July 21, 2003
Seven former student-athletes, including Butler's all-time leading basketball rebounder, and two national championship basketball teams will be inducted into the Butler University Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend. The new inductees will be honored at a dinner ceremony in the Reilly Room of Butler's Atherton Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m., on Sunday, July 27.
Slated for induction into the Butler Athletic Hall of Fame are former student-athletes Robert J. Grenda ('75, football), Larry R. Helms ('62, football), Daryl Mason ('76, basketball), Sue Morris Mills ('85, basketball, volleyball), Kevin McDevitt ('77, football), James A. Petty ('66, track, basketball) and John L. Skirchak ('61, football, baseball), plus Butler's 1924 and 1929 basketball national championship teams.
Grenda was a four-year football letterwinner for the Bulldogs from 1971 to 1974. One of the most versatile players to suit up for the Bulldogs, he helped lead Butler to three consecutive conference titles. He led Butler in rushing and scoring in 1972 and later became one of the team's top receivers. Grenda was a team captain and Hilton U. Brown Award winner in 1974.
Helms was a two-way starter on Butler's successful football teams from 1959 to 1961. During his three seasons, Butler compiled a 26-1 record and three conference championships. He earned all-conference honors in 1960 and 1961. Helms was named to the Delaware County Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1998.
Mason was a three-year all-conference player on Butler's basketball teams, 1971-74. Perhaps the greatest rebounder ever to play for the Bulldogs, he set and continues to hold Butler's single game (26), single season (354) and career (961) rebounding records. He averaged 11.9 points and 12.3 rebounds for his career, and he was named to Butler's All-Decade team for the 1970's.
Mills was a top player on Butler's basketball and volleyball teams, 1981-85. She was a basketball M.V.P. in 1985 and a volleyball Most Valuable Defensive Player in 1984. She's currently 6th in career scoring, 7th in career rebounding, 5th in career free throw shooting and 8th in career field goal shooting at Butler. She was named to the volleyball 25th Anniversary Team.
McDevitt was a four-year letterwinner as a running back on Butler's football teams, 1973-1976. He led the nation in kickoff returns in 1975, and he still holds Butler's career record for kickoff returns. He won the conference scoring title in 1974, and he became the first Butler football player to score 100 points in 1976. McDevitt currently ranks 10th on Butler's all-time rushing list.
Petty was a varsity letterwinner in both track and basketball at Butler. He was a Big State, Little State and conference champion in the long jump and triple jump in 1966, and he placed fourth in the NAIA National Track Meet that same year. He was a two-time track M.V.P. and a three-year member of Butler's basketball teams, 1962-66.
Skirchak was a captain and M.V.P. on Butler's 1960 championship football team. He set a school single season scoring record that year and was named "Back of the Year" in the Indiana Collegiate Conference. The all-conference halfback played on three consecutive league championship teams, 1958-60. He also was a two-year starting outfielder in baseball.
The two basketball squads are the first full teams to be inducted into the Butler Hall of Fame. The 1924 team won the AAU National Championship at the national tournament held in Kansas City, Mo. That squad, coached by Hall of Fame member Harlan O. "Pat" Page, included current Butler Hall of Fame members Orville J. Hooker, Hugh "Wally Middlesworth, Haldane Griggs and Robert Nipper.
The 1929 Butler basketball team was awarded the John J. McDevitt Trophy, presented to the designated collegiate national champion by the Veteran Athletes of Philadelphia. The team, coached by Hall of Fame member Paul D. "Tony" Hinkle, compiled a 17-2 record, including wins over Notre Dame, North Carolina, Illinois, Purdue, Missouri and Pittsburgh. The roster included Butler Hall of Fame members Oral Hildebrand, Frank White, Jake Caskey and Dana Chandler.
The Butler Hall of Fame was created in 1991 to provide a forum in which those who have brought honor and respect to Butler University and its athletic program could be acknowledged and permanently enshrined in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Inductees have each made exceptional contributions to the prestige of the university in the field of athletics, and continued to demonstrate in their lives the values imparted by athletics.