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1976 inductees

  • Gordon Larson
    Coach 1976

Although he excelled at basketball at South High along with Hall of Famers Fritz Nagy, Wyndol Gray and Ara Parseghian, Larson made his fame in football. A 1949 graduate of Kent State, Larson launched a coaching career at Twinsburg High, moved to South in 1950 and in '51 succeeded Lou Juillerat as head coach of his alma mater. He guided the 1954 team to the Akron City Series crown and then moved to Marion Harding for four more years. His 1958 powerhouse went undefeated (9-0), was named top team in the state and earned Larson Ohio Coach of the Year honors. Following two years as assistant to Woody Hayes at Ohio State, Larson took over the football program at Akron U. During his 12 seasons (1961-72) Larson's teams compiled a 74-33-5 mark - including seasons of 7-2 (1968), 9-1 ('69), 7-3 ('70) and 8-2 ('71) - which made him the winningest football coach in UA history. His 1968 team established a new milestone by becoming the first team to play in post-season game - the Grantland Rice Bowl.

  • Nate Thurmond
    Basketball 1976

This tall, gangly athlete used talents, molded by Joe Siegferth at Central High and Harold Anderson at Bowling Green, as a spring-board into professional basketball. As a senior in 1959 Thurmond earned All-City honors and three times at Bowling Green, as a spring-board into professional basketball. As a senior in 1959 Thurmond earned All-City honors and three times at Bowling Green he was named first team All-Mid American Conference. Twice, in 1961-62 and 1962-63m the 6-11 giant led the Falcons to the MAC Championship. The latter season Nate was named to the Sporting News All-American team. He spent 124 years in the National Basketball Association with the San Francisco Warriors (11 years), Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a member of the All-NBA team on several occasions and is one of only a handful of players who can boast of over 14 thousand points and 14 thousand rebounds during a career. He retired as an active player in 1977.

  • Dominic Patella
    Coach 1976

He was brought to Akron in 1936 from his native Tiltonville, Ohio by Jimmy Aiken, the new Akron U football coach. He played three years for the Zips, spent a few more years serving in World War II and returned to Akron in 1947 to become an assistant coach to Mike Krino at East High. He succeeded Krino in 1955 and promptly guided the Orientals to the city championship. Before his career ended, Patella's teams added six more championship - 1958, '64, '65, '66, '67 and '75 - and 16 of his squads made the playoffs. Twice, 1958 and 1967, Dom was named Summit County Coach of the Year. The "Dean" of Akron coaches retired after the 1980 season, bringing an end to a 34-year coaching reign and leaving a record of 146-86-17 in 26 years as a head coach.

  • Ronald Musson
    Speedboat Racing 1976

This Kent State graduate started out to be a successful businessman but his destiny led him to speedboat racing. From 1953 through 1958 Musson held seven different championship ratings and was named the world's best speedboat driver in 1955. He set the national record of 124 miles per hour with his boat "Nitro II" in 1960 to win the Harnsworth Trophy. That same year he also added the Detroit Silver Cup and the Reno Regatta Trophy to his collection. Ron went on to capture the "Gold Cup" - speedboat racing's highest honor in 1963, '64 and '65. However, at the age of 37, Musson was killed when his boat, "Miss Bardahl," exploded during the President's Cup Regatta on the Potomac River in 1966.

  • Jack Greynolds
    Coach, Basketball 1976

He got his start in basketball as an all-stater at Tanner High School near Weston, West Virginia, his hometown. He took his cage prowess to Alderson Broaddus College where he broke most of the school's scoring records. He wound up his career in 1952-53 by averaging 28.5 points a game - ninth leading scorer in the nation. He came to the Akron area in 1957 and he's been here ever since, coaching basketball until 1986. While head man at revere High for 12 years his Minutemen captured the Suburban League title seven times. Prior to the 1969-70 season he took over a floundering Barberton High program and did nothing but win. His Record over 17 seasons reads a phenomenal 332 wins and only 63 defeats with the Magics. His Barberton cagers won four district crowns, two regional titles and one state championship. The latter honor was gained by the 1975-76 squad that finished the season 26-0. Four times Greynolds was named Summit Country Couch of the Year. Greynolds has a 31-year coaching mark of 548-128 and ranks fifth among Ohio high school basketball coaches.

  • Tony Galati
    Bowling 1976

In 1923, at the age of 12, Tony got his start by setting pins in Ed Rowe's Bolling Alley. Thus began a love affair with the game of bowling that has lasted over 50 years. As a budding star he managed the old Mill and High Lanes. In 1933 he went to Buchtel Lanes as an assistant to Hall of Famer Benny Cole and began to get into big time bowling. Was a member, along with Hall of Famers Buzz Fazio, Clyde Potter and Boss Bosco, of the famous M. O'Neil Company team. That group won back-to-back state championships in 1940 and '41. Galati teamed with Fazio to become one of the most feared doubles teams in the country - placing 10th in the 1936 ABC national doubles and third in 1939 with a 1384 score. In later years, he was manager and owner of Akron Recreation Center.

  • Bob Cherry
    Football, Track & Field 1976

At East High he made All-City in both football and basketball, but it was nothing compared to the honors he earned while at Wittenberg University. At Wittenberg (1959-63) bob earned 12 letters - four each in football, basketball and track. His football records at the Springfield, Ohio read like a "Who's Who of Sports" - 886 yards in pass receptions in one season, 27 career TD pass receptions (13 coming in one season) - all Ohio Conference, winner of the Mike Gregory Award (best player in the OC) and Associated Press first team All-American as offensive end in 1963. In the 1962-63 basketball season he also was named an All-American and first team All-OC for the second straight year. The Tigers were national runner-up in 1963. As a track star he had few equals. He was the NCAA College Division high hurdles champion in 1963. Needless to say, Bob Cherry has been inducted into Wittenberg's Sports Hall of Fame.

  • Doyle Baird
    Boxing 1976

Certainly one of the finest fighters of the modern era to come out of Akron. This native of Tennessee learned his brawling on the streets in south Akron, but it wasn't until he encountered trouble with the law over his street fighting that he took to the boxing ring. As an amateur Baird won the Ohio middleweight championship in 1966 and was national AAU runner-up the same year. He turned professional and fought 32 fighters in six years - winning 11 by decision, 16 by knockout, had one draw and four defeats. However, in that relatively short professional career Baird fought four world champions in non-title fights - including middleweights Don Fulmer, Emile Griffith and Nino Benvenuti and light heavyweight Bincente Rondon. He won a split decision over Fulmer and fought Benvenuti to a draw in the Akron Rubber Bowl - a fight many felt he won. In 1968 Baird decisioned Ernie Burford of Cleveland to capture the Ohio middleweight title. During his career Doyle was ranked among the world's top 10 middleweights for five years by Ring Magazine.

  • Cliff Aultman
    Football, Coach 1976

He got his start at South High and later really excelled athletically while earning 15 letters - competing in football, basketball, track and tennis - before graduating in 1935. As an offensive end in 19345 he was selected to play in the first North-South All-Star Classic in Mobile, Alabama and scored the first touchdown. Cliff coached basketball on the high school level for 12 years before returning to Geneva College, Pa., as its head coach in 1949. He guided the Geneva cagers for the next 22 years - compiling 291 victories. From 1952 through '56 his teams won 86 games while losing just 24. Aultman is a member in both the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Basketball Hall of Fame and the Beaver Falls, Pa., Sports Hall of Fame.

  • Art Arfons
    Automobile Racing 1976

Was once known world-wide as the "fastest man on wheels." That was during the 1960s when this daredevil eventually piloted his jet-powered dragster, called the "Green Monster", to a new world land speed record on the Bonneville, Utah salt flats in 1964 - 536.71 miles per hour. A year later, at the same location Arfons eclipsed that mark with an average speed of 622.40 mph. He got into racing in 1954 and became the first dragster to break the 150 mph barrier in 1956 and then the 200 mph mark in 1961. Twice he was names Racer of the Year by the American Hot Rod Association.

  • Ralph "Fats" Waldsmith

Basketball 1976

This native Akronite, born eight years before the turn of the century, played football under Curtis Bowman at Akron High School. He starred at center on the 1909-10 team that won 11 lost one and tied two - outstanding the opposition 194-3 and claimed the state crowns. Fats went on to star three more years at Buchtel College for the Frank Hagerty-coached teams of 1911-13. He earned All-Ohio honors as a senior and after graduating from Akron U in 1915, joined Fred Sefton, who had succeeded Haggerty, to lead the Canton Bulldogs to the national professional championship (1915). He played four seasons with the Bulldogs, one with the Akron Pros (1919) and two with the Cleveland Indians, Waldsmith died in 1925.

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