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:
Field Hockey/Basketball/Track & Field (1955-58)
Hometown - Port Hope, Mich.
One of MSU's pioneer female student-athletes
Founder of Women's Varsity Alumni Club
Endowed scholarship created in her memory to promote women's athletics
Comments from Cheryl Jenkins (longtime friend of Shirley Cook, who passed away in 1988):
"Shirley's blood ran green. She would have been very honored and excited, and probably pleasantly surprised, by her induction into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame. She was very humble and didn't give herself credit for her accomplishments; she just did them because she loved Michigan State. MSU meant a lot to her, and everything she did was for her love of the school. She was definitely proud of the things she started, but for her, it was always about Michigan State.
"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."
Track & Field (1972-75)
Three-time All-American and 11-time Big Ten champion
1973 NCAA outdoor champion in 220-yard dash
Won four-consecutive Big Ten titles in the outdoor 220-yard dash and two straight in the outdoor 100-yard dash
Won three-straight Big Ten titles in the indoor 300-yard dash Set world record in 300-yard dash
Comments from Marshall Dill:
"I was shocked and surprised to learn of my selection to the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. Last year during a track alumni meeting, Herb Washington talked about how he felt I had been overlooked in the Hall of Fame selection process. You have to understand that Herb and I were fierce competitors in 1972, but we had come to form an invisible bond. I really was surprised to hear Herb talk about me in that manner. Now a year later, I'm headed to the Hall of Fame. I was overcome with tears of joy when I received the selection letter from (MSU Athletics Director) Ron Mason.
"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."
Hometown - Saginaw, Michigan
First Spartan to receive All-America honors in consecutive years (1951-52)
Named to All-Western first team in 1952
Captain of the 1953 Big Ten and 1954 Rose Bowl Championship team
Ranks among MSU's all-time and season leaders in punt return yards
Comments from Jim Ellis:
"I would say this is one of the best feelings in my entire life. From the first day I stepped on campus, I always loved Michigan State. When the Hall of Fame first came about, I dreamed of being inducted. A lot of my friends said I should have been in the first class, but I'm just glad to make it. It really is a dream come true.
"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."
Cross Country/Track & Field (1936-40)
Captain of 1939 cross country NCAA Championship team, the first NCAA title won by a Spartan team
Earned six varsity letters and became a four-time All-American (two-time cross country and two-time track)
Member of IC4A Championship team in 1937
Won freshman IC4A title in 1936
Comments from Barbara Frey (daughter of Richard Frey, who passed away in 2001):
"My father would be extremely honored for this recognition. He cared about Michigan State as much as he cared for anything in the world. He absolutely loved MSU and was proud of what he accomplished. He was an ambassador for the school - he worked for the alumni office when he was a student and continued to be involved in the alumni club in Western New York. He imparted his passion of Michigan State into me and my family, as three generations went to MSU. He influenced many students, including athletes, in the Buffalo area to attend Michigan State. He listened to Spartan football games on WJR during my childhood and attended games as late as 1995. When my mother (Alma) heard the news, tears came to her eyes. She's very excited and will be one of many family members at the game. For him to be included in the hall of fame among the select few athletes in the history of Michigan State Athletics is such an honor."
Led the Spartans in rushing for three-straight seasons from 1946-48
Averaged 6.75 yards per carry, the best career rushing average in school history
Recorded six career 100-yard rushing games, including a single-game best 180 yards against Marquette in 1946
1946 team MVP
Comments from George Guerre:
"What a tremendous honor to be included in the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame. When I got the call from Ron Mason, I was completely surprised, and even had to catch my breath. I've been around a long time and have served MSU for many years, so I'm very appreciative and grateful for this honor.
"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
Named to UPI's Backfield of the Week three times during the 1959 season
1958 baseball team MVP and first-team All-Big Ten selection led the Spartans in runs, RBI, total bases, stolen bases, doubles and home runs
Spent 29 years as an official in the NFL
Comments from Dean Look:
"I'm thrilled and honored to be included in the Spartan Hall of Fame. To follow so many great people already in the Hall of Fame, to be associated with that group, is truly a wonderful feeling.
"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."
Wrestling Coach (1963-86)
Ponca City, Okla.
First Big Ten coach to win seven consecutive conference titles (1966-72)
MSU won 1967 National Championship and placed in top five nationally on six occasions
During his tenure, Spartan wrestlers earned 10 NCAA titles, 40 Big Ten titles and All-America honors 54 times
1987 U.S. Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee
Comments from Grady Peninger:
"Well, I'm in a few halls of fame, but this is very meaningful. It really means so much because of the great kids I got to work with through the years. You know, they say if you recruit enough good kids it makes you a good coach, and I was lucky to have so many good young men wrestle at MSU. You work hard all of your life, and then something like this comes along, and it really makes you appreciate it that much more. I can't tell you how proud and thankful I am of this honor.
"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."
Football Coach (1983-94)
Allen Park, Mich.
Guided the Spartans to two Big Ten titles (1987 and 1990) and seven bowl appearances in his 12 seasons
Three of his teams finished among the nation's Top 25, including the 1987 Big Ten championship team that ranked No. 8 in the final polls
Tutored nine first-team All-Americans and three first-team Academic All-Americans
Spent 10 years as an assistant coach with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers, winning four Super Bowl championships (1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979)
Comments from George Perles:
"Being inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame was super. Being elected into the Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame was super, but in terms of recognition, this honor is the most meaningful thing to happen to me. It chokes me up to think about being inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. It's truly something special. In terms of professional acknowledgement, this is everything I could ever have hoped for in life.
"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
Second college player to reach 300-point mark
1975 and 1976 All-American
NCAA record-holder with 72 career power-play goals
Comments from Tom Ross:
"It is certainly a great honor to be selected to join so many wonderful athletes in the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame. As I reflect on this honor, I can only think about all of the support I received from my teammates, coaches and family that made everything possible. Hockey is a team sport and I was very fortunate to play with many dedicated, talented and skilled teammates, so I thank them for their camaraderie, friendship and support over the years. Coach (Amo) Bessone was like a father figure, and he afforded me every opportunity to succeed on the ice as well as off the ice. The example he set for us was nothing short of top notch. I especially want to thank my parents and family for their support, as none of this would have been possible without their nurturing and guidance.
"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
1986 Big Ten MVP
1983 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and two-time All-Big Ten selection
Became second Spartan to score more than 2,000 career points
Comments from Scott Skiles:
"I felt so proud when I received the call from (MSU Athletics Director) Ron Mason. The phone call really caught me off guard because I was sitting at my desk in the middle of an interview. It was kind of awkward taking a call like that during an interview, but it was exciting. As soon as I completed the interview, I began clearing my schedule, so I can be a part of the Hall of Fame weekend events.
"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
Byron Center, Mich.
First female team sport athlete at MSU to earn First-Team All-America honors twice (1995 and 1996)
Led nation with .449 hitting percentage in 1996
First Spartan volleyball player to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors three times
1996 third-team Academic All-American
Comments from Valerie Sterk Kemper:
"This is quite an honor to be recognized with some of the top athletes in Michigan State history. To be mentioned in that same category is amazing. I've always cherished the memories of playing at Michigan State - it was a great experience and I'll always be a Spartan.
"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."