WVU Tech will honor a five-member Athletic Hall of Fame class at the school's annual banquet at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the Tech Center ballroom.
The inductees include Jim Aleshire (Class of 2000), Ronald Beatty (1990), Kenneth Knapp (1960), Eric Smith (2003) and Jim Welker (1959).
Aleshire came to Tech from Chapmanville High School, where she was the valedictorian of her class. She was successful on and off the court, earning a bachelor's degree in nursing in 2000. In her career as a Golden Bear, she was captain of the women's basketball team both her junior and senior years. She averaged 14.5 points as a senior and finished her career with 1,159 points, third-best ever at Tech at that time. She earned numerous individual awards during her four years at Tech, including the 1996 Rio Grande Invitational All-Tournament Team, 2000 WVIAC Senior Scholar Athlete Award winner and played on the WVC All-Star Team that traveled to Belgium and Holland.
Beatty played for two West Virginia Conference championship basketball teams at Tech (1986, 1988). The 1988 team played in the NAIA national championship event. He made the all-tournament team, first team all-conference and was the top 3-point shooter in the WVC. His senior year, he was the team's leading scorer at 23.0 points per game Beatty earned his bachelor's degree in physical education and safety education in 1990.
A native of Poca, Knapp played both football and baseball at Tech. In football, Knapp was a two-way player, something rarely seen today. His most notable success came in baseball, where he compiled a 7-2 record as a starting pitcher for the Golden Bears. He hit over .300 in each of his seasons. After receiving his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, he was nominated for the Fulbright Scholarship, the prestigious flagship international educational exchange.
Smith was a multi-sport athlete for the Golden Bears, playing catcher for the baseball team, golf and also quarterback on the football team. He set a number of school records including the single-season record for total yards with 2,872, the third of three consecutive 1,000 yard-plus seasons. In his three-year career, he amassed 6,668 passing yards and 6,961 total yards. He was nominated to play in the East Coast Bowl Game (2002), was named to the third-team Don Haskins All-Northeast Team, and received the BB&T Scholar Athlete Award twice, in 2002 for football and in 2003 for baseball-golf. He earned his bachelor's in physical education in 2003.
Welker came to Montgomery from Elkins. "Tank,'' as he was affectionately known by his teammates, was a stalwart football player on both the offensive and defensive lines, earning all-conference recognition. During his tenure with the Golden Bears, he led his team to winning records his final three years. After graduating with his bachelor's degree in physical education, he returned to Elkins High school to teach and coach. He later worked in several public service and law enforcement positions.
For more information about tickets to the Hall of Fame banquet, contact the WVU Tech athletic department at 304-442-3121.