This is a story about the Kitsap Sports Hall of
Fame’s 2013 Hall of Fame inductees. You’ll be reading more about
these folks as the event draws closer. And in the interests of full
disclosure, I am on the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s Hall of Fame
selection committed. My opinions and suggestions have been sought
in the past, but this is the first year I’ve actually had a vote in
the process. If you would like to nominate someone for
consideration, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make
sure that we discuss it at a future meeting.
In the meantime, here’s the Class of 2013 (which
won’t be honored until 2014):
The Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame’s latest class includes the
winningest unlimited hydroplane driver in the history of the sport,
the first athlete from Kitsap County to compete in the Olympics, an
outdoorsman who is a noted mountain climber, author and artist, the
voice of the Kitsap Stampede and a highly-successful men’s soccer
team that paved the way for so many others to enjoy the sport in
The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s induction banquet will take
place on Jan. 25, 2014, at Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo. The event will
start at 11 a.m. Ticket information will be released at a later
This will be the 26th Hall of Fame ceremony, but
only the ninth year that it has been staged in its present form.
Before the Kitsap Oldtimers had been inducting deserving baseball
and softball players, coaches, sponsors and umpires. When the
Oldtimers disbanded and merged with the KAR, the Hall of fame was
expanded to include all sports.
This year’s class is among the most diverse in history.
The hydroplane driver is Dave Villwock, the
South Kitsap grad who announced his retirement in May after a
legendary career that included 67 victories, 10 of them Gold Cup
Ed Eliason grew up in Poulsbo and became one of
the nation’s top archers. He won seven national titles and placed
fifth at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Burley’s Dee Molenaar, 95, is the author
of The Challenge of Rainier, considered the
definite work on the climbing history of Mount Rainier, where he
worked as a park ranger and mountain guide. He climbed Rainier over
50 times and was involved in several other mountaineering
expeditions. He was inducted into the American Alpine Club’s Hall
of Mountaineering Excellence in 2012.
Randy Corley, who moved to Silverdale from
North Platte, Neb., 12 years ago, has been voted the Professional
Rodeo Cowboys Association’s Announcer of the year 11 times and he
has been a fixture at the Kitsap Stampede for over 30 years.
The Bremerton Chuggers — a men’s soccer team —
formed in 1974 and played at a very high level until 2000. They
made a major impact on the local soccer scene, and Lance McCoy, one
of the founding players and primary coach over those years, said
the Chuggers are thrilled to be going into Kitsap’s Hall of
“We’re the first soccer group to ever go in,” McCoy said. “It’s
a sport we all cherish and love, and you can’t know what an honor
it is to be inducted into this group of incredible athletes. For
us, it’s kind of a culmination of 27 years of work.
“… There wasn’t a lot of soccer in this area when we started and
to see where it is now, it’s rewarding. So many of our players have
given back and are now in the coaching ranks.”
In addition to the Chuggers, two other teams will be inducted:
the 1951 Bremerton High football team, which was unbeaten and
ranked No. 1 in the state before losing 14-13 to Ballard in the
annual Thanksgiving Day game in Seattle and the 1984 Suquamish
slowpitch team that won a national championship.
Other athletes and coaches voted in include:
Mark Rill: Former South Kitsap star played on
Ed Fisher’s first state playoff team in 1980 and helped the Wolves
reach the semifinals in his senior year in 1981. He went on to have
a standout career at Pacific Lutheran as an offensive tackle
(brother David, already in the Kitsap HOF, was a linebacker at
Gary Rouse: The Bremerton drag racer made a
name for himself in the National Hod Rod Association as one of the
top competitors in super stock class, competing in four decades. He
was a seven-time world record holder and two-time NHRA Division 6
champion who won the 1987 California Nationals.
Allison Eoff: One of the top competitive female
bowlers in Kitsap County history, she’s also been a good ambassador
for the sport and handled various administrative roles over the
Kerry Keefe: The former Bainbridge basketball
star — she averaged 18.6 points her senior year and is the career
leader in rebounds for the Spartans — started two years
at Georgetown University.
Chris Thorsen: The Central Kitsap grad was one
of the best athletes to come out of the area in the mid-1960s,
starring in football, basketball and track and field, where he ran
a sub-two-minute half-mile.Thorsen earned All-Evergreen Conference
honors as a wide receiver at Central Washington, where he was
also recruited to play basketball. He was also part of Olympic
High’s football coaching staff that helped the Trojans to a 35-1
record and four league titles from 1983-86.
Ernie Hahn: Longtime junior high coach —
baseball, football and wrestling — in Port Orchard impacted a lot
of lives during his career. He also worked as an assistant football
coach at South Kitsap when Ed Fisher was the head man.
Mike Welch: Bainbridge girls’ basketball coach
was guy who started the winning tradition for the Spartans. In his
first three seasons, Bainbridge placed second, sixth and third at
the state tournament.
John Ross: Smart, quick and aggressive,
“Rocket” Ross was the leading rusher at West Bremerton High,
Olympic College, where he earned honorable mention All-American
honors, and at Central Washington, where he rushed for 1,119 yards
in two seasons.
Jerome Walker: A state sprint champion in the
100 and 200, the 1978 Bremerton High grad went on to a successful
career at one of the elite track and field programs in the country
— the University of Oregon. His all-area record in the 200 (21.6
second hand-timed which converts to 21.9) lasted for 35 years.
Bonnie Burmaster: The respected former Olympic
Aquatic Club coached worked with youth swimmers in the area for 27
years before retiring in 2009. Among her students: Olympians Tara
and Dana Kirk, and Nathan Adrian.
Frankie Lee: One of the top roller hockey
players and coaches in U.S. history, Lee was on the U.S. National
team from 1984-99, and still coaches the USA Ladies National team
that usually includes a handful of players from his Bremerton
The Rex Brown Distinguished Service Award will
be awarded to the Carlson family, which has owned
and operated Minder Meats for 70 years and been huge contributors
to the community. The KAR, Special Olympics and Kitsap Stampede are
among the organizations they’ve supported for years. Jim
Carlson Sr. was among the founding members of the roundtable
and is past president. He was an all-state lineman and was a
sophomore on the ’51 Bremerton High football team. He played
basketball for legendary Hall of Fame coaches Ken Wills
(Bremerton) and Phil Pesco (Olympic College). His wife, Maryln
(Minder) Carlson was among the first females to join the KAR and
remains one of the biggest sports boosters around. Siblings are Jim
Carlson, Jr., a past president of the roundtable, Kris (Carlson)
Tweten and Steve Carlson.
The Dick Todd Award goes to a sports official
and this year’s honoree is Jim Lamont, who got
into officiating basketball because of Todd.