Howard Ferguson

Induction Year : 2018

Sport: Wrestling

Coach Howard Ferguson transformed St. Edward High School wrestling into the most dominant program in Ohio’s history in 1974 and continuing long after his death to the present day.

Ferguson, who began wrestling at John Marshall High School under hall of fame coach Gene Gibbons, turned to coaching in the 1960s at the West Shore YMCA. In seven years his YMCA teams compiled an incredible dual meet record of 138-2, which caught the attention of St. Edward High School.

He was handed the reigns of St. Edward wrestling in 1974 and almost immediately turned the Eagles into a powerhouse. In 15 seasons from 1974 through the spring of 1989, St. Ed’s won 11 team state championships. His wrestlers won 32 individual state championships and 20 runners-up. He produced one 3-time state champion and four 2-time state champions.

In college, his wrestlers captured three NCAA individual titles. Thirteen were college All-Americans a total of 26 times. At one time or another Howard’s alumni wore the singlets of nine of the original Big Ten teams.

Both the wrestling world and business world were shocked when Howard died of a heart attack in the prime of his career in October 1989. In his alternate life he became a millionaire in real estate. He was a pioneer in converting high-rise apartment houses into condominiums.

He also authored an acclaimed coffee-table book called “The Edge,” an accumulation of the quotes, beliefs and life lessons of the leading coaches and athletes of the day. The book was published not long before he died and is still in demand. It is out of print but can be located on e-bay for as much as $150.

In one of the final passages of the book, under the heading, “Leave something behind,” he wrote about his own principles:

“You can never pay back those who helped you. What you can do is follow their example and help others. Help some people get started. Teach them how to play the game the right way. Teach them about class. Show them how to overcome adversity. Take all your knowledge, experience and love and share it. Reach out to as many people as you can.”

DeHart Hubbard

Induction Year : 2018

Sport: Track & Field

William DeHart Hubbard was the epitome of the unsung hero. Only a close inspection of the record books reveal the remarkable accomplishments of a true historical figure.

At the 1924 Olympics in Paris, Hubbard became the first African American to win a gold medal in an individual event when he won the long jump, notching a leap of 24 feet, 5.5 inches on his sixth and final attempt. That international stage was only part of his legacy.

A standout athlete and student at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Hubbard had to withstand the racism of the day, but did secure admission to the University of Michigan. The Wolverines benefited as he went on to become a three-time NCAA champion and seven-time Big 10 champion in track and field.

In 1925, Hubbard set the world long jump record with a leap of 25 feet, 10.75 inches. A year later, he tied the world record in the 100-yard dash at 9.6 seconds.

In perspective, Hubbard’s little-known status can be summed up in his Big 10 record of 25 feet, 3.5 inches set in 1925. It stood until heralded Jesse Owens broke it in 1935. The men would become friends years later when Hubbard left Cincinnati for Cleveland in 1942 to work for the Federal Housing Authority until retirement in 1969.

In 1948, Hubbard told The Plain Dealer of his Paris gold medal. “I was determined to become the first of my race to be an Olympic champion and I was just as determined to break the world (long jump) record,” said Hubbard.

Hubbard was named to the National Track Hall of Fame in 1957 and was posthumously selected in the second class of the University of Michigan Hall of Honor in 1979.

“He was not a boisterous person,” said friend and gold medalist Harrison Dillard of Cleveland. “There was a sense of gentleman about him.”

A longtime bowler, Hubbard was president of the National Bowling Association in the 1950s and was a founder of the baseball Cincinnati Tigers of the Negro American League.

Hubbard died in Cleveland at age 72 on June 23, 1976. The William DeHart Hubbard Scholarship Fund was established in 2010 through the University of Michigan.

Gordon Gund

Induction Year : 2017

Sport: Basketball

The Gund Family has always meant a lot to Cleveland. Its Gund Foundation was at the forefront of the area’s philanthropic organizations.

But Gordon Gund, along with brother, George, will also be credited for salvaging professional basketball in Northeast Ohio by purchasing the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1983. The team had been rumored for a possible move to Toronto.

Under Gordon Gund, the Cavaliers established themselves as playoff contenders, with fan loyalty at the Richfield Coliseum remaining strong when the team relocated to the new Gund Arena in 1994. The franchise consistently ranked among the NBA’s leaders in attendance as stability remained consistent.

With the drafting of LeBron James in 2003, the popularity of the team soared. Although he sold controlling interest of the team 2005, Gund remained a minority owner and was able to enjoy the satisfaction of the 2016 NBA championship.

The Gund’s also owned the WNBA’s Cleveland Rockers women’s basketball team.

While the stint was brief, the Gunds owned the NHL’s Cleveland Barons for the 1977-78 season before the club was merged with the North Stars and moved to Minnesota. Gordon was a partial owner of the expansion San Jose Sharks in 1991, selling his share of that team in 2002.

A 1961 graduate of Harvard University, he was Chairman and CEO of Gund Investment Corporation, based in Princeton, N.J., since 1968.

In dealing with personal health issues, he was the co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Foundation Fighting Blindness of Columbia, MD. The national non-profit organization is dedicated to seeking the causes, treatments and/or cures for retinitis pigmentosa, age-related macular degeneration and associated degenerative diseases.

Gordon Gund became a noted sculptor, working meticulously in bronze and clay. Along with wife, Lulie, the couple have two children.

Brad Friedel

Induction Year : 2016

Sport: Soccer

Brad Friedel epitomized both saving grace and stamina on the soccer field.

For more than a quarter century he staked his claim as one of the top goalkeepers in the collegiate, professional and international ranks. The 6-3 keeper, who switched from forward to the goalmouth growing up in Bay Village, holds the record for playing in 310 consecutive games in England’s highly-competitive Premier League with teams Blackburn, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur from 1998 to 2015.

Beginning with an NCAA national championship at UCLA in 1990, he earned collegiate honors through 1992 as he won the Hermann Trophy as a junior before opting for a professional career. After stints in Scotland, Denmark and Ireland, he was Major League Soccer’s Goalkeeper of the Year with the Columbus Crew in 1997. That opened the opportunity to play in England, initially with Liverpool and eventually as a starter with Blackburn in 2000 to begin his Premier League reign.

In his first season with Blackburn, he helped the Rovers return to the top division Premier League. He was Blackburn’s player of the year when he had 15 shutouts during the 2002-03 season.

He also played for the United States national team in the 1992 Olympics and in three World Cups. He was dubbed “the human wall” for his outstanding work during the 2002 World Cup as the U.S. reached the quarterfinals with stirring wins against Portugal and Mexico along the way.

He totaled 82 games for the national team from 1992 to 2005.

Before concentrating on soccer, Friedel was an all-state basketball selection at Bay, where he also played tennis. He was the school’s athlete of the year as a senior in 1990. Later that year he was invited to walk-on the UCLA basketball team as freshman.

Hoping to further establish the game at home, he founded the non-profit Premier Soccer Academy in Lorain for youth from 2007-2011. In 2016, he was named head coach of the United States Under-19 team.

 

Travis Hafner

Induction Year : 2015

Sport: Baseball

Travis Hafner enjoyed a 12-year career in Major League Baseball, the best of the seasons (10 in all) spent wearing a Cleveland Indians’ jersey.

In a four-year stretch from 2004 through 2007, Hafner was one of the most feared batters in the game, hitting 127 home runs and collecting 434 RBI. The 2006 campaign was Hafner’s finest as he smacked 42 homers and drove in 117 runs. He led the American League in slugging percentage (.659) and was so hot in August that he was not only voted a player of the week honor, but player of the month, as well.

Baseball is a game of numbers, and Hafner, who split time between first base and being a designated hitter, has them by the bushel basket.

He was the first player in MLB history to hit five grand slam home runs before the All-Star Game (2006), and remains tied for the most grand slams in a season by hitting six, again in 2006.

Hafner twice finished in the Top 10 for MVP voting, polling fifth in 2005.

In 2002, his first year in the majors as a Texas Ranger, eventual teammate Bill Selby (then a member of the Indians) gave Hafner his nickname. It was “Pronk,” a combination of him being a project as well as a critique of the way he rambled around the bases. “He just looked like a Pronk,” said Selby.

Tribe fans will fondly remember Hafner driving in the winning run in the 11th inning of Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS, also known as the “bug game.” It featured a 10-minute swarming invasion of midges that may have contributed to New York Yankee reliever Joba Chamberlain uncorking two wild pitches, one that lead to the Indians tying the game before Hafner’s heroics.

Hafner ranks eighth on the Indians all-time home run list with 200 blasts. Another of his greatest nights with the Tribe came on Aug. 13, 2003 when he hit for the cycle against the Minnesota Twins.

Hafner and his wife, Amy, and their three children, Blake, Trip and Knox, live in Avon Lake.

Ted Ginn, Sr.

Induction Year : 2013

Sport: Football

Ted Ginn, Sr. has been described as an evangelist and a Pied Piper because he re-wrote the game plan for high school football in Cleveland.
Ted spent his early years in Franklinton, Louisiana, where his grandparents instilled in him rigid Christian values. He moved to Cleveland for his high school years at Glenville, playing center and linebacker on the Tarblooders football team of the 1970s.
After graduating, he returned to Glenville as a volunteer assistant football coach and full-time uniformed security guard. He would patrol the hallways in his blue-gray officer’s uniform during the school day and change into his coaching togs after school.
After 10 years as an unpaid assistant coach, he actually went on the coaching payroll in 1986. He succeeded James Hubbard as head coach in 1997 and before long earned national attention for the Glenville football program.
In 1999 Glenville became the first Cleveland public school to qualify for the state football playoffs and the Tarblooders went on to the playoffs 11 times in 12 years from 1999 to 2010. Glenville was state runnerup in 2009.
Glenville also has won every Senate football championship since Ted took over in 1997 and has not lost a conference game in his century.
More than 50 of his athletes have been awarded full college scholarships, including his son, Ted Jr. at Ohio State and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith, also at Ohio State. Several of his players went on play pro football in the NFL.
He also coached the Glenville track team to five straight state championships.
Ted has battled cancer for the last two years and did not coach last year, but he has returned to the sidelines this season.
In 2007 the Cleveland Municipal School District created Ginn Academy in the Collinwood area, an all-boys school with Ted as headmaster.
He always points out that his mission is not to win football games, it is to save lives and souls. He has been honored by numerous like-minded organizations, such as the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, the National Black Coaches Association and the National Fatherhood Initiative.
Ted and his wife, Jeanette, have two children, son Ted Jr. and daughter Tiffany.

Mike Hargrove

Induction Year : 2013

Sport: Baseball

Although denied the 1997 World Series championship in a heart-breaking loss in extra innings in the seventh game against the Florida Marlins, Mike Hargrove will remain one of the most beloved managers in Cleveland Indians history.

Hargrove is the fifth Tribe manager – all former Cleveland ballplayers — to be inducted in the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. He joins Mel Harder, Roger Peckinpaugh, Steve O’Neill and Tris Speaker.

A native of Perryton, Texas (the city’s baseball stadium is named in his honor), Hargrove played 7 years for the Tribe before managing it for nine years. He began his playing career with Texas before coming to Cleveland via a trade with San Diego. As a manager, Hargove skippered both Baltimore and Seattle after leaving Cleveland.

Voted American League Rookie of the Year in 1974, Hargrove carried the most unique of nicknames – The Human Rain Delay. He earned it through his ritual between pitches of stepping out of the batter’s box to readjust his hitting gloves, hitch up his pants, rub his nose, knock dirt from his spikes and tamp on his helmet.

Hargrove played for 12 years. He had a career batting average of .290 and was an All-Star in 1975. He retired in 1985, and within two years was managing Class A Kinston of the Carolina League. Hargrove was voted the circuit’s Manager of the Year in his rookie season.

The Indians named Hargrove its manager in 1991. He had winning records in six of his nine years in Cleveland, won five consecutive American League Central championships and twice advanced to the World Series. Hargrove’s first American League Central title in 1995 ended a 40-year drought between championships, the Indians having won the American League pennant in 1954.
Hargrove is the second winningest manager in Cleveland Indians history. His 721 victories are just seven wins shy of record holder Lou Boudreau’s total.

Raymont Harris

Induction Year : 2012

Sport: Football

He ran hard and far in six NFL seasons, but Raymont Harris may be best remembered for two evenings of football that saw him dart in and around rivals and directly into a pair of record books. One of the nights came in college, the other in high school.  Harris, a native of Lorain, produced the greatest performance by an Ohio State University running back in a bowl game when he piled up 235 yards in the Buckeyes’ 28-21 victory over Brigham Young in the 1993 Holiday Bowl.

Raymont scored three of OSU’s four touchdowns but more impressive was that not one of his 39 carries resulted in negative yardage. Harris still holds the Holiday Bowl record for rushing yardage. Harris still holds the Holiday Bowl record for rushing yardage.

A few years earlier, as a senior at Admiral King High School, Harris delivered a performance that is still talked about in Lorain County football circles. Facing cross-town rival Lorain High, Harris ran for 332 yards and five touchdowns as the Admirals triumphed.

Harris was selected in the fourth round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears, the 114th overall pick and made an immediate impact. The Bears were knocked out of the playoffs in the next game by eventual Super Bowl champion San Francisco.

Harris retired from pro football in 2001. He joined The Ohio State University Department of Athletics in March 2010 as director of development and resides in New Albany with his wife, Leslie, and children Shakia, Elijah, and Olivia.   

Mary Joe Fernandez Godsick

Induction Year : 2012

Sport: Tennis

Mary Joe Fernandez Godsick enjoyed a golden career on the tennis courts of the world.

In the midst of an outstanding run as a professional that included three Grand Slam finals, Fernandez Godsick won two Olympic gold medals representing the United States.

Teamed with Gigi Fernandez (no relation), Mary Joe first prevailed in the women’s doubles at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Team Fernandez reprised their championship performance on U.S. soil, winning gold at the 1996 0lympics in Atlanta.

Born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Miami, Fernandez Godsick is the fourth woman inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. She joins Mary K. Browne, Edna Shalala and Gwyneth Thomas.

Mary Joe’s accomplishments on the pro circuit make her one of the game’s all-time greats. In 1990, after winning the Tokyo Indoor Championship and reaching the finals of the Australian Open where she was defeated  by Steffi Graf, Fernandez Godsick ranked a career-high World No. 4 in singles.

Twice more, Mary Joe would reach the finals of Grand Slam events. She was topped by Monica Seles in the 1992 Australian Open and by Graf in the 1993 French Open.

Fernandez Godsick did reach the winner’s circle in both tournaments, teaming with Patty Fendick to win the women’s doubles championship at the 1991 Australian Open, and partnering with Lindsay Davenport to capture the doubles title at the 1996 French Open.

Mary Joe was a tenacious rival and no better illustration of her fight can be found than the quarterfinals of the 1993 French Open. She saved five match points against Gabriela Sabatini before winning a match that lasted more than three and a half hours.       

She also was the youngest player to win a main draw match at the U.S. Open when at 14 years and 8 days, she defeated Sara Gomer in first round play in 1985.

Fernandez Godsick was a star soon after picking up a racket for the first time. She won four straight Orange Bowl junior titles and turned pro at 15.

Mary Joe lives in Chagrin Falls with her husband, sports agent Anthony Lewisohn Godsick, and their children, Isabella Maria and Nicholas Cooper.

Mike Hegan

Induction Year : 2011

Sport: Baseball

Mike Hegan’s name is familiar to Indians fans as Tom Hamilton’s partner on the Tribe radio broadcasts, but in a previous life he was one of the finest athletes ever produced by St. Ignatius High School.  Mike made all-scholastic in both football and basketball and all-state in baseball.  He was named Greater Cleveland Catholic High School Athlete of the Year in 1960.

After a year of college at Holy Cross in Massachusetts, Mike signed a baseball contract with the Yankees and went on to a 12-year Major League career with the Yankees, Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers and Oakland A’s as a first baseman.  He played in the 1964 World Series with Oakland.

In 1969 he hit the first home run in Seattle Pilots history in his first at bat and was the Pilots’ only representative in the All-Star Game, a distinction that never will be duplicated.  After only one year in Seattle the Pilots moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers.  Much like his father, Jim Hegan, a great defensive catcher for the Indians in the 1940’s and 50’s, Mike was known for his glove.  In 1971 and ’72 he set the Major League record of 178 consecutive errorless games at first base, a record that stood until Kevin Youkilis of Boston eclisped it in 2007.

Mike retired in 1977 with a .242 lifetime batting average and entered broadcasting.  He was the television color commentator for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1977 to 1988.  He joined the Indians broadcast team in 1989 on television and for the last 11 years teamed with Hamilton on the radio.  He intends to retire after this season, ending 34 years in the baseball broadcast booth.  He and his wife, Nancy, now make their permanent home in Hilton Head, S.C.