Honoring Marinette's best ever
Marinette High School forming a sports hall of fame
Friday, April 04, 2014 7:00 PM
MARINETTE - In more than a century of Marinette High School athletics, there have been hundreds of outstanding athletes.
Now, try to narrow down those hundreds into a handful of the best of all time.
That's the daunting task that awaits the board of directors for the newly created Marinette High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
On Oct. 4, the board will induct the inaugural Marinette Hall of Fame class during a ceremony to be held at Little River Country Club.
The idea for the hall originated during a discussion last summer between former Marine athletes Jim Wagner and George Ihler, and Marinette High School principal Corry Lambie and Marinette activities director Kurt Gundlach.
"They wanted to meet with Kurt and I about this possibly becoming reality," Lambie said. "They also acknowledged that Marinette High School had a huge impact on their lives."
An informal meeting was held in January among Marinette administrators, former Marine athletes and media representatives. Subsequent meetings were held in February and March.
The Marinette Hall is patterned after the Kimberly High School Athletic Hall of Fame. It has been created to honor participants for their outstanding achievements and contributions in athletics.
Board members Wagner, Gundlach, Lambie, Ihler and Tim Stauss, will be responsible for bringing potential inductees to the entire board through written nomination forms of candidates. They have been receiving input on prospective hall candidates.
Anybody who wants to provide input on prospective hall candidates can contact a board member.
The best Marine athletes of all time represent numerous eras - the 1902 state championship boys' track team, the state title football teams in the late-teens and early '20s, and exceptional football teams in the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s.
About two decades ago, another golden era of Marine athletics crossed gender lines. The 1989 Marine football team won the state title, and the 1990 baseball team placed second at state. Marinette girls' track won state titles in 1992, 1993 and '94, and Marine girls' cross country forged a dynasty in the 1980s and '90s.
"It's really staggering how rich this tradition is," Gundlach said. "It's been amazing to me gaining an understanding of some of these athletes."
The first induction will honor a precious few outstanding athletes.
"It's going to be some iconic athletes that have come through Marinette High School over the years and deserve recognition," Lambie said.
There will be many exceptional Marine athletes well deserving of Hall of Fame recognition who will have to wait until subsequent induction ceremonies. The frequency of induction ceremonies has yet to be determined.
In order to be Hall of Fame eligible, a candidate must be out of Marinette High School for at least 20 years. Future Hall of Fame ceremonies will recognize outstanding teams and meritorious achievements.
"We want to connect the current student/athletes and the community with the rich tradition that this school has had, and recognize it," Lambie said.
More details on the Oct. 4 Marine Hall of Fame ceremony will be finalized well in advance of the event.