WKU Athletics Hall of Fame announces Class of 2021


Provided by WKU Athletics Archives

Sherrod Coates makes a tackle during his illustrious WKU career.

Drew Toennies, Sports reporter

Five great names in Hilltopper history will be inducted as the 30th class of the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies set for Homecoming weekend.

The 2021 class includes Sherrod Coates (football), Jay Davis (football), Donna Doellman Miller (women’s basketball), Janet Jesang (women’s cross country, track and field), and Chris Marcus (men’s basketball).

The induction of the 2021 class will bring the number of inductees to 161.

The 2021 class is set to be inducted in a ceremony highlighting the annual W-Club Homecoming Brunch, set for 10 a.m. CT on Saturday, Oct. 30, on the main floor of John Oldham Court in E.A. Diddle Arena. Tickets for the event are open to the general public with each ticket priced at $30.

Each active W-Club member who has paid his or her 2021-22 dues or is a lifetime member can purchase up to two seats at the member discounted rate of $20 each. However, seating will be limited, and reservations are required. Reservations can be made online or over the phone with the Alumni Association. Non-members and the general public are welcome to attend the event but must purchase seats.

The inductees will also be honored in ceremonies on Jimmy Feix Field at halftime of the annual Homecoming football game, set to kickoff at 3 p.m. CT on October 30. WKU head coach Tyson Helton will pit his Hilltopper team against C-USA challenger Charlotte at Houchens-Smith Stadium. Tickets for the game are available to W-Club members with a valid 2021-22 membership card as they may purchase tickets at a discounted rate at the W-Club window at Gate 5 prior to kickoff.

More about the 2021 Hall of Fame inductees:

Sherrod Coates / Football, 4 Letters (1999-2002)

Sherrod Coates was a three-time first-team All-American linebacker and was named to the WKU Football All-Century Team back in 2018. He was also an All-Gateway Football Conference selection from 2001-2002.

He ranked 12th in the nation in tackles for loss (2.07 per game) as a senior after ranking 17th (1.64 per outing) his junior season. He was 16th nationwide in quarterback sacks (0.87 per game) as a senior. Coates set six school records that still stand today – tackles for loss in both a career (75) and season (31 in 2002), sacks in a career (30) and a season (13 in 2002) and forced fumbles in a career (14) and a season (tied with six in 2000).

His career solo tackles (214) ranks as the eighth best mark for a Hilltopper and his five forced fumbles in 2002 ranks fourth on that list. He spent three seasons with the Cleveland Browns of the NFL (2003-05) and was also active in the Canadian Football League in 2006.

Jay Davis / Football, 4 letters (1968-71)

Provided by WKU Athletics Archive

Davis is one of the most outstanding receivers in the history of Hilltopper Football and his impact on WKU’s record books has stood the test of time. The 15 receptions he accounted for against Akron in 1969 stood as the school record for 50 years and was beaten by only Lucky Jackson back in 2019.

Davis also still holds the record for catches by a sophomore (46, 1969) and, receiving TDs by a freshman (six, 1968). He finished his WKU Football career with 131 total catches which was not beaten until 2004.

The four teams he was a part of went 29-8-3 overall and claimed back-to-back OVC Championships in 1970-71. Davis earned All-OVC honors as a junior in 1970.

Donna Doellman / Basketball, 4 letters (1976-79)

Provided by WKU Athletics Archives

Doellman earned all-conference honors from 1976-1978 and remains one of the most dominant rebounders in Lady Topper basketball history.

She set a record for career rebounding average (8.4 rpg) that was not tied until 1998 and not bettered until 2008. She also held the school record for rebounds in a game, 20 vs. Murray State in her freshman year, a mark that was equaled, but not broken for a whopping 33 years. Her 10.1 rebounds per game average stood for 22 years and is still ninth on the all-time list.

She was just the fourth Lady Topper in program history to score 1,000 career points (1,129) and had a single-game high of 32 points against the Austin Peay Governors in 1976. She played a key role on four Lady Topper teams that posted winning records, including the first two to post 20-win seasons (22-9 in both her sophomore and junior seasons). The 1977 team was the first WKU women’s team to earn a berth in post-season action.

Janet Jesang / Cross Country, 4 letters (2006-09) Track & Field, 4 letters (2007-10)

Provided by WKU Athletics Archives

A three-time All-American in 2009 in cross country, indoor 5,000 meters and the outdoor 5,000 meters, Jesang was extremely dominant in the distance category in the Sun Belt Conference during her career as a Hilltopper.

She reached several NCAA national championship meets in cross country her last three years: in indoor track in both 2009 (5,000 meter) and 2010 (both the 3,000 and 5,000 meter events) and outdoors (5,000 meter) in 2009. WKU teams won all 12 SBC crowns, four each in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, across her time at WKU.

Jesang was the SBC Meet’s Outstanding Performer outdoors three times and the indoor MOP in 2008 and 2010. Jesang was also the league champ in cross country three times after finishing as the runner-up her freshman year. For her career, she earned All-SBC honors in 16 events: four in cross country, seven in indoors and five outdoors.

A native of Uganda, she set school records in four indoor events (the mile, 3,000 meter, 5,000 meter and distance medley relay, three of her records still stand) and two outdoor events (5,000 meter and 10,000 meter, her 5,000 mark also remains).

Chris Marcus / Basketball, 3 letters (2000-02)

Provided by WKU Athletics Archives

Marcus became a Hilltopper in 1999 and quickly became one of the most respected big men in college basketball. A two-time All-American (2001-2002) and a member of the WKU Basketball All-Century Team, which was selected in 2019, the 7-foot-1 Marcus led the nation in rebounds in the 2000-01 season with 12.1 boards per game.

He was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2001 and earned an NABC All-District and All-Sun Belt Team selection in both 2000 and 2001. Both years he was selected the SBC Defensive Player of the Year. He was also honored with a berth on the SBC 30th Anniversary Team in 2006.

Despite appearing in only 19 of 65 of the Hilltoppers games in his final two seasons, Marcus totaled 1,113 points and 795 rebounds in his 79 games as a Hilltopper as well as 97 blocked shots in 2001, which is still the single-season school record.

Marcus additionally had 214 career blocks, second all-time and is ranked seventh in points scored by a freshman (344) and sixth in scoring by a sophomore (518). Marcus unfortunately passed away last April.

Sports reporter Drew Toennies can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @drew_toennies.