Notes from the Kitsap Hall of Fame banquet

Got back to town this week in time to attend the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.

The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable put on a first-class event and I’m not saying that because I’m a board member.  I didn’t have anything to do with the banquet.

Dan  Haas did a great job as the MC and the banquet room at the Baymont Inn was perfect for the size of the crowd. I didn’t get an exact number, but would guess there were about 200-225 people in attendance.

Terry Mosher’s writing the mainbar, concentrating on the two teams that were inducted — the 1983 South Kitsap state championship baseball team and the 1921 Suquamish baseball team that featured Louie George, the pitcher who made the “clam ball” famous.

Here’s a few odds and ends that I picked up:

Rill: Surrounded by good people
BREMERTON — The 24th annual Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet was nearing closure when one of the last inductees, former South Kitsap and University of Washington football star David Rill, delivered a message to his daughters, McKenzie, 14, and Elle, 11, who were seated in the back of the room at the Baymont Inn on Saturday.
“When you guys look back, don’t remember me being up here,” said Rill, an inside linebacker who became the No. 2 all-time leading tackler in Husky history during his career. “Remember all the people in this room who chose to be surrounded by good people.”
The class of 2011 — the induction ceremony was pushed back from its orginal date in October by the sponsoring Kitsap Athletic Roundtable — will be remembered as a classy group.
Helen Sturdivant said her late husband, the outgoing and friendly E.L. “Sturdi” Sturdivant — a four-year football starter at Washington State in the 1940s, a coach, educator, administrator, community activist — would have enjoyed chatting it up with fellow inductees.
“He was a man of high integrity as a husband, a father, a grandfather and as a friend,” she said, summing up her feeling for the man who was previously inducted into Hall of Fames in his hometown of Montesano and at Humboldt State College, where he was an assistant coach on an NAIA national championship team.
Sturdivant passed away in November of 2010. He was 85.

Carlson toughened Murphy up
Former Bremerton High and University of Washington basketball player Al Murphy said you knew you were in good with coach Ken Wills (he referred to Wills as “The Man”) when Wills let you borrow his car to go to dances or events. “He let me use it three times,” said the former director of payrolls for Boeing. “(Wills) treated me so, so good. He prepared me for the University of Washington.”
Murphy also paid homage to former classmate Jim Carlson, who was in the crowd. He said Carlson was “very influencial,” in toughening him up. Murphy  said he kept getting knocked to the floor during practices.
“Carlson told me to stick up for myself,” he said. “You don’t have to hurt ‘em; just be firm.”

Motorsports a team sport, too
John Flesher, one of the original founders of the Handlers Car Club who went on to become one of the Northwest’s top drag racers in the 1960s, said “motorsports back in those days wasn’t really thought of as a sport — it was just something kids played around with. My father changed his mind once I started bringing home a lot of money.”
Like other sports, it took a team to succeed, he said, and the late Frank Cooper and Larry Cain, who was in attendance, were his team.
“They were very instrumental in any success I had,” he said before personally thanking Cain from the podium.
Flesher said Connie (Cornelius, also known as Con) Fox, the father of the Fox boys — Leon, Tom, Jim and Bob — “taught me more about cars than just about anybody I can think of.”
Harry Penor, 79, was another inductee from the motorsports world.
“I think was born with a wrench in my hand,” said the man who made a deal with the Kitsap County Airport to use an old runway as a dragstrip. He later bulldozed an entry to the strip at the end of the Old Clifton Road and it continues to serve as the main entrance to what is now Bremerton Raceway.
Penor still belongs to the Saints Car Club in Port Orchard.

Establishing a program
Ed Amick, the father of wrestling at North Mason, remembers the Bulldogs practicing in the school cafeteria when it formed its first team in 1964. They had to remove the chairs and tables, go get the mats, tape them together, then put everything back together after practice.
The Bulldogs were later banished to a small stage in the gymnasium. He couldn’t blow his whistle, because it would stop the basketball team from whatever it was doing. Coaches and wrestlers often rolled off the narrow stage on to the gym floor, said Amick, a Hall of Fame wrestling coach who is still involved the sport, assisting his son, Ed, at North Kitsap. Amick left early to get back to the Bainbridge Invitational, where NK was competing.

Gary Eaton, recipient of the Dick Todd Officials Award, is being inducted into the Kitsap County Bowling Hall of Fame next Saturday. Eaton, 74, still carries a 200 average and plays on a Portland-based 70s and older slowpitch team. “I’m not going to be able to live with him,” joked his wife Debbie. … Jan Hauschel thanked her longtime friends and bowling teammates — Alison Eoff and Kristy Whitcher — for attending Saturday’s festivities. Those three were part of a squad that won seven consecutive state team titles in a row and a national team championship. … The talented June Griebel (Fike) earned 10 varsity letters during her high school career at South Kitsap, lettering in volleyball, basketball, track and field, tennis and cheerleading. In addition, she was a standout fastpitch player for the Bremerton Legionettes in the summer. … Former South Kitsap coach and athletic director Steve Reischman accepted on behalf of former SK heavyweight wrestling champion Jim Cutchall, who lives in Oklahoma, where he wrestled collegiately before a neck injury ended his career at the end of his sophomore season. “If I had to compare him to someone, it would be Yogi Bear,” said Reischman. “He was a ho-ho (happy go-lucky kind of guy).” … Former South Kitsap and Major League Baseball player Jason Ellison, now living in Issaquah, was in Arizona and unable to attend. One of a select few players to start as a sophomore for Elton Goodwin, a lot of people forget that the ultra-tough and athletic Ellison — 20-0 in three years as a pitcher at South — placed seventh, third and third in three state wrestling tournaments. .


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