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08
Jun

Sports: Findlay’s top sports figures

The Courier’s Sports Department undertook the task of selecting the area’s top 100 sports figures of the 20th century in 1999.

Hundreds of nominations were processed. Hundreds of names were considered. Hundreds of careers were researched.

The initial list included renowned names like Peg Kirk Bell, Ray Harroun, William Elsworth “Dummy” Hoy, “Tot” Pressnell.

Now, as Findlay celebrates its bicentennial, the Courier Sports Department pared down the original list to those who are meant to represent sports figures of all ages and eras, all sports and activities. It is a cross-section of the people who have excelled not only on the field of play, but in the realm of athletics overall.

This is our list, in alphabetical order.

 

Mark Ammons

1968 Findlay High graduate … Drafted by Philadelphia in 1973 and remained with the Phillies through early 1975 before entering the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm systems … first-team all-Mid-American Conference baseball player at Bowling Green State University … MAC Player of the Year in 1972 when Falcons won the conference title and were ranked 13th nation­ally … Helped lead Findlay High to first Buckeye Conference base­ball title in 1968 … Coached basketball and baseball at Arcadia.

 

Carl Bachman

Cygnet native … earned 13 let­ters at Bowling Green State  University … posted a 477-126 record during 43-year high school basketball coaching career, including 34 years at Findlay High … Coached 1948 Trojans to state championship with 27-0 record … Had five unde­feated regular seasons at Findlay … Originated the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1965.

 

O’Dell Barry

Toledo native … Standout Findlay Col­lege track and football performer in 1960s … Un­officially tied world record in 220-yard dash with a time of 20.0 in 1962 on cinders at Donnell Stadi­um … In 1963, unoffi­cially tied world record in 100-yard dash of 9.4 at Ferris State (Mich.) University … During collegiate career, com­peted in prestigious Penn Relays, the NAIA Track & Field Champi­onships and ran against Bob Hay­es, Homer Jones and Edward Rob­erts, who finished 1-2-3 in the Olympic sprint finals in Tokyo (1964) … Set NFL record with Denver Broncos with 47 kickoff returns during the 1964 season.

 

Warren ‘Bullet’ Bell

Had 3-year bas­ketball contract with Zollner Pis­tons in Fort Wayne … Considered a ball-handling wizard during high school ca­reer … 3-time all-Ohio bas­ketball player (1938-40) at Findlay High and helped lead Bachman-coached teams to state tour­ney each sea­son … Earned a scholarship to Ohio State and played on fresh­man team (1940-41) before entering U.S. Army … Later designed and helped build Pine Needles Golf Resort in Southern Pines, N.C., with his wife, Peg Kirk Bell.

Peg Kirk Bell

Received Bobby Jones Award (1990), the highest honor given by the USGA for Dis­tinguished Sportsmanship in the game of golf … Received LPGA Ellen Griffin Award (1989) signify­ing excellence in teaching the fun­damentals of golf … Only woman golfer to compete in the four inaugural national events for female golfers — National Intercollegiate Golf Tournament (1940), National LPGA Tournament, U.S. Women’s Open, and LPGA Seniors Teaching Division Tournament (which she won by 8 strokes) … 3-time Ohio Amateur champion (1947-48-49) … Runner-up to Babe Zaharias in Women’s Western Open and se­lected for USGA Curtis Cup team in 1950 … Turned pro in 1951 … Named LPGA Teacher of the Year (1961) … Named LPGA Golf Pro­fessional of the Year (1981).

 

Dick Beltz

Hailed as the great­est all-purpose triple-threat run­ning back in Findlay High football history … FHS’s all-time leading scorer in football with 491 points (1929-1931) … Had 205 points as a junior and 218 as a senior when the Tro­jans posted back-to-back 9-1 seasons … Also had more than 3,000 yards, handling  kickoffs, punting, PATs and as a passer … Ohio State running back in mid-1930s.

 

Micki Bish

Liberty-Benton graduate … Nev­er lost an event at a Blanchard Valley Conference track meet … Was 1984 Class A state cross coun­try champion as a freshman … Team was also the 1984 team champion … In her remaining three years of cross country finished second, third and fourth … Was 1986 state 3,200-meter champ and won the 1988 state 1,600 and 3,200 runs.

 

Jeff Bixler

Three-year letterman at Eastern Michigan … Was the Eagles’ leading tackler, MVP and captain in 1975 … Had 15 career interceptions … Held EMU career tackle record for 21 years (1975-1996) … As wide receiver at Findlay High, was selected sec­ond-team all-Ohio and Buckeye Conference first team in 1970 and was first-team all-Ohio as a defen­sive back in 71.

 

Kirby Blackley

Cincinnati native … 2008 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year … 2008 Division II outdoor long jump and 100-meter hurdles champion … 2007-2008 United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Female Track Athlete of the Year … 9-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference outdoor titlist … Three-time Division II indoor All-American … Midwest Region Athlete of the Year, GLIAC Indoor Track MVP and NCAA Top VIII Award winner in 2008.

 

Nelson Bolden

Toledo native … Two-time NAIA Divi­sion II All-American running back for Findlay College, rushing for 1,324 yards in 1979 and 1,079 in 1980 … 4-year starter, helping the Oil­ers to NAIA national title in 1979 after a runner-up finish in 1978 … 3-year all-district and all-conference per­former … All-time UF leading rusher, piling up 4,009 yards … A bruising runner at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and very durable, he carried the ball an unbelievable school-record 958 times … Holds UF career marks for touchdowns scored (63) and to­tal points (378) … Had free agent tryout with Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Josh Bostic

Columbus … 2008-2009 National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II Player of the Year as University of Findlay captured NCAA Division II national men’s basketball championship … NABC D-II first-team All-American 2007-08, 2008-09 … 2008-2009 GLIAC Player of the Year … Two-time first team all-GLIAC … 8th all time on UF scoring list (1,705 points); 2nd all time in rebounding (757) … Played professionally in Japan and Europe.

 

Ken Brooks

1972 Ohio Class AAA Player of the Year in bas­ketball and fourth-leading scorer (933 points) in Find­lay High histo­ry … Catcher on Findlay High’s 1971 Ohio state baseball championship team … Member of 1972 American Legion baseball team which advanced to World Series … Played colle­giately at Eastern Michigan Uni­versity … Served as Pandora-Gilboa girls bas­ketball coach for 21 seasons, posting a 267-191 record.

 

Jerry Carder

Delphos … Third-team NAIA all-American in basketball at Findlay College in 1968 … 3-time all-NAIA District 22 selection … No.3 all-time UF scorer (1,953 points) … Member of 1966-67 Findlay team that played in the NAIA national tournament … Played on four straight Findlay teams that advanced to the district playoffs … Retired from University of Toledo as college administrator … Inducted into University of Findlay Hall of Fame (1982), Hancock Sports Hall of Fame (1985) and NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

 

Jim Carder

Delphos … Played alongside his brother, Jerry, for four seasons at Findlay College … 2-time NAIA all-American … 4-time all-NAIA district 22 selection … No. 2 all-time UF scorer (2,079 points) … Member of 1966-67 Findlay team that played in the NAIA national tournament … Spent 25 years as a football, basketball, baseball, cross country and golf coach at Lima Central Catholic …  Spent 11 years as a Lima Junior Golf Association administrator … Inducted into UF Hall of Fame (1982), Hancock Sports Hall of Fame (1985) and NAIA Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Raven Clay

Detroit native … Won 2012 NCAA Division II indoor 60-meter hurdles national championship in a University of Findlay-record 8.18 seconds … Finished as runnerup in 100-meter hurdles at 2012 Division II outdoor championships … 4-time indoor All-American and 4-time GLIAC indoor champion, winning 60 hurdles, 200 and 1,600 relay in 2010-11 … UF indoor record-holder in 60 (7:33) and 300 (40.01) … 4-time outdoor All-American (2009-11) … named GLIAC Athlete of Meet at indoor and outdoor championships … named GLIAC indoor and outdoor freshman of the year in 2008-09.

 

Julie Cole

Women’s professional golfer … Finished 47th on the LPGA Tour’s final money list in 1987 … 1996 Women’s U.S. Open qualifier … Honored as LPGA‘s “Teacher of the Year” in 1995 for the Southeast section … Appeared on the July/August cover of Golf for Women magazine … Namesake of annual Julie Cole Charity Golf Tournament held at Findlay Country Club … Currently the director of instruction at Dana Rader Golf School in Charlotte, N.C.

 

Aaron Craft

All-Ohio quarterback for Liberty-Benton (2008 & 2009), leading Eagles to Division V state runnerup finish in 2009 … Ohio’s Division III Player of the Year in basketball (2010) after averaging 26.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists in leading L-B to 20-0 record and a No.1 Associated Press Division III poll … L-B went 79-1 in regular season with Craft in the starting lineup … Signed a national letter of intent to Ohio State … Named to Big Ten all-freshman team and voted the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year as a freshman … Took over the starting point guard spot as as sophomore and averaged 8.8 points, 2.5 steals and 4.6 assists as OSU went 31-8 and reached NCAA Final Four …  Voted Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12.

 

Caitie Craft

2011-2012 Associated Press Division III all-Ohio First Team girls basketball selection for Liberty-Benton … Most Valuable Player during the Eagles’ run to the 2010 Division III state tournament championship … 2011 co-Blanchard Valley Conference Player of the Year … Averaged 21.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 5.4 steals during her senior season in 2011-12 at Liberty-Benton … Continuing her career at Ohio State in 2012-2013.

 

Tyler Curlis

Umpire in New York-Penn League during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons … Umpired in the Arizona Fall League in 2010 … Played baseball at Wittenburg University in 2005 … Findlay High letterman in football, hockey and baseball … Earned all-Ohio honors as a wide receiver, catching 18 passes in a game vs. Massillon Washington (2003), a season record 94 in 2003 and a FHS record 164 in his career (2001-03) … Scored winning run as Findlay American Legion baseball team captured 2002 state championship … Batted .348 and led 2002 Legion team in stolen bases (17) and walks (53) … also pitched for state championship Legion team, going 9-2 with 3.02 ERA and 76 strikeouts.

 

Del Drake

Signed by Detroit Tigers in 1903 and played three seasons in major leagues … In 1911, played in the Detroit outfield next to Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford, batting .279 with 9 triples and 20 steals in 91 games … hit .301 in 11-year minor league career … Signed Findlay’s Forest “Tot” Pressnell to pro contract as a major league scout.

 

Dale Edie

Hancock County’s first Special Olympic gold medalist … Won his gold medal at the 1995 games with a victory in the 25-meter backstroke … Competed in numerous sports events for Blanchard Valley Center.

 

Gene Fekete

Finished eighth in 1942 Heisman Trophy voting as first Ohio State player ever considered for the honor, during a sophomore season on the national championship Buckeyes’ team under legendary coach Paul Brown … Set OSU record for longest run from scrimmage, 89 yards against Pitt … finished as Big Ten’s leading rusher (910 yards, 182 carries) in 1942 and set OSU mark of 92 points … OSU career cut short by World War II, but signed with Cleveland Browns in 1945 … Inducted into OSU Hall of Fame in 1998 … Head basketball coach at Northern Illinois (1948-49) and assistant OSU football coach (1949-59) … All-state in football and basketball at Findlay High … Ran for two touchdowns, threw for two, booted a field goal and four extra points against Lima Central Catholic … Ran for nearly 400 yards against Bucyrus.

 

Jeffrey Fout

Findlay native … Fixture atop harness racing world from 1977-2005 at Scioto Downs, Lebanon Raceway, Raceway Park … Won 4,308 of 27,206 career starts, finished in top three 11,801 times … Trained and drove Golly Goo, winner of 8 of 16 starts as a 3-year-old in 1994, 8 of 15 as a 4-year-old … Trainer and driver of Dawn Q, winner of 11 of 27 starts over 2-year period … 14-time winner of Ohio Sires Stakes championship … past winner of U.S. Harness Writers Association Meritorious Award for two decades of contributions to racing.

 

Jim Givens

Shortstop at Kent State from 1986-91 … drafted in 30th round by Tigers … First-team all-MAC as a junior, 2nd team as senior … First team all-NCAA Regional as a senior … Was third on all-time MAC hit list above Ohio University’s Mike Schmidt … At one time, held 13 Kent State school records … played for the Toledo Mud Hens from 1993-95 … Givens currently serves as the associate athletic director at the University of Findlay.

 

Harry Gonso

Ran for 1,000 yards in a season and had 152 points as quarterback at Findlay High … Set Indiana University’s total offense and TD passing records by end of his junior season … Led Hoosiers to its lone Rose Bowl appearance in 1968 … Finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy … Received law degree from Indiana … Served as Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ senior counsel and chief of staff during 2005 and 2006 … Currently a partner at Ice Miller LLP in Indianapolis.

 

A.J. Granger

Member of two Liberty-Benton state title teams in 1995 … Eagles won the Division IV basketball crown and the Division III track state championship … 1996 state discus champion … NCAA Division I Final Four participant as junior in 1999 and starter during Michigan State University’s drive to 1999-2000 national championship … Played professional basketball in Europe for two years … Currently an account director at The Right Thing.

 

Antonia Guerra

Wrestled in a national championship match in three of his four seasons at University of Findlay, winning the NCAA Division II 149-pound weight class at Koehler Center when UF hosted the 2006 championships … Won a second title in 2007 … Finished his career as a 4-time All-American and tied for the most career wins at UF with 123.

 

Ray Harroun

Drove a Marmon Wasp, No. 32, to victory in the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911, winning $14,250 … “Little Professor” was the only driver in the 40-car field not accompanied by a mechanic … Introduced the rear-view mirror … Obtained 11 patents as an engineer.

 

Fred Hirsimaki

Great high school athlete at Conneaut’s Rowe High School and has been a highly-successful senior Olympian … Won a gold medal (70-74 age group) at the 1994 International Decathlon Championships in Sheffield, England … Won gold in the 1991 U.S. National Seniors Sports Classic … Numerous time all-American in Master’s track and field … set an M80 decathlon world record by scoring 6,802 points in July 2005 … Inducted into Dayton/Miami Valley Senior Olympics Hall of Fame in 2005 … Still competes in 85-over division.

 

Jim Houdeshell

Has had 62-year association with Findlay College/University of Findlay … 30-year FC basketball coach (430-312) … had 16 teams in District 22 playoffs … NAIA Coaches Hall of Fame inductee … also coached track, cross country, baseball and football as well as serving as athletics director … Member of numerous NAIA and other national sports organization committees … Serves as a special assistant to the president, and development officer at UF.

 

Bo Hurley

Selected as first NAIA Rawlings Player of the Year in 1997 after leading UF to 1995 and 1997 NAIA national titles … Ran 1997 Oilers’ offense to an NAIA-leading 45.9 points a game … Holds 10 UF offensive records, including 4,395 yards passing and 57 touchdowns in career … 3-time NAIA Scholar Athlete and 1997 GTE Academic All-American … Currently resides in Centerville.

 

Josh Huston

Two-time all-Ohio placekicker … Set Findlay High record in 2002 with nine field goals … Redshirted at Ohio State in 2000 … After being a backup to Mike Nugent (2003 & 2004), he was granted a sixth year of eligibility on a medical redshirt and hit 22 of 28 field goals and 44 of 45 PATs for 110 points in 2005 … Tied OSU record with five field goals against Texas … Was undrafted in 2006, but signed with Chicago Bears … Also spent time with the Las Vegas Gladiators (2006-07), New York Giants (2007 & 2008) and Cincinnati Bengals (2007).

 

Amanda Hyde

2009-2010 Associated Press Division III first team all-Ohio and Northwest District Player of the Year in girls basketball as Liberty-Benton captured the 2010 Division III state championship and completed a 27-0 season … 3-time Blanchard Valley Conference Player of the Year … Averaged 9.4 points per game in 25 games as a sophomore at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2011-2012.

 

Nathan Hyde

Liberty-Benton graduate… NCAA Division II first-team All-American 2010-2011 at UF … Two-time first-team NABC Midwest Region selection … Two-time first-team all-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference pick … 12th all time in UF scoring (1,528 points) … Ranks second in 3-pointers made for a career with 248.

 

Mike Iriti

Set three Findlay High receiving records and one state standard when he caught 101 passes for 1,411 yards and 21 TDs during 1999 season … His 21 TDs remain the eighth highest single-season total in Ohio prep history; his 101 receptions are 12th in the state records books and his 1,411 yards are 31st.

 

Kyle Johann

Career passing leader (5,468 yards, 43 TDs) in Findlay High history, during three years as a starter … Completed 244 of 374 passes (just 5 interceptions) for 3,009 yards and 29 TDs and rushed for almost 600 yards in 2002 when Findlay set a school record for points in a season (570) and advanced farther than any FHS football team in history, going 12-2 and reaching the Division I state semifinals.

 

Eddie Kawolics

Scranton, Pa. … considered to be Findlay’s foremost kegler … Inducted into American Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in 1968 … Three times rolled a 1,900-plus all-events total, boasting a string of eight straight 1,800s through 1948 that tied an existing record … Averaged 196 pins for 34 straight ABC tournaments … Best 3-game series was an 803 … Coached 1967 United States ABC team, which swept the men’s titles at the 5th World Championships in Mexico.

 

Jim Kennedy

Four-year All-American diver at the University of Tennessee … Won 1976 NCAA 1-meter diving title … Was a seven-time Southeastern Conference champion … Won four AAU national titles and 1977 Swedish Cup … Was 5th at 1980 U.S. Olympic trials … 1972 Ohio High School Athletic Association diving champion at Findlay High … Currently resides in Brentwood, Tenn.

 

Miron Kharchilava

Native of Abkhazia … Defected to U.S. and Findlay area in the spring of 1992 while traveling with a collegiate wrestling team … NAIA national champion and most outstanding wrestler in 1995 as member of University of Findlay squad … Was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State and Indiana universities … Currently owns training facility and resides in Dublin.

 

John Kidd

Punted at Northwestern University … 15-year pro football punting career … Set NFL record in 1985 as a Buffalo Bill with 33 punts inside the 20-yard line … Had one of his best seasons as a Miami Dolphin in 1996 when he led the NFL with 46.3 yard-per-kick average; had 26 punts inside the 20 and 11 touchbacks … Alternate to the Pro Bowl and named to the USA Today All-Pro team in 1996 … Currently a managing member of Kidd Communications.

 

Randy Kortokrax

Started for his legendary father, Dick Kortokrax, at Kalida … Holds UF all-time men’s basketball scoring (2,575 points) and rebounding records (1,242), season scoring record with 880 points in 1985-86 … Was 545 of 751 shooting from the free throw line for career … Kortokrax was a first-team NAIA All-American and the District 22 Player of the Year in 1987 when he scored 22 points per game during his senior season … Averaged 30 points per game as a junior, earning second-team All-American and District 22 Player of the Year laurels … Twice scored over 50 points in a game … Inducted into NAIA Hall of Fame in 2009 … Currently the head boys basketball coach at Bishop Hartley High School in Columbus where he was named Division II Coach of the Year in 2011.

 

Ted Kramer

Set Findlay High hockey records as a freshman in 1984 with 61 goals and 30 assists in 25 games … Played two years with Little Caesars in the AAA Michigan Hockey League … Was named rookie of the year in the Metro Toronto Junior Hockey League as a senior at St. Michael’s School … Still holds Iron Man record at University of Michigan for 173 games played with 70 goals and 70 assists … Signed with Los Angeles Kings, skated with Wayne Gretzky and played for Phoenix of the International Hockey League … Member of Findlay High’s 1984 state championship golf team … Inducted into Hancock Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 … Currently an attorney with Hammond Kennedy Whitman & Co. in Indianapolis.

 

Luke Kraus

First and only player in Findlay High boys basketball history to start all four years as Trojans posted a 59-29 record, won three league titles and made the Division I regional finals in 2006-07 … Never missed a start in 88 consecutive games … FHS boys basketball career leader in points (1,501), free throws (368) and field goals (497) and tied for top spot in 3-pointers (139) … 3-time Greater Buckeye Conference Player of the Year; first-team all-Ohio in 2009.

 

Jay Liles

Coached back-to-back NAIA wrestling titles at Montana-Northern with two NAIA Coach of the Year awards; coached five champions and 39 all-Americans … Coached one state champion and 13 conference champions at Arcadia … Was MAC runner-up and national qualifier (1978-79) and the winningest wrestler at BGSU from (1976-79) … Was Ohio AAU freestyle champion three times, a Junior World Freestyle placer twice and U.S. Wrestling Federation state champ twice … Recently retired from the head coaching position at South Dakota State University where he spent the past 19 years and left as the winningest coach (148-143-5) in SDSU history.

 

Waylon Lowe

Became University of Findlay’s first NCAA Division II national wrestling champion when as a sophomore he won the 149-pound class at the 2002 national finals …  He added two more championships, and was named the outstanding wrestler at the 2004 Division II finals … Finished his career as a 4-time All-American and accumulated 112 career wins.

 

Joe Marsh Jr.

The World Driving harness racing champion in 1974 … Chosen as the 1973 Man of the Year by Harness Horseman International … Became the first man to have at least 100 harness racing wins for 27 consecutive years in 1986 … Recorded 5,882 victories with $36.4 million in purse earnings … Last start was in 2006.

 

Chuck Merzbacher

In his 15th season as Ohio State’s women’s tennis coach, is already winningest women’s tennis coach in school history … His 2000 team was the Big Ten regular-season champion and he has led 10 teams to the NCAA tournament … Coached men’s tennis at Northern Illinois (1989-92), winning two Mid-Continent Conference titles and women’s tennis at Kansas (1992-1996), leading the team to four Big Eight Conference titles … 1983 state singles champion at Findlay High … At Minnesota was a 3-time all-Big Ten honoree, played on two Big Ten Conference championship teams (1984 & 1986), qualified for the NCAA tournament in singles and doubles (1985) … played professionally from 1987-89,  qualifying for the main draw singles of the 1989 Australian Open.

 

Cindy Morehead

Has coached University of Findlay’s Western equestrian team to four International Horse Show Association national championships and one runnerup finish in seven years as the team’s head coach … Has coached four IHSA high-point riders … An instructor in the UF Western equestrian program since 1977.

 

Steve Morehead

Longtime professional motorcycle driver who started career in 1972 … The “Findlay Flyer” has over 20 career wins, 135 Top 5 and 234 Top 10 finishes on the AMA’s Grand National Circuit … Best season-long series finish was fourth, which he accomplished in 1993, ’89, ’88 and ’79 … In 1998, he won the Las Vegas Grand National Half-mile race and took four additional podium finishes in his 25th year on the circuit … Ranked in the top 10 in 15 seasons … Inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2004 … In 2000 he accepted a job as an operations manager for the AMA Grand National Championship Series.

 

Tiajuana Newell

Cleveland native … Standout sprinter and hurdler at University of Findlay … 12-time NAIA all-American … Won indoor 60-yard hurdles in 1990 and was four-time All-American in the event … Also 3-time outdoor 100-meter hurdles All-American … Won 11 NAIA District championships, including five in 1991 … Still holds four UF records … Inducted into NAIA Hall of Fame in 1998.

 

Ron Niekamp

St. Henry native … NABC Division II and D-II Bulletin Coach of the Year in 2008-2009 after guiding UF men’s basketball team to the NCAA Division II national title and a 36-0 season … 5-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year … Retired in 2010-11 after 26-year career at UF with a 598-185 career record, logging 20, 20-win seasons, 197-57 GLIAC record with 10 South Division regular-season and five GLIAC tournament titles, compiling a 353-46 home court record … Inducted into Miami (Ohio) University Hall of Fame in 2004.

 

Weldy Olson

Marquette, Mich. native … Former manager of the Hancock Recreation Center … Member of 1960 United States gold medal-winning Olympic hockey team, the 1956 Olympics silver medal team, and the 1957, ’58 & ’59 U.S. national teams … Four-year varsity letterman at Michigan State University … Set career scoring marks in 92 games with the Spartans: 71 goals, 54 assists … Inducted into Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame (’74), Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame (’84), U.S. Olympic Amateur Hockey Association 50 Year Dream Team.

 

John Poff

First baseman and outfielder with Philadelphia Phillies (1979) and Milwaukee Brewers (1980) … hit .218 with 19 hits (1 HR) in 87 career at-bats … Wrote for Elysian Fields Quarterly Baseball Review in the early 2000s … Findlay High standout carried an 18-game hitting streak into the 1970 state high school tournament and starred as an outfielder/first baseman at Duke (.257 career batting average), becoming a co-captain and MVP in 1973 and a two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference player … Starred on the American Legion baseball teams.

 

Forest ‘Tot’ Presnell

Pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1938-40 and the Chicago Cubs from 1941-42 … Recorded 157 strikeouts with 134 walks … Lockered next to Babe Ruth during 1938 season when Babe was a Dodgers’ coach … Started against Johnny Vander Meer in the Cincinnati pitcher’s second of two straight no-hitters … Pitched in the first night game at Ebbets Field and was part of the first televised game … Inducted into Ohio Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

 

Jack Quisno

Has coached Liberty-Benton to 24 Blanchard Valley Conference boys track and field championships in 26 seasons as head coach, with 10 district championships, nine regional championships and three Division III state championships … Has coached 13 state champions … Also 22-year coach of L-B boys cross country teams.

 

Ben Roethlisberger

Two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers … Ohio’s Division I co-Offensive Player of the Year in 1999 at Findlay High when he completed 309 of 467 passes (66.2 percent) for 4,041 yards & 56 TDs, both state records at that time and among the top five records nationally … led Findlay to a Great Lakes League championship (6-0), a 10-2 overall record and the second round of the Division I playoffs … Had record-setting career at Miami of Ohio … Finished ninth in Heisman Trophy balloting … Drafted 11th overall by the Steelers in 2004 draft … As a rookie, became starter when injuries sidelined Tommy Maddox and Charlie Batch … Won first 14 starts, doubling the existing record for a rookie QB … Voted  NFL Rookie of the Year in 2004 when he led the Steelers to the AFC championship game … Quarterbacked Pittsburgh to a 21-10 win over Seattle in Super Bowl XL, threw a game-winning TD pass to Santonio Holmes with 35 seconds left to beat Arizona 27-23 in Super Bowl XLIII, and played in Super Bowl in 2011, a 31-25 loss to Green Bay.

 

Carlee Roethlisberger

Second-team all-Ohio in basketball as a sophomore, first-team as a junior and Ohio’s Division I Player of the Year as a senior at Findlay High when she led Trojans to their only state tournament appearance … FHS career scoring leader (1,625 points) … All-Ohio in basketball and volleyball, Roethlisberger elected to play basketball for Oklahoma … 4-year letterman and started as senior, playing in 139 games, the third most in Big 12 Conference history.

 

Chuck Rogers

Played baseball and basketball at the University of Michigan … Was member of Wolverines’ 1974 Big Ten 10 basketball title team and 1975 league champion baseball squad … Played three seasons with the Chicago Cubs AAA farm team in Wichita and five seasons in Mexican League … Pitched Findlay High to 1971 state championship and the 1972 American Legion baseball team to World Series … Currently resides in Findlay.

 

Sue Ann Sandusky

Won numerous national and international rifle shooting championships as a member of the U.S. International Shooting Team … Won 6 gold medals in world competition … In 1978, won 3 gold medals at the World Shooting Championships in Seoul, Korea … 3-time all-American rifle shooter at Texas Christian University in 1972, ’73 & ’74 … Served as a U.S. defense attache at American embassy in Liberia, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria. Her most recent assignment was as the director of African studies at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

 

Andy Schramm

Two-time all-Ohio and all-Buckeye Conference running back for Findlay High, rushing for 1,222 yards and 12 TDs in 1975 and 1,014 yards and 19 touchdowns in 1976 … United Press International all-Ohio second team pick as well … Played on Findlay High’s first OHSAA playoff team in 1975 … Also lettered in baseball at FHS … Four-year letterwinner at Michigan State, graduating in 1981.  Received an MBA from the University of LaVerne, Calif. in 1990 and is currently a project manager for Intel Corp. in Phoenix, Ariz.

 

Shane Shockey

Bluffton native … Won 2011-12 NCAA Division II indoor national championship in pole vault (17-3/4) for UF … holds UF indoor (17-3) and outdoor (16-10 3/4) pole vault records … GLIAC indoor champion (2010-11 & 2011-12), GLIAC outdoor champion (2010-11) … 2-time pole vault state champion at Bluffton in 2004 (14-8) and 2005 (14-9) and runner-up in 2006 … three-time state wrestling qualifier at Bluffton.

 

A.J. Siebeneck

Considered the premier soccer player to come out of Findlay’s youth, travel and high school programs … Holds most Findlay High offensive records, including goals in a season (46) and career (86) and assists in career (40) … All-league, all-district, all-state, all-Midwest and OHSAA Scholar Athlete as a senior … Four-year starter at Duke University, helping Blue Devils reach the NCAA Final Four as a junior and senior. Ranks 13th on school’s all-time list for career points … Graduate of Duke (1994) and Temple University of Podiatric Medicine (1998), currently a podiatrist in Latham, N.Y.

 

Dave Sorenson

1966 Ohio Associated Press Player of the Year in basketball at Findlay High … single-game high of 44 points and single-season high of 521 points … started every game at Ohio State, scoring 1,622 points, which is second among three-year players behind Jerry Lucas … All-Big Ten as junior and senior at OSU … Played with Cleveland Cavaliers from 1970-72 and with the Philadelphia 76ers.

 

Cheryl Stacy

As a senior golfer at Ohio State in 1985, was first-team All-American, first-team all Big Ten, winner of the Big Ten championship and Michigan State Invitational … Also in 1985, runner-up and co-medalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Women’s Western Amateur Championship medalist, winner of the Ohio Women’s Amateur Championship at the Findlay Country Club, and had the low amateur score at the LPGA Jamie Farr Classic … Qualified for LPGA Tour in 1991, participating in 22 events … In 1994, was ranked sixth on the all-time Futures Tour money list … Won four Futures Tour events … Currently in her fourth year as the head women’s coach at the University of Michigan.

 

Dick Strahm

25-year UF head football coach who guided Oilers to four NAIA national championships (1979, ’92, ’95, ’97) … Won four national coach of the year awards … 12-time NAIA District 22 coach of the year … Led UF to 12 NAIA playoff appearances with 19-7-1 record … Had career collegiate record of 183-64-5 … Coached 38 NAIA all-Americans and 16 NAIA all-American scholar athletes.

 

Bubba Taylor

Three-time NAIA national champion wrestler at UF … Won the 142-pound title in 1995 and 150-pound crown in 1996 & ’97 … Ninth on Roughnecks’ all-time win list, with a 86-16 record in three years after transferring from Ohio State … Won nine tournament championships while at UF, which is second on all-time list … Enshrined in the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2010 … Entering his 14th season as UF assistant.

 

Al Thomas

Four-year basketball letterman at Bowling Green State University, helping Falcons to Mid-American Conference title and NIT appearances in 1983 … BGSU team captain (1985) … Third-team Associated Press all-Ohio, played in the North-South All-Star game and first-team all-Buckeye Conference in basketball at Findlay High in 1981 … Helped FHS post three-year record of 60-10, make two regional appearances, win two Buckeye Conference titles and put together a 35-game home court winning streak … Three-year FHS baseball letterman as Trojans won back-to-back Buckeye Conference titles (1980-81) and had a regional appearance (1980) … American Legion batting champion and all-star pick (1980-82) … Played in 8 world and 9 national fastpitch softball tournaments and named third-team all-American (1993).

 

Derrick Vicars

Two-time NCAA Division II outdoor national champion for UF, winning discus in 2010 (173-1) and shot put in 2012 (62-8) … UF indoor record-holder in shot put (62-6) and weight throw (70 1/4) and outdoor record-holder in shot put (62-8) and discus (176-0) … 3-time Div. II All-American (2010 & ’12 indoors; 2010, outdoor) … Genoa grad … Named 2012 Midwest Field Athlete of the Year by U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association …  won GLIAC indoor and outdoor shot put titles as senior.

 

Steve Wenner

One of the most dominating inside players in Findlay High basketball history … Set school record with 27 rebounds against Scott May and Sandusky in 1970 … Career scoring average (21.2 ppg) believed to be a school record … Among all-time leaders in points in a career (9th, 849), season (13th, 432) and game (19th, 35) … 3-year starter at Ohio State and was one of the top rebounders in the Big Ten … Played professional ball in Europe … Owns Jack’s Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing.

 

Steve Williman

Has coached the Liberty-Benton boys basketball team for 26 seasons, leading Eagles to 1995 state Division III championship, 510 wins, 42 consecutive Blanchard Valley Conference victories (2005-2010), 22 sectional championships including 20 in a row (1991-2010), 9 district championships, 2 regional championships and 15 BVC titles.

 

Dave Wilson

All-Ohio quarterback after leading Findlay High to its first-ever 10-0 regular season and into the state playoffs in 1975 … Also all-Buckeye Conference in basketball and baseball as shortstop on 29-0 team … Led Ball State to two Mid-American Conference football titles, was two-time all-MAC pick and first sophomore to be named team’s MVP … Led the NCAA Division I in passing efficiency in 1977 … Currently serves as Detroit Lions team chaplain.

 

Jeff Wobser

Won the 50-meter freestyle state title in 1979 and the 50 and 100-free championships in 1980 at Findlay High … Holds FHS record for both events along with several Findlay YMCA age-group swimming records … Swam on a scholarship at the University of Tennessee for two years, before becoming an assistant coach … Currently head swimming coach at Findlay High.

 

Herk Wolfe

6-foot-7, 235-pound center who led the NAIA in scoring (30.5 ppg) in 1951-52 with 671 points and 704, respectively, at Findlay College … Holds school’s single-game marks of 61 points and 33 rebounds … Inducted into NAIA Helms Foundation Hall of Fame.

 

Joy Woolley

Female member of Findlay High’s boys hockey team in early 1980s … Played women’s hockey at Northeastern University and was member of two Northeastern national title teams … All-American soccer player at Findlay High, establishing school record for most goals and assists … Also played softball at FHS … Currently assists Findlay Area Hockey Association.

 

Bob Wortman

Became first person to officiate a Super Bowl and an NCAA basketball championship game in the same season in 1972 … Officiated two Super Bowl

4 Responses to "Sports: Findlay’s top sports figures"

Add Comment
  1. Robert Good

    July 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Jim “Spike’ Berry
    Pat Wagner

  2. Kathleen Emerson

    July 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I did not see any gymnasts on the list. I was wondering if you would consider any Findlay gymnasts for this list being that it is a sport that requires a great deal of athleticism.

  3. That guy

    July 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Ben is not from Findlay. He is from Cory-Rawson as he put it. A town that does not exist because you are from Mt Cory or Rawson. He didn’t even spell it right when he lied about it. We can take him off this list.

  4. John rivera

    July 20, 2012 at 12:48 am

    What about Jerry Blevins??

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