Hillman High School to create sports Hall of Fame

HILLMAN-Youth athletics is a big deal in Northeast Michigan and successful athletes and teams are often spoken of in reverent tones for generations.

Sadly, the sands of time also have a way of eroding those memories.

Several people in Hillman have had enough of watching its sports history fade and are creating a Hillman High School Sports Hall of Fame.

“I was noticing that other schools had this sort of thing and that Hillman didn’t,” Hall of Fame committee member Wendell Orm said. “Why not give athletes that exposure and honor? I think its good for morale.”

Orm formed a committee made up of several members of Hillman’s sporting community. These members include: boys varsity basketball coach Eric Muszynski; girls JV basketball coach Simone Clink; boys JV basketball coach Harold Smith; former Hillman resident Bruce Connon; Hillman resident Jan Matthias; and Hillman graduate and sports official Nathan Funk.

“What we’re trying to establish is something that would honor the rich tradition of Hillman athletics in a variety of sports,” Muszynski said. “We want to spotlight some of the great teams and athletes that we’ve had.”

Hillman’s athletic director will also be involved in the committee, including interim director Scott Cordes and later permanent ADs.

The Hall of Fame will be in the Hillman High hallway that connects the cafeteria with the gym and will consist of photo plaques with detailed inscriptions. Each inductee will receive a copy of their plaque.

The committee will meet in January of each year to brainstorm nomination ideas and is open to suggestion from members of the community.

Nominees must provide documentation that proves they meet Hall of Fame criteria. They must be Hillman graduates that received two varsity letters and who graduated at least 10 years before nomination.

Successful nominees must stand out from their peers in a meaningful way, such as being named to an All-State team or being a member of a state championship team. Athletes that have set school or state records or reached notable career high points may also be nominated.

Nominees must receive a majority vote to earn Hall of Fame honors. No more than five candidates will be honored each year.

Nominees not voted in will be voted on during the next two voting sessions. Those that don’t make it in three voting sessions are placed on a two-year “Active” list and then on a three-year “Inactive” list.

The first ceremony will be held on September 27 while future ceremonies will be held during Hillman’s spring award ceremony.

“We’re going to do it (on September 27th) because we have a big reunion in town. The school will be opened up for a tour then,” Orm said. “Nominees may come from a distance and if they’re going to be here for the reunion, we might as well induct them then.”

Early inductees may be athletes from older generations, to help make sure they aren’t overshadowed by recent graduates.

Potential nominees include: Hillman’s 1956 North Star League championship football team; Bev Cordes’ highly successful girls basketball teams from the 70’s and the state championship baseball teams of the 90’s.

Other potential members include boosters who positively impacted Hillman sports.

“Gordy Fiefer is somebody we’ve been considering. He didn’t really play sports, but he was an announcer and a coach who did a lot for Hillman athletics,” Muszynski said. “There are a lot of athletes that have gone through here and I think that Wendell just wants to see them get the honor they deserve.”

The Hall of Fame committee is currently soliciting suggestions from Hillman residents. Those interested can find a printable application at the Hillman High School website, its Facebook page or at the high school office.

They can also contact Muszynski at eamuszy@hillmanschools.com or at 255-1374.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at ebenac@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.