WVU Tech announces 2024 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees
West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) has announced
Davon Francis DeVeaux, '22 (football),
Gary M. Smith, '74 (football, baseball) and
Benjamin Wood, '11 (wrestling) as the 2024 class of inductees into
the Golden Bear Athletic Hall of Fame.
The inductees will be recognized on February 9 and 10, 2024 during
WVU Tech's Homecoming festivities. The distinguished alumni awardees will be honored at
a reception and dinner (February 9) and during the basketball games (February
10). Admission to the basketball games is free and open to the public, with
the support of our Communiversity partner, Pendleton Community Bank. To purchase
tickets for the awards dinner, or for more information, visit
Tech will also be commemorating the contributions of Jim Lively and family during the evening festivities. Lively's family has graciously donated Jim's 1949 letterman jacket, championship banquet program and team photo from that undefeated championship year. Lively, a very successful educator and businessman, was inducted into the WVU Tech Hall of Fame in 1983.
DeVeaux's journey from a preferred walk-on at WVU Tech to the Hall of Fame is a testament to his exceptional athletic prowess and subsequent contributions to sports and coaching. DeVeaux's impressive career began with earning First Team All-Region honors twice, showcasing his dedication and skill on the field. His standout performance also earned him the prestigious title of WVIAC Conference Defensive Player of the Year, a testament to his defensive prowess. Taking his talents overseas, DeVeaux spent four years in Germany, adding an international dimension to his playing career. His impact, however, extends beyond borders, as he etched his name into the NCAA record books for tackles for loss in a single season, solidifying his place in collegiate football history. Transitioning seamlessly from player to coach, DeVeaux embarked on a coaching career that has left an indelible mark on the sports landscape. His passion for football and wrestling manifested in his coaching roles, where he shared his expertise and knowledge with aspiring athletes. Not content with limiting his influence to one sport, DeVeaux played a pivotal role in founding and operating a strength and conditioning company in West Chicago. Under his guidance, the company produced Division I athletes across a spectrum of sports, including football, volleyball, water polo, basketball, lacrosse, and baseball. For the past decade, DeVeaux has been a dedicated educator, strength and conditioning coach, and head coach for wrestling, girls lacrosse, and golf at multiple high schools in Georgia. His commitment to nurturing young talent has been exemplified by the numerous athletes he has coached, some of whom have gone on to achieve success at the highest levels, including the NFL. Davon Deveaux's journey from an unheralded walk-on to a multifaceted coach and mentor is a story of resilience, passion, and an unwavering commitment to the development of athletes both on and off the field. As he is inducted into the Hall of Fame at WVU Tech, it serves as a well-deserved recognition of his enduring impact on the world of sports.
Smith played football and baseball for the Golden Bears from 1970-1974. He was a four-year starter in both sports and was chosen First Team All-WVIAC in 1973. Smith also received the Outstanding Senior Athlete Award. He graduated from Franklin High School and was a First Team All-State pitcher in baseball. Smith also played football, participating in ten state playoff games and winning 11 Potomac Valley Conference Championships. During his high school career, Smith also played basketball. The native of Franklin, W.Va. has coached multiple sports including football, basketball, softball and baseball over a 44-year career. He was the head coach at Franklin High School and Pendleton County High School for 35 years. Smith's family includes son Rod and his wife Charlene, daughter Michelle and her husband Tierre, and five grandchildren.
Wood, the oldest of eight siblings was born in Beckley, W.Va. to Buford and Susan Wood and raised in the community of Princewick, W. Va. He graduated from Independence High School in 2002 where he wrestled and was a three-time state place winner. Wood was in the United States Marine Corps 2003-2007 and while on a combat deployment to Iraq learned WVU Tech was starting a wrestling team. He finished his enlistment, enrolled to Tech and walked on to the inaugural Golden Bear wrestling team coached by Robert "Bob" Simile. During his four years, Wood was a three-time national qualifier, two-time NAIA academic All-American, two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete, NAIA Mid-South Conference Scholar-Athlete, and had a fifth place finish in the NAIA Mid-South Conference Championship in 2011. Wood graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in History and Government and was a member of National History Honor Society and Phi Alpha Theta. Upon graduation he served as the interim coach for the WVU Tech wrestling team and joined the West Virginia State Police. While a West Virginia State Trooper, Wood coached the Bluefield High School wrestling team for two years (2013-2014) and had one state finisher. He is currently a Sergeant with the West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and additionally assigned to the West Virginia State Police Special Response Team (SRT). In 2022, Wood was honored with the Superintendent's Award.
For complete biographies of all Golden Bear Hall of Fame inductees, go to goldenbearathletics.com/sports/general/hof.