All-city in basketball, all-district in football and all-state in baseball at Akron East High School before going onto being a three-year starter in football and baseball at Eastern Michigan University in the early 1970s. Part-time starter at defensive end in 1970 and accumulated 29 tackles and one fumble recovery on a team that compiled a 7-2-1 record. A year later, Yovanovich was switched to tight end. That 1971 team went through the regular season unbeaten and became the first EMU athletic team to be ranked No. 1 in the nation. Finished football career as a defensive tackle, where he accumulated 47 tackles, had three forced fumbles and two tipped passes on a team that was 6-4. Also an accomplished pitcher in the Greater Akron AA Baseball League and has a continuing 27-year career as a high school basketball official.
Record-setting running back at Central-Hower High School earned first-team All-Ohio honors and Akron Beacon Journal Player of the Year in 1981. Lettered four seasons, 1983-86, under Earle Bruce at Ohio State. As a freshman in 1983, saw action in 11 games and rushed for 264 yards, averaging 5.2 yards a carry to help the Buckeyes compile a 9-3 record that included a 26-23 win over Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl. As a sophomore he was second in rushing with 633 yards for a career and team high 5.9 yards a carry average that helped OSU compile another 9-3 record, capture the Big Ten title and win a trip to the Rose Bowl. His best season came in 1985 when he took over as starting tailback. His 820 yards rushing and seven TDs was OSU's best and, along with his 24 pass catches for 231 yards and two TDs, he helped the Buckeyes to a third straight 9-3 season, which included a 10-7 win over Brigham Young in the Citrus Bowl. A knee injury in the first game of 1986 ended Wooldridge's collegiate career with 1,747 rushing yards and, after signing with the Dallas Cowboys in 1987, another knee injury ended his football playing days in 1988.
James C. Welling
According to former University of Akron football coach Jim Dennison, Jim Welling was one of the best interior defensive lineman to wear the Blue and Gold. Was a three-sport athlete at Kenmore High School - football, golf and swimming, earning a scholarship to the University of Akron upon graduation in 1963. Made immediate hit as a freshman, starting at middle guard and for the next four years was a mainstay at that position, playing all 36 games. In his sophomore year he was named honorable mention All-Ohio Conference, the last year before UA went independent. The Akron Touchdown Club recognized Welling in both his junior and senior years as the Zips Most Valuable Lineman, the only repeat winner in Zips history. After his playing days were over, he stayed on as a graduate assistant coach for one year, then joined the coaching staff at Coventry High School. He served as an assistant coach for two years before becoming head coach in 1971. His 1973 team posted a 7-2-1 season, the best record in the past 20 years. The next year when the school needed a swim coach, he stepped down from the gridiron to take on the task. He posted a 10-1 season in the program's last year of existence.
One of the more accomplished wrestlers in Kent State University history, Thompson was a product of the dominant Walsh Jesuit High School teams in the 1990s, where he garnered All-America status at 119 pounds after placing seventh at the national high school tournament. As a senior, he went 36-2 en route winning the Ohio Division I state title, after claiming the conference and district championships. In addition, he was the state runner-up as a sophomore and finished third as a junior. At Kent State, earned Mid-American Conference Co-Freshman of the Year Accolades in 1998 after claiming the conference title at 118 pounds. After moving up to 125 pounds, won three more MAC titles, capping his career by being named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 2001 MAC Championships. Only Kent State wrestler in the 82-year history of the program to win four conference titles. Compiled a four-year record of 81-27 - including a 23-5 mark as a senior - and was a four-time NCAA qualifier.
A native of Barberton, Tabaka excelled in baseball, football and basketball at Copley High School. As a senior at Kent State in 1986, he recorded a then-team record eight saves en route to earning third-team All-America honors and a spot on the All-District IV first team. For his career, Tabaka posted a 10-6 record, eight saves and 79 strikeouts in 74.1 innings pitched. In addition, at the plate he compiled a .350 batting average with 14 home runs, 84 runs batted in and 20 doubles. Drafted by Montreal Expos in the second round of the 1986 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Went on to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds during his six-year major league career. He appeared in 139 games, recording a 6-5 record with 119 strikeouts and a 4.31 ERA.
Anton "Tony" Prasher
During his 30- year teaching career at Norton High School, he served as assistant coach , head coach and athletic director, before retiring in 1980. The '50s proved to be one of the best era's for Norton football. His 1954 team shared the Metro crown with Ellet and the following year his team won the undisputed championship. In 1959, the Panthers went undefeated, again claiming the Metro League title. Over a span of three years (1958-1960) Prasher's teams compiled 19 consecutive victories. The 1960 squad was undefeated with seven straight victories and in line to wrap up another championship when they fell in the final game of the season to Kent Roosevelt, denying Prasher of another league title. At Heidelberg College, he lettered four years as a guard on the Student Prince football squad and his teams lost only four games during his four year stint.
Amassed an outstanding record of 306 wins, 123 losses and five ties in 39 years of coaching high school wrestlers. Won first career match against Parma Padua and went on to compile a 10-1 season. During his career he coached 26 years at Archbishop Hoban, which was sandwiched by 13 years at St. Vincent-St. Mary High. Paonessa's teams had three undefeated seasons, captured 24 invitational team and seven sectional team championships and, individually, he had 44 sectional and five district champions, 20 state placers and three state runner-ups.
Her standout career at Springfield High School included a pair of state championships, two All-Ohio nods and the Beacon Journal's Player of the Year award in 1998. She then blossomed into one of the best players in the history of the Kent State University program. In 1995, she earned a spot on the All-Mid-East Region squad after being named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year. She compiled 27 wins, eight shutouts and carried a 0.95 ERA on the mound, while hitting .400 at the plate. A four-time All-MAC selection, Brookbank-Schaal was a three-time team MVP and was twice named to the Academic-All MAC squad. Upon her graduation from Kent State in 1995, she held school records for career wins, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts. She then went on to play for numerous teams in the Women's Professional Softball League and even made a curtain call in 2011 with the Akron Racers at the age of 39.
Began playing at age 10. Played for Coventry High School and at age 17 won the Good Park Junior Championship. Played for the College of Wooster and with the U.S. Army team in Europe, where he won several tournaments. Twice was low amateur in the Akron Open, captured the Ohio Tournament of Champions event in 1989, won the Akron District Golf Association's 1990 Golfer of the Year Tournament, won the Summit County Amateur Championship four times, was a semi-finalist in the 1982 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, where he has qualified seven times, and he has competed in the U.S. Amateur (1964), the U.S. Senior Open (1995) and the U.S. Senior Amateur (1997) Championships. In 2007, was presented the Joe Ungvary Sr. Award, given annually to an area player who has a zest for golf, is competitive and accepts challenges. Joins his father, Irv, as the sixth father-son duo inducted into the SCSHOF.