1999 inductees

  • Harry J. Welch
    Football 1999

Not too many athletes can brag that they played football with two of the country’s top football programs, but Harry Welch can. A halfback who excelled on defense, Welch first attended the University of Notre Dame where he played on Coach Frank Leahy’s 1949 freshman football squad. However, he heeded the advice of his uncles in California to “Come West, Young Man,” and one year later Welch was enrolled at the University of Southern California. The Irish’s loss was the Trojan’s gain. The product of Kenmore High School went on to earn two letters as a defensive back with SC. His play and that of teammate Frank Gifford helped the Trojans win seven of 10 games in 1951. Welch then capped his collegiate career in grand fashion as SC compiled 10-1 campaign to capture the 1952 Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) title. It earned the Trojans a short trip to Pasadena for an encounter with Big Ten champion Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. With one pass interception and a crucial fourth down pass break-up at the goal line with 24 seconds remaining, Welch helped the Trojans record a 7-0 victory. It was the PCC’s first win over a Big 10 team in the Rose Bowl classic. Welch was signed to an NFL contract by the green Bay Packers, but injuries to both ankles in training camp ended his professional football aspirations. Back in Akron, Welch was one of the top area amateur golfers throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. All told, he won 17 Akron District Golf Association events, including seven father-son championships with his dad, Howe, a 1964 SCSHOF inductee.

  • Rich Rollins
    Baseball 1999

As an ex-major league baseball player, Rich Rollins is an excellent example for all those athletes who are told that they don't have what it takes to excel. "When I played at Kent," Rollins told the Akron Beacon Journal in a 1991 interview, "all I heard was what I couldn't do - I couldn't run, I couldn't field, I couldn't hit a curve, I wasn't big enough and I had no position." Rollins' critics were wrong on all counts. All the Parma native did at Kent State was log one of the finest careers in the Golden Flashes' proud baseball history. He was a three-time All-Mid-American Conference first team selection (1958-60) at second base and batted .383 for his career, second in KSU history to Hall of Famer Thurman Munson (.390). Rollins' best season at Kent was 1959 when he hit .429. Just one year after leaving KSU, Rollins was playing in the major leagues. He signed a free agent contract with the Washington Senators franchise, which was moved to Minnesota. Rich made his big-league debut with the Twins in June 1961, and by the beginning of the 1962 season he was the Twins' starting third baseman. He spent eight seasons with the Twins, his best year being 1963 when he batted .307 with 16 home runs and 61 runs batted in. In 1964, Rollins led the American League in triples with 10 (who said he couldn't run?), and in 1965 he played in the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over his 10-year career Rollins, who also played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians and the Seattle Pilots, had a career average of .269 and totaled 887 hits, 77 home runs and had 399 RBI. Rollins was inducted into the KSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1977.

  • Rudy Libertini
    Football 1999

This inductee, who is thankful that he got a second chance, is one of last of a breed, the 60-minute man in football. Rudy Libertini, a product of Cleveland South High School, was a candidate on the Kent State football team in 1950 that got discouraged and dropped out of school. Six months later he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Fortunately, Rudy was sent to Germany, rather than Korea, where he honed his football and baseball skills. He returned to KSU where he started at center on offense and inside linebacker on defense on Coach Trevor Rees' 1955, '56 and '57 teams. The 5-11, 180-pound Libertini excelled on defense and earned second team honors on both the All-Mid American Conference and All-Ohio teams in 1955 and '56 as the Golden Flashes compiled records of 6-2-1 and 7-2, respectively. In Libertini's memory, a 7-0 victory at Louisville was the highlight of that '56 campaign. In addition, Rudy was selected to Bud Wilkinson's Academic All-America squad of 1956. Despite being setback with injuries as a senior and team captain, Libertini was voted the Merle Waggoner Award, emblematic of KSU's Most Valuable Player, and was selected second team All-Ohio. Libertini also lettered three years in baseball where he played third base and earned MAC honorable mention honors in 1956 as well as a second team accolade in '57. A resident of Hudson, Libertini was voted into the KSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

  • Mark Klein
    Basketball 1999

Not only did Mark Klein lead the Malone College basketball team in scoring all four of his seasons from 1972 through '76, more significantly he helped establish a winning tradition that continues to this day. Prior to the early 1970s, the Pioneer cagers had only compiled three winning seasons. However, during Klein's career, in which he established 11 school records, Malone won 70 percent of its games, two Mid-Ohio Conference championships (1974, '75) and an NAIA District 22 championship (1975). Klein was the catalyst. The shooting guard netted 2,270 points, a record that lasted 16 years, for his career and averaged 20 points, four rebounds and 2.5 assists a game. Nicknamed "Money" due to his deadly shooting, Klein had a career single game high of 47 points and sank 54 percent of his field goal attempts and 80 percent of his free throws over his four seasons. During the1974-75 campaign he sank 26 consecutive field goals over a period of three games and 24 straight free throws over six games, which earned him recognition in Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd section. However, Klein's most memorable game came when he scored 41 points to help upset the NAIA's number one ranked Kentucky State cagers in the 1975 national quarterfinals. Klein's performance helped him become the tournament's top scorer with a 29.7 average. The former Norton High graduate earned second team All-America in 1975 and was a three-time first team selection on both the All-Mid-Ohio Conference and the NAIA District 22 teams. Malone retired Klein's uniform number in 1977 and 11 years later inducted him into the Malone Athletic Hall of Fame.

  • Dick Hemric
    Basketball 1999

 Nearly 45 years after graduating Ned Dickinson Hemric is still considered to be one of the all-time greatest basketball players, if not the greatest, to come out of Wake Forest University. Better known as Dick, he still holds six Deacon career records. Hemric scored 2,587 points from 1952 through '55 and averaged and unbelievable 17.3 rebounds over his 104-game career. His 1,359 career free throw attempts and 905 free throws made are NCAA records. In one 1954 game against Clemson, the 6-7 Hemric hauled down an amazing 36 missed shots. Needless to say, it still remains as the figure to surpass in the Deacon record book. The following season against Duke, the native of Jonesville, NC, made 20 of 26 free throws, both Wake Forest records. While on the way to earning All-America honors in 1953, Hemric led the Deacons to the Southern Conference basketball title before his school and six others broke away to form the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In 1954 and '55, the first two years of the fledgling conference, Hemric was voted the ACC Player of the Year honors. These accomplishments resulted in his jersey number 24 being retired by the Winston Salem, NC school, one of nine players to earn that honor in the 93 years of Wake Forest basketball. Hemric's illustrious college career drew the attention of the Boston Celtics where he joined Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Tom Heinsohn, Bill Sharman and Coach "Red" Auerbach on the 1956-57 NBA championship team. Following his pro career, Hemric, now retired and a North Canton resident, worked at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

  • Lee Gissendaner
    Football 1999

Stow High School graduate Lee Gissendaner has excelled on gridirons around the world. He played for the suburban Akron school, in the Big Ten, the Canadian Football League, and the World Football League. As a wide receiver and punt return specialist at Northwestern University from 1990 to 1993, he was selected Big Ten Most Valuable Player as a junior. Gissendaner finished first in the nation that year with a 21.8 yard punt return average. In pass receptions, he led the Big Ten with 846 yards on 68 catches. With a great display of versatility that year, Gissendaner scored six touchdowns on pass receptions, one rushing, one on a punt return and one on a kickoff return. In each of four games that season, he had more than 100 yards in receiving. Gissendaner lettered four years at the Evanston, Illinois university where he is the school’s all-time punt return leader, averaging nearly 15 yards, and is second in career receptions. Northwestern coach, Gary Barnett said, “Lee Gissendaner represents everything a football coach wants a football player to be. He’s the type of player who makes everyone around him better.” Following graduation he played for the Toronto Argonauts and was a member of the World League champion Scottish Claymores in 1966. He now works as a scout for the Green Bay Packers in a combine with 10 other NFL teams. Lee joins his father, 1991 inductee Fred Gissendaner, in the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame.

  • Judy Dickinson
    Golf 1999

Unquestionably, Judy Dickinson is the most successful female golfer to come out of Summit County. This Akron native's record speaks for itself. Judy, who worked in a bottling factory, as a mail carrier, as a groundskeeper and as a substitute teacher, before turning pro at 27, has been a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) since 1978. Despite the fact that she did not win her first tournament until 1985, she has earned $2.2 million during a 21-year career that currently ranks her 32nd on the all-time LPGA money list. That first win came at the Boston Five Classic. Her most proud moment on the golf course occurred that same year when Judy fired rounds of 64 and 65 to open the S&H Golf Classic at 15 under par. That 129 score was the 36-hole LPGA record until 1999 when Michelle McGann fired a 128. In 1986 Judy, known as the original "hat lady" on the tour because of her wide-brim hats, won twice, the Rochester International and SAFECO Classic. Judy carded her career low round of 63 in the third round of the SAFECO. Her last career win came in 1992 at the Inamori Classic in San Diego when she was the only player in the field to post four sub-par rounds. That year she also enjoyed the highest earnings of her career with $351,559. In 1990-92, Judy served as president of the LPGA and is most proud that she was instrumental in establishing the Smucker's Day Care and Child Development Center for the tour players and to rewrite the LPGA constitution that Judy said, " gave back to the players the right to run our own business." The mother of 10-year old twin boys, Brandon and Spencer, Judy credits her husband, the late golf pro Gardner Dickinson, and her father, Lawrence Green, with influencing her game.

  • David J. Brubach
    Coach 1999

For the first time in SCSHOF history, high school coaches are being honored strictly for the sport of wrestling. To its credit, in voting in Dave Brubach and Bill Barger, the SCSHOF has chosen two of the most successful coaches in the Akron area. In his 35-year career, Brubach has built an outstanding reputation as a winner, a builder of wrestling programs and a dedicated coach to youth wrestling in both Summit and Stark Counties. As a result, his peers voted him into the Summit County (1984) and the Stark County (1996) Wrestling Coaches Halls of Fame. Brubach credits Larry Dessart, a 1986 SCSHOF inductee, as the biggest influence of his coaching career. Dessart was Dave's gym teacher in grade school, his wrestling coach at Akron East High School, his referee at many of his matches during his four-year wrestling career at The University of Akron, and his mentor when he became the wrestling coach at Akron North High School. Fresh out of UA in 1963, Brubach was hired to start a wrestling program at North - and build a program he did. During his 17-year tenure with the Vikings, Brubach compiled a dual meet record of 135-41-4, winning nine City Series titles, two sectional titles and one district championship. He coached 18 state qualifiers, eight state medalists and had one state champion. In 1980 he moved to Massillon Jackson High School to take over a program that never had a state medalist. While compiling a record of 93-40-1 in nine seasons at Jackson, Brubach coached 17 state qualifiers, 10 state medalists and three state champions. Mike Funk, one of those champions, went on to become a four-time All-American at Northwestern University. The last nine years Dave has been developing young wrestlers at Jackson Middle School.

  • William H. Barger
    Coach 1999

If at first you don't succeed, come up with a better plan. This is probably a prime part of Bill Barger's coaching philosophy. In 1976 Barger was hired at Walsh Jesuit High School to develop a wrestling program. It was slow going at first, perhaps even at a snail's pace. In 1980, he finally coached his first state champion, 98-pound Don Horning. He had two more state champions in '81 and another in '82, but it wasn't enough to satisfy Barger. He felt there just wasn't the necessary quantity or quality of wrestler available to build a winning program. He left Walsh in 1984 to form a youth program with friends Joe Perrella and Perry Rienzi that they named the North Akron Wrestling Club. This partnership proved to be a very successful venture, providing a strong youth program that acts as a feeder into area high school wrestling programs to the present day. Barger returned to Walsh in 1987 and has built a nationally recognized program. His wrestlers have practically owned the Ohio Division I, capturing the titles on seven occasions, in 1991, '93 through '97, and 1999 and Walsh finished second in 1990 and '92. The 1994, '95 and '97 Warrior squads were voted number one in the nation by USA Today. As a result, Barger was selected High School Coach of the Year in 1994 and '97 by the National High School Wrestling Coaches Association and by USA Wrestling magazine. In the '90s alone, Barger has produced 27 state champions and the '95 team, with five champions, scored a record-breaking 203 points in winning the state title. Four of his wrestlers have gone on to earn All-America honors, including Mark Mollica, a two-time NCAA champion at Arizona State.

  • William Alford
    Official, Basketball 1999

It is a rare distinction to be doubly qualified for the SCSHOF, but Bill Alford fits the bill with excellent careers as a basketball player and a basketball official. The Farrell, PA native stayed in his home state when he decided to take his talents to Gannon College in Erie, where he was a four-year starter. His first season the 6-3 guard made an immediate impact by topping the Knights in scoring and into a berth in the 1961 NCAA Mideast Regional at The University of Akron's Memorial Hall. Although Alford couldn't play due to the NCAA's no freshmen rule, he was accorded honorable mention NAIA All-America honors. Alford would go on to become only the fourth player in Gannon history to surpass the 1,000-point mark. His 1,064 points helped the Knights compile a 66-30 record over his four seasons, including a 20-4 mark in 1963-64. In 1983, his alma mater made Alford a charter inductee into its hall of fame. Alford came to Akron in 1966 and three years later he embarked on a 28-year career as a high school basketball official. He quickly won the respect of coaches, administrators and his fellow officials. He would go on to work 15 boys' state championship games, more than any official from Northeast Ohio. In 1993, Alford was presented the District IV Official of the Year award from the Ohio Basketball Coaches Association and, three years later, he was the recipient of the State of Ohio Outstanding Official Award from the National Federation of Interscholastic Officials Association. In addition, Alford is a past president of the Greater Akron Basketball Officials Association and the Dapper Dan Club of Akron.

  • Suzanne Jones
    Bowling 1999

A Cuyahoga Falls High School graduate, Sue Jones has racked up an impressive list of honors on local and state lanes. She is a five-time member of the Ohio Women’s Bowling Association (WBA) Championship Teams (1992, 1993, 1995, 1996 and 1997). Her scores of 278-245-237 for a series total 760 played a major role in the 1995 victory. Jones and Debbie Rinella, a 1994 Summit County Sports Hall of Fame inductee, were second in the nation in 1994-95 with a two Women Team high scoring game of 560 in sanctioned competition. The team was also second in the nation in high series with a 1,483 to which Jones contributed a 721 score. In Akron area play, she has compiled a 200 or better average 12 consecutive seasons, with a 211 her best mark in the 1995-96 season. Jones has rolled nearly two dozen 700 series, including a best 782, and her highest single game is a 297, which she has accomplished several times. She competed on the Ladies Professional Bowling Tour where her best finish was 16th in a 1998 tournament. Locally Jones was the Akron area’s 1998 Bowler of the Year, was named to the Akron Women’s Bowling Association’s All-Star teams from 1992 through1998, was doubles champion in 1997 and was on championship teams in 1985 and 1998. Says one fellow bowler of Sue Jones, “she is always positive, always a lady, always cheering for her fellow bowlers and always supporting her membership organizations.”