Former Dayton Athletic Director Ted Kissell is flattered to be selected for the school’s Hall of Fame, but he feels a little sheepish about it.
He’s not convinced an AD deserves to be enshrined with accomplished athletes and coaches.
“I’ve said this repeatedly: I don’t think people who were never on a playing field belong in a hall of fame,” Kissell said from his winter home in Palm Desert, Calif. “I think you should have to be on the field as a player or a coach in the arena, as Teddy Roosevelt used to say.
“Obviously, I’m not trying to revise the rules and I’m not trying to diminish in any way my satisfaction and the honor I feel. But I’m not so sure if you had a tie on, you should be in an athletics hall of fame.”
Many who are familiar with Kissell’s work at UD from 1992 through 2008 would disagree. He’s part of a three-member class that also includes Chris Harris, a basketball standout from the 1950s, and Brian Harlamert, a baseball star in the early 1990s. They will be recognized at halftime of the UD-Richmond game March 2.
Kissell helped resurrect the basketball program after it sank to an all-time low, paved the way for across-the-board success in athletics by creating the Arena Seating Plan (fees to purchase season tickets) and pumping those funds into other sports, and found a new conference home for the Flyers in the Atlantic 10 after they were dumped by the members of the Great Midwest.
By the time he handed the keys over to his successor, Tim Wabler, every program had received a facilities upgrade, UD had won league titles in most sports, and the basketball program was on solid footing.
Of the Hall of Fame nod, Kissell said: “I always told my kids, what matters is achievement, not recognition. Recognition is somebody’s opinion. Achievement is a different deal.”
But he added: “It’s a great honor. I’m looking forward to coming back there for the event. I’m surprised.”
Harris was known for being a defensive stopper on some of UD’s greatest teams from 1951-55. Assists and steals weren’t an official stat in that era, but he likely would rank among the Flyers’ all-time leaders if they were.
A three-year starter, he averaged 9.4 points as a senior while playing in a lineup that also included fellow Hall-of-Famers John Horan, Jack Sallee and Bill Uhl. The Flyers were ranked as high as No. 4 nationally and reached the NIT finals.
Harris and four other starters played the entire 40 minutes during an upset of No. 1 Seton Hall during his sophomore year, and helped the Flyers to another NIT trip and a 25-7 record as a junior. He later played one year in the NBA before returning to Dayton, starting his own business and serving as the Flyers’ play-by-play announcer on WHIO Radio for seven years.
Harlamert was UD’s first scholarship baseball player and batted .360 with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs as a senior in 1994.
The Coldwater native holds the UD career record for RBIs (177), is second all-time in homers (38) and walks (128) and is third in runs (174), hits (246) and steals (61).