Final three selections announced for Ferry HOF
Two talented athletes who wrapped up their high school careers as the new century began and a highly-successful coach who headed up one sport and was a vital member of the staff for another complete the nine-member Class of 2020 to be inducted into the Martins Ferry Athletic Hall of Fame.
Selected from the MFHS Class of 2000 are Zac Bruney and Scott Roth, and they’re joined by highly-successful track coach Dirk Fitch.
The Class of ’20 will be inducted on Friday, Oct. 23 at the Purple Riders’ home football game against Beaver Local
Previously announced members of the Class of 2020 are Jeff Jones (Class of 1960), Bill Bruney (Class of 1970), John Jasper (Class of 1973), Marc Freeman (Class of 1989), Kari Peterson (Class of 1990) and Scott Joseph (Class of 1990).
Next up, the four selections to the “Wall of Honor” which recognizes individuals who played a part in the success of Purple Rider athletics in a variety of ways will be announced and then comes the “Teams of Distinction” to recognize outstanding accomplishments by MFHS teams.
Here’s a look at the bios of Bruney, Roth and Fitch:
(Class of 2000)
He was a three-sport performer for the Purple Riders who went on to a stellar career on the gridiron at the University of Mount Union before becoming a top-notch coach at the college level.
In football, Bruney was a three-year letterman at MFHS, guiding the Purple to a 9-2 record, a 437-117 edge in points scored and a second straight OHSAA playoff appearance while passing for 2,184 yards and 21 TDs.
Bruney was named second team All-Ohio Division IV as well as first team All-Eastern District D-IV, All-OVAC Class 3A and All-Valley “Big School” and he played in the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game.
In track, Bruney was a four-year letterman who earned All-Ohio honors as a member of the Riders’ 4×100-meter relay team which also included Tony Collette, Ron Hill and John Yoder that posted a third-place finish (43.55 seconds) in the 4×100-meter relay at the OHSAA Division II State Track Meet after winning the Regional title. He also teamed with Collette, Ron Wilson and Ron Hill to win the Regional in the 4×400-relay.
In basketball, he was a two-year letterman/starter, earning All-OVAC Class 3A second team and third team All-Eastern District honors as a senior.
Bruney went on to excel at the University of Mount Union where he was a four-year letterman and two-year starter at quarterback (he graduated in 2005 and later earned his master’s degree from the University of Toledo).
After seeing limited action his first two years, he passed for 2,439 yards (145-of-234) with 28 TDs and rushed 81 times for 349 yards and three TDs as the Purple Raiders posted a perfect 14-0 record, winning the Ohio Athletic Conference title and going on to claim the NCAA Division III National Championship.
He followed that up with 2,662 yards (170-of-270) with 31 TDs plus 90 rushes for 450 yards and six TDS, with The Mount finishing 12-1, winning another OAC title and reaching the NCAA D-III semifinals.
Bruney’s career totals included 5.769 yards passing (8th all-time at MU as of 2020), 64 TDs (7th all-time), 360-of-574 (10th in completions/8th in attempts) and in the top 10 in several other passing statistics. He also had 1,075 career rushing yards with 11 TDs.
His list of awards at Mount Union includes the 2004 Gregory Award winner as the top offensive back in the OAC; first team all-OAC quarterback; finalist for the Gagliardi Award as the Most Outstanding Player in NCAA Division III; and the 2005 OAC Clyde Lamb Award winner as the top male scholar-athlete in the OAC. He was also named second team All-American by Senior Football Gazette and third team by D3Football.com and he was also Academic All-OAC as a junior and senior and second team CoSIDA/Sporting News Academic All-American as a senior.
Bruney’s coaching career (as of 2020) includes assistant at Mount Union (2005-07); graduate assistant at the University of Toledo (2007-09); offensive coordinator at Mount Union (2009-12); assistant coach at Martins Ferry HS (2012); assistant coach at Ohio Dominican University (2013-16), serving as QB coach, recruiting coordinator, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach during his time there; and then he was named the first head coach at Wheeling University in 2017.
(Class of 2000)
One of Ferry High’s all-time best on the mat, Roth culminated his career in style by winning the OHSAA Division III state championship in the 145-pound division after capturing D-III Sectional and District crowns along the tournament trail. Roth’s title led the Purple Riders to a third-place finish in the state tournament.
Roth, who finished third as a junior in the state at 140 pounds as a junior (MFHS was third in the state as a team that year as well), was also a two-time titlist at the OVAC Ron Mauck Wrestling Championships (1999 and 2000) and he was awarded the Dave Bierkortte Memorial Award as the tournament’s most outstanding wrestler as a senior.
He also won several tournaments as a senior, including the St. Johns Invitational, Barnesville Invitational, Buckeye Local Panther Classic and the Steubenville Catholic Dual Tournament.
Roth had 155 career victories, including a school -record 44 as a senior. His career consistency included 35 wins as a freshman, 41 as a sophomore and 35 as a junior. He also registered 256 career takedowns and 17 tech falls as a senior – both school marks.
Roth showed his wrestling prowess early, winning the Ohio Valley Junior High Wrestling Tournament crown as an eighth grader.
He was inducted into the Martins Ferry Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2017.
Although he started out playing for the rival Bellaire Big Reds, Fitch became a valued member of the Purple Rider coaching fraternity.
During his tenure as head track coach, the Riders won a combined seven Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championships – claiming Class 3A boys’ titles in 1994, ’98, ’99 and 2000 and capturing Class 3A girls’ crowns in 1993, ’94 and 2000.
The MFHS boys were Belmont County champs twice (1998 and 1999); won the Shadyside Relays in 1999 and 2002 and scored the most points by an OVAC team in the Bellaire Relays in 2000. The girls’ teams took top honors in the Shadyside Relays in 1993 and 1994 and tied for the crown in 2000.
Fitch was named Eastern District Track & Cross Country Association’s Division II Girls “Coach of the Year” in 1998 and received the district boys’ “Coach of the Year” honor in 1999.
He had 11 OHSAA State Track Meet qualifiers, including two state champions (Maurice Jordan in the 300-meter hurdles in 1991 and the 4×100-meter relay team of J.R. Thomas, Ron Hill, Tony Collette and Jay Wallace in 1999).
Fitch – a 1979 graduate of Bellaire High School and a 1983 product of Bowling Green State University who earned his master’s degree from Franciscan University and his superintendent’s degree from Salem International University – served as an assistant coach at Frontier High School (1983) and then as Hall of Fame coach Gordon Downie’s assistant at Ferry (1984-91) before assuming the head coaching post.
He also had a long run as an assistant under Hall of Fame football coach Dave Bruney, serving on the Riders’ staff from 1984-2017.
At Ferry High, he was a special education teacher, assistant principal and superintendent. He became the Assistant Game Director for the OVAC Rudy Mumley All-Star Football Game in 2019 and took over as Game Director in 2020. He has been an assistant football coach at Wheeling University since 2018.