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THE SAGINAW COUNTY SPORTS HALL OF FAME:
CLASS OF 2003
(1st in a 2 part Series)
By Jack Tany
Review Sports Desk
Eleven individuals and a pair of teams highlight the second class of the
Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame.   The induction ceremonies for the
Class of 2003 will be held Saturday, November 8 at Saginaw Valley State
University's Curtiss Hall.
Over 400 people attended last year's inaugural banquet to see 11
individuals and Arthur Hill High School's undefeated and unscored upon
football team of 1973 receive induction.
A breakdown of the individual recipients for 2003 includes five from
Saginaw High School, two from both Arthur Hill and SS. Peter & Paul, and
one from Birch Run High School.
Six are living and five are deceased.
In addition, two sets of teams are up for induction: Saginaw High School's
track and field teams from 1945-49, who were crowned state champions, along
with Carrollton High School's girls' varsity basketball teams of 1979, 1981
and 1982.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association started the girls' basketball
tournament as we know it today, back in 1973. The Lady Cavs became the
first girls' team from the county to capture a state title, winning the
Class C championship three times in four years.
The Sports Hall of Fame can be found on the web at www.saginawcountysports.com.
The committee has scheduled two upcoming fund-raisers. Their second annual golf
outing will be held May 31 at Swan Valley Golf Course.
Cost for the four-person scramble is $80 for Lifetime members and $90 for
non-members. Entry deadline is May 21. For more information, please call
Jim Buckley at 790-0484.
Hall of Fame committee members are also taking orders for its Shish-Ka-Bob
sale. Seasoned meat (pork), with baby redskin potatoes and green peppers on
a stick can be purchased in time for your Fourth of July cookout. One dozen
Shish-Ka-Bobs can be purchased for just $15.
The following roster offers a brief glimpse into the remarkable
achievements of the 'Class of 2003':

Jim Blenkhorn's son Dave

JIM  BLENKHORN
 
Jim Blenkhorn was a four-sport athlete at Saginaw
High School. The 5-11, 180 pounder was a three-year
starter at fullback for the Trojans and a back-to-back
all-state selection in Class A (1944-45).

Along with playing baseball and basketball, he lettered in track, and was a
member of the 1946-state track championship team.

Blenkhorn ran a leg on the state championship half-mile relay team in both
1945 and 1946. He went on to play fullback and receiver at Michigan State
College, earning four varsity letters and a starting position his junior
and senior seasons.

Blenkhorn, who never missed a single practice at Michigan State, went on to
coach at Saginaw High in 1958. He was an assistant principal at Saginaw
High and Buena Vista and principal at White Elementary in Bridgeport.
A Deacon at Second Presbyterian Church, Blenkhorn died April 14, 1995, at
the age of 67, and is entombed at Oakwood Mausoleum.

 

Leo Boyd's wife and Granddaughter

LEO 'SMOKEY' BOYD
The long-time parochial athletic director/coach has racked up more
victories in high school football than any other coach in Saginaw County
history.
Boyd, who was an outstanding athlete at SS. Peter & Paul High School where
he graduated in 1949, was a member of the 1952 Michigan State College
national championship football team.
His Spartan career started as an offensive back and ended as a reserve
linebacker. Boyd coached one year at Standish before serving his country in
the U.S. Army for two years.
He returned from the service to teach and coach at his alma mater, St.
Pete's, for over four decades. When SSPP merged with St. Mary's and St.
Stephens to form Nouvel Catholic Central high school, he continued to coach
football and ended his storied career with 309 victories (309-112-4).
Boyd also rolled up a fine 384-226 record on the hardcourt coaching at SS.
Peter & Paul and Bay City Central. He guided St. Pete's to the Class C
state basketball championship game two years in a row (1976-77, 1977-78),
and Nouvel Catholic Central's football team to the state title game in
1987.
His state championship came at Nouvel Catholic Central in 1989 when the
Panthers captured the Class C State track and field title.
Boyd has been named to both the Michigan Football and Basketball Coaches
Association Hall of Fame, as well as the Saginaw Catholic Hall of Fame.

Craig Dill

CRAIG  DILL
The 6-10, 220-pound Dill helped Arthur Hill High School to the Class A
semifinals in 1963, before dropping a one-point game to Adrian.
He received more than 30 major scholarship offers after averaging 28.5
points and being named All-State and All-America. He chose the University
of Michigan where he played three years on the varsity, co-captaining the
Wolverines in the 1966-67 season.
Dill averaged 19.6 points his senior year for the Wolverines, was named
second team All-Big 10 and voted the team's MVP.
He was drafted by the Indiana Pacers of the old American Basketball
Association, and then traded to the Pittsburgh Pipers.
The Pipers won the ABA championship in the league's first year. He was then
traded to Minneapolis but opted to go back to college and pursue his law
degree.
Dill, now a prominent attorney in Saginaw, was inducted into the Arthur
Hill Letterwinner's Hall of Fame in 1972.
 

Jimmy Ellis

JIMMY  ELLIS
Jimmy Ellis transferred to Saginaw High School as a
junior in 1947 from Chicago. He became an all-state 
tailback on the football team and a state champion 
quarter-miler in track. He went to Michigan State 
College but was slowed by scholastic problems and a
knee injury. He worked his way into the starting 
lineup as a safety.
 
In his collegiate debut against Oregon State, he ran 
back punts and intercepted three passes and was awarded 
the game ball. He ran back six punts for touchdowns in 
his career for the Spartans.
 
As a sophomore in '51 he was named All-America by 
the Chicago Tribune. The following year he garnered All-
America honors again as  he helped lead MSC to an 
undefeated season.
 
Ellis was drafted by the Cleveland Browns after his 
junior season but stayed at State. However, a college 
rule change - the platoon system - forced him to become 
a backup tailback.
 
He was again drafted by the Browns but opted to serve 
in the U.S. Army. After leaving the service he tried out 
for both Cleveland and Chicago the next two seasons, 
finishing his career by playing one year in the
Canadian Football League.
He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois.
 
GENE  GLICK
This three-sport standout was one of the most versatile and talented
athletes ever produced in Saginaw. At Arthur Hill High School he earned
nine varsity letters. As a sophomore in 1943-44, he was a member of AHHS's
state championship basketball team, and its leading scorer the following
year when the Hills wound up in the title game again.
Glick, an outstanding pitcher on the Lumberjacks' baseball team, earned
all-state honors in football as he led the Saginaw Valley League in scoring
his senior season (1946).
He went on Michigan State College and was a four-year letterwinner and a
three-year starter, playing defense as well as halfback and quarterback.
Glick abandoned baseball after earning a varsity letter in 1947. He became
nationally known as a passer, blocker and linebacker and held most of
State's passing records until the 1970s.
One record was 11 TD passes his junior year; another was his four touchdown
passes against Iowa State in a 48-7 Spartan victory. He was hobbled by knee
injuries his senior season and missed two games but completed 38 of 71
passes for 776 yards and named the Spartans' MVP.
As a quarterback he guided MSC to a four-year record of 24-12. He was
signed by the Detroit Lions in the spring of 1950 but the bad knee
sidelined him.
Glick became a successful football, basketball and baseball coach for 10
years at St. Andrew's High School. His teams won five Valley Parochial
League football titles and two VPL basketball championships. His 1954 and
'56 football teams went unbeaten. He resigned in 1960 to go into business
as a successful insurance agent.
Glick, who was inducted into the Arthur Hill Letterwinner's Hall of Fame in
1963, suffered a heart attack and died October 26, 1965, at the age of 37
while playing handball at the YMCA.
He is buried at St. Andrew's Cemetery.
 

Gene Glick

The Glick Family

 

Webster Kirksey

WEBSTER  KIRKSEY
'Wee Webbie' Kirksey played for Saginaw High from 
1949-51 and was a three-time all-stater, being named 
to four all-state teams his senior year.
 
Often called the top cager to ever come out of Saginaw, 
the 5-10 1/2 guard who had a deadly jump shot from 
just about anywhere on the court, was known for his 
great dribbling, ball-handling abilities as well as 
outjumping much taller opponents. He went on to 
Michigan Normal (now Eastern Michigan University) where 
he broke the school's season scoring record by tossing 
in 325 points in 20 games his freshman year.
 
He set a pair of school records his sophomore season by 
netting 46 points against Illinois Normal, and breaking 
his own record for points in a season (369 points).
Kirksey was an all-conference selection four times and 
became the college's all-time leading scorer with 1,197 
points (which now ranks 13th on the all-time list).
 
He was inducted into Eastern Michigan University's 
Athletic  Hall of Fame in 1978. Kirksey went on to play 
for the Harlem Satellites for four years. He worked for 
the Saginaw Recreation Department from 1962-65, before 
being named head  coach at Ypsilanti Roosevelt, a 
private Class C school operated by Eastern Michigan.
 
Kirksey is the nephew of William 'Bill' Watson, a member 
of the inaugural class of the Saginaw County Sports Hall 
of Fame.

William A 'Bill' Muehlenbeck

WILLIAM A. 'BILL' MUEHLENBECK
William A. Muehlenbeck was never a top athlete or a top bowler. But as a
sponsor, he played a key role in the development of many athletes in the
greater Saginaw-area.
Born August 26, 1893, he was often called the greatest sponsor Saginaw has
ever had.
He sponsored literally hundreds and hundreds of bowling teams along with
junior softball and baseball teams in addition to adult teams in just about
every sport played in the city throughout the years through his beer
distributorship - Muehlenbeck Distributing Co.
In one year alone, he sponsored 167 teams in the Saginaw area. Outside of
the Detroit area, he was the largest sponsor of bowling teams in the state,
and only a few large corporations in Detroit outranked him.
He began his business in the late 1930s after the repeal of the prohibition
laws. In the 1940s and 1950s, he sponsored between 250-300 sports teams a
year, about 90 percent of them bowling teams.
Muehlenbeck was one of eight charter members to be inducted into the first
class of the Saginaw Bowling Hall of Fame in 1976. He also earned Sponsor
of the Year by the Saginaw Bowling Association in both 1953 and 1965.
He died April 25, 1976, at the age of 82, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Calvin 'Cal' O'Neal

CALVIN  'CAL'  O'NEAL
 
One of the finest all-around athletes Saginaw High 
has produced, competing in football, basketball and 
track. He never missed practice in his three-year 
varsity football career. He played a multitude of 
positions in football, but defense is where he made
his name, averaging 14 tackles per game.
 
He was named the Saginaw Valley League East Division 
MVP despite playing on a winless Trojan team. Also a 
standout tossing the shot, the 6-2, 220 pounder 
accepted a scholarship to the University of Michigan.
 
The Wolverines tried him at fullback, tight end, 
defensive end, and middle guard before he found a home 
at linebacker. In his first start he recorded 10 tackles. 
He was widely known as being Michigan's strongest player 
in the weight room. He earned Big Ten and All-America 
honors both his junior and senior seasons (1975-76),
and was selected in the sixth round by the Baltimore Colts.
 
He battled injuries but saw action in 15 games in two 
seasons before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 

                                                              
 

Jerry Patton

 
 
JERRY A. PATTON
 
 
A rugged three-sport standout at Saginaw High, football was Patton's best
sport, as he played on the varsity three years. Named all state his junior
year, he played everywhere for the Trojans - end, fullback, defensive
tackle, as well as handling the kicking duties.
 
Patton, a rugged rebounder on the basketball court, was Most Valuable
Player in basketball and track and co-valuable in football in the 1963-64
season, and was named the school's Outstanding Athlete both his junior and
senior years - the first-time in the six-year history of the award one
person took home the award two years running.
 
He went on to the University of Nebraska where he was a three-year starter
at defensive end. Patton went undrafted but played with a semipro team in
the Continental Football League for two years before being signed by the
Minnesota Vikings as a free agent.
He was a reserve for the Vikes before the Buffalo Bills signed the 6-3, 250
pound defensive tackle.
 
Patton finished his five-year pro career with the Philadelphia Eagles,
Detroit Lions and the New England Patriots.
 
The community-minded Patton, past president of the Saginaw Athletic Club,
helped give back to Saginaw by running a Sickle Cell Celebrity Golf
Tournament, organizing a Midget Football League, and running sports clinics
at schools and recreation centers.
 
He was honored with a county building named in his honor in Shreveport,
Louisiana. The Jerry A. Patton Vocational Building was named after Patton,
the Vocational Skills Training Center's first vocational manager, in 1984.
He passed away May 19, 1983, at the age of 37 after a lengthy illness. He
is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.
 

Edward Periard

EDWARD 'ED' PERIARD
Ed Periard is the pride of Birch Run where he 
played football, basketball and baseball for the 
Panthers.
'Little Eddie' (5-9, 180) scored 17 touchdowns and 
rushed for 1,333 yards (9 yards per carry) to help 
lead the Panthers to an undefeated season in 1966, 
his senior year.  Periard earned All-Conference 
honors and was named to the Class B All-State
honorable mention team by UPI and AP.
A fine prep baseball player, he was a member of 
Birch Run's 1967 state championship team. After 
begging the University of Nebraska to give him a 
tryout, he was told no twice. He finally was given 
one by coach Bob Devaney.  Periard, now a 201-pound 
middle guard, proved himself early as he played on
the Huskers undefeated freshman team in 1967.
He moved on to the varsity the next season and was 
a two-year starter. He capped his senior season by 
nabbing All-Big Eight honors as well as second
team All-American laurels.
He played on Nebraska's national championship team 
when the Cornhuskers beat LSU in the Orange Bowl.
He was the defensive coordinator on Arthur Hill High 
School's undefeated, unscored upon team in 1973, and 
eventually became head baseball and football coach for 
the Lumberjacks.
He also coached football at his alma mater, Birch Run, 
as an assistant coach for three seasons.
Periard was tragically killed in an automobile accident 
in December of 1993 and is buried in Cook Cemetery.

 

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