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1977 inductees

  • Dave Young
    Baseball, Coach 1977

He has excelled both as a player and coach in baseball. Young starred at Akron East High, Akron U and for 21 years in the Greater Akron AA Baseball league. This past 1991 season was his 28th and last at Tallmadge High school where he has become the most winning baseball coach in greater Akron area history. His Tallmadge nines won 464 games and Young has a winning percentage of .720. A southpaw pitcher at Akron U from 1956 through 1959, Young still holds several records. Over the four years he compiled a 22-8 record, struck out 325, 115 in one season (1959) and had an amazing 1.13 era over his career. All of these marks are still standing. In the AA League he played on the championship team with Tramone Black Label, Krispy Kreme, Weatherseal and Eaton Sports Pride. In 1983 Young was inducted into UA's Sports Hall of Fame.

  • Kathleen Stiles
    Coach, Softball 1977

This athlete became the first softball player to gain induction into the Hall of Fame. Kay Stiles' playing and coaching career spanned three decades. She started out on the Akron sandlots with her brothers in both softball and basketball, but her formal career didn't begin until the late 1980s with the Goodrich Local 5 team as a catcher. It must be remembered that his was fast pitch softball that Kay excelled in, not the slow pitch game that is being played today. One of her early highlights was playing in Madison Square Garden in 1939. She played on 11 Amateur Softball Association (ASA) district championship teams - three that won state titles. Later, in 1961, she would manage the Wooster Lumber team to the ASA state title and earn Ohio Manager of the Year honors. She began managing in 1945 while still playing. She was to turn down several offers to play professional because she was raising two daughters. She still is active in softball, but it is limited now to umpiring.

  • Lloyd Sharrar
    Basketball 1977

In 1954 this Meadville, PA, athlete earned all-state honors along with a fellow named Wilt Chamberlain. The 6-8 Sharrar then earned a scholarship at West Virginia University where he played under Fred Schaus. His Mountaineer teammates were "Hot Rod" Hundley and Jerry West. Together the put West Virginia in the national limelight. Sharrar, who grew to 6-10, played three years for West Virginia - earning honorable mention All-American in 1958 as the Mountaineers complied an excellent 28-2 campaign. Sharrar went with the Vickers Oil team in Wichita, Kansas and helped them win two AAU championships. In 1961 he came to Goodyear where he played three years with the Wingfoots through 1964 when Goodyear won the national AAU title. His final fling at competitive play with the Wings was in 1968 when he came out of retirement to play home games at Goodyear Gym.

  • Raymond C. Firestone
    Polo 1977

It was in the "Roaring 20s" that Raymond Firestone, who rose through the ranks to Chairman of the Board of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, discovered polo. It was only natural - polo is played on horseback and is made up of four men to a team. As it turned out there were four brothers and lots of encouragement from their famous father. Raymond and his brother, Leonard, both starred on the Princeton teams of 1932-33. Both seasons our inductee served the Tigers as captain. However, it was in 1933 that Raymond earned one of his great thrills during his life - helping Princeton win the national intercollegiate polo championship. The championship was not decided until the final game of the playoff series with Harvard. Firestone did himself proud by scoring the winning goal in the 10-9 sudden-death overtime victory.

  • Robert A. Nash
    Football 1977

He emigrated from his native Ireland at the turn of the century and eventually earned 11 letters in four sports at Rutgers. In 1914, "Nasty Bob," as he was called, was selected by Walter Camp to his All-American team. However, it was as a pro player that Nash came into his own. He played in Massillon, Akron and Buffalo before closing out his career in 1925 as captain of the New York Giants. At 6-2, 210, he was a tiger on defense - a player who the great Gressy Neale said was the only man who could stop Jim Thorpe consistently. In 1920 Nash led the Akron Pros to the American Football Association championship - undefeated, although thrice tied. He passed away in 1977 at the age of 84.

  • Eugene R. Michael
    Baseball, Basketball 1977

Born in Kent, Michael was an outstanding athlete at both East High and Kent State - excelling in basketball and baseball. Although pursued by the New York Knicks out of Kent State, Michael chose a career in baseball. He broke into professional ball in 1959 and didn't reach the major leagues until 1966 when he was called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Thus began 10 years in the majors in which he played with the Lost Angeles Dodgers, seven years with the New York Yankees (1968-74) and the Detroit Tigers. For five years Gene, nicknamed "Stick", was the Yankees regular short-stop - winning Sporting News' Golden Glove Award in 1971. In 1976 he became a coach with the Yankees. Later Gene managed the Columbus Clippers to the 1979 International League pennant and managed the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox. Currently, he is in an executive position with the New York Yankees.

  • Fred Lehmann
    Football 1977

Played football at Carnegie Tech when the Skibos were a national power. A 1938 graduate of Carnegie, Lehmann starred as fullback as well as linebacker for three years. It was in 1937, his senior year, that Fred earned the most honors - All-East, Notre Dame and Temple both named his to their all-opponents teams and All-American honorable mention by the Associated Press and United Press International. He was extended an invitation to play in the East-West Shrine game, but declined. He came to Akron to work for Goodrich Tire and coached bantam teams to four championships in five years. Established a distance mark for all Hall of Famers by flying from Germany to be inducted in 1977.

  • Climon Lee
    Track & Field, Basketball 1977

A 1957 graduate of South High where he led the Cavalier cagers and cross country teams to city championships as a senior. Took his talents to Akron U where he excelled in basketball and track. All told Climon earned nine letters - four each in basketball and track and one in cross country. He began his career under Russ Beichly (1957-59) and then played two years for Tony Laterza. During that four-year span Lee and his teammates compiled a 76-23 mark, including a 21-2 record in 1958-59 when our inductee earned All-Ohio Conference honors. Equally successful in track, Climon was the OC hurdles champ from 1959 through 1961, All-Ohio champion in 1961 and captured the NCAA Mideast Regional hurdles championship in both 1960 and 1961. It was in 1961 that the Zip thinclads won their first OC championship and Lee earned the Sterling Geesman Award as the outstanding performer in the meet. He capped his career by being named Athlete of the Year in 1960 and sharing the same honor with Hall of Famer Alex Adams in 1961.

  • Stan Junius
    Football 1977

He was an excellent athlete at Central High in the early 1930s, earning the nickname "Little Caesar" due to hi diminutive size, 5-3, 150 pounds. Stan first tried his prowess in football and track and Wilberforce College, but eventually transferred to Akron U where he played for Jimmy Aiken. In 1936 the fleet halfback, one of the first black athletes to play football for UA, scored 72 points to finish second in scoring in Ohio. It was to be the only year he played for the Zipper but he made it pay off by being selected to the All-Ohio team. Later, he played three years on the South Akron Awnings championship teams as well as teams as the Eastwood Monarchs, Curtis All-Stars and Evans A.C.

  • Hayes R. Jenkins
    Football 1977

Not only was he one of Akron U's greats in the early 1920s, but Jenkins produced another great athlete, his ice skating son, Hayes Allen, who preceded him into the Hall of Fame. At Akron U, Jenkins, nicknamed "Squirt," earned 12 letters in football, basketball, baseball and track. However, it was in football that h really excelled. In the days of the drop kick, he was a master of his art. A 46-yard field goal he booted in 1924 stood as the longest for over 40 years. He still has the record for the longest kickoff return - 102 yards - against Ohio Wesleyan. Jenkins earned first team All-Ohio Conference honors in 1924 and as a senior in 1925 was voted the school' Athletic Honor Cup as its number one athlete. He passed away in 1960 at the age of 57.

  • Leo "Mox" Engler

Basketball 1977

Some athletes require many years of performances to attain stardom and some athletes and coaches reach it quickly. "Mox" Engler was one of the latter group - in fact he didn't even wait until he was 20 to take his claim to fame. Akron has produced several high school teams won state basketball championships, but not prior to 1929. Just one year out of St. Mary High School, "Mox" was elected coach by the 1928-29 Crusaders basketball team. St. Mary won 12 of 15 regular season games and with three more wins got to Columbus for the Class B playoffs. Although trailing 20-8 at the half in its first game, St. Mary came back to defeat Marysville, 31-28. In the championship game against Bluffton, who had won 28 straight, the inevitable happened, little St. Mary High School edged Bluffton, 28-26, to give Akron its first state title. The 19-year old coach was a legend in his time. He went on to coach the team for two more years but St. Mary was ineligible for tourney play because the coach was not a teacher. The remainder of his coaching days were limited to the City AA League, but his effort in 1928-29 was never surpassed.

  • Jim "Red" Fenton

Basketball 1977

Although he didn't make a serious attempt at basketball until his junior year at Garfield High, "Red" Fenton became one of a long list of Akron U greats in the early 1950s. By the time he finished his Zip cage career in 1954 he had netted an all-time high of 1319 points - averaging 19.5 points per game. He set a single game high of 45 points versus Hiram in 1953 and in 1952-53 became the second player in the school's history to score over 500 points (527). The first was Hall of Famer Fritz Nagy. In 1951-52 he topped the nation in free throw shooting - sinking 104 of 121 attempts for an .859 percentage. In one encounter he attempted 26 free throws - still a record at UA. Only three times in his three-year career did he fail to score in double figures. Three times Fenton was named All-Ohio Conference, and twice to the All-Ohio honor squad and he earned honorable mention All-American as a junior and senior.

  • Jim Gerber

Basketball 1977

A product of West High School, this talented athlete became a three-time All-Ohio and All-Mid American cager at Bowling Green University. As a sophomore he scored 458 points, then topped that the following season (1952-53) with 555 points. The latter season the Falcons earned a National Invitational Tournament bid and Gerber a spot on the NIT All-Tournament team with a 39 points effort against Western Kentucky. Gerber still holds the BG three-year scoring record, posting a 19.4 average, and was the fifth all-time high scorer in the school's history. His coach at BG, Harold Anderson, paid him the highest compliments when he said, "I've had a lot of great players - including Chuck Share, Don and Mac Otten and Bob Gerber - but Jim was the best of them all."

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