Three individuals who combine to own numerous game, season and career records, plus the winningest football head coach in the history of the school, comprise the 2020 Morehead State Athletic Hall of Fame class.
The newest inductees will be Matt Ballard (football head coach 1994-2012), Dr. Alexandra Nail (Gjevre) (softball 2007-10), Drew Lee (baseball 2007-10) and Casie Garland (volleyball 2001-04). Hall of Fame inductions typically take place during Homecoming, this year scheduled for Oct. 16-17, but is subject to change due to the current health situation. Feature stories and other media will be forthcoming as well with all four inductees.
Ballard led Morehead State football from 1994 until 2012, taking over a program that had begun the process of dropping athletic scholarships and transitioning out of the Ohio Valley Conference. In just three years, Ballard had rebuilt the Eagle program into a winner, collecting six wins in 1996. He went on to guide the Eagles to a total of 102 wins, the most of any head coach in MSU football history.
Ballard helped lead the Eagles into a new era as well when MSU joined the Pioneer Football League in 2001. He was named the PFL South Division's Coach of the Year four times (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). He was named NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) Mid-Major National Coach of the Year and Coach of the Year among I-AA Independents in 1998. That Eagle squad ranked No. 1 among I-AA Mid-Majors by The Football Gazette.
During his tenure, MSU student-athletes earned 71 First-Team All-PFL honors. He also coached four NCAA Mid-Major National Players of the Year. Ballard mentored the PFL South Division Defensive Player of the Year in Craig Unger (2003, 2004) and the division's Offensive Player of the Year in David Caudill (2003). In 2009, Wes McDermott was named the league's overall Defensive Player of the Year.
Ballard's teams became known for high octane offense and relentless defense. Just from 1996-00, the Eagles scored more than 50 points 17 times. From 1999-01, quarterback David Dinkins became the first player in Division I-AA to pass for more than 5,000 career yards and rush for more than 3,000. Quarterback Zach Lewis set the then-career record for passing yards with 10,251 from 2009-12. During his time, the Eagle defensive unit led the nation in total defense multiple times.
Ballard was also a multiple-time nominee for the Liberty Mutual Division I-AA Coach of the Year. He also served as assistant coach and defensive coordinator at MSU from 1984-87.
Nail, originally from Billings, Mont., led a resurgence of the Eagle program from 2007-10 and is just the third-ever softball student-athlete to be inducted into MSU's Athletic Hall of Fame.
She was a three-time First-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference pitcher and was voted the league's Pitcher of the Year in 2008 when she posted a 0.96 earned run average and went 17-6 in the circle. Nail helped guide Morehead State to 117 victories during her career.
She still holds the program's career records for wins (70), strikeouts (651), appearances (145), starts (114), saves (7), shutouts (21) and innings pitched (745.1). She ranks second for highest winning percentage (.636).
In season marks, Gjevre is still the record holder for most wins (25 in 2009), starts (34), saves (4) and innings pitched (236.1).
Gjevre earned her Bachelor's Degree in microbiology from MSU in 2011. After her time at Morehead State, Gjevre pursued and earned her Master's Degree (2013) and Doctorate (2019) in microbiology from the University of Kentucky.
She resides in Lexington, Ky., with her husband Matt (an MSU football alum). They are the parents of their recently-born daughter Evelyn.
Lee, a native of Mount Sterling, Ky., is one of the most prolific student-athletes in Morehead State baseball history, earning three All-OVC nods. He earned First-Team honors in 2009 and 2010 and All-Freshman accolades in 2007. He was also a three-time OVC Player of the Week.
Lee still holds the MSU career records for RBI (186), extra-base hits (107) and total bases (476) and held records for hits (277) and doubles (59) at the time of his graduation before they were eclipsed only in the past two years.
During his final two seasons under then-head coach Jay Sorg, Lee put up astonishing stats. In 2009, he batted .413 with 18 doubles and 17 home runs while scoring 62 times and knocking in 62 runs. His 86 hits set the program's single-season record at the time. In 2010, Lee hit .412 with 19 doubles and 17 home runs while driving in 66 runs. He also stole 13 bases.
In 2009, Lee earned Third-Team All-American honors from Louisville Slugger/TPX and Collegiate Baseball, and he was named First-Team All-South Region by Rawlings and the American Baseball Coaches Association. Lee repeated as a First-Team All-South Region selection in 2010 and was tabbed Third-Team All-American by Ping! Baseball.
On top of his on-field performances, Lee was equally as efficient in school. He was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Second-Team Academic All-America list in both 2009 and 2010.
Lee resides in Lexington with his wife Bethany and their son Max.
Garland, who hailed from West Chester, Ohio, was the OVC Freshman of the Year in 2001 and still holds Morehead State's career assist record with 5,265.
Her assist total ranks as the fourth highest ever in OVC history. She was named Second-Team all-conference in 2003 and Honorable Mention all-league in 2001.
Garland helped the Eagles to 74 career wins during her time, including 20-win seasons her first three campaigns under head coaches Mike Swan and Jaime Gordon.
With Garland running the attack for MSU, the Eagles consistently led the conference in kills and hitting percentage. She has two of the top five single-season assist totals in program history, with 1,429 in 2003 and 1,354 in 2001.
Garland has stayed in the game she played collegiately, serving as the head coach and a teacher at Sycamore High School in Ohio. She coached current Eagle volleyball student-athlete McKenzee Wagener. She was also formerly the head coach at Lakota East High School in Ohio.