Broadcaster, 4 others to join Robert Morris Hall of Fame
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Chris Shovlin would be the first person to admit that he is a lucky man.
Not only is he one of three Division I-A radio play-by-play announcers in Pittsburgh, but he also works at a university in Robert Morris that he loves and embraces and has held that job since the Reagan administration.
And in little more than a month, Shovlin will have one more thing to be thankful for. He will be honored by the school with whom his name has become synonymous.
Robert Morris announced its Hall of Fame Class of 2012 recently, with Shovlin headlining a group of five inductees. The others are Ray Thomas (football), Darcey Miller (volleyball), Keri Meyer (softball) and Stephanie Kuhn (soccer/track and field).
"If I could speak personally, it's a great honor," Shovlin said. "I've loved every minute of being at the university."
Shovlin's inclusion is unique and symbolic. What had been largely an exclusive club for coaches and former players has opened its doors to a media member.
For Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman, the decision to honor Shovlin was an easy one.
"To the general public at large, he is our athletics program," Coleman said. "You couldn't ask for a better friend and a more professional radio guy to have affiliated with your program."
But while Shovlin has become something of an institution in Moon, the Robert Morris that will be inducting him into its hall barely resembles the place that greeted him in 1987.
The university nearly has doubled in size while trying to shed its reputation as a commuter school. The athletic department has undergone its share of growth and revitalization, too, most notably with the addition of a football team in 1994 and, almost a decade later, an on-campus stadium.
"It's grown by a critical mass and it's just amazing," Shovlin said.
Perhaps even more important to Shovlin have been the memories and relationships he has gleaned from more than 25 years at the school. That is particularly true when it comes to athletics.
He waxes poetic when talking about his time with former standout football players like Hank Fraley and the late Tim Hall, both of whom went on to NFL careers. He also speaks glowingly of the men's basketball team's 57-51 victory against Boston College in '08, a game that produced a call that won Shovlin his third career Achievement in Radio award.
"There's just been a ton of good memories and a ton of good fun," Shovlin said. "It's just a lot of fun with a lot of good people that I've met through the years."
The other inductees also carved out significant niches with the Colonials.
Kuhn was a two-sport star, tallying eight career goals and four assists for the women's soccer team and was the first Robert Morris athlete to compete in the NCAA track and field championships. She threw the javelin as a freshman in '04 and as a senior in '07.
Meyer played second base for the softball team from'03-06, helping Robert Morris reach its first NCAA tournament in '05 while hitting .418. She was the first Colonials player to hit above .400 in a season.
A three-time All-Northeastern Conference selection in volleyball, Miller led the Colonials to three NCAA tournament appearances and NEC regular-season championships in each of her four seasons.
Coleman said that the trio of female athletes being inducted "represent the emergence of women's athletics both across the country and at Robert Morris."
On the men's side, Thomas was a four-year starter at strong safety who finished his college football career with 240 tackles to rank 10th in Colonials history.
"As a group," Coleman said. "It's just an outstanding class."
First Published September 21, 2012 12:00 am