The first induction ceremony for Madison Plains High School’s new Athletic Hall of Fame will take place Oct. 26 in the high school gym. The public is invited to attend. A buffet dinner will be served at 6 p.m. followed by the program. Admission and the meal are free, but tickets are required. Call the athletic office at (740) 490-0775.
The inductees are:
• Dean Porter was a highly successful football coach in the Madison-Plains School District for over 20 seasons. From 1959-1970, he was the head coach at The Plains High School in Mount Sterling. The 1968 squad finished 9-0 and was ranked in the top 10 of the final Class A Associated Press poll. His 1963 team went 7-1-1 and handed West Jefferson its only loss from 1962 to 1964.
After Plains consolidated with Madison South in 1971, Porter became the football coach for the newly formed district until 1973. He returned to coaching as a Madison-Plains Middle School coach from 1984 to 1987 and then as varsity head coach from 1999 to 2001.
Many of Porter’s players went on to play college football, including Harold Dunn who started for Indiana University in the 1967 Rose Bowl. Community leaders came together and paid for Porter to attend the Rose Bowl game.
Porter was an accomplished football player in his own right. As a senior at Mount Sterling High School, he scored four touchdowns to
defeat West Jefferson in the season finale. He was a walk-on for the Miami University (Ohio) football team, where he became a three-year letter winner. He was the starting fullback on Miami’s 1955 undefeated team and, in 1956, was named first-team All-MAC. After graduation, Porter signed a contract with the Ottawa Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. He also played for the Columbus Colts of the United Football League.
• The 1960-1961 Madison South High School boys’ basketball team is the most accomplished boys’ team in the history of Madison County. After starting the season with six consecutive wins, the team went on to post a 23-3 record that included winning the Madison County, sectional, district and regional tournaments. After defeating Middletown Fenwick 56-45 in the regional championship, the Lions were defeated by Youngstown Liberty 57-42 in St. John’s Arena. The final four appearance is still the only final four appearance for a Madison County boys’ team.
The team was coached by John MacMillan and led by Carl Whitaker and Rick Renick. Whitaker and Renick were named honorable mention All-Ohio. Whitaker, the team’s leading scorer at 21.3 points per game, went on to play for Kentucky Christian College. The athletically gifted Renick briefly played basketball and baseball at The Ohio State University before becoming a major league baseball player for the Minnesota Twins. Guard Ron Daniels went on to play basketball at Wilmington College. The other members of the team were Jim Hill, Daril Montgomery, Dan
Moore, Warren Rockwell, Bob Davidson, Eddie Ropp, Jim Iler, John Mitchum and Russell Ridenhour.
• Zach Nelson put together an impressive wrestling career at Madison-Plains. He was a four-time state wrestling tournament qualifier, placing in the top four three times.
As a freshman, he finished eighth in the 112-pound weight class. During his sophomore year in 2006, Nelson went undefeated and won the Division III state championship in the 130-pound weight class. In the championship match at Value City Arena, he defeated Steve Young of Nelsonville-York 4-3. As a junior, he finished fourth in the 140-pound weight class. As a senior he returned to state, finishing second in the 145-pound weight class.
In addition to his state tournament success, Nelson was a four-time sectional and district champion. After graduation, he went on to wrestle at the Division I level for Ohio University.
• Ashley Dennison Meade brought Madison-Plains its first state championship in any sport when she won the Division II pole vault event at the 2002 State Track and Field Championships. A junior at the time, she won with a mark of 10’03.00.” Meade
repeated the accomplishment her senior year, again winning the Division II state pole vault event. She secured the title on her final jump, completing a vault of 10’08.00.
After graduation, Meade accepted an athletic scholarship to Ohio University, where she competed in pole vault.
• Denny Morris (1947-2012) made the Madison-Plains baseball program into a force to be reckoned with during his tenure as manager. A 1964 graduate of The Plains High School in Mount Sterling, Morris got into coaching soon after he graduated from Miami University (Ohio). During his 21 years as a varsity head coach, he had a winning record 20 times. His teams won seven straight district titles in the 1970s and numerous South Central Ohio League titles.
Many of Morris’ players went on to play Division I college baseball at schools like The Ohio State University, Duke University, University of Cincinnati and Ohio University. More than just a successful baseball coach, Morris had a positive impact on the lives of the players he coached.