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Calumet to begin sports Hall of Fame

August 9, 2012
By Michael Bleach - DMG Sports Writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

CALUMET - Those who have lived in the Copper Country for even a short span, know all about George Gipp. He has become a legend, idol, ideal and clich all wrapped into one neat movie line.

But several of Gipp's teammates, and the many athletic stars that followed him at Calumet High School, are rather less well known.

And Calumet High School athletic director Sean Jacques, along with principal George Twardzik and local sports historian Bob Erkkila, are determined to change that.

Article Photos

Calumet High School alum George Gipp is memorialized with this display in Laurium. Another mark of recogniioin for Gipp and several other CHS?stars will be instituted starting this summer in the Calumet High School Athletic Hall of Fame. (Gazette file photo)

At halftime of Calumet's season-opening football game on Aug. 24, the first Calumet High School Athletic Hall of Fame class will be introduced. Ten athletes, coaches and contributors - including Gipp - will make up the inaugural class for a Hall that Jacques is rather excited about.

"We see this as a chance to show current athletes all the things they are capable of," Jacques said. "They can go play in college, they can play professionally, it has been done by many here before. We want to help instill that confidence in our athletes.

"It is also a great way to honor past athletes in a community rich with them."

It has been a project that has been stirring for several years, born from a simple MHSAA request.

Three years ago, the MHSAA was taping a Calumet-Houghton football game and asked Jacques for a list of notable past athletes the broadcast team could discuss during the game.

Luckily, Jacques had Erkkila to turn to - the man who knows ALL, where Copper Country athletic history is concerned - but he figured it would have been helpful if there was a simple database he could look at for this information as well.

Thus, Jacques, Erkkila and Twardzik formed a committee to create a Calumet Athletic Hall of Fame.

"I can't take credit for the idea, it has actually been around here for a long time, no one has just ever acted on it,"Jacques said. "But about three years ago, we determined it was time to just sit down and get this done."

The Class of 2012 will include Gipp, Heartley "Hunk"Anderson, Fred "Ojay" Larson, Lyman Frimodig, Dominic Vairo, Walt Kitti, Holly McCullah, Wayne Sickler, Gerry Vairo and Mike Usitalo. A bio of each can be found on the Calumet website, and their names and achievements will be engraved with a plaque that will be hung above the Calumet trophy cases in the hall outside the gym.

There is another class of 10 in the wings for 2013, but after that, it is up to alumni, Calumet residents and all others interested to nominate and state their case for who the new inductees should be.

The only rules are an "Athlete" nominee cannot become eligible until 10 years after their graduation and a "Coach/Administrator" must be inactive for their to be consideration.

An online application can be found on the Hall of Fame website - listed above - or by contacting Jacques (

"We really hope to get flooded with applications,"Jacques said.

"We want a ton of them to sift through and discuss."

Besides the halftime presentation Aug. 24, there will be an Induction Ceremony Aug. 25, with the presentation of the plaque given to the inductees themselves or their closest living relatives.

It starts at noon (and is free) and there is also an 11 a.m. brunch beforehand at $10 a plate for those interested held in the High School Commons.



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