2001 inductees

  • Mark J. Bodnar
    Basketball 2001

Of course, it's inevitable that Mark Bodnar and twin brother Marty would be compared with one another on many occasions. Both played highly instrumental roles as Barberton won the Ohio Div. I basketball championship in 1976, and they were teammates for four seasons at Michigan, first for head coach Johnny Orr and later for Bill Frieder. Then in 1987 the brothers entered Barberton's Hall of Fame together. But Mark clearly established his own set of credentials as an athlete. During his freshman season he helped the Wolverines beat Michigan State and Magic Johnson with a 30-foot jumper at the buzzer. In his senior season, Mark led a comeback win in Coach Frieder's first game, scoring seven points in a Wolverine late-game rally over Eastern Michigan. That same season, Mark helped Michigan go undefeated in non-conference play as the Wolverines rolled to a 9-0 record that included wins over Kansas on the Jayhawks' court, Arkansas and Dayton. In Big 10 play, Mark converted three free throws in the final 13 seconds to seal a victory over Isaiah Thomas and eventual NCAA champion Indiana. Michigan went 19-11, and earned a National Invitation Tournament berth in that 1980-81 season. During the Bodnar years in Maize and Blue, the Wolverines also posted won-lost records of 16-11, 15-12, and 17-13. Mark's 3.3 GPA in economics his senior year earned him NCAA Academic All-America third-team honors. Today Mark Bodnar, 42, is a financial planner with AXA Advisors, Inc. Mark and his wife Julie have two children, Marissa and Bo, and reside in Cincinnati.

  • Richard Carter Scott
    Basketball 2001

The cover of the January 22, 1979 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine told it all. Carter Scott is driving the lane, launching a high-flying, defense-splitting move in an upset of Illinois that had become so familiar to Barberton High School and Ohio State basketball fans. Late in that Illini game Scott blocked a shot, made his signature lay-up, created a jump-ball situation and then controlled the tip to help send the game into overtime. At Barberton, Scott had teamed with twins Mark and Marty Bodnar to lead the Magics to a state title in 1976. He parlayed that outstanding high school career into a scholarship to Ohio State where he continued his excellent play while lettering from 1977-81 for Eldon Miller. Scott adapted quickly to the college game, starting in nine games as a freshman and then in 77 of the 86 games in his last three seasons. That freshman campaign he helped the Buckeyes finish fourth in the National Invitational Tournament and then as a junior he was instrumental in OSU earning a berth in the 1980 NCAA I Tournament where it lost in the second round. Scott would be voted captain and be accorded second team All-Big 10 Conference as a senior, closing out a career in which he netted 1073 points and his 326 assists he dished out ranked him ninth on OSU's career list. A career-high 10 assists came against Illinois in 1979 and during his final season he hit 12 of 13 field goal attempts against Minnesota for another career highlight. The San Francisco Warriors drafted Scott, but he broke an arm one week before practices began and never returned to the pro game. He was inducted into the Barberton Hall of Fame in 1987. Now 42, Scott is a counselor for Family First in Stockton, CA.

  • Susan Lilley-Nevar
    Coach 2001

Her playing and coaching record bears out the fact that the retired Kent State University coach was always familiar with winning. Sue Lilley-Nevar's coaching career resulted in her becoming the all-time most winning softball coach in Kent State history. In 11 seasons between 1986-96, she coached Kent's Golden Flashes to 289 wins, an average of more than 26 victories a season. She had 219 losses and one game ended in a tie. Lilley-Nevar experienced a coaching career high in 1990 when her Flashes won 43 of 52 games, went 20-4 against Mid-American Conference competition, won the Mid-American Conference title, defeated Ohio State in the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Buckeyes' home field, and advanced to the NCAA Softball World Series at Oklahoma City. To top off the season, Lilley-Nevar was named 1990 Midwest Region Coach of the Year. A 1976 graduate of Copley High, Lilley-Neva's outstanding amateur softball play helped her to become the first Ohio female high school athlete to earn a college softball scholarship when she signed with Indiana University. She lettered in both softball and volleyball player for the Hoosiers between 1977-1980, winning the Big 10 softball batting title in 1979 and then led IU to the Big 10 title and the NCAA Softball College World Series finals in 1980. As a result Sue earned ASA All-America honors as a shortstop. She served assistant coaching stints at Texas A&M and Ohio State before accepting the Kent position in 1986. The mother of two children, Lilley-Nevar and her husband, Robert, makes their home in Murfreesboro, TN.

  • Greg Morton
    Football 2001

When Akron Central High School and Hower Vocational merged to form Central-Hower in 1971 Greg Morton was the new school's first football player to earn a NCAA Division I scholarship. He joined Barberton native, SCSHOF Inductee and legendary head coach, Bo Schembechler, at Michigan. After sitting out his freshman year, Morton became an outstanding defensive tackle for the Wolverines from 1974-76. Despite being one of the smallest defensive linemen in the Big 10 at 6'2", 225 pounds, Morton helped the Big Blue compile season records of 10-1 in 1974, 8-2-2 in '75 and 10-2 in '76. In 1975 Morton led Michigan with 107 tackles, including 16 for 48 yards in losses. His performance earned Morton and Pittsburgh's Tony Dorsett NCAA Player of the Year honors from the ABC television sportscasters. "He's super quick, reacts like a cat and is surprisingly strong," praised Schembechler, who continued, "he's the quickest and most aggressive tackle in America." That junior campaign also saw Morton get nine tackles in the 22-0 victory over Ohio State for the Big-10 title. Michigan earned an Orange Bowl berth in 1976 and a Rose Bowl bid in '77, but unfortunately lost both games, 14-6, to Oklahoma and Southern Cal, respectively. The Buffalo Bill's of the National Football League drafted Morton where he played two seasons before giving up the game for good. Today he serves as a chief probation officer in Fort Worth, TX.

  • Frank Lupica
    Coach 2001

He built up an extreme loyalty while attending Akron St. Mary elementary and high school for 11 years. When the call went out in 1964 for a basketball coach for the school's CYO team, Frank Lupica, although lacking any coaching experience, answered the call. A freshman business student at The University of Akron, Lupica's team won its first five games, got into the Akron City playoffs before losing in the championship. It was a story reminiscent of another Hall of Famer, Mox Engler, the "boy wonder coach" who guided St. Mary High to Akron's first Ohio basketball championship in 1929. Lupica changed his major to education and after graduating was hired as the junior varsity basketball at Walsh Jesuit in 1970. Four years later he became head basketball coach and will begin his 28th season this fall with an overall record of 365 wins and 212 losses. His teams have captured nine Akron Sectional and two District Championships and his 1995-96 squad was a Regional finalist. However, his most memorable team, the 1986-87 unit, gave him UPI Ohio Coach of the Year honors and his only undefeated regular season, 20-0. He also grabbed Summit County Coach of the Year in 1982, '86 and '97. Lupica has had even greater success as the Warrior's golf coach where in 11 seasons he has accumulated four state championships (1990, '91, '96, '97) and one state runner-up (1993). Included in his unbelievable 200-12 overall record is 111 consecutive wins and five undefeated teams. He and his wife, Diane, reside in Munroe Falls.

  • D. Michael Hargrove
    Baseball, Coach 2001

His given name is Dudley Michael Hargrove, but to baseball fans every-where he is better known as Mike Hargrove. He is revered by all fans of the Cleveland Indians for taking over as manager of "The Ugly Stepchild of Baseball" and making the team into winners. A mid-season replacement in 1991 for John McNamara, the native of Texas started slow as the Indians only won 32 of 85 games en route to the franchise's worst season (57-105) in a century of baseball history. His breakthrough came in the strike-shortened 1993 campaign as Cleveland had its first winning season (66-47) since the previous strike-shortened season of 1981 (52-51). He would go onto manage the Indians to five consecutive Central Division titles, two American League Championships and into the World Series in 1995 and '97. The Sporting News named Hargrove, who posted a nine-season mark 721-591 with the Indians, American League Manager of the Year in 1995 after leading the Tribe to a 100-44 record and its first pennant in 41 years. His professional baseball career began in 1972 with the Texas Rangers and two years later he was on the teams' major league roster. He spent five years with Texas before being traded to San Diego and then to Cleveland in 1979 where for six seasons he was a fixture at first base for the Tribe. Mike, who was an American League All-Star in 1975, compiled a lifetime .290 batting average over 12 seasons before hanging it up as an active player in 1985. He excelled in baseball, football and basketball at his alma mater, Northwest Oklahoma State, and is an inductee in the University's, the NAIA's and the Texas Panhandle's Sports Halls of Fame. Hargrove was manager of the Baltimore Orioles from 2000 thru 2003 which brought his overall managerial record to 996-963. He and his wife, Sharon, continue to call Northeast Ohio their home, residing in Richfield.

  • Jack Wilson
    Bowling 2001

 The Philippine Islands hold a special place in Jack Wilson's life. It was here that in 1979 he enjoyed an once-in-a-lifetime experience bowling in the Federation Internationale des Quilliers (FIQ), ninth World Bowling Championships in Manila. Wilson won a silver medal in the three-team event and finished 10th in the individual overall competition, the highest finish by an American man. This finish qualified him to represent the U.S. in the Americas zone competition in Miami where he placed third against a world-class field. Wilson qualified for the FIQ event by finishing second in a field of 33 bowlers at the U. S. Team Trials that year in Milwaukee. He was eligible to be in the field because of his doubles victory that year at the American Bowling Congress (ABC) competition in Tampa. He teamed with another Hall of Famer, Mike Turnbull, to capture the two-man national title. Following in the footsteps of many top national bowlers from the Akron area, Wilson was named to the Beacon Journal All-Star team in 1980. In the 1983 City Tournament, he and Turnbull again teamed up to finish second with a 1,301 total. During the '80's Wilson always carried a plus 200 average with his tops being 237. He has shot eight 300 games and five 800 series. But his crowning achievement was in 1988 when he fired games of 278, 299 and 298 for an 875 series. That was tops in the state and held up for a number of years. The 47-year old Wilson is also involved in coaching and umpiring in Cuyahoga Falls Little League. Wilson, who recently took early retirement from Ameritech, and his wife, Debra, have two grown children and live in the Falls.

  • Paul Winters
    Football 2001

It is said that a super athlete makes an appearance about every 10 years. Paul Winters, who lettered three years in football (1977-79) and one year in track (1980) at The University of Akron, surely qualifies as one of those super athletes. Under the guidance of Head Coach Jim Dennison, Winters' performance helped the Zips compile three consecutive winning seasons. He established himself as the number one tailback as a sophomore and then led UA in rushing his final two years. The 6-0, 180 pound Winters saved his best for his senior campaign, topping the Zips in rushing in all 11 games. In the season-opening 24-7 win over Western Illinois he rushed for career high 189 yards on 36 carries. Then in his final collegiate game, 27-16 victory over Eastern Illinois he bettered those previous highs by accumulating 200 yards rushing with a UA record-breaking 48 carries. With that latter effort Winters became UA's all-time leading single season rusher with 1,298 yards and was third on the career list with 2,613 yards. That individual effort earned him his third "Doc" Smith Award as the outstanding player in his class, the Most Valuable Offensive Player Award, UA's Athlete of the Year for 1979-80 and Honorable Mention All-America honors from the Associated Press. In 1980 Winters earned his UA degree in business and from 1982-85 he was on Dennison's football staff. Later he would coach at Toledo and at Wisconsin. Winters was inducted as a member of the 1989 class into UA's Sports Hall of Fame. Since 1994 Winters has served as offensive coordinator under Zips Head Football Coach Lee Owens. Earlier this year, the National Football Foundation chose Winters as Assistant Coach of the Year. He and his wife, Nancy, are the parents of one son and three daughters and reside in Stow.

  • Mark S. Claire
    Football 2001

There was little doubt of what college Mark Claire was headed following graduation from Tallmadge High School in 1975. Both of his parents, Chet and Hilda, are alumni and as a result Mark was exposed early in life to Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA. It proved to be an excellent match for Mark, who would go on to have an outstanding football career at Westminster, one that would get him voted onto the school's All-Time Football Team in 1987. During his four-year career, the Titans compiled a record of 33 wins, four losses and two ties. In 1976, while winning 10 of 11 games, and in 1977, during an 11-0 campaign, Claire was a big influence as the Titans captured the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II national championships. The Titan defense limited opponents to only six points per game those two seasons and the '77 team was voted the Lambert Trophy, symbolic of football supremacy in the East. As a freshman Claire was at tight end, however, Head Coach Joe Fusco switched him to defensive tackle in 1976. The switch suited the 6'2", 210 pound Claire extremely well as he compiled 278 solo tackles, 103 assisted tackles, 40 tackles-for-loss, batted down six passes, blocked one punt and recovered three fumbles during his career. Claire's play earned him first team berths on the NAIA All-America team in both 1977 and '78. Claire is now a resident of Bradenton, FL and teaches science at Harllee Middle School.

  • Michael L. Birkbeck·

Baseball 2001

Without a doubt, Mike Birkbeck is The University of Akron's most successful professional baseball player. A native of Orrville, Birkbeck joined the Milwaukee Brewer's organization in 1983 after completing four outstanding seasons for UA. The right-handed pitcher was called up to the parent club in 1986. His best of the four seasons with the Brewers was in 1988 when he compiled a 10-8 win-loss mark. Despite being plagued by various injuries, Birkbeck's professional career, which included a brief pitching assignment with the New York Mets in 1992 and stops with the Cleveland and Atlanta organizations, did not end until September 1996. At UA from 1980-83, Birkbeck, who also played first base, hit .367, 25 home runs, had a .496 on base average and compiled 24 pitching wins during his career. The latter two marks are, through 2001, still the standards to beat. In 1982 Birkbeck had a 9-2 pitching mark and blasted 10 home runs to earn Player of the Year honors in the Ohio Valley Conference, first team All-East and became the first and only UA player to make All-America with a third team berth. A year later he would hit for a career high .413 average to repeat as the OVC's Player of the Year. Birkbeck was voted onto the OVC's All-Time Baseball Team in 1989, inducted into the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, the UA Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2001. Currently the pitching coach at Kent State, Birkbeck resides in Canton, OH with his wife, Suzanne, and son, John.

  • Martin James Bodnar·

Basketball 2001

A big part of Marty Bodnar's formative years involved basketball. There were those wondrous times as he and brother Mark, and Carter Scott, guided Barberton to the heights of Ohio high school basketball, winning a state title as juniors in 1976. Marty and Mark played alongside each other for four seasons and then took turns starring at Michigan. Those basketball exploits helped Marty and Mark earn enshrinement in the Barberton Hall of Fame in 1987. As a Wolverine sophomore he scored 18 points and made an assist on an 15-foot buzzer beater that led to a victory over Northwestern; scored a lay-up as time expired to beat No. 8 Illinois; and tossed in a 22-footer as the final gun sounded to beat Indiana. He highlighted his junior season when he scored 12 points and sank two decisive free throws with 58 seconds on the clock to lead Michigan to a victory over No. 16 Marquette. As a senior, Marty sank two free throws with 14 seconds to play in a win over Dayton and hit a 20 footer with five seconds on the clock to defeat Minnesota in double overtime. In addition, he turned in a scintillating defensive effort against Isaiah Thomas and made two free throws in the final minute to help UM defeat Indiana; and lofted a left-handed lay-up with two seconds left in overtime to beat Michigan State. In the classroom, Marty compiled a 3.58 GPA in economics and earned first team on both the Big 10 and the national CoSIDA Academic All-America teams. Marty, who is director of ticket sales for UM, and his wife, Renee, have two children, Rachel and Jacob, and make their home in Saline, MI.

  • Eugene Thomas·

Football 2001

This former three-sport North High School athlete and Akron native parlayed an excellent two-way career at Florida A & M into professional football with the Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League. Fortunately, Eugene Thomas' rookie season, as primarily a blocking back, proved to be the highlight of his professional football career. The year was 1966 and the Chiefs captured the AFL Championship before going down to defeat to the Vince Lombardi-coached Green Bay Packers, 35-10, in the first Super Bowl. Thomas now joins Green Bay linebacker Dave Robinson and Miami Dolphin fullback Larry Csonka as the only Super Bowl participants in the SCSHOF. Thomas' playing days with the Chiefs ended the next year when he was traded to the Boston Patriots where he finished his pro career in 1968. He then settled in Kansas City where he died in 1993 at the age of 50. At Florida A & M under the legendary coach A.S. "Jake" Gaither from 1963 to 1965, the 6-2, 210 pound Thomas was in the offensive backfield with "Bullet" Bob Hayes, the Olympic 100 meter gold medal winner, and was also a defensive back. During his three-year college career, the Rattlers record was 24 -6 and the wire services selected A & M as the small college national champions in 1964 with a 9-1 record. Thomas' personal stats increased each year. In 1963 he averaged 3.5 yards per carry; in '64 it went to 6.5 and in his senior year he averaged a whopping 15.5 yards and led the team with nine touchdowns. His collegiate career came to an end when he played in the annual Blue-Gray game in 1965.