GLADSTONE - A common theme surfaced Saturday during the second induction of the Gladstone Sports Hall of Fame.
Growing up among friends with similar interests helped build competitive spirits that carried over into various athletic venues for many of the inductees, who were honored at Terrace Bay Inn.
Scott Boddy, an all-state football player for the Braves in 1981 who later coached football at Calumet and Iron Mountain High Schools (131-29 in 16 years) after playing at Michigan Tech University, was one of the inductees who talked about the values of growing up in Gladstone.
Photo by Dennis Grall
Representatives of the 1985 Gladstone High School football team semifinalists line up in front of members of the 2012 Gladstone Hall of Fame inductees. From left: John Gillis, representing his father Clifford “Kip” Gillis; Tom Domres, Jr., reperesenting his late father Tom, Sr.; Gladstone Athletic Director Matt Houle, respresenting the late Eldon (Cappy) Keil; Fred Boddy, Mark Nelsen, Scott Boddy, Doug Ingalls, Dave Elliot and Breanna (Weber) Helmila.
"It was really special for me to grow up here," said Boddy, relating memories of playing a variety of games with neighborhood chums on Michigan Ave. "We had a great time growing up. We played ball, we made things up, we entertained ourselves. It was nothing but fun growing up in Gladstone."
Boddy holds Gladstone's career rushing record of 1,640 yards and was the team's MVP in 1981.
All-state basketball player Doug Ingalls, who went on to play at Northern Michigan University for four years before embarking on a basketball coaching career at St. Ignace High School with his wife Dorene, followed Boddy to the podium with similar memories.
"It was wonderful to be around so many people who love Gladstone sports," said Ingalls, whose father, former Gladstone High School basketball coach Jack Ingalls, was among the inaugural inductees Feb. 11. "We competed (among friends). We made up the rules, we fought. Childhood games were the best."
Speaking directly to the audience, Ingalls said "you'll never know how much you meant to the football and basketball teams that went through here (in the middle 1980s)."
The 1985 football team, which was honored in the team category, was 11-1 and reached the Class B semifinals before dropping a 13-12 decision to Wyoming Park. The basketball team, with many of the same players, went 24-1 before losing to Saginaw Buena Vista in the Class B quarterfinals in 1986.
Boddy, whose brothers Mark, Mike and Steve also played for the Braves, was joined in the induction class with his father Fred, who coached football and girls basketball at Gladstone after a standout athletic career at Escanaba St. Joseph High School and Escanaba High School.
"This is a double honor," the elder Boddy said of the induction with his son. He thanked his fellow coaches, Gladstone fans, athletes and their parents for their roles in the program's successes.
"I've loved every minute. If I had it to do all over again, it would be the same way."
Boddy also coached boys basketball at Marquette Bishop Baraga, Champion and Bay Port, Wis. He said his wife, Kay, "has the world record for most slivvers off the bench. She was my greatest fan, and of the boys."
Dave Ellliot, a standout in football, basketball and track at Gladstone, also played four years of baseball at Western Michigan University and spent five years in the minor league organization of the Milwaukee Brewers. He also talked about his youthful days in Brampton and how the Gladstone fans helped push him through his career.
He recalled being constantly involved in sports as a youngster, but noted "in Brampton, Mich. there were not a lot of kids so a lot of these games involved myself."
He picked up T-ball baseball at age 8 and realized baseball was something to pursue. He said the 1985 Gladstone football and basketball teams "helped to inspire me to try do the best I could. The experiences I had at Gladstone helped me become more successful in college."
Elliot is Gladstone's all-time leading single-season boys basketball scoring leader with 605 points and has school 3-point records for game (nine),
season (88) and career (103). He was a first-team Mid-American Conference baseball all-star in 1994 and second team MAC in 1993 and 1995.
Ingalls is Gladstone's all-time career boys basketball scoring leader with 1,325 points. He has a 248-128 record in 17 seasons as head boys basketball coach at St. Ignace and has helped coached the girls team with his wife to three Class C state titles.
Mark Nelsen was also a football MVP and a two-time All-U.P. pick at Gladstone, but wrestling was his forte, posting consecutive unbeaten seasons as a junior and senior (1978 and 1979). Named U.P. Mr. Wrestler in 1979, he also coached the wrestling team from 1998-2002, posting a 49-11 mark.
He credited teammate Scott Vallier and wrestling coach Ron Klintworth for his mat success, noting Klintworth "set the foundation for Gladstone's wrestling success." On the mat, Nelsen said "I refused to quit."
Brianne (Weber) Helmila joined her sister Ginger in the Hall of Fame. Ginger (Weber) Moore, inducted in the first class, served as a motivator. Both women, three years apart, were basketball standouts for the Braves and at NMU and were teammates at both schools for one year. "My goals were to be better," she said of trying to surpass Ginger's accomplishments.
"I'm extremely excited and honored and grateful," said the younger Weber, thanking her parents Mark and Debbie for their support. She also thanked Fred Boddy and Jack Ingalls for their coaching impact, but said "my dad had the biggest impact on my basketball career. I am very fortunate to have grown up in Gladstone," she said.
Brianne set the girls career scoring record of 1,461 points in 1996. It was eclipsed last season by Jammie Botruff, who finished with 1,465 points.
Clifford "Kip" Gillis and Tom Domres were inducted posthumously along with former coach and athletic director Eldon "Cappy" Keil.
Domres is the only Gladstone graduate to play professional football, with the Houston Oilers and Denver Broncos, after earning MVP honors at University of Wisconsin. His 131 tackles as a defensive lineman are 20th all-time for the Badgers, and he scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery against Houston while playing with Denver.
His son, Tom Jr., said playing in the National Football League "is the pyramid" of sports.
Keil, like Fred Boddy a member of the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame, coached football, basketball and golf at Gladstone in a career that spanned 35 years.
Tom DeKeyser and R. Troy Carlson, co-captains of the 1985 football team, spoke on behalf of the team. Carlson said "faith, truth or trust, and love" were the key ingredients to the team's success under first-year coach John Mileski and also said it was "the sum result of years of playing together. We truly trusted each other," he said, noting Escanaba's playoff teams of 1979 and 1981, Class A runner-up and state champion, respectively, provided inspiration for the Braves.
The Braves beat Saginaw MacArthur 25-24 on Carlson's stunning late touchdown pass to Ken Vanderlinden in the first playoff game ever held in Gladstone, then beat Chesaning 26-12 a week later.
Gladstone athletic director Matt Houle, who served as banquet emcee, said that team brought the community together. "The memories you gave this community and your school have never been forgotten. Your mark has been made. You are an example of what we want our teams to be," he said.