One of the most memorable events in Spartan athletic history unfolded at Kellogg Center on Sept. 11 when the first Athletics Hall of Fame class was inducted.
Most of the 500 attendees of the black-tie banquet stayed until 1 a.m. to commemorate Spartan greats spanning the modern history of MSU athletics. They included presidents, athletic directors, coaches, multiple national champions and Olympic champions. Each brought their unique experiences at Michigan State and made the evening a torrential flow of shared Green and White memories.
Terry Braverman, director of the Ralph Young Fund and a master of ceremonies extraordinaire, might have paraphrased John F. Kennedy and said, "Never has such a collection of extraordinary Spartans been gathered in one room, with the possible exception of when John Hannah dined alone."
In this case, however, Hannah, MSU's greatest president and the one person most responsible for MSU's modern growth to national prominence in both athletics and academics, was a member of the charter class. Two current superstars, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Charles "Bubba" Smith, could not make it, but 20 of the 30 inductees made it in person--including octagenarian Fred Alderman, who weathered the trip from Atlanta. The others were represented by their families.
One participant, former football coach Dan Devine, passed up a reunion at Notre Dame to present Bob Carey. Gene Washington brought his entire family entourage from Minneapolis. Earl Morrall, an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, took time off from his Congressional campaign in Florida to attend.
"This . . . allows us to transmit the greatness of yesterday into the greatness of today," said athletics director Merrily Baker, who had a unique opportunity to absorb much of the Spartan legacy in one sitting.
The following capsules of charter members were compiled by Mark Rich of Spartan magazine, the new tabloid covering MSU sports:
FRED ALDERMAN (Track) -- A three-time letterwinner in track from 1925 through 1927, Alderman was team captain in 1927. He won the national collegiate championships in the 100 and 200 yard events in 1927.
Alderman was Michigan State's first athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. He was on the 1928 USA's 1,600-meter relay team at Amsterdam and set a world record time of 3:14.1.
GLORIA BECKSFORD (Softball) -- A pitcher in 1975 and 1976, Becksford led the Spartans to the national championship by winning all five games at the 1976 AIAW Softball College World Series. She threw three straight shutouts, struck out 25 batters and allowed just five runs.
Her 1975 squad finished third at the College world Series. Since 1980, she has served as MSU's head softball coach. She was Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1986.
AMO BESSONE (Hockey) -- "Mr. Hockey" was MSU's head hockey coach for 28 seasons (1951-1979). Bessone boasts the most wins (367) in MSU history and his 387 career wins rank him 15th on the NCAA all-time coaching chart.
Bessone led MSU to its first national hockey championship in 1966, with a 6-1 victory over Clarkson in the title game. He was named National Coach of the Year by the National Collegiate Hockey coaches' Association that year. His teams reached the Final Four three times and won four Big Ten Championships. Bessone has also been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
JACK BRESLIN (Football, Baseball, Basketball) -- Known as "Mr. MSU," Breslin was a two-time letterwinner in football, baseball and basketball. He received the Governor's Award as football MVP in 1944, and captained the football and baseball teams in 1945.
After his athletic career, Breslin served Michigan State in administrative capacities for over 30 years. In 1984, he won the Duffy Daugherty Award for having distinguished himself on and off the field. The Jack Breslin Student Events Center, home of MSU basketball, was named in his honor in 1989.
BOB CAREY (Football, Basketball, Track) -- Carey won three letters in football (1949-51), basketball (1950-52) and track (1950-52).
He was a consensus All-America end and captained the 1951 football team to a 9-0 record and a No. 2 national ranking. Carey made the all-time MSU football team in 1969. He shares the all-time MSU record for touchdown receptions in a season with eight. In 1952, Carey won MSU's prestigious Chester L. Brewer Award. Carey was a three-year starter at center in basketball, as well as an All-America and Big Ten champion in the shot put in 1951.
After graduation, Carey played six seasons in the NFL and was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1990. Biggie Munn described him as "the greatest all-around athlete I've ever seen or hope to see."
LYNN CHANDNOIS (Football) -- Chandnois won four letters in football (1946-49) and was a consensus All-America halfback in 1949. His 7.48 yards per carry in 1948 remains an all-time MSU record. He also holds the MSU record for most career pass interceptions with 20.
MVP in 1948 and Michigan's outstanding Amateur Athlete of the Year in 1950, Chandnois played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1950-56 and made the NFL All-Pro squad three times. In 1952 he was named the "NFL Player of the Year" by the Washington Touchdown Club.
Chandnois made the all-time MSU football team in 1969 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
DON COLEMAN (Football) -- A three-year starter at tackle (1949-51), Coleman was the first Spartan named unanimous All-American in 1951. He won the Governor's Award as MSU's MVP as a senior.
Coleman recorded the tackle on every MSU punt and kickoff in the 1951 game against Penn State He was named outstanding lineman in the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl in 1952. In 1969 he made MSU's all-time football team and was named best interior lineman in MSU history. His jersey (78) was the first one retired by MSU. Coleman was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
DUFFY DAUGHERTY (Football Coach) -- The all-time winningest football coach in MSU history (109-60-5 from 1954-72), Daugherty was the first man ever named Coach of the Year twice by the Football Writers of America (1956 and 1965).
His 1965 squad went 10-1, losing only to UCLA in the Rose Bowl, and was named national champions in the final UPI poll. Two other Daugherty teams, in 1956 and 1966, finished No. 2 in the nation. Seven others finished in the national Top 10. In 19 seasons, Daugherty's teams won the Big Ten outright two times and finished second four times.
The Duffy Daugherty Football Building was named in his honor. Daugherty has also been inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame (1975) and the College Football Hall of Fame (1984).
CHUCK DAVEY (Boxing) -- A four-year letterwinner in boxing (1943, 1947-49), Davey was the NCAA's only four-time boxing champion. Voted the outstanding NCAA boxer three times, he was undefeated in all of his collegiate bouts. Davey captained the boxing squad for three years (1947-49) after he won his first NCAA title at age 17, the youngest champion ever at the time.
Davey was a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic boxing team. He was elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1980. He has served as vice- president of the World Boxing Association and as Michigan's boxing commissioner.
LYMAN FRIMODIG (Baseball, Besketball, Football) -- The only 10-time letterwinner in MSU history, "Frim" earned four monograms in both basketball and baseball, plus two in football. He captained the basketball squad in 1915-16, and his MSU single-game scoring record of 30 points stood for 35 years.
As basketball coach Frimodig compiled a 24-20 record from 1921-22. As assistant athletic director, he was the business manager for 41 years. Frimodig co- authored Spartan Saga: A History of Michigan State Athletics, and served four terms as mayor of East Lansing.
JOHNNY GREEN (Basketball) -- A three-time letterwinner in basketball (1957-59), Green earned first-team All-America honors as a center in 1959, averaging 18.5 points and 16.6 rebounds per game. Green made third-team All- America in 1957 and 1958, and first team all-Big Ten three times (1957-59).
Green was named the Big Ten MVP in 1959 as well as MSU's MVP in 1958 and 1959. He ranks second among Spartans in career rebounds with 1,036 and 20th in scoring with 1,062 career points.
JOHN HANNAH (University President) -- Hannah served as MSU president from 1941-69, during which enrollment increased from 6,000 students to 40,000. During his tenure, he spearheaded MSU's entry into the Big Ten Conference. He hired Biggie Munn as head football coach in 1947 and enlarged Spartan Stadium to its current size.
Football jersey No. 46 was retired in 1969 to commemorate his 46 years of service at MSU. Hannah was the first chairperson of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1957-1969 and, among countless other honors, he was awarded the USA Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.
EARVIN "MAGIC" JOHNSON (Basketball) -- Johnson was a two-time letterwinner in basketball from 1977-79. As a sophomore, he led MSU to its only NCAA basketball championship, completed with a 75-64 victory over Indiana State in the finals. Johnson was 1979 MVP and a consensus first-team All-American for the 1978-79 season, and first-team All-Big Ten both years. At MSU he notched eight "triple-doubles" (double figures in points, rebounds and assists).
Johnson holds the top two single-season assist totals at MSU (269 in 1978- 79 and 222 in 1977-78), and is third on the career assists list. Johnson became just the seventh basketball player to win an NCAA title, an NBA title and an Olympic gold medal when he led the U.S. "Dream Team" to victory in Barcelona this summer. He led the Los Angeles Laker to five NBA Championships, earning playoff MVP honors in 1980, 1982 and 1987. Johnson became the all-time leader in assists in the NBA in 1991, passing Oscar Robertson, and he retired with 9,921 assists. He was named the league's MVP three times (1987, 1989, 1990) and earned All-NBA first-team honors for nine consecutive years (1982-1991).
CRAWFORD "FORDDY" KENNEDY (Cross Country and Track & Field) -- Kennedy was a six-time letterwinner in cross country and track and field (1957- 59). He captained both the cross country and track teams in 1959. Kennedy was named All-American in cross country for three straight seasons (1957-59), and he led MSU to the 1958 and 1959 NCAA cross country championships.
Kennedy was the Big Ten cross country and two-mile champion in 1959, and won three straight IC4A titles from 1957-59. In 1959 he won MSU's coveted Chester L. Brewer Award.
HENRY KENNEDY (Cross Country and Track & Field) -- Forddy's brother, Henry won six letters in cross country (1955-57) and track (1956-58). Kennedy became MSU's first Big Ten individual cross country champion in 1955. He captured IC4A titles in 1955 and 1956, and captained the 1957 cross country squad.
Kennedy led MSU to the Big Ten cross country title in 1955 and 1956. He also won the NCAA 3,000-meter steeplechase and a two-mile Big Ten championship.
BONNIE LAUER (Golf) -- In 1973, Lauer won the first national women's collegiate golf championship (AIAW). She was named All-America that year. In 1970 and 1972 she won the Michigan amateur championship. Lauer was the first female athlete to be voted Spartan of the Week by the State News.
Lauer joined the LPGA tour in 1976 and was named Rookie of the Year. She was LPGA President in 1988. Lauer has been inducted into the National Collegiate Golf Hall of Fame.
JANE MANCHESTER-MEYERS (Diving) -- An All-America diver in 1973, 1974 and 1976, Manchester-Meyers was the AIAW national champion on the three-meter board in 1973 and 1974 and on the one-meter board in 1974. Manchester-Meyers was the Big Ten one-meter diving champion in 1973 and 1974.
She led MSU to the Big Ten title in 1973 and 1974 and to the Midwest AIAW title in 1974. She participated in the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1976 in the three-meter diving competition.
GALE MIKLES (Wrestling) -- A four-time letterwinner in wrestling (1945- 48), Mikles won the NCAA 155-pound championship as a junior in 1947. He placed second in the competition as a senior. Throughout his collegiate wrestling career, he only lost one match.
As a freshman Mikles won the National AAU 145-pound championship. He captained the 1948 MSU wrestling squad. An assistant wrestling coach at MSU from 1951-60, Mikles was described by legendary MSU coach Fendley Collins as having "the speed of a sprinter, the agility and suppleness of a dancer, and the athletic poise of a champion."
EARL MORRALL (Football and Baseball) -- A three-year letterwinner in football (1953-55) and baseball (1954-56), Morrall finished fourth in the 1955 Heisman Trophy balloting after completing 42 of 68 passes for 941 yards and five touchdowns and leading MSU in a 17-14 Rose Bowl win over the UCLA Bruins to cap a 9-1 season.
Morrall was first-team All-America and All-Big Ten that year. In 1969 he was named to the all-time MSU football team as the "supreme back" in Spartan history. The NFL's MVP in 1968, Morrall quarterbacked two Super Bowl Championship teams: the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V and the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII. He was inducted into Michigan's Sports Hall of Fame in 1979.
CLARENCE "BIGGIE" MUNN (Football Coach and Athletic Director) -- The most successful Spartan football coach ever with a winning percentage of .857 over seven years, Munn was named college football's Coach of the Year for the 1952 season, when MSU went 9-0 to claim the national championship. In 1953, the Spartans tied for the Big Ten title in their first campaign in the conference. Munn produced 17 All-Americans and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1959.
Munn was athletic director for 18 years (1953-1971) and in 1961 became MSU's first inductee into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. MSU's Munn Ice Arena is named after him.
CARLTON RINTZ (Gymnastics) -- A four-time letterwinner in gymnastics from 1952-55, Rintz won nine Big Ten individual championships and a quartet of NCAA titles.
His Big Ten run started with the rings, horizontal bar and pommel horse titles in 1953. In 1954, Rintz captured the rings, horizontal bar, and all-around titles in the Big Ten, and he finished up his career with titles in the rings, pommel horse, and all-around competitions in 1955.
Rintz won the NCAA pommel horse crown in 1954, and claimed national titles in the parallel bars, horizontal bars, and the pommel horse in 1955.
ROBIN ROBERTS (Baseball and Basketball) -- Roberts won three letters in basketball (1945-47) and two in baseball (1946-47).
In 1947 Roberts started 17 of MSU's 24 baseball games, posting a 5-4 record with a 2.88 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 90 2/3 innings. He was named to the 100th Anniversary College All-Star team in 1959 by Collegiate Baseball. In 1946 he was named Michigan's most outstanding basketball player.
In major league baseball he won 20 or more games for six consecutive seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 19 seasons, he recorded 286 wins. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976 and received the Varsity Alumni "S" Club's Jack Breslin Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988.
ERNESTINE RUSSELL-WEAVER (Gymnastics) -- Russell-Weaver won the national AAU title in 1955 became the first female gymnast to represent her native Canada in the Olympic Games.
An Olympian in 1956 and 1960, Russell-Weaver won nine Canadian Championships and three American Championships over her career. In the 1959 Pan American Games, she won five gold medals, including the all-around title.
CLARKE SCHOLES (Swimming) -- A three-year letterwinner (1950-52), Clarke Scholes was the NCAA and Big Ten champion in the 50-yard freestyle in 1951. He won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle in the 1952 Olympic Games, setting an Olympic record.
Scholes was the NCAA champion in the 100-yard freestyle event for three straight years from 1950-52, and was a member of the NCAA champion 4x100 relay team in 1952. He was the Big Ten champion in the 100-yard freestyle in 1951 and 1952.
In the 1955 Pan American Games, Scholes won a gold medal and set a Pan American record in the 100-meter freestyle. In 1980, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.
CHARLES "BUBBA" SMITH (Football) -- A three-time letterwinner from 1964-66 at defensive end, Smith was named first-team All-America and All-Big Ten in 1965 and 1966. Smith was a member of the 1965 national championship Spartan squad and was named UPI Lineman of the Year in 1966.
In 1967 Smith was the first overall pick in the NFL draft. He spent five seasons with the Baltimore Colts, then played for the Oakland Raiders from 1973- 74 before ending his career with the Houston Oilers in 1975.
Smith was named to the all-time MSU football team in 1969 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
FRED STABLEY, SR. (Sports Information Director) -- MSU's Sports Information Director from 1948-80, Stabley publicized numerous All-America athletes, including 42 in football, 13 in hockey, 10 in basketball, and eight in baseball.
Stabley was a charter member of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Hall of Fame in 1969. Stabley won CoSIDA's highest honor, the Arch Award, in 1962. The press box at Spartan Stadium was named in his honor in 1980. A co-author of Spartan Saga: A History of Michigan State Athletics, Stabley was the president of CoSIDA in 1958-59.
DOUG VOLMAR (Hockey) -- A three-time letterwinner from 1965-67, Volmar made first-team All-America in 1966 when he led MSU to its first NCAA hockey championship. He led the team in goals, assists and points in 1966, when he scored the winning goal against Boston University in the national semifinals.
Volmar still shares the Michigan State record for most goals scored in a period (three), and most total points in a period (five). He was named to the WCHA all-star squad in 1966 and to the 1968 U.S. Olympic hockey team.
GENE WASHINGTON (Football and Track) -- Washington won three letters in football (1964-66), as an offensive end, and in track (1965-67). He was made first-team All-America and All-Big Ten in football in 1965 and 1966. Washington was a member of the 1965 national championship football team, and he earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 1964. Washington was named to the all-time MSU football team and the all-time Big Ten squad in 1969.
An NFL first-round draft pick in 1967, Washington played six seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, then played with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Denver Broncos, and the New England Patriots before his career came to an end in 1976.
In 1987, Washington was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
GEORGE WEBSTER (Football) -- A three-time letterwinner from 1964- 66, Webster was named the all-time greatest player in MSU history in 1969. As a defensive back, Webster was named first-team All-America and All-Big Ten in 1965 and 1966. Webster won the Governor's Award in 1966 as MSU's MVP. He was a member of the 1965 national championship team and co-captained the undefeated 1966 squad.
Webster was named to the all-time All-Big Ten team in 1969. He played professional football with the Houston Oilers (1967-72), the Pittsburgh Steelers (1972-73) and the New England Patriots (1974-76).
RALPH YOUNG (Coach and Athletic Director) -- Young was MSU's athletic director from 1923-54, track coach from 1924-40, and football coach from 1923-27.
Young coached 27 All-America track athletes and four Olympians. He was president of the National Collegiate Track Coaches Association from 1936-37. Along with Knute Rockne of Notre Dame and Conrad Jennings of Marquette, Young founded the Central Collegiate Conference.
Young served in the state legislature from 1956-62 and served on the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Committee. He made the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1979, Young was made the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Hall of Fame. MSU's track and field facility was named in his honor.
photo caption: MSU athletics director Merrily Baker (left) and football coach George Perles unveil an oil portrait of the induction class, "Spartan Spirit." Limited-edition lithographs (24"x34") are available from Symbolic Creations for $165 each (shipping and handling included). Call 800-929-2893 to order. Profits will go to to MSU's Ralph Young Fund for the Athletics Hall of Fame.