Friday, November 20, 2009

Myrl Shoemaker’s legacy continues with OU-C athletics program

The legacy of the late Myrl Shoemaker continues with the Ohio University-Chillicothe men’s basketball team and OU-C athletic program by several individuals with direct ties to the civic leader. The Hilltoppers play their home games in the campus’ Shoemaker Center, which is named for the former Ohio lawmaker from Ross County. Additionally, the current OU-C coach and point guard, as well as the athletics director, have bloodlines with the facility’s namesake. First-year Hilltopper Coach Dan Easterday’s wife, Lisa, is Shoemaker’s granddaughter. Easterday’s son, Nick, a second-year member of the team, is the great-grandson of the late legislator. Meanwhile, Athletics Director David Shoemaker is a nephew of Myrl Shoemaker. “Myrl was a remarkable guy who loved Ross County,” said Dan Easterday, remembering that Myrl would return home nearly every evening even when serving as the state’s lieutenant governor. “Growing up in Ross County, I learned that Myrl’s name was synonymous with helping people. He was a powerful political figure but also a common man, and he was as honest as the day is long. One thing I always admired about him was his straight-forward approach. My wife often talks about how direct Myrl always was. If you asked him a question, he gave you a straight answer.” Dave Shoemaker learned a lifelong lesson from his famous uncle. “Myrl told me something once that has never left me. He said that you can fail many times, but you are never a failure until you blame it on someone else. I have carried that with me ever since and know the importance of taking responsibility for what happens to me.” Dave’s father, Ralph, was a starter on the first OU-C basketball team in 1946-47. Prior to the construction of OU-C’s Shoemaker Center, which was dedicated in 1979, the Hilltoppers played their home games down the road at Bishop Flaget School. Myrl Shoemaker was instrumental in the construction of the OU-C building that bears his name, and he insisted that the region have a top-flight facility. “He traveled around the state with Bobby Christian, who was then the OU-C athletics director, and Corky Miller, who was the OU-C coach, to see other facilities before building the OU-C gymnasium,” Dan Easterday said. And, his perseverance paid dividends. “When it first opened, it was wonderful, and it still is the best facility in the league,” said OU- C women’s basketball coach John Milliken. “Our players are all impressed with it, and other teams’ players love playing here. It is a very forward-thinking building in terms of its design and usefulness.” Because of its layout that resembles an arena and green trim, area high school teams will practice in the Shoemaker Center before playing tournament games at Ohio University-Athens’ Convocation Center. Myrl Shoemaker was also a driving force behind the construction of the arena at the University of Cincinnati, the Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center, which is also named after him. He served in the Ohio House of Representatives for 24 years and was lieutenant governor from 1982 until his death in 1985 at age 72. The Chillicothe gymnasium includes such features as a full-length court, free-standing baskets, bleachers on both sides with seating for approximately 2,200 spectators and a walking track that is heavily utilized by campus members and community residents. The facility is used for the campus’ men’s and women’s basketball teams and the women’s volleyball teams as well as special events such as graduation and physical education classes. It also includes the campus’ Health & Wellness Center, classrooms and offices for Continuing Education, Business & Industry, and a concession area. Practicing and playing in a building named for their late relative has special significance for Shoemaker’s kin. “It’s pretty cool to walk in to practice every day and see his photo hanging in the building,” Nick Easterday said.” “It absolutely makes me prouder to play in a building named after Myrl,” said Dan Easterday, who was a coach for 18 years at Southeastern High School, including three years as head varsity basketball coach. “I think about it every time I walk down the hallway,” Dave Shoemaker said. “If not for Myrl and my dad, I would not be involved in athletics. They both taught me how athletics can be used as a benefit in other phases of life such as academics.” Dave Shoemaker recalled family basketball games on Thanksgiving Day that were discontinued after some cracked ribs and eyeglasses. He also remembers Myrl’s comment after Dave received a technical foul for arguing a regular foul in a high school basketball game. “All Myrl said was that the only thing worse than doing something foolish is making a fool of yourself twice,” Dave recalls. Along with sound advice, the mantle of the Shoemaker legacy is now being passed to Nick, a physical education major who was a three-year starter and a team captain at Unioto High School. “I don’t feel any extra pressure playing for my dad. Off of the court, he’s my father, but during practices and games, he’s my coach,” Nick Easterday said. “I am an extension of him on the floor, which is the role of the point guard. The fact that we have spent so many hours over the years talking about basketball helps out. We both share a passion for the game, and I know how he wants it to be played.” This is the first year that Dan Easterday has coached his son’s team. For both, it has been a rewarding experience and has kept alive the legacy of Myrl Shoemaker in a way that would undoubtedly make the former lawmaker proud. “Being able to say that I am able to play college basketball is an honor, and the opportunity to represent Chillicothe is pretty special, too,” Nick said.
Group photo includes (from left) OU-C men's basketball coach Dan Easterday, OU-C athletics director Dave Shoemaker, OU-C men's basketball player Nick Easterday and OU-C women's basketball coach John Milliken. Other photos include exterior and interior shots of the Shoemaker Center at OU-C.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

OU-C faculty member Jamie Harmount shares insights with students

Ohio University-Chillicothe education faculty member Jamie Harmount is a member of a statewide committee that is helping to set a framework to help prepare young teachers for successful careers in Ohio’s elementary, middle and high schools. The Resident Educator Program Development Committee is charged with developing recommendations for a mentorship program in which established teachers will serve as lead educators to mentor those entering the profession. The effort is part of Ohio House Bill 1, signed in July, which mandates a new licensure system for Ohio’s teachers, including the implementation of a Resident Educator License. New teachers will be required to complete this four-year residency program to qualify for a professional educator license. The program is scheduled to be implemented by January 2011. The broad-based committee, which met for the first time in late October, consists of approximately 40 educators who represent all geographical regions of the state and various segments of the profession, such as teachers and administrators of all educational levels. “This structure is similar to the medical profession’s residency program and is designed to give young teachers the support they need to become successful educators,” Harmount said. “Schools make a strong investment in their teachers’ professional development, and it is important that they retain these teachers. Plus, this helps to ensure that the profession maintains high standards so that students receive a high quality educational experience.” The insights that Harmount gains from this experience are important in sharing with OU-C students and preparing them to become teachers. “It is helpful knowing that faculty members have been in the classroom and have relevant experience. Learning from them makes us better,” said Katie Penwell, an OU-C education student from Washington Court House. Abby Roe, an OU-C education student from Greenfield McClain High School, said, “With Jamie being on the committee, we know what issues are important on the statewide level and we are better prepared for our careers. Along with the theory we learn, it makes for a well-rounded educational experience.” Andrea Haddox, an education student from Westfall High School, said, “It is important to have faculty members who bring real-life viewpoints to the classroom. We need to learn from their experiences since we will soon be in situations where we will have to apply what we have learned. “Jamie has had experience and brings real-life examples to the classroom,” said education student Chasity Setty of Waverly. Harmount said, “This is very applicable for someone involved in higher education. I can bring back to the classrooms on campus and share with OU-C students what is being discussed on a statewide level in terms of professional expectations, particularly in terms of how they will be assessed and what the standards are. It is important to remain current with the profession and current developments. This type of experience makes me a better teacher and better able to prepare OU-C’s students to succeed in their profession.” In terms of practical application, the key to being a good educator often involves an approach that is more straight-forward than glamorous. “Sometimes, the lesson is that being a teacher requires hard work, perseverance and sacrifice,” Harmount said. “They are involved in a profession that has high standards.” The committee will meet again Dec. 1-2 in Columbus. Harmount was recommended for the committee by Sandy Miller the director of Early Learning and School Readiness at the Ohio Department of Education. This is not the first statewide educational experience for Harmount. She was a member of the Ready School Resource Guide Leadership Committee, which published “Strong Beginnings, Smooth Transitions, Continuous Learning: A Ready School Resource Guide for Elementary School Leadership.” The guide was the result of a two-year project and was the product of a Ready Schools partnership between SPARK Ohio, the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators and the Ohio Department of Education's Office of Early Learning and School Readiness. She was also on the Ohio Department of Education’s Early Learning Content Standards Team for Math.

Three OU-C volleyball players earn all-conference recognition

Three Ohio University-Chillicothe volleyball players earned Regional Campus Conference recognition for the 2009 fall season. Jessica Rodgers and Toshia Zimmerman were first-team all-conference picks and Tara Knauff was an honorable mention selection. Rodgers, a Westfall High School graduate, is a middle hitter and setter who collected 114 kills during the season. “Jess can control the entire floor while she’s playing,” OU-C volleyball Coach Tara Bethel said. “She is a very smart, powerful player and has left big shoes to fill for next season.” Zimmerman, a Huntington High School graduate, is a middle hitter and setter who had 63 kills, 86 assist and 43 serving aces. “No matter whom we were playing, Toshia was usually the most athletic person on the floor. She does not have a lot of heights, but she blocks extremely well, and she can put the ball straight down,” Bethel said. Knauff, an Adena High School graduate, played the libero position and had a 98 percent serving percentage and close to 30 digs per match. “She is a very smart defensive player with a great ability to read the hitters. Tara could cover the entire back line by herself. I can always count on her to get to the ball and get it for us,” Bethel said.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

OU-C women’s basketball team looking for more players

The OU-C women’s basketball team is looking for more players for its roster. Any interested female student who is currently enrolled at OU-C or will be enrolled during winter quarter should contact Coach John Milliken at (740) 998-4290 or

Upcoming Campus Events

  • Fall theater production of Fall Collection at 8 p.m. on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21 in Bennett Hall auditorium
  • Alan Gough art show through Dec. 4 in Bennett Hall Patricia Scott Memorial Gallery
  • Ross County EITC Coalition/United Way training from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. on Dec. 16-17 in Bennett Hall room 271
  • OU-C Faculty/Start Arts, Crafts and Hobbies Show from Jan. 4 – Jan. 26, 2010, in Bennett Hall art gallery