Stanley J. Najeway
From the high school basketball courts of Western Pennsylvania, through that area’s tough independent leagues, to the challenges of the Southern Conference, Stan Najeway excelled wherever he played. He starred on the 1942 Arnold (PA) High School team that won the Western Pennsylvania championship and was most valuable player on the 1943 squad. Najeway later played independent basketball for the New Kensington (PA) Falcons, and in eight tournaments, Najeway made the all-tournament team each time, was high scorer in four and the most valuable player in three. At Wake Forest University he was a four-year starter. He made the All-Southern Conference and All-North Carolina teams from 1949 to 1951 and was selected one of the 10 Outstanding Players in the South in 1951 along with such standouts as Dick Groat of Duke, Bill Spivey of Kentucky and Mark Workman of West Virginia. In college Najeway was described as "a player without weakness unless it is reluctance to take set shots. He is essentially a hook shot artist gifted at whirling out of a pivot and sinking the ball with sweeping sidearm propulsion . . . with either hand." Najeway was a 40-minute player who was strong on defense and effective at making the breaks which started the Wake Forest offense. Following graduation in 1951, he played one season for the Goodyear Wingfoots before a back injury ended his playing days. In 1988 Najeway was inducted into the Allegheny-Kiski (PA) Sports Hall of Fame.
Jeffrey A. Janiga
Without a doubt, purple and white runs in the bloodstream of Jeff Janiga. A product of Barberton Little League, Babe Ruth baseball and Highland Junior High sports, he went on to start three years at guard for Hall of Fame Coach Jack Greynolds and three years as a shortstop in baseball. Janiga left Barberton long enough to earn his degree in education at Kent State University before returning to his alma mater in 1978 as a teacher and assistant coach in football, basketball and baseball. One year later he accepted the challenge of coaching the Lady Magics basketball team which he guided to the state finals in his rookie year. Janiga¹s proudest moment as a coach came in 1983 when his team topped the final UPI state poll. The Lady Magics won 27 consecutive games before bowing to Shelby in the state final. Janiga¹s performance earned him UPI Ohio Coach of the Year honors. Ironically, Kelly Stacey, who played for Janiga from 1984-87, is also being inducted this evening. Janiga was voted Summit County Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1994 and the Akron Touchdown Club voted him Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1990. He ended a distinguished career in 1997 with a record of 347 wins and 100 losses. During Janiga¹s 19-year tenure he guided the Lady Magics to three Metro League Championships, 13 sectional titles, seven district titles, two regional championships and twice was runner-up in the state finals. He was just the 12th coach in Ohio high school girl¹s basketball to pass the 300 victory mark. In 1991 Janiga was inducted into the Barberton Sports Hall of Fame.
Robert M. MacFarland, Jr.
In the early 1970¹s, Bob MacFarland answered a challenge and promptly issued one of his own to begin what has been a dynasty in high school volleyball. As a result he becomes the first of his sport to be inducted into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame. A teacher at Stow High School, MacFarland was approached by the girls basketball team looking for a replacement for its coach who had quit. MacFarland accepted on the condition that those players would also play on Stow¹s volleyball team. Over the next 26 years, MacFarland and his talented athletes would produce nothing but winning teams. Going into the 1998 season, he had compiled a record of 532 victories against only 92 losses, and is now one of only two coaches in the state to have amassed more than 500 wins. MacFarland has led the Bulldogs to 10 state Final Four appearances and captured state championships in 1975, ‘81, ‘90 and ‘92. Twice Stow has been state runner-up, including 1997. The Bulldogs have been league champs or co-champs in all but three seasons and more than 50 of MacFarland¹s players have earned college scholarships. MacFarland has been voted coach of the year numerous times, including Ohio High School Coach of the Year in 1987, and was inducted into the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1989. He also has been at the forefront of amateur volleyball in the area, operating a highly successful Junior Olympic development program for 30 years and in 1991 he co-founded the Northeast Ohio Volleyball Association.
Frank "Pep" Wahl
His introduction to weightlifting was similar to thousands of other youngsters across America in the 1960s. “I started lifting weights with a 110-pound set in my basement,” “Pep” Wahl recalled. But unlike many adolescents, whose barbells ended up in a dusty corner awaiting a garage sale, Wahl never really stopped lifting. “The bug hit me early,” he said. Wahl lifted while attending Hoban High School, where he played on the golf team. He lifted while working on his philosophy degree at The University of Akron. He lifted when managing at Firestone tire store in Akron for six years. Finally, in June of 1979, Wahl turned his hobby into a career, opening the Body Building Gym on East Tallmadge Avenue in Akron. Three years later, this self-taught weightlifter and coach would lead a team to the first of eight Ohio powerlifting championships. Wahl’s reputation spread quickly, and soon he was attracting some of top powerlifters from northeast Ohio to his gym. At one time, Wahl had a dozen “elite” lifters under his wing, men such as Akron’s Jim Finch, a multiple Ohio champion and 1985 national runner-up at 148 pounds. Wahl’s most accomplished pupil, however, was Stark County’s Dave Jacoby, who was an eight-time national champion and five-time world champion between 1984 and ’92. Jacoby was inducted into this Hall of Fame in 1995. Wahl’s expertise has not been limited to competitive weightlifters. Among the hundreds of athletes who have passed through his gym’s doors were professional football players Mike Fox, Doug Marsh, and Chris Spielman; former pro baseball player Josh Zwisler; track and football standout Nate Riles; and NCAA national wrestling champion Markus Mollica. Wahl also has been a leader in many of the governing organizations of his sport, serving as chairman of the National Physique Committee, regional chairman for the U. S. Powerlifting Federation, and Ohio chairman for the North America Body Builders Association.
Michael G. Turnbull
For nearly 20 years, Mike Turnbull has been collecting bowling trophies in the Greater Akron area and throughout the state for his triumphs on the bowling lanes. His greatest accomplishment in the sport came in 1979, when he teamed with Jack Wilson to win the American Bowling Congress (ABC) National Doubles Championships in Tampa, FL. It was the highlight of a series of victories on the lanes by the Tallmadge electrician. Turnbull¹s career numbers tell the story for the Akron native: high season average of 234, high three-game series of 856, which included back-to-back 300 games, 34 perfect games and 23 series of 800 or better. Twice Turnbull has been Akron Men’s Bowling Association all events champion and teamed with Dean Billings twice to capture the doubles title. Turnbull has been Akron Open singles champion twice, joined with Billings to take the doubles champion three times and in 1988 won the Stark County Masters Tournament. In the Ohio Mayor Federation competition, Turnbull won four singles titles and two doubles championships which earned him nominations to the tournament all-star teams five times. Bowling is not the only sport in which he has excelled. In his younger days he came out of the highly successful wrestling program at Akron North High School to earn four letters at The University of Akron. As a senior he finished fourth in the 158-pound class to earn All-America honors at the 1974 NCAA College Division Championships, ending his collegiate career with 43 wins, three losses and three draws.
Kelly M. Stacey
It is not often that an injury proves to be beneficial for an athlete, however, when it happened to Kelly Stacey, it did. A knee injury in 1985, prior to Stacey’s junior year on the Barberton High School basketball team, caused Ohio State and several other NCAA Division I schools to back-off their recruiting efforts of the 5-11 center. Up stepped Coach Vicki Staton of Washington & Jefferson, who looked beyond the injury. Staton’s gamble in recruiting Stacey proved to be Ohio State’s loss and W & J’s gain. On Coach Staton’s office wall was a picture of Cindy Kelly, W & J’s all-time leading scorer with 1517 points. Stacey, who quickly became a starter under Staton, set her sights on that record. In fact, she attacked it with a vengeance, scoring a school record 431 points as a freshman. As a sophomore Stacey averaged 21.4 points a game to better her previous record with 450 points and also paced the Lady Presidents with a career high 8.3 rebounds. The Barberton native then topped that scoring mark with 452 points the following season. As a result of her performance in 1989-90, Stacey became the first woman cager at Washington & Jefferson to be named to the District Kodak All-American team. She began her senior season of 1990-91 needing 185 points to become her school¹s all-time men’s and women’s scoring champion. Stacey reached that goal and then some, netting 433 points for a career mark of 1766 points. In one game she connected for 40 points and another W & J record. Stacey culminated her outstanding career as a four-time first team selection in the President’s Athletic Conference and was the PAC’s leading scorer in 1988, ‘89, ‘90.
Michael K. Clark
When Mike Clark was a freshman he was asked to write down his career football goals. He wrote down that he wanted to be the best tailback ever at The University of Akron. That is exactly what the 5-9, 175 pound Clark became during his three seasons. Clark had his doubters who said he was not big enough or fast enough, however, those individuals underestimated the size of Clark¹s heart. It did not start well for the freshman from Cleveland St. Joseph High School who did not touch the football in 1983. Instead, he watched senior James Black run the ball 351 times for 1568 yards. The determined Clark succeeded Black in the Zip backfield, earning first team All-Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) honors and Associated Press (AP) honorable mention All-America, as he had a team-leading 1,172 yards rushing. He repeated those same honors in 1985 by compiling 1,471 yards rushing. Clark saved his best performance for his senior campaign. Voted team captain, the Jackson, MS native ran for an OVC and UA record-breaking 1,786 yards to rank him number two in the NCAA I AA. Clark is the only UA back to ever rush for over a 1,000 yards for three seasons and is the only Zip gridder to be named first team All-OVC three times. His 1986 performance earned him the OV’s Offensive Player of the Year Award and first team All-America by the AP. All told, Clark rushed for 4,429 career yards, gained over 100 yards in 24 of his 33 career games and established 12 new UA records and two NCAA marks. Needless to say, Clark was voted UA’s Male Athlete of the Year for 1986-87 and was a 1996 inductee into UA’s Sports Hall of Fame.