September 30, 2011
On the heels of another successful Induction Event, it's interesting to see how many Michigan Sports Hall of Fame members are involved with the exciting end to the MLB season. With the Tigers, HOFers Al Kaline and Willie Horton have been instrumental in supporting Dave Dombrowski and his staff, as they have prepared a tremendous team for playoff competition. Of course, HOF member and team owner Mike Ilitch could not be prouder.
Down in Arizona, HOFers Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell have led the Diamondbacks into the playoffs in Gibby's first full year at the helm. It is likely that he will win the NL Manager of the Year for his efforts only adding to his resume!! It will be interesting to see if his success as Gibby's bench coach helps Tram get another shot at managing somewhere in the near future.
On another HOF front, we have been honoring some of the best and brightest high school student athletes with our Tomorrow's Winners award for over a decade. This week, when the Cleveland Indians were in town, a former awardee made an appearance before his hometown crowd. Zach Putnam, a graduate of Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, was a star pitcher for the University of Michigan Wolverines before being drafted by the Indians. We wish him the best of luck!!
September 19, 2011
In looking back at our 55th Induction Event held last Thursday in Novi, I can truly say that this was one of our best ever!! Not only was the ceremony truly memorable, but the receptions were tremendous. We offered our guests a rare display of championship trophies including the Detroit Piston's World Championship Trophy, the 1997 U-M Football National Championship Trophy, the U-M Softball NCAA National Championship Trophy and the 2010 MSU Big Ten Trophy. It was remarkable to see so many people having their photos taken with this hardware. My favorite image was Piston Bad Boys Rick Mahorn and James Edwards posing for fan photos with the trophy a truly rare experience. All of the Inductees were very courteous and cooperative with the guests and media alike.
During the Induction Ceremony, one of the most memorable aspects was all of the interaction between the inductees. Recalling their favorite memories, they shared stories about each other as well as their memorable careers. For instance, Lloyd Carr had personal experiences with each of the other inductees except for John Spring. Especially humorous was his story about recruiting Jerome Bettis and finally being turned down in favor of Notre Dame by his mother. Following the expected U-M "love fest", Carl Banks jokingly asked fellow MSU grad Carol Hutchins to stand up as a proud Spartan. Greg Meyer shared a story about how during his education at U-M; he actually had a job as Bo Schembechler's janitor. Later, when he was working in the development office at UM, he worked with Lloyd Carr driving around the state raising money and joked that he was his chauffeur. MC Frank Beckmann told the story about how when Hutch was a newly named head softball coach, one of her duties was to mow the lawn and in one unfortunate incident, drove the mower into the outfield fence!
More recollections from the 55th Induction Event to be coming soon...
August 22, 2011
It's amazing to me how far the reach of Michigan Sports Hall of Fame members can stretch. Coming up this weekend is an example of how our HOF members can reach so many young lives. Beginning this Thursday is the 7th Annual Big Day Prep Showdown at Rynearson Stadium on the Campus of Eastern Michigan University. High School football teams from all over the state will meet in what has become the traditional start of the season. Started by HOF Board of Trustee Member Dave Beachnau, this year the Prep Showdown will feature games with both Brother Rice and Farmington Hills Harrison. The legendary coaches of these two programs Al Fracassa and John Herrington are both honored Michigan Sports Hall of Fame members. With over 20 state championships between these two coaches, they have sent countless players on to some of the top college football programs as well as the professional ranks. The lives they have touched through their coaching efforts number in the thousands. In addition to being two of the most successful coaches in the history of high school football in our state, they are also two of the nicest and classiest people you would ever want to meet. They support our HOF events and activities, and are always available to help in any way in which they are asked. They even appeared together on Channel 7 last week with Tom Leyden, another HOF supporter, to help promote the Prep Showdown. We are proud to be able to call both coaches distinguished members of our Hall of Fame, and we wish them both the best of luck in the upcoming season.
Don't forget our upcoming 55th Induction Event on Thursday, September 15 at the Suburban Collection Showplace. Visit our website at michigansportshof.org for complete information. Hope to see you there.
August 15, 2011
With only a little over a month to go, everyone involved with the Hall of Fame are getting very excited about the 55th Induction Event scheduled for Thursday, September 15 at the Suburban Collection Showplace. For the second consecutive year, we are returning to Novi and the elegant Diamond Event Center as the host site for our reception and ceremony. Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson and Detroit Mayor and Hall of Fame member Dave Bing will once again serve as our honorary co-chairmen.
Our class of inductees this year features several homegrown talents including legendary University of Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr, NFL superstar Jerome Bettis and MSU and NFL star Carl Banks. Joining them in the class of eight inductees are UM softball coach Carol Hutchins, long distance runner and the last American to win the Boston Marathon Greg Meyer, NFL Hall of Famer and Detroit Lion star Dick LeBeau, longtime world champion fastpitch softball pitcher John Spring and the late Catholic League coaching legend Ron Thompson.
Our evening will begin at 5pm with a private VIP reception honoring not only the inductees, but also our Hall of Fame members and special invited guests and sponsors. At 6 pm, we will open the doors to all of our ticket holders for an elegant strolling supper featuring food and dessert stations. We will also host a terrific silent auction featuring sports collectibles, autographed items and game used pieces.
At 7:30, we will begin the Induction Ceremony that will take place in our specially created theater and will be led by our Master of Ceremonies and Hall of Fame member Frank Beckmann. We will also feature the announcement of the winners of the Dave Bing Scholarships for Achievement and Leadership and we will present the Wright & Filippis Courage award to a very deserving recipient.
Tickets are available at our website and more announcements will be forthcoming. We hope you will join us for a great evening of networking and sports entertainment!!!
April 15, 2011
In my work with the Hall of Fame, one of the greatest joys is to work directly with the Hall of Famers. We had a great opportunity for this on Opening Day as we helped support the fund raising event for the Winning Futures mentoring organization at the Gem Theater. As part of the Hall of Fame's support, we invited several Hall members to attend, visit with guests, sign autographs, and generally be Hall of Famers! Ray Scott, Frank Tanana, Ray Lane, Greg Kelser and Frank Beckmann all attended and helped make the event more special for the 800 plus guests! Ray did a great job of serving as our HOF spokesman, and helping with the live auction. It was fun watching the HOFers interact as well as they are friends from over the years.
Following the event, we invited the Hall members to attend Opening Day as our guests and Ray Scott, Ray Lane and Frank Tanana all took advantage. I had the good fortune to be able to spend some time at the game with them and what a treat!! Just listening to them tell their stories of past memories, mutual friends and even shared experiences made me fell like the most fortunate person in the ballpark!! Seeing the Hall of Famers interact and genuinely enjoy each others company made me proud of our organization, and look forward to the next opportunity to allow them to gather together!!
January 27, 2011
Just in time for the dead of winter, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame is heating things up with an exciting new exhibit that will be on display at the Detroit Historical Museum now through April 3rd. This first-of-its-kind exhibit offers sports fans an opportunity to experience the mission of the Hall of Fame through this compelling display of classic photos, unique artifacts, vintage audio and video displays as well as thrilling stories of memorable victories and championships.
Dubbed "Sudden Death, Walk-Offs and Buzzer Beaters Detroit's Great Sports Comebacks", the exhibit will also feature stories of some of the greatest wins in the long and storied history of the Tigers, Wings, Pistons, Lions, Wolverines and Spartans. Who can forget Steve Yzerman's goal in double overtime to beat the St. Louis Blues in 1996 to set the stage for the Stanley Cup win the following season?
How about the Tigers remarkable comeback in the 1968 World Series against the Cardinals, or the Vinnie Johnson's shot to clinch the second consecutive NBA crown with .007 left on the clock in Portland? Who could forget the pass, and the radio call by Bob Ufer, of the John Wangler to Anthony Carter touchdown connection to allow U-M to win the last second homecoming game?
These are just a few of the memories that will be evoked by visiting the exhibit. In addition, there is a tribute to the stadiums and arenas that we grew up with - including Tiger Stadium memorabilia on display for the first time.
There is also an exciting display dedicated to many championships won by our local teams dating all the way back to 1935. Plus you'll see additional exhibits on our partnership with the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame, boxing and Olympic sports.
Also featured is a tribute to Artist Doug West and some of his most memorable works of sports art including a larger than life reproduction of the new HOF piece "Our MVPs."
We have attempted to capture positive messages of teamwork, persistence, faith and other encouraging elements will invite visitors to take home a feeling of inspiration relevant to their lives, especially during our state's economic comeback journey.
For a great dose of nostalgia, or just to warm up a cold winter afternoon, visit the Hall of Fame exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum now through April 3rd.
Dear Hall of Fame Supporters,
On behalf of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors, staff and all of our stakeholders, we'd like to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who participated in the recently concluded All-Star Online Auction.
Being the first of its kind for us, we were a bit unsure about all of the components, but with the tremendous response we received from the Hall of Fame members who committed their valuable time, and the winning bidders who contributed their valuable dollars it ended up being a very successful event.
To those who bid successfully, we look forward to working with you to fulfill your Hall of Fame experience. For those who weren't successful bidders, we will continue to stay in touch with you and give you details of our exciting plans for our next auction.
For our Hall of Fame to continue to remain vibrant and effective, we need the support of our fans and sports community. With the results of the auction now in, it is clear that this support is alive and well- and growing.
We'll have more information soon about a further release of our "Heroes of the Hall" collector piece entitled "Our MVPs", so please visit our website frequently for further details on this exciting opportunity!!!!