Groleau and King enter U.P. Sports Hall of Fame
MANISTIQUE – Talked about often in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame was established in March of 1972 to honor the athletic activities of Upper Peninsula men and women. The main criterion for a nominee to be considered is they must be a native of the U.P. or a person who has accomplished his or her feats while residing in the U.P.
Ten new inductees were honored at the Island Resort and Casino on Saturday night. Among those recognized were Pat Groleau from Nahma and former Manistique resident Bob King.
Ranked ninth all-time in the Upper Peninsula with 1,926 points in his 4-year career with the Nahma Arrows was Pat Groleau. At the time, he held the U.P. single-season scoring mark of 508 points, most field goals in a season (206), well before the three-point shot (206), and highest season average (32.6). Groleau became a standout at Lake Superior State College. He earned a total of 11 varsity letters at Nahma. He also earned three track letters at LSSC.
King, a 1958 graduate of Manistique High School, currently resides in California and coaches at Fair Oaks Del Campo High School. He has coached track and cross country in the Mira Loma and Del Compo High Schools for the last 45 years. King was inducted into the Sac Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2011.
Hundreds of individuals have been inducted over the years, with Groleau and King joining the following from the Manistique and Garden area:
-Dick Bonifas, who coached Manistique High School football teams to five league titles, two undefeated seasons and the U.P. and state championships in 1959, was inducted in 1990.
-Lynn Chandnois of Fayette was selected in 2007. He played for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers from 1950-56 and scored 16 touchdowns. He had two kickoff returns for touchdowns in 1952, when he was selected the NFL’s Player of the Year. He earned all-state honors at Flint Central High School in football and basketball and was a four-year football standout for the Spartans.
-Rollie Dotsch of Garden, a member of Michigan State University’s 1962 national champion grid team and long time coach, was included in 1981.
-Harvey Ekdahl was installed in 1995. He earned 12 varsity letters at Manistique High School and was an all-state gridder in 1931 and 1932. He was also a standout as a catcher and outfielder in semi-pro baseball and softball in the U.P.
Manistique native John L. Gaffney had a 12-year career as Houghton High School’s boys’ basketball coach. It was highlighted by a Class C state championship in 1954-55 as the Gremlins were in the midst of a 42-game winning streak. He was recognized in 2004.
-Installed in 1980, John W. Kelly of Manistique was an outstanding athletic official in four sports in high school and college. His officiating career in the U.P. began in 1929 and spanned four decades.
-Bob McNamara was included in the U.P. Hall of Fame in 1999. He was an all-state football player and U.P. Back of the Year, and an all U.P. basketball player who played football for two years at Central Michigan, earning all state honors in 1956. He also officiated more than 1,000 football and basketball games on the prep and collegiate level.
-Harry Potter was a four-sport letterman at Manistique High School and earned 11 varsity letters at Western Normal (now Western Michigan University) in football, basketball and baseball. He went on to coach baseball for 30 years at Muskegon High School and 10 years as football coach. He was officially accepted in 1995.
-Ray “Dude” Ranguette of Nahma was nominated in 1987. He earned 10 varsity letters at NMU and is said to have officiated more U.P. high school basketball and football games than anyone in history. An official for 35 years, he is a member of Northern’s Sports Hall of Fame.
-An all-state football player nicknamed the “Manistique Missile”, Ron Rubick scored 184 points in his 1959 season. A running back at Michigan State for two years, he played defensive back in the 1963 North-South All-Star game and was a successful high school coach. He was installed in 1978.
-Norman Slough was inducted in 1986. He won 10 varsity letters at both Manistique High School and NMU. He had a 75 percent winning basketball coaching record at Rapid River High, was a founder of the Central U.P. Athletic League and was a high school and college official for 42 years.
-The final inductee is Warren “Whitey” Wilson who was honored in 2002. A three-sport letterman at Northern Michigan University, Wilson spent 37 years coaching four sports at Calumet, Marquette and Frankenmuth. At Manistique he set a single-season basketball scoring record with 410 points as the Emeralds went 19-1 in 1952-53.