Lisa Cromwell Conley ’98 remembers attending an Athletics Hall of Fame banquet when she was a student-athlete at Marietta College and being impressed by their careers — both at Marietta and after they graduated.
“Some went on to play professional baseball and others were All-Americans,” she says. “It was always interesting to hear their story.”
With those memories, it’s still difficult for Conley to come to grips with how she got enough support to be part of the Class of 2013.
“I loved the sport of volleyball and felt very lucky to play in college, but I’m not sure I ever considered myself a Hall of Fame athlete,” she says. “There have been so many great athletes at Marietta College it is hard to believe that I will be part of the Hall of Fame.”
Her coach, Jeanne Arbuckle, says her former setter was a difference maker and is deserving of this honor.
“She came to us from a very successful high school program at a time when our volleyball team was struggling. Lisa took a chance on Marietta and played a leading role in helping to restore our program to prominence in the OAC,” Arbuckle says. “She was a tireless worker always striving to be the best she could be. Whether on the court or in the classroom, Lisa personified the term ‘student-athlete,’ excelling in everything she did. I’ve been watching volleyball at Marietta College for more than 25 years and without a doubt, Lisa is one of the best to have ever played for us.”
Conley will be joined on campus during Winter Weekend by standout football player Aaron Conte ’97, three-time All-American baseball player Jay Coakley ’02, All-American basketball player Jesse DuPerow ’02 and former coach and athletic director Phil Roach.
The Hall of Fame ceremony will begin at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center. The basketball teams will also be in action against conference rival Heidelberg. The women play at 1 p.m. and the men at 3 p.m.
Aaron Conte ’97 — Football and Lacrosse
Conte earned four varsity letters as a tough and athletic quarterback for former football coach Gene Epley. He captained the 1996 team and played an integral part in the success of the 1995 squad that went 8-1-1 and finished the season ranked in the Top 10.
He was All-Ohio Athletic Conference Honorable Mention in 1994, second team in 1995 and Academic All-OAC from 1994-96.
After his final season with the Pioneers, Conte held almost every school passing record including passing yards for a season (1,834) and for a career (4,820).
Conte also played one season of lacrosse and was the Vice President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers from 1996-97. He has worked for Chevron around the world for more than 15 years, mostly as a drilling superintendent.
Conte and his wife, Helen, have three young children, Austin, Brooklyn and William.
“I feel like I was part of a great bunch of guys when I played and this will help further recognize the rest of the group as I was not the best player we had, but one of many good ones,” he says. “From the discipline and work ethic that playing football and going to school required to the leadership development and team work that I was able to learn, it was an incredible experience. Coach Epley made it very special and made me realize early on that we could be part of something special and he delivered on his word for sure.”
Jay Coakley ’02 — Baseball
Coakley had the dubious task of replacing two-time All-American catcher Josh Streit — who was inducted into Marietta’s Hall of Fame last year — following his graduation.
How did Coakley respond? Oh, he just became a three-time All-American while belting a school-record 58 career home runs. He also had a career average of .436, which is the best in the storied program.
Coakley is also first in career RBI (265) and career total bases (497) and second in career hits (262). He also has the single-season record for RBI with 93.
In his four seasons wearing the pinstripes, Coakley was part of four OAC championships, three NCAA Mideast Regional championships and back-to-back national runners-up.
Since graduating, Coakley became a registered nurse and works at Licking Memorial Hospital in Newark, Ohio.
“I went down there with the goal to be the best player I could, try to win a championship and getting drafted later. I worked hard and played as hard as I could. It wasn’t like I set out to set all of the records. I went down there trying to extend my baseball career,” Coakley says. “I think what shocks me most is you have to be out of school for 10 years before you can get in the Hall of Fame. It really feels like I was just there.”
Coakley lives in Newark and is engaged to Stephanie Hundley, whom he will marry in 2012.
Jesse DuPerow ’02 — Basketball
It didn’t take Pioneer basketball fans long to learn the name Jesse DuPerow once the 6-foot-5, athletic forward took to the court as a freshmen in 1999. Over the next four seasons he proved to be one of the OAC’s best players and rewrote the school record books.
DuPerow is still the all-time scoring leader with 1,948 points and has the most career blocks with 204. He was named first team All-OAC in his final three seasons and was a second team selection as a freshman. He also earned All-Great Lakes Region first team in his junior and senior seasons.
DuPerow was named to the All-Freshman Team by D3Hoops.com in 1999 and then the same group placed him on the fourth-team All-American squad in 2002.
He was a co-captain of the 2002 basketball team, the same season he led the OAC in scoring. He was also the Way-Weigelt Award winner in his senior year.
With all of his success on the court, what DuPerow remembers most is what took place off of it.
“Marietta is just a special place. It is a second home to my wife and me. What makes Marietta so special is the people. From the faculty, to the coaches, to the students, to the local community it is definitely a unique and special place,” he says. “I met some of my best friends in the world here. The best man in my wedding, Adam Means ’02, was my roommate for three years. I met my wife, Megan Scarborough DuPerow ’03, here and am thankful for that every day. Marietta College is a wonderful place and a place I cherish because of the people that I met in my time there. I was able to do all of that and still receive a top-notch education. I couldn’t have asked for more from my college experience.”
DuPerow works for Norfolk Southern Corp. and lives in Roanoke, Va., with his wife and two children, Isabella and Lillian.
Phil Roach — Coach and Athletic Director
Roach, a member of four other Halls of Fame, gets to close the circle of his career in higher education by joining Marietta College’s.
He joined Marietta in 1970 as the men’s basketball and men’s soccer coach. A decade later he became the athletic director, a position he held until 1989. Roach’s overall records don’t fully reflect the success he had during his time with the Pioneers.
He finished 213-257 with the basketball team, leading the 1974-75 team to a 19-4 record, an OAC championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The Pioneers went 1-1 while hosting at Ban Johnson Fieldhouse.
The soccer team went 43-53-4, while twice going 7-3 (1974 and 1977).
After leaving Marietta, Roach was the Director of Athletics at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., before joining Rollins College in 1992. He remained the athletic director at Winter Park, Fla., college until 2005. Under his guidance, the Rollins athletic department developed into one of the model programs in NCAA Division II. Rollins claimed national titles in men’s golf, men’s tennis, women’s golf and water-skiing during his time overseeing the department.
Even though Roach has been away from Marietta for more than two decades, the community still means a lot to him and his family.
“The community embraced us and our kids and we all had a really good experience there. It was a good time and we lived right next to the president and felt we were engaged with everyone,” Roach says. “I have had a little struggle with (what he’s going to say at the induction) because there are so many people I want to thank. I don’t know what I’m going to say, but I do feel myself privileged to have been a part of the growth and development of so many student-athletes.”
Lisa Cromwell Conley ’98 — Volleyball
Conley was captain for the Pioneers from 1995-97 and won the Betty Cleland Award in 1998. She earned All-OAC second team honors in 1996 and Academic All-OAC in 1997.
Outside of athletics, she was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, inducted into Beta Beta Beta (biology honor society) and participated in the annual Community Volunteer Day.
In 2002 she graduated from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and works at Conley Family Dental in Westerville, Ohio.
Conley and her husband Dayne, live in Plain City, Ohio, with their three children — Cooper, Keegan and Elliott.
Conley says she has been back to campus a few times, but can’t wait to show her parents how much it has changed since she was undergraduate.
“It’s great to see how the campus has made some great changes,” she says. “It’s gorgeous and I’m proud of my College.”