OhioStateBuckeyes.com is proud to introduce the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Check back each day as we unveil features for each of the inductees.
The 1974 USA champion in the 1,500m run, Tom Byers lettered for the track and field team at Ohio State from 1973-76. Byers, a stellar mid-distance athlete, owns a plethora of top marks in Ohio State history.
A three-time indoor All-American in the 1,000-yard run, Byers still owns the school record in the 1,500m run with a readout of 3:37.50 that he ran inside Ohio Stadium in 1974. Later that year in the mile, Byers clocked a time of 4:00.10 to set the school record at that time in the event. After his years of competing for the Scarlet and Gray, Byers was a commonplace in meets hosted by Ohio State. In 1978, he returned to French Field House and set the 1,500m facility record with a time of 3:44.00. Over five years later in 1983, the star-studded athlete returned to Ohio Stadium and set the facility record in the mile with a time of 3:57.15.
Byers was a three-time Big Ten indoor champion in the 1,000 yard run, sweeping the title in three straight years from 1974-76. In 1974, his winning time of 2:06.60 in the event set the Big Ten record and it will never be challenged after being retired.
1974 was an unforgettable year for the sophomore in Columbus as he was an indoor All-American and Big Ten indoor champion, but arguably his biggest accomplishments came on the national stage that year. Byers swept titles in the 800m and 1,500m run at the USA Junior Championships and later that summer he was the USA Outdoor champion in the 1,500m run. His time of 3:42.8 he clocked at the junior national meet that summer is still a meet record.
Eleven-time All-American, 10-time Big Ten champion, and two-time national champion Christina Manning was a four-year letterwinner for the Ohio State track and field team from 2008-12. A native of Waldorf, Md., Manning still owns the ninth-fastest 60m hurdle time (7.91) and 10th-fastest 100m hurdle time (12.68) in NCAA history.
Manning holds the school records in four separate events: the 60m dash (7.23), 60m hurdles (7.91), 100m hurdles (12.68) and the 4x100m relay (43.70). The four-time Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year also still owns Big Ten championship meet records in the 60m hurdles with a 7.95 and the aforementioned 43.70 is still the fastest to be run by a relay team at the B1G meet. Manning was an instrumental cog in helping Ohio State collect three team titles at the Big Ten Championships over the course of her career. She was a member of the 2011 indoor, 2011 outdoor and 2012 outdoor conference winning teams, the first three in program history.
The 2012 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year, Manning went out on top as a senior. She won both of her national titles during her final year on campus. At the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships, she clocked a time of 7.91 to claim gold, and less than three months later, she returned to win the title at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a time of 12.89 in the 100m hurdles.
The hurdler was named the 2012 Ohio State Female Athlete of the Year for her accomplishments and was a semifinalist for the Bowerman Award, track and field’s most lauded honor. Manning graduated in December of 2012 with a degree in criminology. Manning is in the midst of her track and field career and took bronze at the 2017 Indoor Championships with a time of 8.02 in the 60m hurdles. She also set a personal best of 7.82 in the same event in February of 2017 to move her into No. 8 all-time on the USA list.
Mike Conley, Jr.
Mike Conley Jr. helped guide the Buckeyes to the NCAA championship game as a freshman in 2007. Conley earned first team All-Big Ten honors and started a wildly successful postseason performance, earning 2007 Big Ten Tournament Most Valuable Player honors, the first of four Buckeyes to claim the award in the Thad Matta era. Conley, who averaged 11.3 points per contest in his only season and owns the Ohio State single season overall and freshman record for assists with 238, followed the Big Ten Tournament effort with the 2007 NCAA South Regional Most Outstanding Player Award. He averaged 6.1 assists a game, the second highest average in Ohio State history, and is credited with six career games with at least 10 assists, second all-time behind Shannon Scott with eight (2012-15). A native of Indianapolis, Conley recorded 87 steals, the third most overall and the most by a freshman in Ohio State single season history.
In Ohio State’s freshman record book, Conley Jr. ranks No. 8 in scoring (441 pts.), No. 8 in field goals made (160), No. 9 in field goal percentage (.518/160-309), No. 5 in made free throws (100), No. 1 in assists (238) and steals (87). Three times he credited with five steals in a single game to tie the Ohio State rookie record for thefts in a game. His six games with 10 assists are tied for fourth.
Conley was part of an Ohio State team that won a school record 35 total games, won the Big Ten regular season and postseason tournament titles and advanced to the 2007 NCAA National Championship game. He was the second of three Buckeyes selected in the first 21 overall picks of the 2007 NBA Draft. Conley Jr. went No. 4 to the Memphis Grizzlies. High school and Ohio State teammate Greg Oden went No. 1 to the Portland Trailblazers and fellow OSU rookie Daequan Cook was selected No. 21 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Pete Hanson is coming off back-to-back NCAA men’s volleyball national championships in 2016-17, marking the Buckeyes’ third national title since 2011. Hanson has guided the OSU men’s volleyball program for over three decades (1985-present) and owns an overall winning percentage of .669 (677-335) with a 296-90 (.777) mark in conference matches. He is no stranger to Hall of Fame induction, selected to the 2015 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Hall of Fame class as one of just 70 members overall at the time of his enshrinement.
AVCA admiration is also nothing new for Hanson, earning the organization’s National Coach of the Year award three times since 2000 (’00, ’11, ’16). Volleyball Magazine recognized him as such, too, in both 1998 and 2011. Hanson’s career is well-decorated at the league level as well, voted as the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Coach of the Year a conference-record 13 times. The Hanson-driven Buckeyes broke through in 2011 to capture just the third national crown from a Midwest school in NCAA men’s volleyball history (Penn State, 1994 and 2008) dating back to 1970. The trend has continued since with MIVA representation reigning supreme in five of the last seven seasons.
In total, Hanson has accumulated 17 MIVA regular season championships, 12 MIVA Tournament titles, 12 NCAA Semifinals appearances and three NCAA national trophies. Under his leadership, the Buckeyes have registered 20-or-more wins in 21 of 33 seasons, including the past two campaigns of 31 and 32 victories in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Those ’16-17 Buckeyes rattled off 42 consecutive wins ranging 398 days between losses, marking the longest winning streak in OSU Athletics history for teams competing in head-to-head competition and third-best in NCAA men’s volleyball all-time.
Five of Hanson’s pupils have been bestowed the Big Ten Medal of Honor, awarded annually to one male and one female student-athlete from the graduating class of each member institution who has “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.”