Three greats in the history of Western Kentucky athletics will be inducted as the 27th class into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies Oct. 14.
The 2017 class includes ShaRae Mansfield (women’s basketball), John Mutchler (football) and Jim Rose (men’s basketball) and will bring the number of former WKU athletes and coaches to earn berths in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame to 149 since its founding in 1991.
The 2017 class will be inducted in a ceremony highlighting the annual W-Club Homecoming Brunch at 10 a.m. Oct. 14 in E.A. Diddle Arena.
The inductees will also be honored in ceremonies at Houchens-Smith Stadium at halftime of the football game at 3:30 p.m.
An All-American as a senior and a three-time all-Sun Belt Conference first-team selection, Mansfield was WKU’s female athlete of the year both her junior and senior seasons – just the second WKU athlete to be so honored on two occasions and the first women’s basketball athlete. She was also named to the all-SBC tournament team as a senior.
At the end of her Lady Topper career, she was just the second player in program history to score 1,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds. Mansfield currently ranks seventh on the all-time scoring list (1,804 points) and fifth in total rebounds (1,000). She also ranks ninth in career scoring average (14.2 ppg), seventh in field goals made (700), fifth in field goal percentage (53.6), seventh in free throws made (403), eighth in rebounding average (7.9 rpg) and fifth in blocked shots (133).
Mansfield's Lady Topper teams won 88 games and made three postseason appearances (two in the NCAA and one in the WNIT). She was drafted in the third round by the Houston Comets of the WNBA in 2001, but injury ended her pro career after a short stint playing in Israel. She currently resides in her native Louisville.
Mutchler transferred to The Hill from Kentucky in 1962 and played just one season as a Hilltopper, but made the most of that opportunity, earning All-America honors as an end (playing both offense and defense) on the 1963 team. That club, the only undefeated squad in WKU football history, went 10-0-1, won the Ohio Valley Conference crown and posted an impressive 27-0 shutout victory over the Otto Graham-coached Coast Guard Academy in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando.
A key factor on a defense that gave up just seven points a game and an offense that scored 28 per outing, he was an all-OVC pick and was honored as the league’s defensive player of the year. His selection on the Williamson Mid-Bracket All-America Team was, at the time, the highest honor ever bestowed on an OVC football athlete.
Mulcher was also a second-team selection on the AP All-America Team. The son of WKU Athletic Hall of Famer Brad Mutchler, a stellar basketball and baseball athlete in the mid-1930s, Mutchler grew up in Paducah and now lives in Foley, Ala.
Rose came to The Hill from Hazard as a highly touted member of the 1967 recruiting class and went on to help lead the 1971 Hilltoppers to third place honors in the NCAA Final Four, earning All-America honors as a senior. He was a second round draft pick of the Boston Celtics (the 28th overall selection) in ‘71 and, he was also drafted by the Memphis Tams in the second round of the ABA draft.
Rose was twice named to the all-Ohio Valley Conference team (1970 and 71). A great outside shooter in the days before the 3-point shot, he finished his three-year varsity career with 1,133 points.
He was a key factor in leading his junior and senior teams to a combined 46-9 record, back-to-back OVC championships and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including the Final Four trip in ‘71. Rose, the third member of the ‘71 team to be inducted into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame along with Jim McDaniels and Clarence Glover, died in 2009.