40th WLU Athletic Hall of Fame scheduled for Oct. 2
WEST LIBERTY – The 40th annual induction ceremony for the West Liberty University Athletic Hall of Fame has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 2 inside the university’s Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex.
This year’s 8-person class features Heather Alcorn (women’s tennis), Clay Beeler (football), Kevon Calhoun (football), Dave Cisar (baseball/coaching), Richard Foston (wrestling), Doug Surra (wrestling), Lynn Thompson (women’s basketball/softball) and Kallen Weaver (track and field/cross country).
Festivities begin at 8:30 a.m. with a social gathering in the lobby of the ASRC. Breakfast and the formal induction ceremony follow at 9 a.m. in the R. Emmett Boyle Conference Center. The WLU Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 will be recognized on the field at West Family Stadium during halftime of that day’s football game against Glenville State College.
The game is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Following are information capsules for this year’s honorees:
Heather Alcorn Ferguson is one of the most decorated players in the long and storied history of West Liberty women’s tennis. A four-time All-West Virginia Conference selection and two-time WVIAC Player of the Year, Heather led Coach Heather Gallagher’s Hilltoppers to three WVIAC championships, two WVIAC Tournament crowns and a pair of NCAA Division II Tournament bids.
A three-time NCAA Division II All-American and a key figure on West Liberty’s first NCAA playoff team, Clay Beeler still ranks among the Hilltoppers’ all-time leaders in several defensive categories. His 43.5 tackles-for-loss rank No. 3 all-time at WLU and his 324 tackles are fifth on the school’s career list. He also owns Top 5 single-game marks in tackles (18) and quarterback sacks (4).
The 2010 WVIAC Defensive Player of the Year, Beeler earned multiple All-America awards as a senior and closed out his career by playing in the NCAA Division 2 All-American Bowl and Dixie Gridiron Classic.
One of the most electrifying running backs in West Liberty history, Kevon Calhoun powered his way into the national spotlight on numerous occasions during his three years on the hilltop. The two-time NCAA Division 2 All-Region selection holds WLU’s career and single-season records in TDs, rushing TDs and scoring along with single-game records for TDs and rushing TDs.
He finished with 12 100-yard rushing games, two 200-yard rushing games and two 100-yard receiving games.
A hard-throwing bullpen ace and two-year team captain on the outstanding West Liberty baseball teams of the late 1960s, Dave Cisar went on to post more than 1,000 coaching wins in nearly a half-century as a legendary high school mentor.
The Bishop Donahue High School all-stater came to the hilltop after one year at Miami-Dade JC and was a three-year standout (1967-69) on the diamond for Hall of Fame coaches Tom Meikle and Dave Waples. The Hilltoppers were 1969 WVIAC champions and went 30-5 in league play during Cisar’s three years on the diamond.
After graduating from West Liberty, Cisar began a record-setting teaching and coaching career at Magnolia High School in New Martinsville, W.Va.
The former Hilltopper went 158-102 in 24 seasons as head football coach with four OVAC titles and three state runner-up finishes.
In 48 years as head baseball coach, Cisar posted an 893-440 record with nine OVAC titles, one state championship and two state runner-up finishes for a combined 1,051 coaching wins – the most in OVAC history.
Cisar is a member of the West Virginia Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame, the Ohio Valley Football Coaches Hall of Fame, and the Bishop Donahue Hall of Fame.
Dave and his wife, Beverly, have four sons – Aaron, Mark, Derek and Ryan (deceased) – and reside in New Martinsville.
Ranked No. 1 in the country as a junior and senior, West Liberty wrestling legend Richard Foston has the rare distinction of being a four-time collegiate All-American for three national organizations – NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA.
Foston came to the hilltop in 1994 as a junior-college All-American after placing 7th in the nation at 150 pounds for Cuyahoga (Ohio) CC. He made an immediate impact for Hall of Fame Coach Dr. Vince Monseau as the Hilltoppers were runners-up at the 1995 NAIA Nationals. Foston was 6th at 150 pounds to earn NAIA All-America honors.
West Liberty transitioned to NCAA Division II in 1996 and Foston, now a team co-captain, emerged as one of the top wrestlers in the nation. Ranked No. 1 at 150 all year, he wrestled “up” at 158 at the NCAA Nationals and earned NCAA All-America honors while helping the Hilltoppers to a sixth-place finish.
Foston closed out his career in impressive fashion as a senior. Again ranked No. 1 nationally throughout the year, he won four major tournament titles and earned his fourth All-America honor with a 6th-place finish at the NCAA D2 Nationals.
Foston graduated from West Liberty in 1997 with a Criminal Justice degree. The proud father of two, he resides in Bridgeport.
A three-time NCAA All-American and 2009 NCAA champion, Doug Surra was a force to be reckoned with on the mats throughout his career on the hilltop.
A transfer from Clarion (Pa.), Surra vaulted into the national spotlight in 2007 with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Division 2 Nationals as a mere sophomore. He capped a strong junior campaign with another All-America honor, placing seventh in the 2008 Nationals, but saved his best for last.
A Field Enforcement Agent with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, Surra has kept the competitive juices flowing as a highly-competitive Dirt Track Late Model race car driver. The Surra Racing Team has won five track championships in the past five years.
A dynamic two-sport athlete, Lynn Thompson collected multiple All-WVIAC laurels in softball and women’s basketball on the hilltop from 1984-88.
An All-State guard who led River Valley High School to the Ohio “Final Four” as a senior, Thompson earned 12 letters in high school before heading to West Liberty. She averaged double-figures all four years with the Lady Hilltopper hoop squad, racking up 1,267 career points as an All-WVIAC backcourt ace. A two-time All-Conference catcher in softball, she started every game for all four years with the Black and Gold.
She saved her best for last in 1988, closing out her career by earning a spot on the NAIA All-District Team.
(Cross Country, Track and Field)
Six-time All-WVIAC selection Kallen Weaver sat out a redshirt season at West Virginia University before transferring to the hilltop and launching a four-year assault on the West Liberty record book.
Coached by her father, WLU Hall of Famer Timothy Weaver, Kallen made an immediate impact.
The 2006 WVIAC Cross Country Freshman of the Year was runner-up in her first WVIAC championship meet and went on to become the first Lady Hilltopper runner to earn four first-team All-WVIAC awards.
Another highlight came in the 2009 Greensboro (N.C.) Invitational when she ran away from a field featuring numerous NCAA Division I runners to hit the tape nearly 30 seconds ahead of her closest pursuer.
After graduating with dual degrees in Physical Education and Health Education, Weaver spent several years as a teacher and coach in West Virginia and North Carolina before embarking on a second career. In 2020, Weaver became a U.S. Army cadet in Fayetteville (N.C.) State University’s ROTC program while pursuing her master’s degree in Business Management with a Healthcare Specialty. She will complete her degree in the spring and receive her Army officer’s commission in the summer.
Kallen and her Army veteran husband, Joseph Nelson, reside in Fayetteville with their children – Paisley, Maximus and Arden.