Lou Slapnik

Induction Year : 2023

Sport: Track & Field

Slapnik won nine state championships in his 17 years as Collinwood’s girls track coach. He also won the Jesse Owens Cleveland City championship every year he coached. His nine state titles rank third in Ohio history, and is the most by any coach in Cleveland history.

Slapnik—called “coach Slap” by his students—was inducted into the Ohio Association of Track and Cross-Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012. In his career, his athletes won 41 individual events in state championship meets. Prior to coaching Collinwood, Slapnik spent nine years coaching at Patrick Henry Middle School, where his teams won eight MS Cleveland City Championships.

Slapnik grew up in Cleveland and went to St. Joseph High School and Ashland University, where he pitched on the baseball team. He spent 32 years teaching physical education in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Athletes coached by Slapnik have talked about his emphasis on classwork and team. Collinwood’s Athletic Complex is named after him.

Renee Powell

Induction Year : 2023

Sport: Golf

Powell was the second African American to compete on the LPGA Tour, and the first African American woman to become a member of the PGA. In 2022, Powell was honored by the World Golf Hall of Fame as the first recipient of the Charlie Sifford Award. Powell played in more than 250 tournaments from 1967-1980. In 2003, she was honored with the First Lady of Golf Award from the LPGA.

Born in East Canton, Powell attended Central Catholic High School. Renee’s father, Bill, encountered racial discrimination on the golf course after he had served in World War II. That prompted him to design and build a course where all are welcome. Clearview Golf Club in East Canton—the first course in the country designed, built, and owned by an African American—opened its first nine holes in 1948, the second nine in 1978. Renee would eventually work as Clearview’s Head Professional.

“Renee Powell and her family’s remarkable life-long commitment to changing the face of golf cannot be overstated,” LPGA Commissioner, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, said in an LPGA press release. “Renee is a global ambassador and trailblazer within the game and has provided a model for how to use golf as a means of inclusion.”

Bob Kain

Induction Year : 2023

Sport: Meritorious Service

Kain is the former President and CEO of International Management Group (IMG). His achievements in his 31 years are a testament to the impact of IMG in the sports world.

Kain, who lives in Gates Mills, graduated in 1971 from the University of Virginia where he was a four-year letterman in tennis. He sought to be involved in tennis in some way for his life’s work, and in 1976 he was hired by Cleveland-based IMG to represent professional players and to build IMG’s tennis business. His clients over the years included Rod Laver, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal on the men’s side, and Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Venus and Serena Williams on the women’s.

In 1984, Kain created and built IMG’s figure skating business. Clients included Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming, and Scott Hamilton. Kain was in charge of the building of IMG Fashion and became CEO of IMG in 2003 after the death of founder Mark McCormack. He retired in 2006.

Kain worked for the Cleveland Browns in 2007 and 2008 and has been a senior advisor to the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). As chairman, he helped build the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission into one of the most respected in the country. He also is an accomplished amateur golfer; he played in four U.S. Senior Amateur Championships and three British Senior Amateurs.

Josh Cribbs

Induction Year : 2023

Sport: Football

Cribbs had a sterling career with the Cleveland Browns as a returner, receiver, and occasional quarterback, and at Kent State, where he set several school records as a four-year starter at quarterback. Cribbs’ 11 total punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns are fifth in NFL history, and his eight kickoff returns ranks second.

His success with the Browns came after he went undrafted. He made the team and became an all-purpose standout who could score from anywhere on any play. Cribbs had never returned kicks until he tried it with the Browns. Browns fans especially enjoyed Cribbs’ success against the Pittsburgh Steelers; his kickoff return for a touchdown in ’07 is one of the most memorable in team history, and came after he had 90-yard return earlier in the game.

Cribbs, who played one season with the Raiders and Colts before retiring, now calls the Cleveland area home. He and his wife, Maria, host “Cribbs in the CLE,” providing reports about various aspects of life in Cleveland, on WOIO Channel 19.

Tom Hamilton

Induction Year : 2022

Sport: Media

2022 marked the 33rd season of calling Cleveland Guardians baseball games on the radio for this Waterloo, WI, native. Since he joined Herb Score in the radio booth in 1990, Tom Hamilton has called all 94 postseason games the Cleveland franchise has played in that span, including three World Series (1995, 1997 and 2016). His 33-year tenure is tied with Rick Manning on TV, and the second longest in franchise history next to Score (34 years). Tom, joined in the radio booth with Jim Rosenhaus, calls the action and commentary for all 162 regular season games and 15 spring training contests on Newsradio WTAM 1100, 100.7 FM WMMS, and the 30-station Cleveland Clinic Guardians Radio Network.

Tom arrived in Cleveland after three seasons calling AAA Columbus Clippers action, the top farm club of the New York Yankees (1987-89). He started his broadcasting career calling minor league games across Wisconsin, as well as University of Wisconsin football games and University of Colorado basketball games. Tom called Big Ten basketball on television for 25 years. He is a member of the Press Club of Cleveland’s Hall of Fame and is a seven-time recipient of the Ohio Sportscaster of the Year Award (1997, 2000, ’01, ’04, ’06, ’13, and ’16).

Carol Russo

Induction Year : 2022

Sport: Volleyball

Thanks to Carol Russo’s passion, dedication and commitment, volleyball was Elyria High School’s most consistently successful sport over a two-decade period. It was her coaching and organizational prowess that boosted the Pioneers among the state’s most elite and respected programs. In 1996, the Pioneers posted a 28-1 record and became the first Elyria volleyball team to win a state semi-final game and play for the state championship. It was Russo’s third team to reach the state tournament. In addition to the state tournament runs, Russo’s teams won the district championships 14 times, and 18 conference titles across four leagues (Buckeye, Erie Shore, Lake Erie, and Pioneer).

In 27 years as a head volleyball coach, beginning her career at Mayfield and ending at Elyria Catholic, Russo posted a career record of 575-126. She won 20 or more games 20 times during her career. She was inducted into the Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, and was selected to the prestigious AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Hall of Fame in 2012. Russo played volleyball for her mother, Sue, at Oberlin High School as well at The Ohio State University. Carol and her mother, Sue, were the first mother-daughter combination to coach teams in the Ohio state tournament.

Katie Nageotte

Induction Year : 2022

Sport: Track & Field

Katie Nageotte is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the pole vault and only the third woman to win pole vault gold for the United States. She grew up in Olmsted Falls and attended Olmsted Falls High School and Ashland University (after spending her first two years at Dayton). Nageotte won the Gold in her first Olympics with a vault of 16 feet, 0-3/4 inches (4.9 meters) at the COVID-delayed games in 2021 in Tokyo. This year she won the World Championships with a vault of 15-11, and last year finished first in the Olympic Trials at 16-3. With hopes of competing in the Paris Olympics in 2024, she would have the chance to become the second woman ever to win consecutive gold medals in the pole vault.

Nageotte started competing in the pole vault in the seventh grade as Olympic sports always intrigued her, especially those involving adrenaline and upper body strength. She competed in gymnastics and thought that may be her path, but grew to love the pole vault when she competed for her middle school track team. As a high school senior, she was the 2009 OHSAA Division I champion. Nageotte won two NCAA Division II titles and was a three-time Division II All-American. She won gold at the 2018 U.S. Indoor Championships, silver at the 2019 U.S. Outdoor, gold at the ’19 U.S. Indoors and silver at the ’19 Indoor Championships. COVID knocked her back in 2020, but she persevered to break an Olympic Trials record in July of 2021 before going to capture gold in Tokyo.

Bernie Kosar

Induction Year : 2022

Sport: Football

Bernie Kosar remains one of the most beloved sports figures in Cleveland history. Raised in Boardman, Ohio, where he was a standout high school player, Kosar considered himself a “Cleveland guy” and worked with then-owner Art Modell to make his dream come true to play in a Cleveland Browns uniform. Graduating a year early from the University of Miami, Kosar and Modell used the NFL’s Supplemental Draft to bring him home and lead the Browns on the field at old Municipal Stadium. Kosar guided the Browns to three AFC Championship Games in nine seasons as quarterback. He ranks second in Browns history with 21,904 passing yards, completing 58.8 percent of his passes with 116 touchdowns and 81 interceptions.

Three times during his tenure with the Browns Kosar set records for most consecutive passes without an interception (286, 308 and 308). He took the franchise to the playoffs five times and threw for 489 yards in an overtime win over the NY Jets in 1987. He won a NCAA National Championship in his first season as the Miami Hurricanes’ starting QB, a thrilling Orange Bowl win over unbeaten and top-ranked Nebraska. Kosar won a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Dalles Cowboys in 1993.

Les Levine

Induction Year : 2021

Sport: Media

Levine was the self-proclaimed “Voice of Truth & Reason;” a trailblazing multimedia talent who spent five decades with his pulse on the Cleveland sports scene.

He would broadcast more than 2,500 sporting events as lead play-by-play voice for the Cleveland Crusaders, Kent State University basketball and football, Cleveland State University basketball, Cleveland Thunderbolts, and various high school and collegiate games. Levine’s signature sports talk show “More Sports and Les Levine” was a fixture on radio and television virtually every weekday beginning in 1991 until his passing. He wrote a weekly sports column for The News Herald and was an Award-Winning columnist for the Cleveland Jewish News. Levine hosted the playoff postgame show on Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan during the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship run, and he covered the victory parade celebrating Cleveland’s first professional sports title in 52 years.

Levine left behind an unparalleled media legacy in Ohio sports.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

Induction Year : 2021

Sport: Basketball

Zydrunas llgauskas was drafted by the Cavaliers as the 20th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft and went on to play 12 seasons for the Wine and Gold, averaging 13.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks over a then-team record 771 games played.

The 7-3 center from Lithuania was twice an NBA All-Star (2003, 2005), a member of Cleveland’s back-to-back 60-win teams (66-16 in 2008-09; 61-21 in 2009-10), and six playoff teams, including the franchise’s first ever NBA Finals appearance in 2007.

llgauskas retired in 2011 and remains the Cavaliers’ all-time leader in offensive rebounds (2,336) and blocked shots (1,269) while ranking second in points scored (10,616), total rebounds (5,904), games played (771) and minutes (21,820), third in free throws made (2,495), and defensive rebounds (3,568) and fourth in field goals made (4,045). llgauskas is the only player in franchise history to accumulate 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 1,000 blocks over his career.

Z’s number 11 jersey is now retired and hangs in the rafters at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.