Five Hilltopper Greats to be Inducted into WKU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2021 Class

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 5:47 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Five great names in the history of WKU Athletics will be inducted as the 30th class into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies set for Homecoming weekend this fall.

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

The induction of the 2021 class will bring the number of former WKU athletes and coaches to earn berths in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame to 161 since its founding in 1991.

The 2021 class will be inducted in a ceremony highlighting the annual W-Club Homecoming Brunch, set for 10 a.m. CT Saturday, Oct. 30, on the main floor (John Oldham Court) in E.A. Diddle Arena on the WKU campus in Bowling Green.

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

Coates, a 3-time first team  All-America linebacker, was named to the WKU Football All-Century Team in 2018.  He was also an All-Gateway Football Conference selection in both ‘01 and ‘02.  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.  And, he was 16th nationwide in quarterback sacks (0.87) as a senior.  He set six school records that still stand – tackles for loss in a career (75) and a season (31 in 2002), sacks in a career (30) and a season (13 in ‘02), and forced fumbles in a career (14) and a career (tied with 6 in ‘00).  His career solo tackles (214) ranks as the 8th best ever for a Hilltopper and his five forced fumbles in ‘02 ranks 4th on that list.  He spent three seasons with the Cleveland Browns of the NFL (2003-05) and was active in the Canadian Football League in 2006.

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

One of the outstanding pass receivers in Hilltopper football history, Davis’ impact on the Topper record  books has stood the test of time.  The 15 receptions he accounted for at Akron in 1969 stood as the school record for 50 years and has been bettered by only Lucky Jackson in 2019 since.  And, the 191 yards on catches in that contest stood for 26 years and is still 7t on that list.  He still holds WKU records for catches by a sophomore (46 in 1969), receiving yards by a freshman (612 in ‘68) and by a sophomore (809 in ‘69);  and, receiving TDs by a freshman (6 in 1968).  He completed his career with 131 catches (not bettered until 2004) for 2,236 yards (lasting until 2007) and 19 TD receptions (still 6th on that list).  The four teams he lettered on were a collective 29-8-3 (76.3%) overall with two OVC championships (’70 & ‘71) and two runner-up finishes in league competition.  He earned All-OVC honors as a junior in 1970.

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

Doellman earned all-conference  honors in ‘76, ‘77 and ‘78 and remains one of the dominant rebounders in Lady Topper basketball history.  She set a record for career rebounding average (8.4 rpg) that was tied in 1998 and not bettered until 2008.  She also held the school standard for rebounds in a game (20 vs. Murray State her freshman year), a mark that was equaled, but not broken for 33 years.  And, her 10.1 season rebounds per game average stood for 22 years and is still 9th on that list.  She was just the 4th Lady Topper to score 1,000 career points (1,129) and had a single game high of 32 vs. Austin Peay in 1976.  She played a key role on 4 Lady Topper teams that posted winning records, including the 1st two to post 20-win seasons (22-9 in both her sophomore and junior seasons).  The ‘77 club was the 1st WKU women’s team to earn a berth in post-season action (the AIAW championships).

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

A three-time All-American in 2009 — in cross country, indoor 5,000 meters and the outdoor 5,000 meters — Jesang was dominant in the distances in the Sun Belt Conference  during her career on The Hill (which also included All-America honors in cross country in 2008).  She reached NCAA national championship meets in cross country her last 3 years, in indoor track in both ‘09 (5,000m) and ‘10 (both the 3,000 & 5,000m events) and outdoors (in the 5,000) in ‘09.  With her helping to lead the way, WKU teams won all 12 SBC crowns (4 each in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track) her 4 years.  Jesang was the SBC Meet’s Outstanding Performer outdoors 3 times;  and the indoor MOP in ‘08 & ‘10.  And, she was the league champ in cross country 3 times after finishing as the runner-up her freshman year.  For her career, she earned All-SBC honors in 16 events (4 in cross country, 7 in indoors and 5 outdoors).  A native of Uganda, she set school records in 4 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).

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

Marcus came to The Hill in 1999 and quickly developed into one of the most respected big men in college basketball.  A two-time All-American (2001, ‘02) and a member of the WKU Basketball All-Century Team selected in 2019, the 7-1 Marcus  led the nation in rebounding in ‘00-01 with his 12.1 rpg average.  He was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year in 2001 and an NABC All-District and All-Sun Belt Team selection in both ‘00 and ‘01;  and, both of those years he was selected the SBC Defensive Player of the Year.  Marcus was also honored with a berth on the SBC 30th Anniversary Team in 2006.  Despite (due to injury) appearing in only 19 of 65 Topper games his last two seasons (’02 and ‘03), Marcus totaled 1,113 points and 795 rebounds in his 79 games at WKU.  His 97 blocked shots in ‘01 is still the school standard and his 214 career rejections is 2nd on that list.  He still ranks 7th in points scored by a freshman (344) and 6th in scoring by a sophomore (518).   Marcus passed away in April, 2020.

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