Skip to main content

2020 Hall of Fame Inductees

Meet the 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees and learn about their achievements to physical activity and sport sciences.

A closeup of the CPASS Hall of Fame metal

The WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences honored four graduates and named its Outstanding Alumnus and Distinguished Service award recipients during its 2020 Hall of Fame Ceremony, October 16 via a virtual ceremony on Zoom. The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees are Christopher D. Lantz, Gary J. Quinn, James L. Taylor and Keli M. Zinn. The College honored P. Kevin Elko with the Outstanding Alumnus and Dallas D. Branch, Jr. with the Distinguished Service Awards. Visit the CPASS Hall of Fame website to view full bios for this 32nd class of CPASS Hall of Fame inductees.  

Notable past CPASS inductees include Linda Carson, Judith Hayes, Chuck Howley, Rodney C. “Hot Rod” Hundley, Rodney K. Thorn, Alfred F. Ware, Robert L. DeProspero, Fred Schaus, George J. Esper, General Earl E. Anderson, Jerry West and Robert Sam Huff, all members of the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni. 

2020 Inductees

Christopher D. Lantz

Portrait of Christopher Lantz

Chris Lantz is entering his 25th year in higher education with the last 18 serving in several leadership roles. He enters his fourth year as the associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Health and Human Services at UNC Wilmington. Prior to that he served for five years as the director of the School of Health and Applied Human Sciences. Prior to coming to UNCW, Lantz was a tenured professor in the department of health and exercise sciences at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., serving as the department's chair from 2002-2012. Prior to his career in higher education, Lantz was the founding director of a hospital-based community wellness center. Lantz holds a Doctor of Education in sport behavior from West Virginia University, a Master of Arts in sport psychology from UNC Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Lantz has received several teaching and leadership awards including the Robert M. Taylor Professional Service and the Scholar of the Year awards from the Missouri Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. He also served as the association's president and chaired its research section for nine years. Lantz has served on a variety of boards and committees with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, American Red Cross, Blue Ribbon Commission for the Prevention of Youth Violence, Council for Undergraduate Research, Phi Lambda Phi National Fraternity and WVU CPASS.

Gary J. Quinn

Portrait of Gary Quinn

Gary Quinn began his career at NBC Sports as a graduate intern from the West Virginia University sport management program in May of 1995 and has worked his way to his current role as vice president of programming and owned properties. Over the last twenty-five years, he has successfully cultivated the growth of the NBC Owned Properties Group. His group is responsible for the creation, operation and development of events such as the American Century Championship, National Dog Show, PNC Championship and All-American Bowl. Under Quinn’s watch these properties have generated more than $250 million in profit for the division. Over the last decade, Quinn has added programming acquisition and the management of programming partnerships to his roles and responsibilities. He oversees the relationships with each of the USA Olympic governing bodies, Notre Dame football, Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup horse racing and various international rugby organizations. He currently manages more than 1,000 hours of programming across NBC, NBCSN and the Olympic Channel. Recently, Quinn used his entrepreneurial spirit to create NBC Sports Pub Pass, a subscription service for bars and restaurants.

James L. Taylor

Portrait of James Taylor

James L. Taylor was born in Charles Town, WV on February 26, 1934. He enlisted in the US Navy after graduating from high school and served in the Korean War. He then graduated from Shepherd College (now Shepherd University) with a BS and AB degrees. He earned a Master of Science degree in 1965 from WVU. At Shepherd College, Taylor played football and was the first African American to play on the team, which became the first undefeated and untied team in the history of the college. He then became a teacher and coach at his former high school, Page-Jackson High School in Jefferson County and went on to teach and coach at Charles Town Jr. High, Charles Town High School, the new Harpers Ferry Job Corps facility and Jefferson High School. He retired from teaching in 1995. In September of 2000, Taylor was one of four men who founded the Jefferson County Black History Society, Inc. Taylor wrote about Jimmy Winkfield, the last jockey of color to win the Kentucky Derby, in his first book and has written or co-authored numerous others. Taylor was married to his wife Dorothy Young Taylor for 64 years, until her death in July 2020. He and his wife have two children.

Keli M. Zinn

Portrait of Keli Zinn

Keli Zinn serves as the deputy athletics director and is responsible for assisting the director of athletics with the overall administration of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. As the department's primary liaison to the University central administration, she works closely with the WVU general counsel, strategic initiatives, finance and human resources. Zinn also serves as the administrator to the WVU football program. In December of 2014, President E. Gordon Gee appointed Zinn the school’s interim director of athletics as she became the first female to lead the University’s athletics department. A native of Petersburg, WV, Zinn came to WVU in 2010 as associate athletics director for governance and compliance from the University of Maryland, where she was named assistant athletics director for compliance in 2005. Previously, Zinn served as compliance assistant at the BIG EAST Conference in Providence, RI. Zinn has been involved in numerous national, conference and University committees over the years. In 2019, the Sports Business Journal named Zinn as a recipient of the prestigious Forty Under 40 Awards. She was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus of the CPASS sport management program in 2018 and selected among the SportsBusiness Journal’s Game Changers in 2016. Zinn is a graduate of WVU with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sport management. She and her husband, Nathaniel, reside in Morgantown.

Outstanding Alumnus

P. Kevin Elko

Portrait of Kevin Elko

Kevin Elko is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania where he was later named distinguished alumni. At West Virginia University he received two master’s degrees and his doctorate. Elko was inducted into West Virginia University CPASS and College of Education and Human Services Halls of Fame. He interned at the United States Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs. In sports he has consulted with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, L.S.U. Football, University of Miami Football, Florida State University Football and University of Nebraska Football. Presently he is on retainer with the Philadelphia Eagles and University of Alabama Football. Elko spoke to both the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles before their recent Super Bowl appearances, and L.S.U., Florida State University, University of Miami and University of Alabama the night before their national championship games. Elko has seven books published: Nerves of Steel, The Pep Talk, Touchdown, True Greatness, The Sender, The Sender Companion Journal and Believing is Seeing.

Distinguished Service Award

Dallas D. Branch, Jr.

Portrait of Dallas Branch

Dallas Branch Dallas Branch was an associate professor in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences for 29 years. He taught undergraduate and graduate classes and for 15 years, an innovative and first-of-its-kind ESPN Sports Poll graduate class while also serving as the sport management program coordinator. For most of his teaching career, he managed the internship placement for graduate students and managed and directed the recruitment and selection process for the graduate program. The program gained national recognition, achieving a ranking of 3rd nationally and 11 world-wide by Eduniversal, a business discipline international rating service. Some notable career highlights include the creation and founding in 1992 of the Sport Marketing Quarterly (SMQ), the first academic and professional sport marketing journal of its kind in the world. He served as editor of the SMQ until 1996. Other distinguished recognition includes receiving a “Top 20 in 20” Award for having one of the best 20 articles published in the SMQ in its first 20 years of publication. Branch was a founding member and founding board member of the Sport Marketing Association. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Sport Marketing Association in 2009 and Academic Achievement in Sport and Entertainment Award from the Sport Entertainment and Venue Management Association in 2017. Branch brought experience as a former student-athlete and an ideal background of sport, business and academics to the field of sport management and marketing. Branch retired as an associate professor emeritus faculty member in 2016. He lives in Morgantown with his wife, Jeannine. He has three stepchildren and six grandchildren.