Inductees announced for first SCS Sports Hall of Fame

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 24, 2015

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Out of nearly 50 applicants, eight people and teams have been selected for entry into the first St. Clair Shores Sports Hall of Fame.

Announced earlier this year, the St. Clair Shores Sports Hall of Fame will honor athletes who have lived in the city, played sports in high school in St. Clair Shores or played with a youth sports organization in St. Clair Shores.

The first inductees are:

• Mark Wells, part of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” Olympic gold medal winning U.S. men’s hockey team;

• Travis Conlan, a “dream team” member for basketball and soccer as well as part of the Lake Shore High School 1994-95 basketball team that won the state championship;

• Richard Black, the athletic director and head basketball coach at Lakeview High School for more than 30 years;

• George Allen, who played football, basketball and track at Lake Shore and went on to coach the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins National Football League teams; he died at age 72 in 1990 and was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame in 2002;

• George Kaufman, who earned 16 letters for participation in various sports at Lakeview High School, was a minor league baseball player for the St. Louis Browns as well as the first St. Clair Shores Parks and Recreation director; he died Dec. 7 at age 91.

• The 1975 Lakeview High School state champion hockey team.

• The 1978 Lakeview High School state champion hockey team.

• Lauren Gdula, who was on the Detroit Free Press Dream Team for bowling, earned a high school double state title in bowling, and is one of the top 50 women bowlers in the country.

In announcing the inductees Dec. 7, St. Clair Shores Mayor Kip Walby said it was difficult to choose the first group.

“It was tough because we had a lot of people that qualified for it and were deserving of it, but you could only pick so many,” he said.

Nominations are good for three years, so those passed over this year can be considered next year as well.

The athletes will be inducted during a ceremony from 1 to 4 p.m. March 13 at Blossom Heath Inn, and plaques honoring them will be displayed at Civic Arena after the ceremony in perpetuity.

Tickets for the ceremony cost $35.

“We were happy, but we know there’s other Hall of Fame candidates that were not nominated, so next year we’re hoping to get the word out more,” said Parks and Recreation Director Greg Esler. “We’re hoping this inaugural Hall of Fame will bring a lot of excitement to the city and to the Hall of Fame.”

A nine-member panel made up of the athletic directors from all three high schools, the mayor, a liaison from City Council, Esler, two Parks and Recreation Commission members and a member appointed by Esler met over several nights to vote for the candidates.

Those chosen for the first group of inductees, Esler said, “had tremendous accomplishments.”

“There’s not every city that can say they had an NFL coach. There’s not too many cities can say they had an Olympian,” he said. “Every one of them just had tremendous top qualities.

“To win a state championship — these are just great feats so we want to honor them.”

Those wishing to purchase tickets for the Hall of Fame dinner can do so by contacting Joyce Perrotta at (586) 445-5350.