LIMA - The plaque was in his hands and the ceremony 10 minutes behind him, yet Franklin Harris still couldn't believe he was inducted into the University of Northwestern Ohio Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday.
"It's kind of unreal. You think of people going into a hall of fame, and to actually be inducted into a hall of fame, it's like it's not happening to you," Harris said. "It's probably going to take a little while to soak in. I still feel uncomfortable with people congratulating me because I still don't feel like I'm in.
"It's something you want to happen in the back of your mind but you never think it will, and when it does, you're just so blown away by it it's so hard to explain."
Harris was one of a four-person class to be honored as the 2012 Hall of Fame Class between games at Racer Gymnasium. Joining him was Dave Apthorpe, Dan Troyer and Mary (Illig) Weber. All four played basketball at Northwestern in the early 1980's, when the school was a two-year institution.
Harris led the team in rebounding both of his years on the team. He returned to his native Cincinnati after graduating with a degree in Auto/Diesel Technology and Business, where he currently lives with his wife of 20 years, Brenda, and their four children. Harris works for UPS and is involved in real estate.
Saturday was the first time Harris had been at Northwestern since graduating, and he could not believe how much the university has grown.
"Coming back to the university, it's mind-blowing," Harris said. "The campus has grown tremendously. … I started thinking, ‘Man, how long has it been?' If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would come to Northwestern again because I had a great experience. Northwestern has a lot to do with the person I am now."
Apthorpe didn't come to the university for basketball, instead choosing to walk on. He ended up as the second leading scorer in school history, trailing only fellow Hall of Famer Denny Elwer. Apthorpe graduated in 1980 with a business degree.
"It's just a fantastic honor," Apthorpe said. "When I was playing here, I didn't think about hall of fame or any of those things."
After graduation, he returned to his hometown of Windham, Ohio, where he has coached various levels of basketball for 30 years. He is a plant manager for Harbison Walker Refractories in Windham.
"The people here are just fantastic," Apthorpe said.
Troyer came to Northwestern from nearby Continental. He graduated from Northwestern in 1983 from the Auto/Diesel Technology program. He continued his education at Defiance College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Services in ‘87.
"The teammates, the people I played with, we had a lot of fun," Troyer said. "There are a lot of memories. It makes something like this really special because you enjoy the people you were here with, you played ball with."
Troyer moved to Van Wert, Ohio, where he has been a programmer/analyst with Central Mutual Insurance since 1987.
"I've been here the last few years, but still, from the time we went here 30 years ago to now, it's just grown," Troyer said. "You still see a lot of familiar faces, and that's nice, but it certainly has grown.
"It's nice to see the sports programs getting back into the swing again."
Weber came to Northwestern from Delphos, Ohio, and graduated in 1982 with a degree in Medical Office Assisting. She has worked as a medical office assistant, a secretary at St. Gerard School in Lima, and currently in the office at Everhart Trucking in Ada, Ohio.
"I was shocked to get the call, but it's nice to be recognized for a lot of work that you do," Weber said. "When you look back, you've accomplished a lot, but when you're doing it, you just go through the motion, work your butt off. It's only after you look back 30 years, you can say, ‘I did O.K.'"
Weber credited her upbringing, with six brothers, instilling a work ethic and drive to push her to these heights.
"I had to work for everything," she said. "I give them credit for teaching me the game and always allowing them to play with them. I'd be the only girl in the group."
The honorees were introduced by UNOH president Dr. Jeffrey Jarvis and given the chance to address the capacity crowd at Racer Gymnasium. They received a smaller plaque identical to the larger one which will be displayed.
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