Five New GSC Hall of Fame Members - Pictured from the left
are Terry Crislip, Coach Gary Nottingham, Earl "Big Lennie"
Spencer, All-American Byron Brooks and All-American Mike Payne
(Photos by Drew Moody)

By Drew Moody

Saturday evening Glenville State College honored five individuals by inducting them into the Curtis Elam Hall of Fame. It is an honor reserved for individuals who have either had outstanding sports careers as a GSC player, or who have excelled in the field of coaching at the school.

The five are Earl "Big Lennie" Spencer, class of 1943 (graduated 1952); Terry Crislip, class of 1977; Coach Gary Nottingham, class of 1979; Mike Payne, class of 1986; and Byron Brooks.

Earl Spencer was a Pioneers leading scorer in basketball, with a career total of over 1,000 points. During his senior year the team was undefeated, but there was no state basketball tournament because of World War II. Spencer left the 1942-43 season early to join the U.S. Air Force.

Earl "Big Lennie" Spencer, center, was one of GSC's
first 1,000-plus point shooters on the basketball court.
He retired as an Air Force Colonel and was a POW for a time
after the bomber he was piloting was shot down over Poland.
Capt. John Rohrbough (Ret.), left, son of Coach Nate Rohrbough
introduced him. GSC President Peter Barr is at Spencer's right

After becoming a pilot, flying a B-24 Liberator, his plane was shot down over Poland. Spencer broke his back in the crash and was a German POW for the remainder of the war.

Spencer recovered from his injuries, staying in the Air Force and flew missions during the Korean War. After his first tour in Korea, Spencer said the Air Force gave him permission to take a six-month leave and finish his college degree at any school in the U.S. He returned to Glenville.

After getting his degree in 1952 he flew another tour in Korea, and later did a combat tour in Vietnam. He retired as a Colonel in 1973. He now lives in Montgomery, Alabama with his wife Carolyn.

Spencer said his granddaughter, Sidney Spencer, was a member of the University of Tennessee team that won the national championships earlier this year. She has since signed on to play professional basketball with the Los Angeles Sparkels.

'Big Lennie' was introduced by Capt. John Rohrbough (Ret.), son of legendary GSC Coach Nate Rohrbough.

Terry Crislip, of Parkersburg, class of 1977, was introduced by 2005 Hall of Fame inductee Tim Carney. Carney is the former athletic director, head women's basketball coach and head golf coach at GSC.

"I'll use three words to describe Terry Crislip," Carney said. "Athlete, Competitor, Leader."

Terry Crislip, of Parkersburg, set West Virginia's golfing world
on fire when he attended Glenville State College. He let the GSC
golf team to three national tournaments, and qualified as an
individual for a fourth one. He's a sales executive in his hometown
of Parkersburg, soon to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary

Crislip played golf four years at GSC; three times in the national tournament. Prior to attending Glenville, he was a standout in various sports at Parkersburg South High School, Carney said.

Crislip told the audience how blessed he's been. First on his list - sharing that he and his wife Pamela will be celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary in August.

He told the audience Glenville was a blessing that resulted from his prayers not being answered. He had hoped to get a scholarship to a Division I school.

"What is that song...'Thank God for Unanswered Prayers," Crislip remembered.

"I came to find out I had a lot of guardian angels here in Glenville," he said, remembering it seemed like everyone at the campus made him feel welcome.

Crislip was a three-time All-WVIAC golfer in 1975, 1976 and 1977, as well as being named Golfer of the Year in 1976. He also had the lowest scoring average in the conference those three years. He led the GSC golf team to three NAIA tournaments in 1974, 1975 and 1977. In 1976 he qualified as an individual for the NAIA tournament.

His younger sister and brother also graduated from Glenville State College.

Crislip graduated GSC with a degree in business and is a long time sales executive with NCR Corporation. He and his wife reside in Parkersburg. The couple have two grown sons.

Former GSC head men's basketball coach Gary Nottingham was
honored Saturday along with four others. Nottingham was originally
from Gassaway and played sports at Braxton County High School

Gary Nottingham, class of 1979, is a native of Gassaway. While at GSC he played both basketball and baseball, lettering in both sports.

He was introduced by his high school basketball coach, Bob Maxwell. Prior to sharing his relationship with Nottingham, Maxwell told the audience Glenville State College had meant a lot to him and his family.

Maxwell said he was probably Nottingham's worst nightmare in the fall of 1973. Although many people told him the young athlete was a handful and looked for trouble, Maxwell saw potential.

"He loved to hit you on the football field," Maxwell said of Nottingham, who played many positions for his high school, including quarterback, running back, wide receiver and linebacker. His interest, however, was on the basketball court.

Playing for Coach Jesse Lilly, Jr., Nottingham led the Pioneers in assists and steals in 1978 and 1979. He was also named to the WVIAC All-Conference Team.

After graduation from Glenville, Nottingham was offered a graduate assistant position at Western Kentucky University. Upon completing his master's he was offered a coaching position at GSC and served as assistant football coach, head tennis coach and assistant basketball coach.

Three years later, in 1983, at the age of 26, Nottingham was hired as Head Coach of the Pioneers. At the time he was the youngest head coach of any 4-year college in the U.S.

In 1993 he was conference coach of the year after leading the Pioneers to a 21-5 record and national ranking of 18th - GSC's best since 1942. The team finished second in the WVIAC that year with 17 conference wins - a school record. His team captured a second place win at the 1995 WVIAC Tournament. During his 14 seasons the Pioneers made five semi-final appearances.

"I'm proud that I've been a part of this head-strong teenagers growth," Maxwell told those in attendance.

Nottingham, who was raised mostly by his grandmother, thanked several people including Maxwell, Ike Morris, Coach Jesse Lilly, Whitey Adolfson, and Bob "Bobby" Hardman. His family wasn't well off, he said, and had it not been for Morris and others helping him get summer jobs he couldn't have stayed in school. He also had financial assistance from the school.

All told, Nottingham spent 21 years in Glenville as a student and coach. "I got a good education," he said. "There are good teachers here."

"Everything that I do in the world of basketball - good, bad, or indifferent - started here."

Currently, Nottingham is an assistant men's basketball coach at the University of Illinois. He, his wife, and two children live in Champaign, IL.

Coach Frank Vincent, Class of 1955, and former Head Football Coach at GSC, introduced the next two players, both All-Americans.

All-American running back Byron Brooks was among those
honored. He still hold several rushing records at GSC.
In one game, for example, he carried the ball 42 times.
He's now an executive chef in Charleston, West Virginia

"I don't think there could be a Hall of Fame complete without including Mike Payne and Byron Brooks," Vincent said.

Mike Payne, a 1983 Nitro High School Graduate, was co-captain of the 1984 Pioneers football team. In 1983 and 1984 he was selected to the WVIAC All-Conference Team. In 1984 Payne was named Defensive Player of the Year, First Team Kodak All-American, and Second Team NAIA All-American. In addition to his defensive prowess, Payne also led the conference in punt and kickoff returns.

"I want to tell you folks," Vincent said, "he could hit. I mean he could hit. They called him crow-bar."

When Vincent arrived as head football coach, the team was last in the WVIAC. Two years later, it ranked second. Payne and Brooks led the team to many victories during their years at GSC.

Payne said if Vincent hadn't been here, he'd have gone to another school. "As you probably know, Coach Vincent was quite a legend at Charleston High School,"

He told the audience with the exception of the time with his wife and sons, the time he spend at Glenville State College was most important to him. "I'm honored and humbled."

All-American defensive player Mike Payne was so rough
on the field his teammates named him "Crow-Bar." He's
since happily married with two children and owned and
managed a successful tile business in Charleston for many years

Payne has owned and managed Payne Tile Company in Charleston since 1989.

Byron Brooks was raised by his grandmother in Pennsylvania. He was recruited by Vincent to play in Glenville.

"There aren't many coaches that have two All-Americans playing for them at the same time," Vincent said.

Brooks was selected to the WVIAC All-Conference Team in 1982, 1983 and 1984. He was named First Team Kodak All-American in 1983 and Second Team Kodak All-American in 1984.

Midway through his sophomore season he became Glenville's all-time leading rusher. Some records he holds include: most rushes (42) in one game, most rushes in a season - 279 in 1982, and most rushing yards in a season - 1418 in 1982. His career total rushing yards are 3,481.

"I'm truly humbled being here tonight," Brooks said. "I met the greatest people in the world when I came down here."

"Thank you is kind of hollow for everything that the people in Glenville have done for me." Brooks cited former coach Tim Carney as an example of those that treated him so generously.

"There are so many people I can thank...that were just there for me."

He asked those in attendance to take a moment and remember his late grandmother.

"When you come here from a broken home," Brooks recalled, "You come here and you're adopted into a family. You guys were my family."

He resides in Charleston where he is head chef at Catering Unlimited.

Dennis Fitzpatrick, acting GSC
athletic director, was MCfor the event