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OHS Hall of Fame inducts 10 more



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Back Row (L-R): Mike Gardner, Caryn Herrick (Inman), Eric Ghiaciuc, Tammy Duffield (accepting for Lee Noftz) and Ed Stull. Front Row (L-R): Steve Laidlaw (accepting for the late Bud Laidlaw), Don Richmond, Kellen Kalso, Bud Rowley and Patti Anderson (Niemi). Photo by Andrew Moser. (click for larger version)
September 14, 2011 - Oxford High School's Athletic Hall of Fame charter class is now officially complete.

The remaining 10 members of the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame were honored with an induction ceremony celebrating their Wildcat athletic achievements on Saturday evening at the OHS Performing Arts Center.

The ceremony concluded a weekend where the final ten members - Mike Gardner ('94), Eric Ghiaciuc ('00), Caryn (Inman) Herrick ('03), Kellen Kalso (2000), Bud Laidlaw ('51), Patti (Niemi) Anderson ('81), Lee Noftz, Donnie Richmond ('04), Bud Rowley and Ed Stull ('76) - were honored at halftime of the Oxford vs. Farmington varsity football game on Friday, Sept. 9.

"Congratulations to all of the Hall of Fame people and when I look at the 20 members, all I can think of is legacy," Steve Laidlaw said. "The impact coaches made on lives, the impact athletes made on fellow athletes...as coaches, we always talk about previous athletes; we never stop talking about them."

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Stull echoed Laidlaw's comments, saying the Hall of Fame gives current students a chance to see "what it was myself and all the rest of these wonderful people here did."

"It gives them (students) a chance to contemplate what they want to do and what roles they want to set," Stull added. "It's a place where people can set new goals and try and do more and do all the great things we have done."

OHS Athletic Director Mike Watson agreed. "Our opportunity for education comes in helping students now, and also in the future, understand all of your achievements were only accomplished through great effort, hard work, enthusiasm and adversity," Watson said.

For the past 10 weeks, the Leader has done a biography on each Hall of Fame inductee.

Ghiaciuc said he felt honored to be a part of the inaugural class.

"I never thought I would be standing up here accepting an award for the 2011 Hall of Fame," he said.

He went on to thank his teachers, coaches and the Oxford community for their support.

"When you walk down the street and you are in high school and your barber yells out 'you did a good job last night' or your neighbor stops and waves and just wants to congratulate you, things like that in this community are priceless," he added.

Most importantly, Ghiaciuc thanked his family for their continued support. "I couldn't have asked for anything more," he said.

Kalso also thanked his family and told the audience he was proud to call Oxford his home. "I promise you that it is with a lot of pride to say I am from Oxford," he said.

Laidlaw, who accepted the award in honor of his father, who passed away in 2008, said if his father would have been there, he would have thanked the community as well.

"Oxford was good to dad, and dad reciprocated and epitomized everything that Oxford stands for: love thy neighbor, family and friends and never-ending loyalty," he said.

"The greatest legacy a man could ever leave is the one he leaves with his children," Laidlaw added. "I know I echo the sentiments of my entire family, there is not one day that goes by that I do not think fondly of my dad...there is no prayer that I ever say that I do not thank God that Bud Laidlaw was my father. There was never a night I don't ask myself, did I measure up to him today?"

Herrick said the reason she was standing at the ceremony, other than the fact her parents moved to Oxford to raise their children, was because of the people of Oxford who entered her life and helped mold and shape it.

She proceeded to get emotional when thanking legendary basketball coach Ian Smith.

"He was one of the greatest gifts to have in my life," she said. "He gave me the chance to play with the big girls...I miss his tall presence and our conversations."

"I think about him all the time. When something goes wrong on the court, I ask myself, what would coach Smith do?" she added.

Joanne Smith, wife of the late Ian Smith, introduced Herrick by saying her husband would have been proud to see Herrick inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"He always considered Caryn to be an excellent athlete, but he always said to me Caryn is the type of player every coach wants on their team," Smith said.

Anderson also had some kind words to say about Ian Smith during her speech.

"I sincerely thank coach Smith for molding me and generations of young boys and girls over the course of his legendary coaching career," she said. "He will truly be missed."

She went on to say competing as an athlete during her time in Oxford made her what she is today.

"Had it not been for the perseverance, the commitment, the pride and the desire to win I learned during my high school years playing a sport, I know I could not be standing here today having accomplished so much during the past 30 years," Anderson said.

Bud Rowley said he was "living the dream" during his speech and felt it was a "great honor" to be inducted with all of the great people.

"I owe all of my success to high school kids in Oxford Community Schools and their moms and dads because without those people, we don't win the things we win," he said.

Gardner also felt like it was an honor, but he pointed out during his acceptance speech this honor was more about the teams he played on.

"I appreciated it all and football is a sport where you really have to depend on the people around you," he said.

Two honorees, Noftz and Richmond, were unable to attend the ceremony. However, the crowd was treated to a video message of their acceptance speech.

Noftz told the audience he was impressed with the resumes of the inductees. He was especially proud of the resumes of younger members of the Hall of Fame class.

"Not everyone has a job that they can enjoy and have a positive impact on young people," he said. "I was fortunate enough to have one of those jobs as a teacher, coach and athletic administrator."

Richmond thanked cross country coach Ray Sutherland and track coach Andrew McDonald for believing in him.

"I also would like to thank everyone else who supported me up to this point," Richmond added. "It is such an honor. This nomination, this means so much to me. You played such a huge role in the runner that I've become today and the person I've become today."

This 10-member class concludes the 20 member charter class of the OHS Athletic Hall of Fame. Inducted last year were Elmer Ball, Jim Bates, Chris Gambol, Mike Goodfellow, Mike Lantry, Dr. Ed Meads, Helen Smith, Ian Smith, Roz Chapman (Van Guilder) and Andy Vascasseno.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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