Second Wildcat Hall of Fame class announced
May 18, 2011 - The final ten members of the Oxford High School Athletic Hall of Fame have been chosen, completing the 20 member charter class.
At halftime of the Farmington vs. Oxford varsity football game, the Oxford High School athletic department will honor ten important contributors to the history of Wildcat athletics.
"This second ten is well deserving, is well rounded," Oxford High School athletic director Mike Watson said. "There are people from different eras, different genders, different sports. This final 10 that we have is very representative of not only past, but present."
The final ten charter members include:
Mike Gardner, class of 1994 – A four sport letter winner, Gardner was most noted for his success on the gridiron. As captain of the Wildcat varsity football team and a four-year starter at quarterback, Gardner helped lead the team to a 46-3 record and three state championship game appearances. He passed for over 3,500 yards and over 40 touchdowns on his way to all-state honors.
Eric Ghiaciuc, class of 2000 – Ghiaciuc is best known for his football exploits. He finished high school as an all-stater and one of the most dominant offensive lineman in school history. Ghiaciuc accepted a scholarship to Central Michigan University, where after red-shirting his first year, started three seasons at center for the Chippewas and was taken in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Caryn Inman, class of 2003 – In basketball, she was a four-time all conference performer, lead her team to the MHSAA quarterfinal as a junior and was named all-state honorable mention as a senior. She was also twice named captain of the varsity volleyball team and was named all-state honorable mention as a senior. In track, she earned all-conference honors four times, was a four-time state qualifier and is part of a 3200 meter relay record that still stands.
Kellen Kalso, class of 2000 – His varsity soccer career began with a bang as he was selected captain during his freshman season. He lead the Wildcats in scoring and assists during his sophomore and junior seasons before being selected to take part in the 17 and under United States soccer national residency program in Florida. That season, he received all-state and all-America honors.
Bud Laidlaw, class of 1951 – Laidlaw is best known for his role as coach and booster club pioneer. He began coaching youth baseball as a teenager in the 1940's and quickly became one of the most respected coaches in Oxford and surrounding areas. He is credited with founding little league baseball in Oxford, where he held every position from president to equipment manager. In 2000, he was honored by the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce with the Adult Youth Volunteer Award.
Patti-Niemi-Anderson, class of 1981 – One of the pioneers of coach Ian Smith's basketball dynasty at OHS, she earned all-Oakland A honors each of her four years as a Wildcat. She was twice named the conference player of the year and was the first player to score over 500 points in a season at Oxford. She lead the Wildcats to the 1979 Regional Championship and a state final four appearance in 1980.
Lee Noftz – As a patriarch of Wildcats athletics, Noftz came to Oxford in the fall of 1963 and would coach football, track and basketball before becoming the school's first athletic director. He would keep the role for the next 22 seasons. During that time, he was a champion for girls' sports, adding several interscholastic programs in the early 1970s.
Donnie Richmond, class of 2004 – Regarded as one of the greatest runners in OHS history, Richmond was named all-state in cross country in 2002 and earned three all-state honors in the 1600 meter run. He was the FML cross-country champ three consecutive years and is the only male to earn 10 FML titles. He was only beaten once in his FML cross country career and did not lose a single FML track and field event. He finished his career as the OMS record holder in cross country, the 3200 and 1600 meter, and the OHS record holder in the 3200 meter and 800 meter.
Coach Bud Rowley – Rowley has prowled the sidelines of the varsity football program for 34 years. Over that span, the Wildcats have won over 67 percent of their games and have three MHSAA championship game appearances, with a MHSAA Class B state championship in 1992. Rowley's Wildcats posted an .802 winning percentage in the FML. To date, Rowley has 221 career victories and has qualified for the playoffs 13 times and posted 27 consecutive winning seasons from 1982-2009.
Ed Stull, class of 1976 – Stull finished as the eighth all-time leading scorer in school as a guard for the basketball team, and as a pitcher he was named all-Oakland A his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, he was all-named to the all regional team after pitching five shutouts. After graduating, he enrolled at Michigan State University and was a member of the last Spartan Big 10 baseball championship team in 1979.
"Five of these 10 people were really close to making it into the first class," Watson said. "The committee thought they should be the first considered for the second ten to round out the charter members."
Each week leading up to the honors ceremony on Sept. 9, the Leader will profile one inductee beginning with Gardner.
After the first two years of introduction, the hall of fame committee will induct up to five members each year. Nominations are gathered from the alumni and the community and are voted on are preliminary research is conducted.
Banquet tickets will be available in September and cost $25 per person.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.