Former Wildcats Schultz, Gobert named to U.P. Sports Hall
ESCANABA – Versatility is the common denominator displayed by the newest group of 10 Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame selectees.
The group excelled across the board, with eight of them making notable accomplishments in eight sports as athletes and/or coaches on the prep, collegiate and professional levels.
They comprise the 43rd induction class to be installed April 26, 2014, at the Island Resort and Casino in Harris. That event will begin at 6 p.m. (EDT). Tickets will be available in the spring.
Inductees include Whitney Bell of Sault Ste. Marie; Mike Caruso of Iron Mountain; Jim Corgiat of Bessemer; Terry Duval of Kingsford and Escanaba; Jon LeBrasseur of Nahma; Bill Lucier of Hancock; the late Holly Jean (Anderson) McCullah of Laurium; Mike Photenhauer of Menominee; Sharon Schultz of Escanaba; and Jill (Gobert) VanDamme of Perkins.
Bill Lucier, Hancock – A charter member of Michigan Tech University’s sports hall of fame in 1985, Lucier spent six seasons as Tech’s head football coach (1963-68), leading the Huskies to two Northern Intercollegiate Conference titles. He was Associated Press small college coach of the year in Michigan in 1963 and NIC coach of the year in 1963 and 1965.
Holly Jean (Anderson) McCullah, Laurium – The “Speedball Queen” pitched two teams to U.P. fastpitch softball titles at age 14. Returning 18 years later after becoming the mother of nine children, she threw a no-hitter and struck out 15 in her first game back and was 46-3 in four seasons after her return that included helping Horner’s Hornets win the Class D state title in 1970. Also a standout bowler, she rolled two 300 games and a high 778 handicap series. She died at age 57 in 1994.
Whitney Bell, Sault Ste. Marie – An all-state hockey player and three-year baseball letterman at Sault High, Bell made his biggest splash in football. He was a two-time U.P. Dream Team and two-time all-state lineman at the Sault, was a second-team Football Gazette lineman at Ferris State University, played in the Arena Football League (Green Bay and Grand Rapids) and Canadian Football League (British Columbia) and helped the B.C. Lions win the Grey Cup (2006).
Mike (Carr) Caruso, Iron Mountain – A radio broadcaster from 1972-2012, Mike Caruso broadcast state championship games for six area high schools. He played Wishigan League baseball from 1966-88 and was MVP of the Felch Labor Day tournament (1975). He also played fastpitch softball for 20 years and spent 25 years as a Babe Ruth League baseball umpire.
Jim Corgiat, Bessemer – A Class C all-state football player, Corgiat was also a baseball, basketball and track/field standout in Bessemer, earning 12 varsity letters. He turned down a minor league baseball contract offer to play football at Michigan State University and averaged 27.5 yards per catch as a senior in 1959. He helped the Lansing Rockets win the state ASA fastpitch softball title in 1962. He hit more than 700 career home runs in slowpitch softball and helped Detroit Kennedy Optical win a Class C state title in 1979.
Terry Duval, Kingsford/Escanaba – Duval spent more than three decades coaching football, wrestling and track teams at Escanaba High School (a total of 100 years). He was 205-60 in 17 years as head wrestling coach, and was an assistant for 13 years. The U.P. team wrestling championship trophy is named in honor of Duval.
Jon Lebrasseur, Nahma – A three-sport athlete at Big Bay de Noc High School and MVP of the Lake Superior State University golf team, LeBrasseur found success as a girls basketball coach in Texas. He compiled an 850-212 record with 14 state championships in 35 years at tiny Sacred Heart High School in Muenster. The Tigerettes won seven straight titles (1998-2004).
Mike Photenhauer, Menominee – A three-time U.P. cross country champion at Menominee High School, Photenhauer set U.P. Class A-B track records in the mile, 1,600 meters and two-mile. He was a four-year letterman in cross country and track at Central Michigan University, was Mid-American Conference cross country freshman of the year (1980) and was an MAC all-star in track and cross country (1981 and 1983). He was second in the NCAA regional two-mile in 1983.
Sharon Schultz, Escanaba – A standout in the early days of high school girls basketball and track (1973-76), Sharon Schultz then earned three basketball letters at Northern Michigan University. She led Escanaba to three U.P. Class A-B track titles and twice won the 440-yard dash. She posted a school single-game record 33 points. She then became a sportswriter at the Green Bay Press-Gazette (1982-96) and USA Today (1996-2000), where she handled coverage of the Olympics, National Hockey League and college sports.
Jill (Gobert) Vandamme, Perkins – After earning 16 varsity letters at Mid Peninsula High School, Gobert was a three-year basketball starter at NMU. She scored a Mid Pen girls record 1,614 points and was Class D all-state in 1996. She was a two-time All-U.P. cross country pick, won seven U.P. track titles and helped win the U.P. Class D track title (1995). At NMU, she started 87 consecutive basketball games, scored 1,243 points and was a three-time GLIAC all-academic choice and District 4 Kodak All-American.