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.

Ben Curtis

Induction Year : 2021

Sport: Golf

Career Statistics

Ben Curtis is best known for winning the 2003 British Open Championship. Prior to the tournament, he was given 300-1 odds of winning the major championship. After sealing the one-stroke win at Royal St. George’s, Curtis leaped from a 396th ranking in the world to 35th, the highest jump of any player in golf history. The 2003 British Open Championship was Curtis’ first major championship appearance. With his victory, he became the first golfer since golf legend Francis Ouimet in 1913 (U.S. Open) to win his first major championship debut.

After the 2003 title, Curtis gained national attention when he appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” hitting wedge shots rooftop to rooftop during the telecast. He visited President George W. Bush at the White House as well. In 2008, Curtis was a member of the victorious USA Ryder Cup team. In the Sunday singles matches Curtis defeated Lee Westwood 2-1 to secure the victory and bring the Cup back to U.S. soil for the first time since 1999.

Curtis graduated from Kent State University where he was a three-time All-American. He was inducted into the Mid-American Hall of Fame in 2012. Additional PGA Tour wins include the Booz Allen Classic and the 84 Lumber Classic (2006) and the Valero Texas Open (2012).

In 2018, Curtis retired from the PGA Tour and launched the Ben Curtis Golf Academy at The Country Club of Hudson (OH). He and his wife, Candace, established the Ben Curtis Family Foundation in 2013 with a mission to end childhood hunger in Portage and Summit counties.

Otis Chapman

Induction Year : 2019

Sport: Racquetball

Otis Chapman is one of the most decorated players in the history of racquetball. From 1987 through 2010, he collected 32 national and international championships in either singles or doubles play.

For his extraordinary accomplishments, he becomes the first-ever inductee into the racquetball wing of the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame.

Remarkably, the induction is Chapman’s fifth in a sports Hall of Fame.

His first, for softball in 1970, was into the Jewish Recreation Council/Jewish Community Center. Next came entrance into the Ohio Racquetball Association in 1989. Induction into the Greater Cleveland Softball Hall of Fame came in 1991, followed by inclusion into the International Masters Racquetball Hall of Fame in 1996.  

Chapman turned to racquetball after a torn Achilles tendon ended a very productive slow-pitch softball that saw him win seven national and city championships.

He didn’t start competing on the courts of the Cleveland YMCA until he was 45 and won his first racquetball title at the age of 53 in 1985 in the national doubles tournament. 

Before he put down his racquet, Chapman had won 15 international championships in just 13 years (from 1998 through 2010). All but one of the titles came in doubles, including the 2010 Men’s 75+ division when Chapman was 77 years old.

He also won eight national singles championships (from 1987 through 2000), five national doubles crowns (from 1985 through 1998) and four consecutive national masters doubles titles from 2007 through 2010.    

Chapman, at age 87, remains in top physical shape and while he has dozens of trophies, plaques, and medals, he says he is most proud of an award that cites him for good sportsmanship and fair play.

Ellis Burks

Induction Year : 2018

Sport: Baseball

Ellis Burks was a manager’s dream. A major league player who was one part speed, one part power, and one part defense.
His talents were in such demand that Burks enjoyed an 18-year career with five teams, including opening and a closing acts with the team that first signed him, the Boston Red Sox.
In between were stints with the Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Burks enjoyed his time in Cleveland, for he has made Greater Cleveland his home, residing in Chagrin Falls.
A first round pick by the Red Sox in the 1983 Major League Baseball draft, Burks became Boston’s starting centerfielder as a rookie in 1987.  He immediately excelled, becoming only the third player in team history to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases (Burks actually stole 27) in a single season.
His exploits earned him spots on both Baseball Digest and Topps’ all-rookie teams.
In 1990, Burks went into the Red Sox record book when he became the second player in team history to hit two home runs in the same inning. His rare feat (he was only the 25th in MLB history to do so) came at the expense of the Cleveland Indians at old Municipal Stadium.
Among Burks other accomplishments are twice being voted to the American League All-Star team, winning a Golden Glove for his play in centerfield and two Silver Slugger Awards.
Twice, Burks hit a career high .344, first with Colorado in 1996 and then in 2000 with the San Francisco Giants.  He made the most of the rarified air of Denver, recording career highs in home runs (40) and RBI (128) in his banner 1996 campaign.
Burks is currently working for the San Francisco Giants.

Danny Coughlin

Induction Year : 2017

Sport: Media

Dan has covered Cleveland sports in print and on the air since 1964 when he joined The Plain Dealer shortly after being discharged from the Army at age 25.

His first assignment was the high school beat and over the course of 18 years with The Plain Dealer he covered virtually everything and won most significant awards. For much of that time he was Chuck Heaton’s backup on the Browns and Russ Schneider’s backup on the Indians. He was the fulltime baseball writer in the late ’70s. He covered major college football games, including the major bowl games involving Notre Dame. He was the boxing writer and covered fights from the old Cleveland Arena to Madison Square Garden, including the Ali-Frazier series. He covered 17 Indianapolis 500s and several European races. He became the soccer writer during the brief era of big time pro soccer with the Cleveland Stokers. He was at rinkside for the U.S. hockey team’s victory over the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid. At one time Dan and Chuck Webster turned slow pitch softball into a major beat.

He liked to say that he loaded up for the football season by changing the ribbon in his portable typewriter every Labor Day. “I covered the big high school game on Friday, a big college game on Saturday and the Browns every Sunday. And they paid me to do it. It was like going to Cedar Point every weekend,” he said.

With a growing family in 1982, he needed a bigger house and accepted an offer from the Cleveland Press, which went out of business three months later. Nevertheless, the Coughlin family got their bigger house and Dan got a new career in television at Fox 8. He’s still there 35 years later.

Dan started his newspaper career on the high school beat and now, at the other end, he still covers high school football games every Friday night on television.

Both Dan and his wife, Maddy grew up in Lakewood and now live in Rocky River. They have four grown children and 11 grandchildren.

Dan went to St. Edward High School and Notre Dame. He served on the St. Edward board of trustees for 20 years. He is a past president of the Press Club of Cleveland and, for no known reason, is in the Greater Cleveland Softball Hall of Fame.

Brian Brakeman

Induction Year : 2017

Sport: Wrestling

Brian Brakeman’s influence on Ohio high school wrestling is legendary. A statistical wizard with the papers to prove it, Brakeman has compiled a dazzlingly accurate state tournament forecast that for 45 years has been an invaluable guide for wrestlers, coaches and college recruiters. He calls it the “Brakeman Report.” Others call it the wrestling “bible.” It is the premier state wrestling forecast in the country.

Since 1972, Brakeman has ranked the top 25 or so wrestlers in each weight class in every division, highlighted by projected state champions and order of team finish. In all these years his accuracy rate is 70%. One recent year he picked 13 of 14 state champs in Division I.

Hall of Fame wrestling coach Jamie Milkovich points out that compiling the report was more than clerical. “Brian incorporated the intangible effects of diverse styles, projected development and quality of coaching into his rankings.”

Milkovich adds, however, “The annual Brakeman Report represents only a portion of Brian’s contributions.”

Beginning in the early 1970s, working alongside Mike Massa, he anchored television broadcasts of the sectional, district and state tournaments along with top dual meets and holiday tournaments on WVIZ-TV. He became the face of high school wrestling. He archived all these telecasts beginning in 1971 and made them available to anyone who requests them. Because of his corporate position as Vice-President of Planning for East Ohio Gas Company, the gas company underwrote the first 30 years of broadcasts on WVIZ.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) adopted many of his recommendations to improve the state tournaments. He served as chairman of the seeding committee for the state dual meet tournament. In 1993 he was inducted into the Ohio Wrestling Hall of Fame.

A native of Parma and graduate of Parma Senior High School, Brian went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Case Tech, an M.B.A. from Western Reserve and a Ph.D in statistics.

He spent his entire working career with East Ohio Gas in planning and research. He also spent 14 years as a math teacher and tutor at North Coast Academy.

He and his wife Cheryl live in Shaker Heights. They have five grown children and eight grandchildren.

Bill Beard

Induction Year : 2017

Sport: Hockey

Bill Beard was one cool high school hockey coach.

In the fast-paced game where emotions run high, Beard was able to keep the ideals of sportsmanship in the forefront. While not one to shy from stating his position, it was never Beard’s place to lose respect for the human side of competition.

It was just part of the base, along with solid knowledge of the game, that enabled him to establish University School as a perennial state-wide contender. With Beard at the helm for 16 seasons (1998-2014), the Preppers won two state championships  (2003 and 2009), and had two runner-up finishes (2002 and 2004). US won nine district titles, earning nine trips to the state tournament’s final four.

There were also seven Baron Cup tournament championships, four Greater Cleveland High School Hockey division titles and the 2009 triple crown of GCHSHL division, Baron Cup and state wins.

The final totals were 347 wins, 181 losses and 48 ties. His 2009 title team went 31-6-3.

A 1980 Cleveland Heights High graduate, Beard played hockey and baseball for the Tigers, At Princeton University, he logged one season of hockey and was a four-year pitcher for the New Jersey-based Tigers before graduating in 1985 with a sociology degree.

On the baseball side, he won several team awards, served as co-captain his senior season and stands tied for third on the school’s all-time list with 19 career victories. His .760 career winning percentage (19-6 in 49 appearances) ranks fourth.

Before taking over at US, Beard was an assistant hockey coach at Cleveland Heights that included a state championship, a state runner-up and two Baron Cup title. He served as an assistant coach at Kent State for two years, at Padua High for three and Team Ohio Midget AAA for three. He found time to be pitching coach At Case Western Reserve University for the 1987 season.

Beard was head hockey coach at Upper Arlington High for one season, going 21-9-3 in 2016-17. Living in Perrysburg, Ohio, plans call for Beard to work at Toledo St. Francis de Sales High, where he will also serve as hockey assistant coach.

Married to Courtney, the Beards have two children.

Mike Bartley

Induction Year : 2016

Sport: Hockey

Mike Bartley was born to be an ice guy. He had the perfect makeup to coach winning hockey games.

No high school coach in Ohio has ever won more games than Bartley, who retired from coaching Shaker Heights High after winning the school’s fourth state title in 2013. Bartley’s final victory gave him 640, all of them with the Red Raiders for 37 seasons.

Beginning in 1976, he compiled a record of 640-346-36. His teams won state championships in four decades: 1981, 1993, 2001 and 2013. He took 10 teams to the state finals, with three of them as runner-ups in 1979, 1998 and 2005.

The Red Raiders won nine Baron Cup Tournament titles during his tenure, more than any other coach can claim for Northeast Ohio bragging rights.

But bragging rights would not be how the low-keyed Bartley would ever approach the accomplishment. It was not in his nature to put his wins above victories for the team. In his cramped office at Thornton Park, all of the Red Raiders’ team trophies and photos took the high-profile spots.

For Bartley, cozy Thornton Park was more of a classroom than rink. Throughout all the seasons, in both summer and fall outside the high school schedule, coaching younger players also played a part in the program’s success.

From mites and squirts to pee-wees and bantams, Bartley could be found going about his patient way teaching the game he loved. You could call him the minister of Thornton Park.

“It’s been sort of a ministry I’ve had in my life,” he said.

Growing up in Sarnia, Ontario, Bartley learned the game at the grass roots level like many Canadians in the junior ranks. He took his lessons to Bowling Green State University, and then played in the minor leagues.

Settling on his teaching role in elementary physical education, he took over the Shaker Heights High program during the disco era. With his trade-mark Maple Leaf tie, he weathered all the tough times and the good ones in the dedicated fashion he wanted – that of a teacher.

Brian Anderson

Induction Year : 2015

Sport: Baseball

Brian Anderson was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, on April 26, 1972, and was raised in Geneva, Ohio, where he played baseball, basketball and golf for the Geneva Eagles. Continuing to Wright State University, he blossomed into the most coveted left-handed pitcher in college baseball. The California Angels made him the third player selected in the 1993 Major League draft, and he made his Major League debut in September of that year.

Brian went on to enjoy 13 seasons in the Major Leagues with the California Angels (1993-95), Cleveland Indians (1996-97), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-2002), Indians again (2003) and Kansas City Royals (2003-2005). His career essentially was ended by Tommy John surgery in 2005. He attempted a comeback the following year, but it was cut short again due to a second Tommy John surgery.

His career record was 82-83, including 12 complete games and four shutouts, with a 4.74 earned run average. His combined record for three seasons with the Indians was 16-13.

Brian was especially valuable to the Indians during their World Series season of 1997 when he made eight starts with a 4-2 record. He returned to the Indians in 2003 and made 24 starts with a 9-10 record.

His effervescent personality propelled him into a career in broadcasting with the Tampa Bay Rays. He has been the Rays’ television analyst since 2011.

Brian, 43, has two children, Rylyn Mae, 10, and Jackson James, 8. He and his wife, Jessica Marie, were married on Nov. 1, 2014, and live in St. Petersburg, Florida.

LeCharles Bentley

Induction Year : 2015

Sport: Football

LeCharles Bentley always left a big impression. The standout lineman was a force throughout his playing days, from St. Ignatius High School to Ohio State to the National Football League. At 6-2 and 313 pounds as a professional, he was a true force at the highest level of the game.

Under veteran coach, Chuck Kyle (2013 Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame) at St. Ignatius, he was a two-year starter and All-Ohio selection as a senior in 1997.

At Ohio State under coaches John Cooper and Jim Tressel ( 2012 GCSHOF), he anchored the offensive Line and solidified his presence throughout the country. He was a first team All-Big Ten pick in 2000 and 2001, a consensus first team All-American as a senior. He was named the Dave Rimington Trophy winner as the best center in the country in 2001.

Drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft (No. 44 overall) by the New Orleans Saints, he started all 57 games, at guard and then center, for the team during the next four seasons. He was named by Sports Illustrated as the league’s offensive rookie of the year in 2002 and was on the Pro Football Weekly the all-rookie team.

He was signed by the Cleveland Browns as a free agent in 2006. However, the high hopes for the return to his hometown team were shattered when he tore the left patellar tendon in his left leg at the start of training camp. A subsequent staph infection and numerous knee surgeries put an end to his career, and he officially retired in January 2009.

Bentley worked in the Cleveland media and established a football training school.