WKU to induct four new members to Athletics Hall of Fame

Herald Staff

Four new members will be inducted into the WKU Athletics Hall of Fame at Saturday’s Homecoming Brunch.

The 23rd class to be inducted to the hall includes Romeo Crennel (football), James Edwards (football), Brandi Beckwith Carey (swimming) and  Curtiss Long (track and cross country).

WKU’s annual Homecoming Brunch will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. at Diddle Arena.

Romeo Crennel — Football, four letters (1966, ’67, ’68, ’69)

Romeo Crennel is one of the biggest names to ever come out of the WKU football program.

Crennel has spent time as coach of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, as well as serving as a defensive coaching assistant with several other teams.

Before he was holding a clipboard on the sidelines, though, he was making his name as one of WKU’s top defenders in the 1960s.

A three-year starter for the WKU defensive line, Crennel recorded 189 total tackles for the Toppers and was a second-team All-American in 1969.

WKU enjoyed several successful seasons with Crennel anchoring the defensive line. The Toppers went 25-11-3 in his four years and finished in second place in the Ohio Valley Conference in 1967 and 1968.

His NFL career resulted in five Super Bowl rings — two with the New York Giants in 1987 and 1991, and three with the New England Patriots in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

James Edwards — Football, four letters (1984, ’85, ’86, ’87)

Jacksonville, Fla., native James Edwards had an All-American career in the Topper backfield.

A starter by the end of his freshman year, Edwards picked up 219 tackles, 14 interceptions, and 25 broken-up passes in his four-year career at safety.

His senior season was one of the best for a player in WKU history. In 1987, Edwards was a first-team All-American after recording 65 tackles, seven interceptions, nine passes broken up, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries over the course of the year.

He was a crucial part of the 1987 team that went to the Division I-AA playoffs, the first time the team had been to the postseason since 1975.

Edwards also signed with the Miami Dolphins for a period in 1988 after he left WKU.

Brandi Beckwith Carey — Swimming, four letters (1999, 2000, ’01, ’02)

Brandi Beckwith Carey was one of former swimming coach Bill Powell’s first recruits, and she played an important role for the team in its first few years.

The Lexington native joined the team in 1998 as a part of Powell’s second recruiting class. She went by the name Brandi Beckwith for the first two years of her career before competing as Brandi Carey after marrying former Topper swimmer Pete Carey in 2000.

Carey qualified for the NCAA Championship meet in each of her final three seasons for WKU. She was the first Lady Topper swimmer to earn All-America honors and finished No. 10 in the 200 individual medley at the 2002 NCAA National Championships.

She was also named the WKU Female Athlete of the Year in 2002 and won the Lady Topper swimming team’s Scholar-Athlete Award and Most Valuable Player honors in each of her four seasons.

Carey held 10 school records at one point and currently still holds four — the 50 freestyle, the 100 freestyle, the 200 freestyle and the 200 individual medley.

Curtiss Long — Track and cross country coach (1980-2007)

Curtiss Long has been an important figure for the WKU track and field teams since he came to the school over 30 years ago.

Long took over as coach of the men’s track and field and cross country teams in 1980, and by 1982, he was leading the women’s program as well. He was later named the Sun Belt Conference’s “All-Time Coach” for both men’s and women’s cross country in 2006.

Long’s teams won 33 conference championships — 13 in men’s cross country, 13 in women’s cross country, two in women’s indoor track, two in men’s outdoor track, and two in women’s outdoor track — in his time at the helm for WKU. His 2006-07 Lady Topper team was the first in conference history to take the Sun Belt title in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

Long retired in 2007 but still helps the program as a part-time assistant coach.