Four Hilltopper greats selected for induction into WKU Athletics Hall of Fame

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 1:23 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Four great names in the history of WKU Athletics have been selected as the 30th class for induction into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame.

However, the 2020 Class will not be inducted at the annual W-Club Homecoming Brunch this fall as has been the custom for decades. The brunch and inductions ceremony has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is believed to be the first cancellation of the Homecoming Brunch, which dates back to the mid-1930s, since World War II. The 2020 Class will officially be inducted at a later date to be determined.

The 2020 class includes Sherrod Coates (Football), Chuck Eneix (Men’s Track), Janet Jesang (Women’s Cross Country and Track), and Chris Marcus (Men’s Basketball).

When inducted, the 2020 class will bring the number of former WKU athletes and coaches to earn berths in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame to 160 since its founding in 1991.

More about the members of the 2020 WKU Athletic Hall of Fame class:

Sherrod Coates  – Football, 4 letters (1999-02)

A three-time All-America linebacker (2000, ’01 and ’02) and two-time All-Gateway Conference selection (‘01 and ’02), Coates was named a member of the WKU Football All-Century Team in 2018. He set WKU season (31) and career (75) records for tackles for loss and both season (13) and career (30) records for sacks as well as the career record (14) for forced fumbles. As a junior he ranked 17th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.64 per game). Then in 2002, he was 12th in the nation in tackles for loss (2.07/game) and 16th in sacks (0.87/game). His last three Topper teams won two conference crowns, going a combined 18-3 (85.7%) in league competition and 31-9 (77.5%) in overall competition. A key factor in the Hilltoppers’ run to the 2002 NCAA I-AA National Championship, Coates went on to play three seasons of pro football with the Cleveland Browns and a fourth in the Canadian Football League. He now resides in Charlotte, N.C.

Chuck Eneix – Men’s Track, 4 letters (1970-73)

A three-time Ohio Valley Conference discus champion ('71-73), Eneix finished fourth in the event at the 1973 NCAA Championships to claim All-America honors. His throw of 179-2 in the ’73 OVC meet still stands (thru 2020 – 47 years later) as the league record in the event -- the oldest OVC track & field record in a currently competed event. He had the ninth-best throw in the nation in ’73 and his 192-2 toss in ’73 stood as the WKU standard for 32 years (until broken in 2005 by Hall of Famer Raigo Toompuu). Eneix swept the weights events in the 1972 OVC meet, taking top honors in both the discus and the shot put. His league title throw in the shot in ’72 was, at the time, the second-longest in OVC history (behind only former teammate and Hall of Fame member Eugene Smith’s 56-9.25 throw in 1971). In ’73, Eneix threw the shot a career-best 59-10. All four of the Topper teams he competed with won the OVC Track Championship – four of 12 in a row for WKU. Eneix currently lives in his hometown, Washington, Pa.

Janet Jesang – Women’s Cross Country, 4 letters (2006-09) and Track (2007-10)

A three-time All-American as a senior — cross country, indoor 5,000 meters, outdoor 5,000 meters — Jesang was dominant in the distances in the Sun Belt Conference during her career on The Hill. She reached NCAA national championship meets in cross country her last three years, in indoor track in both ’09 (5,000m) and ’10 (in both the 3,000 & 5,000m events) and outdoors (in the 5,000) in ’09. Her WKU teams won all 12 SBC crowns (4 each in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track) in her 4 years, she was the SBC Meet’s Outstanding Performer outdoors 3 times, and she was named the indoor MOP in ’08 & ’10. She was 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 indoors, and five outdoors).  A native of Uganda, she set school records in four indoor events (mile run, 3,000m, 5,000m, and distance medley relay — 3 of which still stand) and 2 outdoor events (5,000m and 10,000m;  the 5,000 mark also remains). Jesang is married to former Topper track athlete Daniel Kipsiro and they live in Chesapeake, Va.

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

Named to the WKU All-Century Team in 2019, Marcus enjoyed an outstanding career cut short by injury. As a freshman in ’99-00, he was 14th in the nation in rebounding (9.5 rpg) and 22nd in blocked shots. In his sophomore season, he led the nation in rebounding (12.1 rpg) and became the first Topper since 1989 to average a double-double, scoring 16.7 ppg. As a junior, he averaged 15.9 ppg and 8.9 rpg in his 15 games. He suffered a foot injury Nov. 27 that sidelined him for two months. Then, in the five games prior to the NCAA Tournament, he averaged 23 ppg and 9.6 rpg to finish strong. The injury bug limited Marcus to just four games as a senior.  He finished his career with 1,113 points, 795 rebounds, and a school-record 214 blocked shots after playing in only 19 of the Toppers' 65 games his last two years. His ’01 and ’02 teams combined to go 52-11 (82.5%) and win two SBC East Division crowns, two league tourneys and make two appearances in the NCAA tourney. Those teams were 27-3 (90%) in SBC action. His list of honors include: All-America (‘01, ’02), SBC Player of the Year (’01), SBC Defensive Player of the Year (‘00, ’01), SBC Tournament MVP (’01), SBC Newcomer of the Year (‘00), All-SBC Team (’00, ’01), All-SBC Tourney Team (‘00, ’01, ’02), NABC & USBWA All-District (’01, ’02), NABC Classic MVP ('01), Sports Illustrated National Player of the Week (Feb 27, ’02). Marcus passed away in April 2020, in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C.

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