RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande is adding a highly-successful coach and two standout student-athletes to its Athletic Hall of Fame.
John Lawhorn, Jessica Ross (Herron) and Tyler Schunk comprise the Class of 2018 announced Friday by school officials.
The trio’s formal induction will take place at the school’s annual Hall of Fame banquet on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m., in the Davis University Center. The banquet follows the conclusion of the Bevo Francis Invitational Tournament, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16-17, at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The Class of 2018 – and all Hall of Fame members in attendance – will be recognized prior to the tournament’s final game at approximately 4 p.m. on the 17th.
Lawhorn served as the men’s basketball coach at Rio Grande from 1980-1997, compiling a 409-161 record as the bench boss of the Redmen.
A native of Highland County (OH) and a 1962 graduate of Rio Grande, Lawhorn was named the NAIA District 22 Coach of the Year four times (1984, 1985, 1991 and 1995) and was a five-time Mid-Ohio Conference Coach of the Year (1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, and 1995).
His 1984-85 and 1986-87 team both advanced to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.
Lawhorn, who also served as Athletic Director during his tenure at Rio Grande, was a successful head coach on the high school level as well, piling up 340 victories over 22 seasons at four schools.
Ross, a star centerfielder for head coach David Pyles’ Redwomen from 2005-08, was a three-time First Team All-America Mideast Conference selection and was named the AMC South Player of the Year as a senior.
Ross batted .500 with 52 runs scored and 36 stolen bases as a senior, earning NAIA Honorable Mention All-American honors.
For her career, the Hilliard (OH) native batted .437 with 17 doubles, 12 triples, 58 RBI, 109 stolen bases and 174 runs scored. She also appeared as a pitcher in 11 games – all starts – with a 6-4 record and a 2.53 earned run average.
Ross, who was named Rio Grande’s Female Athlete of the Year as both a junior and senior, graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. The following year, she become the graduate assistant coach for the Rio softball team and earned her Master’s degree in Classroom Teaching.
Today, Ross is married to Ryan Herron and the couple have a two-year-old daughter, Rylie. She works as the Gifted Intervention Specialist for the Hilliard City School District outside of Columbus.
Schunk, a transfer from Northern Kentucky University, made the most of his two seasons playing for head coach Brad Warnimont, batting .371 over the course of the 2009 and 2010 campaigns with 20 home runs and 126 RBI.
Schunk also finished with 36 doubles, four triples, a .659 slugging percentage and a .457 on-base percentage.
The Cincinnati (OH) product was impressive as a pitcher as well, posting a 20-7 record with four saves, a 3.30 earned run average and 140 strikeouts in 169-1/3 innings pitched.
After earning a second team All-America Mideast Conference selection as a junior, Schunk was tabbed a First Team All-Mid-South Conference pick as a senior, in addition to being named the MSC Player of the Year, an MSC Gold Glove Award winner, and a First Team All-American – the first in school history.
Rio Grande finished 86-34 in Schunk’s two seasons with the program, including a school-record 48-win season in 2010, which also produced the program’s first trip to the NAIA national tournament.
Today, Schunk works in concrete construction and lives in Cincinnati with his fiancé, Shelby Bechtold, a Rio Grande alumnae. The couple is engaged to be married September 2019.
Tickets for the banquet, which are $20 each, can be purchased online at http://www.rio.edu/alumni/Registration.cfm or through the Alumni Relations office at 740-245-7431.
The University of Rio Grande takes great pride in awarding outstanding alumni, athletes and former faculty members with various recognition awards. Nominations from alumni and former faculty and staff are encouraged.
Nomination forms for alumni awards, Athletic Hall of Fame and Educators Hall of Fame are available through the resources link on the Alumni Relations webpage at rio.edu/alumni.
Nominations are due by Feb. 1 of each year. For more information, or questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.