David B. Albright
Wittenberg University, has over many decades built an exceptional athletic tradition due to the fine talents of athletes such as Dave Albright. Albright enrolled at Wittenberg in 1936 and, among his many activities, joined the Tiger basketball squad under Coach William Stobbs. All four years that Dave played and lettered the Tigers were winners, including 19-7 and the best record in the Ohio Conference in 1937-38 and 17-5 as a junior. As captain of the 1939-40 team, Albright was voted the Tigers' Most Valuable Player and was named first team All-Ohio Conference at guard. Later the native of Youngstown played in the industrial league for White Motor in Cleveland.
Track & Field, Basketball 1979
Bill Heideman was a three-sport star a Akron Kenmore who first enrolled at Ohio State but transferred to Akron U after one semester. At UA he lettered three years each in basketball and track. However, it was in track that Heideman excelled. Under the tutelage of Head Coach Tom Evans, the versatile Heideman led the Zip thinclads to an unbeaten 23-0, three-year record, three Ohio Conference Championships (1961, '62, '63) and two NCAA Mideast Regional Titles (1962, '63). Enroute, Heideman led UA in scoring each season to become the school's all-time high point scorer in track history - 323 3/4 points in the OC Championship to earn the Sterling Geesman Award as the MVP of the event. That same season he ran a 1:50 clocking in the All-Ohio 880 run, which remains as the current school standard and scored 13 points to lead the Zips to the Mideast Regional Crown. Needless to say, Heideman was selected Athlete of the Year in both 1962 and 1963.
After winning the Firestone Tournament of Champions in 1970, Don Johnson announced to the world that Akron was now his official home. It was while in Akron that he entered his prime as a top-notch bowler. In 1971, while earning a career high of $81,349, Don won six Professional Bowlers Association(PBA) titles. That year he edged out Johnny Petraglia for Sporting News' PBA Bowler of the Year by virtue of picking up the difficult 6-7-10 split to win the Brunswick World Open. The following year he was the PBA Tours leading money earner $56,648, won the Brunswick World Open again and was also named Sporting News' PBA Bowler of the Year. Both in 1971 and '72, Don maintained the highest average on the tour, 213.977 and he left Akron in 1976. Don won at least one PBA title. In fact the Kokomo, Indiana, native won 26 PBA titles during his career and at least one each year from 1966 to 1977.
At the age of 17, Bill Mazeroski became a professional baseball player when he signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The year was 1954, the same year the Wheeling, W. Va. native moved with his parents to Barberton. After two and a half seasons in the minor leagues, Mazeroski was called up with Pittsburgh in 1956. For the next 17 seasons, Mazeroski, one of the finest fielding second basemen ever to play baseball, was a fixture in the Pirates infield. He was selected to the National League All-Star team seven times. In 1960 he was named the Sporting News Major League Player of the Year as well as the Babe Ruth Award as the outstanding player in the World Series. His lead-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the 1960 World Series gave the Pirates a 10-9 win over the New York Yankees for the World Championship. He still owns six Major League records, including most double plays by a second baseman in a career (1,706), and five other National League marks. He retired as and active player in 1972.
He parlayed his football talents at Fort Wayne, Ind. Central as a stepping stone to get him into Notre Dame. There as an Irish gridder Steve Sitko performed during the 1937 through '39 seasons for Head Coach Elmer Layden of "Four Horsemen" fame. Sitko, a quarterback, helped the Irish compile a 6-2-1 record in 1937 and 8-1 season in 1938 when the Irish were national champions. While winning seven of nine games in 1939, Sitko played well enough to earn All-American honors and play in both the East- West Shrine Game and the 1940 College All-Star in Chicago. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company brought Steve to Akron in 1941 where he played basketball for the Wingfoots. In later years, Sitko helped reorganize the Bantam Football League, where he coached Hall of Famer Tom Pagna.
One of the outstanding gridders produced by Harry Kidder at St. Mary High School, this Barberton, Ohio native went on to become one of the best players to ever perform at Northwestern University under Hall of Famer Ara Paraseghian. As a Wildcat gridder stock played fullback, linebacker and defensive back from 1958 to 1960. He earned All-Big Ten honors in 1959, when he led the League in scoring, and again in 1960, as well as UPI and Kodak American Football Coaches Associations All-American distinction in 1960. Mike was co-captain of Northwestern’s 1959 and '60 football teams. In 1960-61 Mike was selected on the All-Scholastic Big Ten and All-American teams, voted Northwestern's Athlete of the Year and was co-captain of the North squad in the North-South game. After graduating in 1961, Mike entered the coaching profession and presently is head coach at Eastern Michigan.
Walker joined Coach Russ Beichly and The University of Akron in the 1942 season fresh out of East High. While at East, he was a member of the famous "Cinderella Kids" that annexed the city crown. At the end of the 1944 season, Walker got the call from Uncle Sam and spent 2-1/2 years in the Army. Bobby re-entered UA and played on the 1947-50 teams. Relegated to the sixth man in the 1947 opener against Baldwin-Wallace, Walker entered the game in the fourth quarter, hit five of six shots, scored 12 points to insure a 63-54 victory. They never left Walker out of the lineup again. He earned All-Ohio Conference honors and was named UA's Most Valuable Player in 1948-49 as Akron captured the Ohio Conference Championship. And despite being outscored by his teammate Hank Vaughn for three seasons, he got some measure of revenge as he ended up with 1055 career points, 14 better than Hank. That total, in 1950, ranked Walker second in the all-time scoring list behind another Hall of Famer, Fritz Nagy.
Despite a bout with polio as a six year old, Gary showed an amazing amount of prowess-winning his first titles as a Pee-Wee golfer in 1956,1958, and 1959. At age 16 Gary captured the Akron Boys championship at Good Park and repeated a year later in 1964. In 1967, and again in '68 and 70', Artz won the Beacon Journal ADGA match play championship. He entered Ohio State and lettered from 1966-69 on the Buckeye golf team - earning All-Big Ten honors as a senior. From 1969-72 he won the Ohio State Men's Amateur Championship (1969), qualified for the U.S. Amateur (1971-72), qualified for the U.S. Open (1969) and captured the Akron District Medal Play Championship (1970 and '72). At the age of 32, Gary Artz became one of the youngest inductees into the Hall of Fame.