Carl "Rob" Adamson
There are not too many football players that have had as successful a career as Carl Robert, better known as Rob Adamson. During his playing career from 1998-2002 at Mount Union College, the purple Raiders had three unbeaten campaigns of 14-0, four Ohio Conference titles, three NCAA III National Championships and a 12-1 season. And there are not a lot of quarterbacks that can say that they were unbeaten in every game they started. Rob Adamson's success was predictable. He came from Manchester High School, a program with a winning tradition, playing for Hall of Fame coach, Jim France. As a senior in 1997, Adamson directed the Panthers to 12 straight victories before dropping a heartbreaking five overtime 31-24 loss to Germantown Valley View in Division IV state title game. At Mount Union, Adamson was following in the winning tradition started by quarterback greats Jim Ballard, Bill Borchert and Gary Smeck, all of whom led the Purple Raiders to national titles. In fact, it was Smeck that Adamson played behind his first two seasons of 1998 and '99 while learning Head Coach Larry Kehres' offensive system. Rob was a quick study since he completed 42 of 54 passes for 668 yards and five TDs.
After sitting out the 2000 season to concentrate on his studies, the 6-4, 200 pound Adamson took control to guide the 2001 Mount Union Purple Raiders to an unbeaten 14-0 mark that included a 30-27 win over Bridgewater (VA) for the national championship before a record-breaking crowd of 7,992. In his first collegiate start he connected on 13 of 21 passes for 285 yards and four TDs in a 52-7 trouncing of Allegheny. He would finish the season completing 188 of 296 passes for 3,059 yards and 25 TDs. Other career highlights in 2001 was a 94 yard TD pass play in 47-0 win over Marietta, one yard off the MU record set by Kehres in 1970, and a career high 326 yards passing in the 32-7 win over Augustana in NCAA playoffs.
With the exception of missing three games due to a dislocated finger, Adamson would lead Mount Union to the 2002 national championship, a 48-7 win over Trinity, post a perfect 25-0 record as a starter, a second place finish in NCAA III with a 183.4 passing efficiency and earn All-America Honorable Mention honors. He finished his career with 369 completions in 581 attempts for 6,144 yards and 60 TDs. After college Adamson played briefly with the San Diego Chargers, the Carolina Panthers and one season with the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe.
There have been 16 previous sports officials, including 1957 charter member of Titus Lobach, inducted into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame but Joe DeRosa is the first to have officiated in the National Basketball Association (NBA). DeRosa is also on the very select list of basketball officials who have worked in the NBA playoffs, in the NCAA Final Four and the Olympics.
A native of Youngstown, DeRosa got into basketball officiating of grade school games in 1977 while a sophomore business major at John Carroll College, where he graduated in 1979 and was a fouryear letterman in track. Soon he was officiating high school basketball in Ohio and Kentucky and did so until 1988, however, in 1984 he began officiating junior college games in Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee. Before long he was working games in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and in November, 1986 officiated his first NCAA Division I game at the University of South Carolina. DeRosa's reputation as an outstanding referee accelerated while working games in the Ohio Valley, Sun Belt, Metro and Southeastern Conferences and he was hired to work NBA games for the 1989-90 seasons, 12 years removed from working grade-school games. "I was humbled from Day 1, said DeRosa of his NBA experience. Yet, he persevered through 21 seasons, withstanding the severest of scrutiny and hundreds of evaluations as the NBA does all it can to ensure its officials miss as few calls as possible. By the time he retired for the NBA at the end of the 2009-10 season he had become one of the league's most respected officials who had worked the first NBA Rookie game in 1994, his first NBA Playoff game in 1995 and in 11 NBA Finals. And like many players, DeRosa pushed through two knee surgeries and a torn ligament in his ankle to stay involved in the game he loved. DeRosa retired from NBA ball but, not from officiating basketball. He now works games in the Big 12, Conference USA Atlantic 10, Missouri Valley, Horizon League and the Ohio Valley. He refereed four games in the 2011 NCAA I Basketball Tournament and this past season the Big 12 and Horizon Championship games as well as a career highlight, the Final Four in New Orleans. Another career highlight was as the only male official selected from the United States, one of the games Joe worked was for the Bronze Medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
After spending much of his childhood on various military bases around the world, Curtis Wilson and his family returned to their Akron roots prior to his enrolling in St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. During a standout career for the Irish, Wilson was named the Ohio High School AA Player of the Year I 1983 and was a Parade, Converse and Street & Smith's All-America as a senior. A two-time Akron Beacon Journal High School Player of the Year (1982 & 1983), he was a four-year starter for SV-SM and a three-time allcity, all-district and all-county honoree. Wilson is one of just three players in the history of the school to have his number retired, joining Jerome Lane and Lebron James. He then went on the have a standout career at The Ohio State University, where he was a three-year starter and the co-captain his junior and senior seasons. He set school records for steals in a season (74) and assists in a game (14) and helped the Buckeyes claim the 1986 NIT title. One of the 25 1,000 point scorers in OSU history (1,120), Wilson was a third team All-Big Ten selection as a junior when he averaged 14.3 points and 5.5 assists. He then garnered honorable mention All-Big Ten honors as a senior after averaging 11.3 points and 5.8 assists. Third all-time at OSU with 475 assists, Wilson was a member of the 1987 USA Men's World University Games squad that won the silver medal in Zagreb, Yugoslavia under the direction of head coach Mike Krzyzewski. He was joined on the team by notable players such as Sean Elliot, Danny Ferry, and Mitch Richmond. After receiving his bachelor's degree in business administration from Ohio State, Wilson went on to earn his MBA in finance from Morgan State University. He currently serves as the Vice President and General Manager of Restaurant & Lodging Industries for American Express Merchant Services. Wilson and his wife, Deborah, live in Montclair, N.J. with their two children, Curtis and Taylor. He is on the Board of Trustees/Directors of the National Restaurant Associate Educational Foundation and the YMCA board in Montclair. His father, Edward Wilson, was inducted into the University of Akron Hall of Fame for his stellar career in basketball and track.
Larry Radcliff was a two-sport standout at East High School, lettering in football and track. An allcity honoree as a senior, he later went on to be inducted into East's Hall of Fame. Radcliff then chose to continue his career on the gridiron at Eastern Michigan University, where he would go on to become one of the best players to ever done a uniform for the Hurons. He led the team in rushing for three consecutive years from 1969-1971, turning in 649 yards as a sophomore and back-to-back 1,000-yard efforts in 1970 (1,011) and 1971 (1,188), becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher in school history in the process. Radcliff established a new career rushing mark with 2,848 yards, a total that still stands fourth in EMU annals more than 40 years later. He turned in nine 100-yard rushing games during his stellar career, including a pair of amazing performances that still sit atop the school record books. On Oct. 2, 1971, Radcliff dashed for a school record 251 yards against Idaho State, a mark that would stand for all of two weeks before he shattered it with 291 yards against Western Kentucky. On the strength of those two record-breaking outbursts, he led the nation in rushing through six games with a 194.5 average. Unfortunately, he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the very next game. Despite the setback, he was still chosen in the eighth round of the 1972 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Although he never played in the NFL, Radcliff went on to play one season with the Detroit Wheels of the World Football League. Named the EMU Athlete of the Year in 1972 and the football team MVP in 1971, he led the Hurons in scoring in both 1970 and 1971, and his career point total of 156 still remains eighth in school history, while his 26 career touchdowns still ranks fourth. He was inducted into the Eastern Michigan Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. Radcliff and his wife, Jacqueline, live in Belleville, Mich. They have five grown children, Erica, Sheldon, Terrence, Steven and Kailla. Before his retirement, Radcliff worked many years for the Washtenaw County in Michigan.
Coaching must have been in his blood, because Jerry Laria's career began when he entered college as a 19 year old freshman in 1977 serving as an assistant basketball coach at Firestone High School. It was only the beginning, during his 31 year coaching career he was involved with high school basketball, baseball, football, track, cross country and softball. His first head coaching position was at Firestone in 1982-83, leading the Falcons track team. He had seven state qualifiers in '83 with five scoring points and lifting the school to a fifth place finish-the highest finish ever in the school's history. With that feather in his cap, he moved to North High School and served as assistant basketball coach for five years and also helped out on the football field. He coached the Vikings baseball team for two years racking up a 47-11 record, capturing a city Championship in '87.
Laria longed to be a head basketball coach and he finally realized his dream when he went to Garfield High School in 1989. For the next 14 years he led the Rams on the hardwood winning three City Series Titles, six sectional crowns and two district championships. His total won-lost record was 194-130, giving Laria the most wins by a basketball coach in Garfield's history.
In 2002 he returned to Firestone to head its basketball program. His teams won a City Series title, two sectional and two district crowns, racking up a 72-58 record in six years. His total basketball coaching record is 266-188, a 61 percent winning percentage.
Throughout his 31-year coaching career, Laria said his most pleasurable time was coaching his daughter in softball at Firestone. "We got to the city championship game both years, but came up short on both occasions, he said. "But it still ranks as being the most fun in all my years of coaching.
Laria has been recognized as basketball Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Northeast Inland District, twice by the Greater Akron Coaches Assn. and five times by the Akron City Series League. He was inducted into the Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2011. He joins his father James "Sid" Laria who was inducted into the Summit County Hall of Fame in 1991 for his officiating career.
It was natural that Dick Gran would eventually be a hall of fame bowler. Why wouldn't he since his father owned the Gran Lanes at the corner of Arlington and Triplett in southeast Akron. Gran literally was raised in the family business and as a result he began bowling at the very young age of five. He could bowl as many games as he wanted and when he wanted. By Gran's calculations, he has been bowling for 47 of his 59 years of life. "The difference is I stopped bowling for seven years, said Gran, to concentrate on building up Seven Hills Country Club's business, which he co-owns in Hartville.
Needless to say, Gran has filled those 47 years with a lot of success and highlights. Rolling a perfect game of 300 is one standard great bowlers are judged. Gran certainly ranks with some of the best with 45 perfect games, 12 of those came in sanctioned competition. Another gauge of a bowler's prowess is a score of 800 and above in a three-game series. Gran doesn't remember the total number but, he knows that he had nine in sanctioned play, including a career high 838.
Gran has won 16 titles in singles and 24 in doubles during his career, mostly while competing in Summit and Stark counties. Early on, as a student and member of the intercollegiate bowling team at the University of Akron, Gran finished second in singles during the 1972 NCAA Regional. Three years later he joined the Professional Bowlers Association and has been a member ever since. Twice he won the Northeast Ohio singles title in the U.S Open Qualifier. In 1987 he captured the singles title at the West Virginia Pepsi Cola Championship in Morgantown and a year later finished first in singles at the Ohio Inner City Championship in Bucyrus. While a team member, Gran helped Kent Lincoln-Mercury capture the National Bowling Association (NBA) title in 1998 and with the Seven Hills Country Club team that he sponsored, won the NBA titles in 2004 and '05. In 2006, he joined with Eric Emerson to win the NBA Doubles Championship over 200 doubles teams. Gran, at the age of 58, became the oldest player to win a major Stark County open singles event when he won the 2011 John Klonowski Memorial.
Gran was inducted into the Tri-County Bowling Hall of Fame in 2004, and this past April he was inducted into the Stark County Bowlers Hall of Fame.