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 2004 inductees

  • Don E. Padgett II
    Golf 2004

 He honed his golf skills in Indiana and his business and executive skills in the 24 years he served at Firestone Country Club, going from club pro to director of golf to general manager. Earlier this summer Don Padgett became president of Pinehurst, one of the most prestigious golf complexes in the U.S. He was quoted in a Beacon Journal story at the time as saying “I feel I grew from a young man to a man at Firestone. I had so many tremendous life experiences in Akron, Ohio. I could not have been in a better place. And to see Firestone in 1980 and to see what it is today is extremely rewarding.” It was in 1980 that Padgett had left Woodland Country Club in Carmel, IN to come to Firestone. To an already famous layout, the West Course was added while he was in charge. Padgett had an excellent college career at Indiana University. He was the Big 10 champion in 1969 and was a member the conference championship team in 1970, earning All-American honors both years. He was also the 1971 Indiana amateur champion and the following year Padgett won the Indiana Open. He repeated that victory in 1975, a banner year for Padgett, as he pulled off a rare fete by winning the state stroke, match play and the Jeffersonville Open tournaments as well. A member of the PGA for 28 years, Padgett played the tour in 1972, ‘73 and ‘74. He has played in 10 major championships, three U.S. Opens and seven PGA tournaments and made the cut in five. Padgett has been a member of four PGA Cup teams, became a two state champion when he won the 1988 Ohio Open. and is a four-time winner of the Northern Ohio PGA section championship. Padgett is a member of the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame, the Delaware County (IN) Sports Hall of Fame and the Northern Ohio PGA Hall of Fame.

  • Bruce Brubach
    Coach 2004

The Brubach name is synonymous with successful high school wrestling programs in Summit County. First there was Dave Brubach, who built wrestling powerhouses at Akron North High and Jackson High in Stark County, who was inducted into the SCSHOF in 1999. Now younger brother Bruce, who built winning programs at St. Vincent-St. Mary, Solon, and Cuyahoga Falls, becomes the third wrestling coach to enter the SCSHOF. Like brother, Dave, Bruce was influenced by two SCSHOF coaches of wrestling, Larry Dessart at Akron East High and by Andy Maluke during his four varsity seasons at The University of Akron. In his 40-year coaching career, which surpasses, Dessart, Maluke and Dave Brubach in longevity, Bruce has accumulated quite a list of accomplishments. At St. Vincent-St. Mary Bruce produced two City Series championship teams (1967 & ’69), two unbeaten teams (“69 & ’72) and dual meet victory streaks of 23 and 15. He has coached over 200 victories, had a city and sectional champion in every weight class and a district and state medalist in every weight class. His only Ohio champion was 138-pound Mike Blank in 1972 while at St.Vincent-St, Mary. However, Bruce, who also had a coaching stop at Sunnyslope High in Phoenix, AZ, ended his coaching career in 2003-04 by directing Spring Valley High of Columbia, SC to a ninth place finish in the state tourney, that included an undefeated state champion. Now retired and a resident of Chapin, SC, Bruce has also been involved with over 200 victories over 35 seasons as an assistant coach in football. His accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. He was inducted into the Summit County Wresting Coaches Hall of Fame in 1986 and taken in the halls of fame at Akron East High in 1999 and at St. Vincent- St. Mary in 2000.

  • Larry G. Montgomery
    Bowling 2004

Despite beginning his bowling career at the late age of 18 after taking a job at the Ravenna Bowling Center in March 1960, Larry Montgomery became one of the best bowlers to come out of this area. However, it was at Midway Kent Lanes (now Twin Star Lanes), where his 130 average improved to 180 under the tutelage of veteran bowler, Boz Miller. By 1966 he was in the 190 plus range and enjoyed a highly successful year, winning the Portage County all-events title and joined a team that won the Bowling Proprietors Association (BPA) Tournament in Columbus, which qualified them for the national finals in Independence, MO. Although they didn’t win Montgomery met former President Harry S. Truman, which he described as “quite an honor.” Also in 1966, he qualified for the St. Louis All-Star Tournament (now the U.S. Open) and he won the first of two consecutive Akron Beacon Journal “AA” titles. Montgomery continued his hot year, qualifying for the Professional Bowlers Association tour. In his first tournament—the Brockton Open – he finished 23rd, beating some pretty good bowlers such as Billy Hardwick and Don Johnson. The Army robbed Montgomery of two years, but he still won two titles during that time – the U.S. Army European singles and the all-events competition. After his discharge, Larry continued his pro career, capturing the seventh spot at the 1971 BPA U.S. Open and he won two Resident Pro Championships in Columbus in ’71 and ’75. His final year with the PBA was 1977 and he had his highest finish of his pro career by grabbing the sixth spot in the Syracuse Open. During his bowling career, he had 14 sanctioned 300 games and a high average of 222. He was inducted into the Tri-County Bowler’s Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Portage County Hall of Fame in ‘92 and now joins wife, Vicki, in the SCSHOF. Larry is a courier for Quest Diagnostics and resides in Safety Harbor, FL.

  • Richard G. Fortner
    Football, Coach 2004

Back in the 1950s Dick Fortner sang a sweet tune as a baritone in his Wilmington College fraternity quartet, but it turns out that it played second fiddle to a sterling high school coaching career. At Wilmington Fortner lettered for three years in football and still holds the single-game record of four interceptions. Fortner started his coaching career in Portage County at Randolph, leading the Tigers to the Portage County League championship in 1959, and claiming the state Class A title for his team that scored more than 200 points and gave up only one touchdown. From Randolph it was a hop over to Stow where the Bulldogs had won only three games in four years. Fortner suffered through a losing season then went 5-4 and won the Metro League title and Summit County Coach of the Year with a 9-1 record in 1962. One of the Fortner’s players at Stow was Larry Csonka who went on to fame at Syracuse and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton after a great career with the Miami Dolphins. But it was at Kenmore where he had his biggest successes. His first year, 1963, the Cardinals were 6-3-2, for their first winning season in 16 years. In his nine years at Kenmore, Fortner had eight winning teams that made the City Series playoffs and six of them played in the Thanksgiving Day championship. The Cardinals won before crowds of 17,129 in 1969 and 16,240 in 1970. Fortner was a proponent of the “run and shoot” offense. He had three quarterbacks who could work the offense, Don Plusquellic, the Mayor of Akron, and SCSHOF inductees Eric Schoch and Dave Buckey. “It was an exciting time,” says Fortner, who is Kenmore’s all-time winningest football coach with a record of 58-25-4. Later, he would guide North High to a four year mark of 28-17-1, including a 9-1 record in 1976. Fortner resides in Norton.

  • Paris Wicks
    Football 2004

The product of Pee Wee and Bantam Youth Football in Akron, Paris went on to earn first team All-City and All-District honors at Akron North High and All –American honors at Youngstown State. Although he lettered all four years (1979-82), the 5-9, 170 pound running back had to play a secondary role his first two years in the YSU offensive attack behind the school’s all-time leading rusher, Robby Robson. However, his patience and calm demeanor was paid in dividends as he came up with two great back-to-back seasons. In 1981 he rushed for 1,363 yards on 245 carries, for an average of 5.6 yards a carry. And his 104 points he scored ranked him first in the NCAA Division I AA. Against Northern Iowa he ran for 215 yards on 33 carries, scored an YSU record-breaking five TDs, four in the fourth quarter, and ran for a two-point conversion for another all-time school record of 32 points. All in a day’s work for a player who was affectionately called “Sweet Pea” by his friends. His performance earned Wicks first team honors in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and on the Associated Press’ All-America squad. Wicks repeated those same honors when he rushed for 1,392 yards, had seven 100-plus yards rushing games, and ran for 10 TDs. This time, however, he tacked on the OVC’s Offensive Player of the Year honors, as well. For his career, Wicks accounted for 4,028 all-purpose yards, rushing for 3,101 yards for 5.2 yards per carry average and scored 30 touchdowns. Needless to say, Wicks was inducted into his alma mater’s sports hall of fame in 1992. Tonight, his hometown does the same! Wicks is a production manager at the Chrysler Plant in Twinsburg and resides in Fairlawn.

  • Dr. William Taylor Jr.
    Football 2004

There is little doubt that Billy Taylor was one of the best recruits that Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, a SCSHOF member, ever recruited out of Barberton High School. As a sophomore in 1969, Taylor averaged a whopping 6.1 yards per carry for the maize and blue and scored seven times. He made the All-Big 10 first team and was named All-American Honorable Mention by the AP. The Wolverines went to the Rose Bowl only to lose to Southern Cal, 10-3. A year later he gained nearly 1,000 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. All of this in spite of a knee problem that plagued him during the season. Again, he was named to the AP All-American team and the All-Big 10 first team. Despite having knee surgery and missing spring ball, the 5-10, 220 pound senior led Michigan to an undefeated 11-0 season as he rushed for 1,358 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns. His 587 career rushing attempts set an all-time Michigan record and his total rushing yards of 3,072 was the second highest total in Wolverine history. However, the Wolverines’ quest for the national title was dashed with a 13-12 loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Taylor was named the team’s most valuable player, picked first team All-American by the Football News and, for the third straight year, was named first team All-Big 10. He was a fifth round draft choice of the Atlanta Falcons, however he didn’t seem to have the same type of success he had in the collegiate ranks. Taylor spent time with the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Eagles as well as playing in Canada and for the World Football League. Billy earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in education from Michigan and in 2003 received his PhD. from Nevada-Las Vegas. Currently, he is on the staff at the Community College of Southern Nevada-Las Vegas.

  • Marion Rossi
    Football 2004

 Like many Akron athletes, Marion Rossi, better known as “Madeo”, planned to make a name for himself somewhere other than Akron. He had played on Garfield High’s undefeated football teams of 1945 and ’46. And, as planned, the All-City quarterback accepted a football scholarship from Bowling Green State after graduating. However, after one year he became disenchanted and was back in Akron. Shortly thereafter, Rossi was in the U.S. Army, where he served two years during the Korean War conflict. Upon Rossi’s return from the service to his country, he enrolled at The University of Akron, where he played football for 1961 SCSHOF inductee, Kenneth “Red” Cochrane, in 1953 and for Joe McMullen in 1954. As starting quarterback Rossi and his Zip teammates captured their first six games on the way to a 6-3 campaign. It was UA’s best record since the 6-3 mark posted by the 1938 grid squad. During that 1953 season in which he also served as the team’s punter and extra point kicker, “Madeo” passed for 893 yards and seven touchdowns. He also hooked up with end John Verdon on an 85 yard TD play that was instrumental in UA’s 16-15 win over Mount Union. It was an all-time record that lasted until 1974. As a result of that ’53 performance, Rossi, who passed away in 1998, was the recipient of the first Fred Sefton (a charter member of the SCSHOF and long-time UA athletic director) Award and was accorded first team All-Ohio Conference honors. In 1954, as team captain, “Madeo” passed for 836 yards and six TDs on the way to being voted UA’s Most Outstanding Back. A teacher and football coach for 41 years at Garfield and Buchtel, Rossi was honored by his alma mater when he was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of Fame class of 1986.

  • Joseph F. Pappano
    Coach 2004

In his own estimation, Joe Pappano has been “relatively successful” in a career that spanned 25 years as football coach at Revere High School. In 1977, Pappano took over a program that had been thought of as “cake eaters.” That image has dissipated thanks to some smash-mouth football that Pappano installed. “We ran a multiple offense, about 60 percent run and 40 percent pass, “said Pappano. “I was with John Cistone at St.Vincent-St. Mary for eight years so we knew something about running the ball.” The mix was good enough for Pappano’s Minutemen to compile a 161-110-2 record, win the Suburban League title 10 times, make the state playoffs seven times, and finish runner-up for the state Division III title in 1990. That year the Minutemen went 13-0 before losing, 16-6, to Hamilton Badin for the championship, which earned Pappano the Touchdown Club’s Summit Coach of the Year Award for the second time. The first was in 1980, “when I believe some people thought I was a flash in the pan,” Pappano told the Beacon Journal. The 1990 season had a little extra meaning for Pappano. Ten years earlier the Minutemen were soundly beaten in the playoffs by Youngstown Mooney. They made up for it by beating Mooney in the playoffs in 1990. Pappano was voted Ohio High School Coach of the Year in Division II in 1980 and ’89 and in Division III in ‘90. One of Pappano’s former players is Andy McCullom, center for the St. Louis Rams, possessor of a Super Bowl ring and now in his 11th NFL season. Perhaps the biggest thing about Pappano’s coaching career, which he plans to end after the 2004 season, is that he and his assistants, who were with him most of his 25 years, and the young men who played for him, built a program that earned respect throughout the state.

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