September 19, 2012 - Leader Staff Writer
Ninety-nine years of high school athletic excellence will be highlighted on Friday night at Wildcat Stadium.
Seven of the greatest sports legends in Oxford's history will be honored and inducted into the OHS Hall of Fame this weekend.
"The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to not only honor the achievements and contributions of others, but to serve as an example of what is possible for current and future OHS students," said Mike Watson, director of athletics and hall of fame chairperson. "The hall of fame represents what is good about educational athletics and helps us continue to celebrate our long and proud athletic heritage at Oxford High."
The these Hall of Famers part of an athletic tradition that began with the school's first team athletic championship in 1913 as the Wildcats captured the Tri-County League baseball title. Since then, Oxford High School has enjoyed nearly a century of prep athletic achievements.
On Friday, at halftime of the Rochester Adams vs. Oxford varsity football game, the Oxford High School athletic department will honor the seven new members that contributed to the legacy of Wildcats athletics.
The festivities will continue on following day when a ceremony honoring the inductees will be held at the Oxford High School Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m.
Induction ceremony tickets are available at www.oxfordschools.org/wildcats and cost $10 each.
Due to the strength of the candidates presented, the committee voted to induct seven members into the Hall of Fame rather than the previously established limit of five.
Nominations were solicited from alumni and the community and are voted on after preliminary research is conducted.
Induction ceremony tickets are available at the above mentioned website and are $10.
The 2012 class of the OHS Athletics Hall of Fame will include:
Mike Fedorinchik (1991) – This 8-time Wildcat letter winner led a resurgence of the Oxford baseball and basketball programs in the early 90's. He ended his baseball career as one of Oxford's all-time leaders in home runs, RBI's and stolen bases. As a three-year starter on the varsity basketball team, Mike racked up almost 900 points and finished as the school's all-time leader in 3-pt field goals (155). Fedorinchik was also a standout member of the Wildcats varsity football team and recorded a 21-3 record as a starting quarterback. Mike helped lead the 'Cats to the 1990 state finals, completing a career that counted more than 3,000 all-purpose yards and over 30 touchdowns.
Chris Laidlaw (1991) – Like Fedorinchik, Laidlaw also earned eight varsity letters in three different sports during the early 90's, but separated himself as the only Oxford athlete to earn first team all-Flint Metro League (FML) honors in football, basketball and baseball in Oxford's 27-year association with the FML. In basketball, Laidlaw finished as Oxford's second all-time leading scorer (984) and the school's all-time leader in assists (362). An outstanding pitcher, Chris was a ten game winner in FML play and completed his career with an ERA just over 1.00. Laidlaw is also recognized as one of the finest wide receivers in Oxford's football history. Playing under a normally a run-oriented offense, Laidlaw caught 71 passes for over 800 receiving yards in two varsity seasons, culminating with an appearance in the 1990 state football finals.
Merritt Oliver (1925) – Believed to be Oxford's first student-athlete to earn 12 varsity letters, Oliver played quarterback and fullback on the football team, right forward in basketball and pitched and played shortstop on the baseball team. In an era when underclassmen rarely made the varsity team, Oliver excelled athletically. He captained the 1924 varsity football and basketball teams and was elected president of graduating class of 1925 before earning the Oxford Cup. Merritt continued his career as a studentathlete at Ferris Institute where he was a member of the varsity football and basketball teams. Oliver graduated with a pharmacy degree and enjoyed a successful career as a pharmacist and community leader.
Pam Phipps (1976) – On the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, Oxford honors Phipps, a women's sports pioneer. Although a two-time captain of the Oxford varsity basketball team and a standout in volleyball and softball, Pam is best known for her career in golf. Phipps was an award-winning member of the Central Michigan University and Ferris State University varsity golf teams, but made her largest impact in golf after her college-playing career ended. She became the first female to be named "Master Professional" by the PGA in 1990. In 1995, Phipps was named the LPGA Professional of the Year. Since 1999, Pam has been the director of golf at Black Lake Golf Club in Onaway – a course consistently ranked in the nation's top 100 public courses.
Don Quayle (1949) – Considered by many to be the greatest Oxford athlete of all-time, earning 15 varsity letters in football, basketball, baseball as well as track & field. The Oxford Cup winner helped the Wildcats to several Tri-County League championships behind numerous all-conference performances. Although a kickoff specialist for Biggie Munn's national champion football squads at Michigan State College, Quayle was better known as a hard throwing southpaw for legendary Spartans skipper John Kobs. Quayle even played on the Spartans freshman basketball team. After serving as a member of the 11th Airborne Infantry as a lieutenant, Don received his master's degree from University of Colorado and a doctorate in education from the University of Wyoming. Quayle is now retired after a long career as instructor and department chair at Central Wyoming College.
Dave Rayner (2001) – In addition to being a two-year starter on the Oxford varsity basketball team, Dave Rayner was also an all-FML sweeper on the soccer field and a wide receiver as a member of the varsity football team. Rayner is best known for being one of the greatest kickers in not only Oxford's long history, but also Michigan State University's football history. The two-time all-FML performer left Oxford owning all but one of the Wildcat's punting and placekicking records. The 4-year varsity letterman left MSU as the school's all-time leading scorer (334 points) with a degree in kinesiology. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Dave has played for a record 11 NFL teams to date and has converted over 72 percent of the field goals he has attempted in his seven-season NFL career.
Ray Sutherland – One of the finest teacher-coaches to ever grace the halls of OHS, Ray Sutherland's impact on Oxford will forever be remembered. Sutherland began his career at Oxford Middle School in 1972, but soon after transferred to the high school where he would lead a 40-year career teaching biology, anatomy and physiology. A master relationship builder, Sutherland continued his positive influence on students after the final bell by starting the OHS wrestling program and coaching football and softball as well. Although Sutherland successfully coached track and field for several years, he made his mark in cross country. Over a nearly 30-year span, his teams captured 16 conference titles and three regional championships. With nearly 320 dual meet wins to his credit along with five top ten team finishes in Michigan, Sutherland was honored as the 1992 Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA) cross country coach of the year.
Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.