HUNTINGTON — Last week, Sam O’Dell was in the midst of writing work notes on a patient at his dental practice in Hurricane when he saw a Huntington-based phone number pop up on his phone.
While O’Dell was unable to answer at the time, he checked the voicemail to find it was Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick urging him to call back quickly.
O’Dell’s call-back was not immediately answered, but 20 minutes later, the number again popped up on his phone.
This time, O’Dell picked up. On the other end, Hamrick delivered a message that O’Dell will never forget: that he was named to the Marshall University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
“When I got his original message saying that we needed to meet and there was something he needed to tell me, I thought, ‘There’s no way that’s what it was about,’ ” O’Dell recalled of that conversation last week. “He called back and let me know I was part of the class. I just thought, ‘This is unreal.’ ”
O’Dell, who starred as a golfer at Marshall from 1997-2000, was one of nine athletes named to the Class of 2020 for Marshall’s Hall of Fame.
They will all be recognized at the annual Hall of Fame Dinner, which is scheduled for Sept. 11.
“This class represents some of the finest student-athletes in school history,” Hamrick said in a release. “The contributions of these fine men and women are truly appreciated by everyone in the Marshall Athletics family.”
In all, the class features six men and three women across eight sports.
Three of the inductees were football players: Albert McClellan (2005-09), Steve Sciullo (1999-2002) and Trusty Tallman (1916-19, 1925-28).
McClellan has spent a decade in the NFL following his Marshall career, which included being the league’s Defensive Player of the Year as a defensive end in 2006. The NFL veteran has won Super Bowls with the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots and is currently a linebacker with the New York Jets.
Sciullo was a key figure on the offensive line for the Marshall offenses of Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich from 1999 to 2002. Following his career with the Herd, Sciullo was selected in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He played for the Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers during his NFL tenure.
Tallman was the Hall of Fame’s Legends inductee, having played football for the Herd from 1916-19 while later serving as a coach from 1925-28 in men’s basketball and baseball.
In his football career, Tallman’s highlights included leading the team to an 8-0 mark in 1919 — a year in which the team outscored opponents 302-13.
During his coaching career, Tallman won the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball title in 1926, which came after he led the Thundering Herd to a 10-7 record in the 1925-26 season.
Also in baseball, Dave Ramella starred as a third baseman for the Herd from 1975-79 — a time which included Marshall’s 1978 run to the Southern Conference championship and the NCAA tournament, where Marshall earned wins over Clemson and Florida State en route to finishing 17th in the Collegiate Baseball newspaper rankings. In four years, Ramella’s teams won 88 games.
Two of the women’s inductees were at Marshall around the same time, leading their respective programs to success in the mid-2000s.
Tennis standout Kellie Schmitt (Donnelly) is Marshall’s all-time career leader in combined singles and doubles wins with 236. Schmitt was named Conference USA Player of the Year three times (2007, 2008, 2009) after earning Freshman of the Year honors in 2006. She teamed with Lynzee Keever for a pair of Conference USA doubles titles in 2006 and 2007. Later, she returned to Marshall as an assistant coach.
Jalicia Ross was part of a dominant volleyball program under Mitch Jacobs, playing for the Herd from 2004-08. Ross was an integral part of the Herd’s attack in its Conference USA championship in 2005 and the league’s regular-season title in 2007. During that 2007 run, in which the team went 15-1 in league play, Ross was named second-team All-Conference USA after amassing 296 kills and 94 blocks.
The final women’s inductee for the Class of 2020 was Karla May, who starred as a women’s basketball player from 1982-86. To this day, May is Marshall’s all-time leader in assists with 751 — a total that is still second in the Southern Conference record book. May’s teams won Southern Conference regular-season titles in her junior and senior seasons. May’s 266 steals are third in Marshall’s career records and she finished with 1,216 points, which is ninth.
While May was excelling on the court from 1982-86, Marshall’s Bill Noe was setting records in the pool as a swimmer. Noe was a three-time all-Southern Conference selection, winning 10 conference titles while setting several school and conference records in the process. In his freshman year, Noe led Marshall to a league title by winning the 100 and 200 butterfly, as well as the 200 individual medley. He set three Marshall, league and pool records in that meet and was named meet MVP.
The Class of 2020 will be recognized at the Hall of Fame Dinner on Sept. 11 before also being honored on the field prior to Marshall’s scheduled Sept. 12 football contest against Pitt at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.