PUBLISHED: November 05, 2012

EHE Alumni Show Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame Their Top Priorities

The College of Education and Human Ecology produces its fair share of incredible athletes. In addition to performing well in their individual athletic arenas, EHE athletes make academics, campus involvement and degree completion top priorities.

This year, five alumni have made their distinct mark on Ohio State’s history through their induction into the Class of 2012 Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. Their athleticism earned them this honor; their priorities make them model EHE student athletes.

The honorees from Education and Human Ecology are Jessica Davenport (’07 Family Resource Management), Joseph Gailus (’35 Education), Ray Griffin (’80 Marketing Education), Dick Schafrath (’06 Sports and Leisure) and Mike Vrabel (’04 Exercise Science Education).

The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony took place on September 14, 2012. All 11 inductees were introduced to the public during halftime at the Buckeyes’ football game against the University of California on September 15.

Making academics a priority: Jessica Davenport

Jessica Davenport

Jessica Davenport is a notable example of an athlete with the ability to play great offense both in and out of the classroom. Academics were always significant to her because of her parents. They placed importance on her being a great student while at Ohio State. “That is first and foremost,” she said.

The two-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree led the Buckeye women’s basketball team to the Big Ten Conference and into national prominence during her four years at Ohio State. The Columbus native is Ohio State’s first three-time All-American and led the Buckeyes to three consecutive conference championships.

Davenport (’07 Family Resource Management) was a true super star on the court, being the first player in Big Ten history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocked shots in a career. She was selected number two overall in the 2007 Women’s National Basketball Association draft, taking her talents to New York to help the Liberty reach the 2007 WNBA playoffs.

She is currently a center for the Indiana Fever, which won the 2012 WBNA championship. “If you manage your time successfully, you’ll be able to study, get your basketball in and be successful at both,” Davenport shared. Her balance makes her a true EHE star.

Making Buckeye and campus pride a priority: Joe Gailus

Joe Gailus

Tradition is what attracts many students to Ohio State’s campus. Joseph Gailus (’35 Education) was one of those students who took pride in his university’s history. His involvement in Bucket and Dipper men’s junior honorary required him to enforce all the campus traditions that he loved so much. Originally from Vandergrift, Pa., Gailus was also a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, one of the longest running organizations on Ohio State’s campus.

Not only did Gailus shine in more than one extracurricular activity, but he also was one of the few Buckeyes who excelled both offensively and defensively on the football field. His athletic prowess led to his being named team co-captain alongside Sid Gillman in 1933, marking only the second time in school history that two players served as co-captains for a season.

Gailus, a two-time All-American and an All-Big Ten player, was chosen to play in the East/West Shrine All-Star Game following his graduation. The East/West Shrine Game is the longest running all-star college football game and highlights the next generation of professional superstars. In 1934, he was one of the first players owner Art Rooney selected for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Pirates (now the Pittsburgh Steelers). He died in March 1998.

Making a walk across the stage a top priority: Ray Griffin, Dick Schafrath and Mike Vrabel

Ray Griffin

The glitz and glamour that come with playing football professionally can quickly push graduation to the backburner. Ray Griffin, Dick Schafrath and Mike Vrabel were all recruited to play for NFL teams before receiving their bachelor’s degrees. As they say, if something is a priority, you treat it as one. That’s exactly what Griffin, Schafrath and Vrabel did. All three of them returned to Ohio State to complete their degrees: Griffin in 1980, Schafrath in 2006 and Vrabel in 2004.

Having a sibling who is well-known can be a bit intimidating. It’s even tougher when your older brother is a two-time Heisman Trophy winner and has a 17,389-square-foot ballroom in the Ohio Union named after him. However, Ray Griffin (’80 Marketing Education) took his brother’s celebrity in stride and even followed in Archie Griffin’s footsteps by making a name for himself on the football field.

Ray Griffin was a three-year starter, a First Team All-American and team captain from 1974-1977. He led the Buckeyes to four consecutive Big Ten championships, two Rose Bowls and the Sugar and Orange bowls. After playing in the Hula Bowl during his senior year, he went on to play seven years for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL. He retired in 1984 after an injury.

Griffin showed true Buckeye pride by returning to complete his degree and gaining alumni status even as he continued his pro career. “Growing up in Columbus, Ohio State means the world to me,” he said during an interview after his induction into the Class of 2012 Hall of Fame.

Dick Schafrath, left, receives congratulations from Bernie Brown, Men’s Varsity O president.

It’s admirable to return to school to receive your degree while you are under 30 years old, but much more can be said about the character of a person who completed his academic career at the age of 69. A walk across the stage became a lifelong journey for Schafrath (’06 Sports and Leisure Studies). After being away from the classroom for nearly 50 years, he returned to earn what was most important to him: a degree from Ohio State.

He was the Ohio State team captain in 1958 and helped led his team to victories over Michigan during his three-year college football career. The offensive tackle and defensive end played on the 1957 national championship and 1958 Rose Bowl teams.

Schafrath was the second-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns, where he played for 13 years as a left tackle. He played in the Pro Bowl seven times, was the team’s MVP in 1963 and was elected into the Browns Legends Club in 2003.

Nicknamed “The Mule” for his stubborn determination, the published author has a reputation for being fearless: he wrestled a bear, ran 62 miles from the Cleveland Browns stadium to Wooster High School and even canoed across Lake Erie without stopping. The Wooster native also has a penchant for politics: He was elected to the Ohio Senate from 1986 until his retirement in 2003.

When asked about his experience returning to Ohio State, Schafrath shared “I had a wonderful time. I was the only student among 50,000 who did not do the Internet or the computer, but everybody hung in there and helped.”

Mike Vrabel

Mike Vrabel’s talents on the football field during his college career led to his current position as defensive line coach for the Buckeyes. But his determination to complete his bachelor’s degree showed the toughest grit.

Vrabel (’04 Exercise Science Education) was the first-ever Buckeye to win the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year award two times. He also earned back-to-back All-America honors. His Ohio State records include the university’s single–season record for sacks and tackles for loss (TFL), and he still holds the records for career sacks and single season and career TFLs. Vrabel ranks third all-time in the Big Ten in sacks.

His athleticism took him all the way to the National Football League, playing for Pittsburgh, New England and Kansas City. He led the Patriots to three Super Bowls in four years. He was named to the Pro Bowl and was later named All Pro.

“Ohio State is never going to be one person, one sport or one award,” the Akron native said at his induction. “It’s the group of us that makes it strong and proud and powerful. And I’m honored to be a part of that for the rest of my life.”