Menominee’s “Satch” Englund, far right, was inducted into the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame Saturday. Paul Miller of Escanaba, left, and Bob Whitens, third from left, of Hermansville were also inducted. Miller coached Stephenson to the Class C state basketball title in 1981, Whitens led North Central to the Class D state crown in 1984 and Englund was the defensive coach on Memominee’s three state championship football teams. Hall of Fame member Bob Krysiak of Menominee, second from left, led the 1967 Maroons to the Class B state title. EagleHerald/Tom Kaeser
Menominee’s “Satch” Englund, far right, was inducted into the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame Saturday. Paul Miller of Escanaba, left, and Bob Whitens, third from left, of Hermansville were also inducted. Miller coached Stephenson to the Class C state basketball title in 1981, Whitens led North Central to the Class D state crown in 1984 and Englund was the defensive coach on Memominee’s three state championship football teams. Hall of Fame member Bob Krysiak of Menominee, second from left, led the 1967 Maroons to the Class B state title. EagleHerald/Tom Kaeser
HARRIS - Nine state championship banners aren't what define Ron "Satch" Englund's half-century of coaching.

The lifetime memories and life lessons he has created for thousands of young athletes shines brighter and endures longer than any championship trophy.

Englund's special qualities as a man and a coach were honored at the 42nd annual U.P. Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet at the Island Resort and Casino Saturday night.

"It's an honor," Englund said to his fellow inductees at the head table and the Hall of Fame members in the crowd. "It makes me a little humble being with all those guys. I wish I could just sit and listen to those guys talk."

During his years as the defensive mastermind of Menominee football, nobody outcoached Englund or was more revered by his players.

Former Maroon head coach Ken Hofer, who was attending his granddaughter's college graduation in New Orleans, sent a tribute to his friend and former assistant coach.

"Satch is a very special human being," Hofer said. "He loves young people. That's evident in his 37 years of involvement in the Menominee Maroon program."

Hofer and Englund retired after the 2011 season, but "Satch" couldn't stay away from the Maroon practice field and his young players.

"I coached basketball for 51 years and football for 50 years," said Englund. "This is the first time I haven't coached football in a long time. Three days after the first practice, I was back. I love it. It feels good."

His unique ability to deliver football lessons in a stern tone and bring laughter to the locker room and practice field endeared him to his players.

"First of all, 'Satch' is very knowledgeable about the game and very passionate about defense," Menominee football coach Joe Noha said. "He taught kids that they had to be tough to play football.

"He has a rough exterior, but he loves kids tremendously. He may yell at a kid, but after practice he'll put his arm around him.

"When he enters the locker room, the kids immediately act out with him. They really love him."

Under Hofer's single wing and Englund's 5-3 defense, the Maroons won the state championships in 1998, 2006 and 2007.

In the 2006 playoffs, Englund's defense held opponents to just six points while posting four straight shutouts. The unbeaten Maroons allowed just 44 points in 14 games.

In Menominee's three state championship games, Englund's defense held opponents to just 19 points.

He got his nickname early in grade school. The "Dead End Kids" were his heroes and one of his friends gave him the name "Satch" after one of the "Dead End Kids," Slip "Sach" Mahoney.

While coaching the Maroon defense up for the playoffs, Englund would head across the bridge after practice and coach the St. Thomas Aquinas Academy girls' team.

He joked that he would use up his three minutes of speaking time getting to the podium, but Englund was quick on the draw when the emcee noted that the Cavalettes (then Marinette Catholic Central) won five straight WISSA state titles.

"You ripped me off of a state title. We won six state titles," Englund state.

Some of Englund's best coaching with the Cavalettes was turned in during the lean years when the team was overmatched in talent. In his final season, with his emphasis on tough defense and smart play, he took an inexperienced and poor shooting team and turned them into a competitive team by the end of the season.

There was a bittersweet note to Englund's induction.

After his longtime friend and fellow coach John Gregory died, his son, Bill, would give Englund his father's watch before every football game.
Bill Gregory, who nominated Englund for the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame, died last month from complications of kidney and liver transplants.

"He left this for me," Englund said, pointing to the watch on his wrist.
Like she has been during his long career, Englund's wife of 57 years, Paula, was beside him on the Hall of Fame podium.

Englund usually wears shorts when on the sidelines but Saturday night he was decked out in a suit and tie.

"The tie was off as soon as I walked out the door," said Englund.


By TOM KAESER
Eagleherald assistant sports editor


HARRIS - Paul Miller took a Stephenson basketball program that was a doormat of U.P. basketball and turned the Eagles into state champions.

Bob Whitens went from dribbling a basketball on a gravel driveway at his family's farm to leading North Central to basketball glory.

Miller and Whitens joined the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame Saturday at the 42nd annual induction banquet at the Island Resort and Casino.

Miller, who was never at a loss for words when he coached the Eagles, drew laughter from the crowd when he said, "This is really an honor. I'm speechless."

The first member of the 1,000-point club at Escanaba High School, Miller received college scholarship offers in three sports and was a devastating fastpitch softball pitcher.

He led the Eagles through a gauntlet of defending state champions and past state runners-up to the Class C state title in 1981, highlighted by an epic, two-overtime win over Reed City.

In his first year as coach at Stephenson (1976), the Eagles posted just one win.

Local sportscaster Donn Williams still considers the Reed City game the greatest game he's ever seen.

During his acceptance speech, Miller paid tribute to fellow coach Bob Krysiak of Menominee. Krysiak, a Hall of Fame member, led the Maroons to the Class B state crown in 1967.

"He developed such a strong program in Menominee," Miller noted. "They finished second to Escanaba (in the conference in 1967), Miller added with a devilish smile. "We beat them both times."

Looking out at the crowd, Miller thanked his freshman coach Tom Tatrow, junior varsity coach Dan Young, all-state player Mark Simon and longtime Stephenson supporter, Rich Sunila.

"Athletes in the sixties was equal to any decade," Miller said. "The only difference is the athletes then didn't know how to celebrate."

Miller earned U.P. Coach of the Year laurels at two schools (Escanaba and Stephenson).

He was an all-state basketball player, a two-time U.P. high jump champion and an All-U.P. athlete in football.

Whitens led North Central to the Class D state basketball title in 1984 after averaging 22 points for the Class E state champion Hermansville Redskins in 1957.

"I grew up on a small farm in Hermansville outside the metropolitan area of Powers," Whitens noted with a smile. "We played baseball in the cowfields. You can guess what the bases were."

Whitens noted that Hall of Fame coach Don Hill of Norway was had the biggest influence on him.

"He instilled in me a lot of lessons on how to play sports. He taught me that sports could be fun. He let us shoot the ball. He always said, 'you don't get points for dribbling and you don't get points for passing.'"

Before summer break one year, Hill lent Whitens a basketball.

"It was an outdoor ball with 'Rawlings' on it," Whitens recalled. "He told me, 'Whitens, you can use it but when you bring it back, I don't want to be able to read 'Rawlings' on it.'

"We had a gravel driveway so when I brought it back, you couldn't read 'Rawlings' on it. That explains why I shot the ball. I never could dribble a lick."

Of his 1984 state championship team, he humbly pointed out, "awards are always about the players. I just steered the ship."

Whitens also coached track and girls' basketball at North Central and served as the school's athletic director.