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Boyd, Hanna were early Shepherd athletic leaders

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Aug 31, 2020

Athletes with no scholarship money or scant monetary help from the school were the rule, rather than the exception, in the past for Shepherd University athletes. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — There was very little recruiting because Shepherd University athletics had little funds for such an activity. Shepherd teams had players from mostly nearby communities and crossroads areas not far removed from Shepherdstown. Athletes were more interested in becoming graduate educators than in reaping any large-type headlines with what they did while playing for the Rams.

Athletes with no “scholarship” money or scant monetary help from the school were the rule rather than the exception. Shepherd offered a degree that could be used to find a job in public education.

If you wanted the additional enjoyment of being a member of one of the school’s athletic teams, more power to you. But you were in school to earn your teaching degree and use it to secure a position in the classroom.

Even with little or no financial aid to attend the small-enrollment college, there were some athletes who accomplished much and stood out from the people attending places that had fine athletes themselves.

Two such former Shepherd College students (the school became Shepherd University only in 2004) are firmly in the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Henry Hanna led the Shepherd basketball team in scoring all four years he was with the team. He was a student from 1934 to 1938, and like many in his era of play-for-fun, he played two different sports — basketball and football.

Hanna was the captain of the 1938 basketball team, a team that could not travel much distance to play its games because of the state’s limited roads and the school’s smallish athletic funds. That team had an 8-13 record. He was given an Honorable Mention berth on the All-WVIAC team, the same as he had been acknowledged after the football season earlier in the fall.

A member of the football team from 1934-37, he would get attention outside of Shepherdstown and from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference before his graduation.

Later came football’s offensive tackle and defensive tackle Meredith Boyd, one of Shepherd’s more imposing early-years athlete’s at about 6-foot-4, 220 pounds.

In his four years of Shepherd football, Boyd was decorated by the WVIAC as an all-conference performer in both 1954 and 1956. When Shepherd recorded its first undefeated, untied season (8-0-0) in 1955, Boyd missed four games with injuries. But he accomplished enough for the Rams to be selected to the WVIAC’s All-Time, All-Conference team for those who played from 1924 through 1974.

His education degree helped Boyd first start coaching football and track and field at Waynesboro High in Virginia in 1957. While at Waynesboro, Boyd led his athletes to the state’s track and field championship in 1960.

After his coaching stint at Waynesboro High School, he went to George Washington High School in Alexandria, Va., where he was a two-sport coach from 1966 through 1968.

Moving to George C. Marshall High School near Falls Church, Va., Boyd became the head varsity track and field coach and an assistant varsity football coach.

His teams won track and field District titles at both George Washington and George C. Marshall.

Shepherd landed him in its Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

Neither Hanna nor Boyd were able to attend Shepherd because of generous athletic “scholarship” money or a grant-in-aid. They were in school to earn their education qualifications and just happened to be fine athletes as well. Their post-Shepherd careers were just as important as were their on-field or on-court abilities with the Rams.