administrators through 2022. With the addition of Jenkins, Mangold and Middleton, the number of football letterwinners inducted will move to 135, while Roberts will push the number of men’s basketball inductees to 48. Cogan will be the 15th member of the women’s cross country/track and field program to enter the hall and Kowase will be the sixth women’s tennis standout enshrined. Luces will be the eighth member of the field hockey program to be inducted and Powell will bring the women’s golf number to nine. Ryan will be the 32nd head coach enshrined. For volleyball, Szerszen will be the sixth member of the men’s team inducted and Sandbothe will move the women’s number to 11. Mitchell is the 15th women’s basketball player selected and for men’s gymnastics, Melton will be the 14th Buckeye to be enshrined.
Women’s Cross Country/Track & Field (1981-85)
Maureen Cogan became the first All-American in Ohio State women’s cross country/track and field history when she was named an AIAW All-American in 1981. Cogan also finished 35th at the 1983 NCAA Championships to earn All-America status for a second time. She was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection, earning the honor during the 1984 cross country season and the 1985 track season after winning the 1985 Big Ten Outdoor Championship in the 5000m. Cogan still holds the program’s track records in the 1500m (indoor) and 3000m (outdoor) in addition to ranking in the Top 5 in three other events. The 1982 Ohio State Scholar Athlete was inducted into the Dayton Distance Running Hall of Fame in 2010. Cogan won the 1979 All-Ohio cross country championships as a high schooler before coming to Ohio State.
Unquestionably one of the best defensive backs to ever play at Ohio State, Malcolm Jenkins capped his career in 2008 by winning the Thorpe Award as college football’s top defensive back. Jenkins was a part of four Big Ten championship-winning teams during his time in Columbus and twice played in the BCS National Championship Game. A consensus First Team All-American as a senior in 2008 and three-time All-Big Ten selection, Jenkins started 45 of the 49 career games he played in and recorded 196 tackles, 18 passes defended, three blocked punts and four forced fumbles. He’d go on to have a 13-year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles where he was a two-time Super Bowl champion (2009 with New Orleans and 2017 with Philadelphia). In 2021, Jenkins received the Big Ten’s Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award for his work in establishing the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation.
Women’s Tennis (2014-17)
Miho Kowase, one of the winningest players in Ohio State women’s tennis history, ended her career as an NCAA doubles champion and with the most combined singles and doubles victories for the Scarlet and Gray. She and Francesca Di Lorenzo won five matches in five days to claim the 2017 national crown, the first in program history. Kowase is the program’s all-time leader in singles (112) and combined (213) wins and ranks second with 101 doubles victories. A three-time All-Big Ten selection and 2017 All-American in doubles, she posted 90 career dual match singles wins (including a perfect 27-0 mark as a senior), the most for a Buckeye in at least 27 years, and is tied for first in career dual match singles wins (71) in that span. She was named to the Collegiate All-Star Team in 2017, when she was also selected for the ITA Midwest Region Senior Award, and she received the ITA Midwest Region Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship in 2016. Kowase and her classmates posted a school-record 102 victories and made four NCAA Tournament appearances, including quarterfinal and semifinal trips, along with winning back-to-back Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. A standout academically, Kowase was a four-time ITA Scholar-Athlete and a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten honoree.
Field Hockey (2004-07)
Yesenia Luces is one of only two players in program history (all-time leading scorer Sue Marcellus is the other) to be a First Team All-American more than once in her career. In the record books, she currently ranks fifth in career points (123), seventh in goals scored (44) and fourth in assists (35). A First Team All-American in 2005 and 2007 and second team choice in 2006, Luces was twice the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (2006 and 2007) and was a member of the 2006 Buckeye team that won the Big Ten regular season title. The model of consistency, Luces led the Buckeyes in scoring in each of her four seasons.
Nick Mangold was a three-year starting center and a member of two Big Ten title-winning teams and a national championship team in 2002. He started 33 of the 45 career games he played in, all at center, and was a First Team All-American in 2005 as well as a First Team All-Big Ten selection. Mangold played on teams that were 43-8 over his four-year career and won four bowl games. He had an 11-year NFL career with the New York Jets and was a seven-time Pro Bowl pick.
Men’s Gymnastics (2014-18)
Sean Melton etched his name among the all-time gymnast greats when he won the Nissen-Emery Award in 2018, being considered the best senior gymnast in the nation. The 10-time All-American earned four All-America honors in 2014 (all-around, high bar, vault, parallel bars), two in 2016 (HB, rings), three in 2017 (SR, HB, AA) and one in 2018 (AA). Melton also won seven Big Ten Championships – two in 2014 (HB, PB), three in 2016 (AA, PB, floor), one in 2017 (AA) and one in 2018 (AA). He was selected the 2016 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, after being named the league’s best freshman in 2014, and went on to be named Big Ten Gymnast of the Championships in both 2017 and 2018. Melton earned First Team All-Big Ten honors four times (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018) and was a three-time captain for the Buckeyes (2015, 2017, 2018). Melton was an Ohio State Scholar Athlete in 2014 and 2016 and an Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2016.
Rick Middleton started his football career with the Buckeyes as a tight end and was the team’s second-leading receiver in 1971. He then moved to linebacker for his junior and senior seasons. Middleton proved to be a natural at the position, leading the team in tackles as a junior (112) and finishing third in 1973 (92). The Buckeyes’ 1973 defense was one of the best in school history, yielding just 64 points in 11 games (5.8 points/game) while holding eight opponents to seven points or less. Middleton was a First Team All-Big Ten choice in 1973 and team captain that season. He was drafted with the No. 13 overall pick in the 1974 NFL Draft and had a five-year professional career with the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.
Women’s Basketball (2015-18)
Kelsey Mitchell cemented her name in the Ohio State and NCAA record books as one of the greatest collegiate women’s basketball players in history. She became the fastest player in the NCAA to score 2,000 career points, needing only 79 games, en route to becoming Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer with 3,402 points (one of the five career program records she currently holds). Mitchell was also the fastest player in Big Ten history to surpass the 1,000 career-point plateau, needing only 41 games. She became the program’s first four-time Associated Press All-American and was the third Buckeye to be named Big Ten Player of the Year at least three times. Mitchell wrapped up her collegiate career as the NCAA’s all-time three-point leader (497 made triples), breaking the previous record by 99. She also holds the NCAA record for consecutive games making a three-pointer (92). The four-time First Team All-Big Ten selection was also named the 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Tournament Team three times, being selected Tournament MVP as a senior in 2018. Mitchell was a four-time USBWA All-American and three-time WBCA All-American (receiving an honorable mention the fourth season). In 2018, she received the Big Ten Medal of Honor. Following her collegiate career, Mitchell was selected No. 2 overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever, where she continues to play.
Men’s Tennis (2006-09)
Steven Moneke was one of the key individuals to move the Ohio State men’s tennis program into a national power. A four-time All-American, Moneke’s 247 career victories are the third-most combined wins in program history, and he finished with a remarkable .852 career winning percentage. Moneke had a tremendous senior season in 2009 as he reached the final of college tennis’ premier event, the NCAA singles championship, as well as the final of the ITA singles championship. He led the team to a program-record 36 wins and the Buckeyes’ first NCAA runner-up finish in 2009. Moneke had a 45-5 singles record and a 32-8 doubles record in in 2009. Over his four years, Moneke helped the Buckeyes to a record of 129-8 and was part of four Big Ten undefeated regular season titles. The team also won four Big Ten Tournament titles, made four NCAA Tournament appearances and rose to No. 1 in the country for the first time in program history. Following graduation, he turned professional and would climb to inside the Top 320 in the world in both singles and doubles. He won eight professional singles titles and 17 doubles titles.
Women’s Golf (1967)
Renee Powell was a trailblazer not only as a part of the Ohio State women’s golf program, but as a Black woman breaking barriers in the game of golf. Powell grew up with golf; her father, Bill Powell, was the first African American to design, build and own his own golf course in the United States. Coached by her dad, Powell was a standout on the amateur golf circuit before making her way to college. She began her career at Ohio University, where she played from 1965-66, before transferring to Ohio State after Ohio did not travel her to matches because of concerns of racial tension.
Powell was a captain of the Buckeyes’ team in 1967, becoming the first Black student-athlete to lead a major university golf team. She played in four matches for Ohio State, winning the Wooster College Invitational and the North-South Amateur. Powell placed second at the Midwest Collegiate Tournament and third at the Women’s National Collegiate Tournament.
Powell turned pro in 1967 and was the second Black woman to play on the LPGA Tour. In 1977, she also became the first woman to compete in a British men’s professional golf tournament when she played in the Surrey PGA Championship. Although Powell excelled on the course, her journey was not free of challenges, playing college golf, and later pro golf, at a time when segregation was still prevalent throughout the country. In one instance, Ohio State supported her decision to play in the Ohio State Golf Association tournament and was prepared to leave the association if she was not allowed to play. In her early pro career, before the LPGA announced it was an integrated tour, Powell was at times not allowed to stay in official tournament hotels.
After competing in more than 250 professional events, Powell retired in 1980 and went on to be a television commentator. In 1995, she became the head pro of her family’s golf course, Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, which her father designed to be a club free of racial and social discrimination.
Powell has received many awards throughout her career and, in 2017, she was inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame. Her father was an earlier inductee, and they are the first father/daughter pair to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Powell, who is still the head pro at Clearview, has dedicated much of her life to diversifying the game of golf. She was an International Goodwill Ambassador and traveled to Africa more than 25 times to host golf clinics. Powell also runs Clearview H.O.P.E. (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere), which has therapeutic and recreational golf programs for female veterans.
Men’s Basketball (1958-60)
Joe Roberts was a three-year letterwinner and starter for head coach Fred Taylor from 1958-60, averaging 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds over 72 career games. He was the starting forward on Ohio State’s national championship team in 1960. He scored 19 points in the region final and added 10 points in the win over Cal-Berkeley in the championship game. Roberts was the first African-American captain in program history. He and Dick Furry were co-captains of the 1959-60 team that went 25-3 and in addition to winning the national title, won the Big Ten title with a record of 13-1. He led a team that included greats like Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek and Bobby Knight.
The Columbus, Ohio, native earned his bachelor’s degree in biological studies and physical education from Ohio State in 1960 and later went on to get three separate master’s degrees from Western Michigan and Cal State-East Bay. He was drafted in the third round of the 1960 NBA Draft by the Syracuse Nationals (now Philadelphia 76ers) and would play parts of four seasons in the NBA and ABA.
Roberts passed away in the fall of 2022 at the age of 86.
Wrestling Coach (2007-present)
Head coach Tom Ryan has led the Ohio State wrestling program to unprecedented heights, culminating in 2015 when he helped the Buckeyes capture their first-ever team title at the NCAA Championships. Under his leadership, the Buckeyes have seven Top 3 NCAA finishes, including runner-up showings in 2008, 2009, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and have won three Big Ten team titles (2015, 2017, 2018). Ryan has also helped recruit and develop some of the most decorated individual wrestlers in program history, headlined by four-time national champion Logan Steiber. Overall, six different Buckeyes have won 12 individual national titles during his tenure, including Steiber and Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder (2016, 2017, 2018). Ryan came to Ohio State after establishing Hofstra as a national power from 1995 through 2006. In his 17 seasons at Ohio State, Ryan’s dual record is 198-66 (.750) with an overall record of 307-148-2 over 29 seasons.
Women’s Volleyball (2013-16)
Taylor Sandbothe left her name in many places in the Ohio State record book during her time as a Buckeye. The three-time All-American (2014 honorable mention, 2015 first team, 2016 second team) was also named all-region three times (2014-16), All-Big Ten three times (including first team in 2015 and 2016, honorable mention in 2014) and was a member of the All-Big Ten Freshman team in 2013. Sandbothe ranks fifth in program history in career kills (1,498) and fourth in points (1,914.5) and ranks in the Top 10 in seven additional career categories, including the program records in total blocks (564) and block assists (455). She led the Buckeyes in solo blocks, block assists and total blocks in each of her four seasons in the Scarlet & Gray.
Men’s Volleyball (2015-18)
Nicolas Szerszen is recognized as the best men’s volleyball player in the history of the program, and with good reason. Named the national player of the year by multiple entities in 2016 (AVCA), 2017 (Volleyball Magazine) and 2018 (VolleyMob.com), Szerszen owns numerous Ohio State records. The all-time leader in kills (1,678), points (2,030), aces (238), aces per set (.53) and total attempts (3,273), Szerszen was equally adept in the classroom. He was a four-time Ohio State Scholar Athlete (2015-18) and Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Academic All-Conference honoree (2015-18). He also was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten award winner (2016-18) and a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2016, 2018). His individual efforts on the court helped the Buckeyes to national titles in 2016 and 2017. The Buckeyes also won regular-season MIVA Titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and earned league tournament titles over the final three seasons of his Ohio State career.