MSU Athletics Announces 2007 Hall of Fame Class
July 28, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State University will induct 11 members into its Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 8 prior to the Spartans' home football game against Bowling Green. The Class of 2007 includes: Richard Frey (cross country/track & field) from the Pioneer Era; Shirley Cook (basketball/field hockey/track & field), Jim Ellis (football), George Guerre (football) and Dean Look (football/baseball) from the Early Era; Marshall Dill (track & field), Tom Ross (hockey), Scott Skiles (basketball) and Val Sterk Kemper (volleyball) from the Contemporary Era; and Grady Peninger (wrestling) and George Perles (football) from the former coach/administrator category.
The ceremony will take place at the Kellogg Center on the MSU campus, with a reception scheduled for 8:30 a.m.; followed by a brunch at 9 a.m. and the induction ceremony at 9:45 a.m. Tickets for the Hall of Fame brunch and induction ceremony are priced at $55 each. For ticket reservations, contact MSU Associate Athletics Director Karen Langeland: (517) 355-6564 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, the Class of 2007 will be introduced during the MSU-Bowling Green football game in Spartan Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.
The MSU Athletics Hall of Fame, located in the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, opened on Oct. 1, 1999, and displays key moments in Spartan athletics history as well as plaques of the 92 inductees. The charter class of 30 former Spartan student-athletes, coaches and administrators was inducted in 1992.
Here are bullet-point sketches for MSU's Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2007:
One of MSU's pioneer female student-athletes
Comments from Cheryl Jenkins (longtime friend of Shirley Cook, who passed away in 1988):
"Shirley loved women's sports and thought women could do a lot more than what they were already involved in at the time. She was independent and knew women could do anything they wanted if they put their mind to it."
Three-time All-American and 11-time Big Ten champion
Comments from Marshall Dill:
"Herb Washington and I had a friendship off the track, but we were mortal combatants on the track. He was a senior when I was a freshman, and he was the world-record holder in the 60-yard dash. We really pushed each other to be the best. I wanted to beat Herb in the 60-yard dash in the worst way, but I never did. In fact, I never even came close to beating him.
"I really enjoyed the competition. As track athletes from the Midwest, the teams from Texas and California perceived us as indoor runners only. As a result, my personal career highlight has to be winning the 220-yard sprint at the 1973 NCAA Championships in Baton Rouge.
"The track team really looked forward to competing against Michigan. In those days, MSU didn't win many football or basketball games against the Wolverines, so we got geared up to beat them on the track. That's why winning the Big Ten indoor and outdoor championships in 1972 is so special. That 1972 team also finished second in the NCAA Indoor Championships in Detroit, one point behind USC. That was a remarkable track team, with great runners like Herb Washington, Ken Popejoy and Al Henderson.
"I really enjoyed the camaraderie at Michigan State, not only with all of the other student-athletes but with the entire student body. I was proud to wear the Green and White every time I stepped on the track, so I could represent the entire Michigan State community. I came to campus as a young, wild kid from Detroit. I lacked a lot of things, but here I found all the support and mentorship that I needed to grow and mature."
First Spartan to receive All-America honors in consecutive years (1951-52)
Comments from Jim Ellis:
"My favorite thing to do was running back kicks. That was probably how I got my reputation. I guess that's what I looked forward to the most.
"The best feeling I had in my career was winning the Rose Bowl in my last game. It was the biggest trip the team made, all the way to California, and with the prestige of the game and winning like we did, it was a special moment. One of my good friends, Ellis Duckett, blocked a punt in that game and ran it back for a touchdown, a play I'll never forget.
"Those teams were so special - we only lost one game my whole time there. Everyone on the team got along quite well. Some of my closest teammates were Ellis Duckett, Don McAuliffe and Leroy Bolden.
"Biggie (Munn) was such a great coach. He would do anything for you. The thing I remember most about him was that he was an outstanding person. Next to my father, he was the most important person in my life, and I considered him a friend."
Captain of 1939 cross country NCAA Championship team, the first NCAA title won by a Spartan team
Comments from Barbara Frey (daughter of Richard Frey, who passed away in 2001):
Led the Spartans in rushing for three-straight seasons from 1946-48
Comments from George Guerre:
"The thing I cherish most about Michigan State are all the teammates and people I met over the years. Those friendships have lasted a lifetime. I still get together with a number of teammates from those days, including Lynn Chandnois and Sonny Grandelius. We all got to play for a great coach in Biggie Munn. It was an honor to play for him - he was an outstanding coach and an outstanding person. Every one of his players respected him and what he accomplished."
1959 football All-American
Comments from Dean Look:
"I was raised in Lansing and have been a Spartan fan since the Biggie Munn days. I've been associated with Michigan State since I was 14 - I started out as a busboy at the union. After work I would go to Jenison and shoot hoops. To be able to go on and attend Michigan State and play for tremendous coaches in Duffy Daugherty and John Kobs was an honor.
"The thing I'm proudest about is that our teams never lost to Michigan or Notre Dame during my career. We did tie Michigan my junior year, but that game had one of my most memorable moments, which was running back a touchdown on a punt for 92 yards. Emil Matsos provided the key block, and we still get together and talk about our days at Michigan State. One of the other top moments was beating Michigan my senior year in the Big House. That was extremely enjoyable.
"I also had a lot of fun playing baseball for Coach John Kobs. Kobs was a great coach and we had some excellent teams. A couple of guys went on to the major leagues (Ron Perranowski and Dick Radatz). Another great reason to play baseball was to get out of spring football practice (laughs). Spring football was all conditioning and getting hit for 20 days, so I would much rather play baseball. The two sports had entirely different atmospheres, but it was a great balance. I think playing baseball in the spring really helped me with football in the fall."
First Big Ten coach to win seven consecutive conference titles (1966-72)
Comments from Grady Peninger:
"We had some great moments at MSU, but it was toughest to win nationals. To beat all of those quality teams at one event was truly a special feeling. But probably the best feeling was when we beat Michigan in the final dual at home in 1968. We had to win the last match to win the dual, and Jeff Smith pinned former NCAA champion Dave Porter to give us the win (17-14). It was the first time we had beat Michigan since 1961. I couldn't believe it when it happened."
After the victory over Michigan, Peninger told the Lansing State Journal: "This was better than winning the NCAA championship. It's been a long drought since we beat them the last time."
Guided the Spartans to two Big Ten titles (1987 and 1990) and seven bowl appearances in his 12 seasons
Comments from George Perles:
"Toughness: that's why the 1987 team became Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions. Don't get me wrong, the 1987 team had some ability, but I coached several more talented teams. Toughness was the trademark of the '87 team. Before games, I used to tell the team to forget about the X's and O's and to forget about winning or losing. I told the players to concentrate on knocking their opponent's block off. I could accept any outcome as long as they were willing to leave everything out on the field. If they played with that toughness, I'd greet them in the locker room with a hug, regardless of the outcome.
"I don't miss the games, but I miss chasing the players around and teaching them life lessons. Those teaching moments came when you had to make them do things that they didn't want to do. At last year's Homecoming game, I received one of the greatest compliments I've ever heard when Andre Rison hugged me and told me that he loved me. Now as a student-athlete, Andre was a challenge-and-a-half, but you know what, he's matured and grown up. Life is tough, but there is so much a student-athlete can learn on the field and in the classroom. If you take those lessons and apply it to life, you'll survive the tough times.
"Duffy Daugherty was like a father to me. He was my coaching mentor, but he meant so much more to me. Duffy had a hand in every job I ever got - at the high school and collegiate levels as well as the pros. He changed my life when he got me a job as an assistant under Chuck Noll with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Noll became my teacher, and he taught me everything I needed to know as a defensive coach. I was at the right place at the right time, winning four Super Bowl championships with the Steelers. I also was fortunate to work for the best owner in professional sports, in Art Rooney.
"I was fortunate throughout my coaching career and Duffy's responsible for that because he's the one that always got my foot in the door. That's why Sally and I made a financial commitment to the new plaza, outside the Duffy Daugherty Football Building. The plaza is the best way for me to remain closely connected to Duffy."
Holds MSU career records with 324 points, 138 goals and 186 assists
Comments from Tom Ross:
"It was always an honor to wear the Green and White Spartan hockey jersey and represent this great University, its alumni and fans. As I get older, I reflect back on my years at MSU and I take great pride in all of the team and individual accomplishments. I also think that my time at MSU went by way too fast, but for me, I have continued to play hockey at various levels and along the way, I meet so many people associated with MSU hockey. In that way, my time to some degree has been extended. I will always feed proud to have played for Coach Bessone and the Spartans. I have met so many great people associated with the University and its hockey program."
Led Big Ten in scoring in 1985-86 to earn All-America honors
Comments from Scott Skiles:
"My fondest memories come from my senior year (1985-86) because I had my best individual season and the team enjoyed success. It was a great way to cap off my career. I came from a small town (Plymouth) in Indiana, and many people didn't think I could play at the Division I level. I felt like I had a lot to prove. I wound up starting all four years at Michigan State, and I was fortunate to play with a great group of guys. After Magic (Johnson) left, Michigan State was down for a few years, but we were able to put the basketball program back on the national map.
"I was fortunate to play for a great coach, in Jud Heathcote. He played a major role in my individual development because he was so good working with perimeter players. Jud sent a bunch of guards to the NBA. He understood what it took for a guard to be successful, and he really helped me improve my shot. I also appreciate everything Jud put into helping me through my off-the-court issues.
"I took a lot of what I learned from Jud into the NBA. He knew how to push players hard while using his sense of humor. I think he got players to reach their full potential because his humor broke the monotony of practice."
Valerie Sterk Kemper
First female team sport athlete at MSU to earn First-Team All-America honors twice (1995 and 1996)
Comments from Valerie Sterk Kemper:
"Even through all of the memories, the one that stands out for me is when our team beat Hawaii on its home floor in the regional finals to advance to the Final Four (1995). Hawaii was undefeated and ranked No. 2, and we were definitely a huge underdog. With the time difference, the match was televised late back in East Lansing, and we lost the first two games. A lot of people told me they turned off their TV after that point. But we came back to win in front over their home crowd, more than 10,000 people. What a great feeling. That whole year was really special. It was so exciting to be a part of the program's turnaround. We went from finishing last in the Big Ten my freshman year to winning the conference and going to the Final Four two years later.
"I want to thank my coach, Chuck Erbe, for molding me into the player I became. He believed in me and encouraged me my entire career. I give him a ton of credit and owe a lot of the success I had to him. He had a vision for the team and helped Michigan State become one of the top volleyball programs in the country."