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.”

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.

Larry Nance

Induction Year : 2021

Sport: Basketball

Nance played his final seven NBA seasons for the Cleveland Cavaliers (1987-1994) after a six-year stint with the Phoenix Suns.

Known as “Leapin’ Larry” for the dunking prowess that made him the first-ever NBA Slam Dunk Champion in 1984 and for his strong shot-blocking skills, Nance made three NBA All-Star teams (1985, 1989, 1993), including twice with Cleveland. He helped the Wine & Gold reach the postseason six times. Nance appeared in 433 regular season games with the Cavaliers, averaging 16.8 points on .530 shooting from the field, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and a team-record 2.5 blocks. Among the franchise’s all-time leaders, Nance ranks third in blocked shots (1,087) and field goal percentage (.530), ninth in points scored (7,257), rebounds (3,561) and field goals made (2,945), and 10th in minutes {(14,966) and free throws made (1,364). The 6-10 forward remains the lone player in Cavaliers history to make the NBA All-Defensive Team three times (1989, 1992 and 1993).

Larry’s number 22 jersey hangs in the rafters at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, while his son, Larry, Jr., now proudly wears 22 and continues the Nance legacy with the Cavaliers.

Jeanne Naccarato

Induction Year : 2018

Sport: Bowling

Her classmates at Brush High School in Lyndhurst remember her as Jeanne Marie Norton, where she was the most precocious teenage bowler in Greater Cleveland. At the age of 14 she bowled in adult leagues, and six years later she turned pro.

She married in 1980 at age 22 and became Jeanne Maiden, which is how the local bowling world knew her. She was Cleveland’s “Queen of Bowling” in 1981, ’82 and ’83. She continued to dominate women’s professional bowling for the rest of the decade.

In the 1986 Central States Tournament at Ambassador Brookpark Lanes, she rolled 40 consecutive strikes. She had her last seven in a row in the doubles. In singles, she rolled consecutive 300 games and added nine more strikes in a row in the third game en route to an 864 series, which was a world record since broken several times.

In 1992, she married Stan Naccarato and became Jeanne Maiden-Naccarato, the name on the plaque when she was inducted into the Women’s International Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in 1999, and to the Professional Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 2002.

Her husband, Stan, died in 2016 at the age of 88. Jeanne lives in Tacoma, Washington, where she owns a bowling center: Tower Lanes.

Jeff Radosevich

Induction Year : 2016

Sport: Horse Racing

Jeff Radosevich earned his way into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame by making thoroughbred racing history at Thistledown.

Some of the greatest jockeys in North American have won titles at Thistledown; among them Kentucky Derby champions Bill Hartack, Bobby Ussery and Mike Manganello, as well as 2011 Hall inductee, Tony Rini.

The same holds true for trainers. Loyd Gentry, who saddled 1967 Kentucky Derby winner Proud Clarion, was a champion in Cleveland.

But none of these men have accomplished what Radosevich has at Thistledown. Not only is he a champion jockey (1988), Radosevich has gone on to be a champion trainer (eight times, the first in 2005), making him the first and only horseman in Greater Cleveland racing history to prevail on a thoroughbred as well as at one’s side.

Radosevich retired from riding in 1993 after suffering a broken leg, the result of a race spill. As a jockey he had rebounded from five broken arms, four broken collarbones and a broken foot.

He immediately began training horses, and 20 years later continues to be Thistledown’s top trainer. Radosevich has ranked in the Top 10 winningest horsemen in North America in three of the last 12 years.

Jeff is from a large racing family. His father, Joe, as well as brothers, Joey and Jake, are horse trainers.

Radosevich won his first race as a jockey at Thistledown on November 9, 1980. He was 19. He also won his first race as a trainer at the North Randall track on December 10, 1993.

Radosevich hit a training milestone last year. On December 12 he saddled his 2,000th career winner at Mahoning Valley Race Course in suburban Youngstown.

A native of Joliet, Illinois, Radosevich has a farm in Geauga County where he lives with his wife Yvonne and their children.

Sam Palumbo

Induction Year : 2016

Sport: Football

It was all about football and family for Sam Palumbo.

Growing up in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood, he made a name for himself playing football and basketball for the Railroaders. He captained both teams into his senior season in 1951. As a defensive lineman, he earned All-East Side Senate, All-Scholastic and All-Ohio honors. He could have played in the City Championship basketball game, but as a mid-year graduate, he was already enrolled at the University of Notre Dame.

Earning a role as a defensive tackle, he was on the Fighting Irish varsity as a freshman under legendary coach Frank Leahy. He was an All-Midwest selection as a sophomore and on the once-tied 1953 team. After earning four letters, he was a first team All-Catholic pick and played in the North-South game in Miami.

The 195-pounder caught the eye of another legendary coach as he was selected by Paul Brown to play linebacker for the Browns as a fourth-round draft pick (No. 49 overall) in 1955. In the self-proclaimed highlight of his career, he replaced an injured Chuck Noll and helped the Browns defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 38-14, for the NFL title that year. Palumbo contributed an interception to the victory.

After another year with the Browns, he was traded to the Green Bay Packers for his final season of pro ball in 1957.

But football remained in his blood for the next 40 years as he became a dean of Northeast Ohio’s officiating ranks, retiring from both the gridiron and his insurance business in 2001. He was always helpful lending wisdom to young officials learning their way through the rules and regulations of the high school game.

He was honored with the Cleveland Touchdown Club Bobby Brown service award in 2002 and a member of the first class in the Greater Cleveland Football Officials Hall of Fame in 2009. He had been in the Collinwood HOF since 1992.

Through it all, he was with his high school sweetheart, Catherine,for more than 60 years of marriage. The couple raised five sons and a daughter, residing in Lyndhurst.

Mike Rupp

Induction Year : 2015

Sport: Hockey

St. Edward High School has turned out countless all-scholastic hockey players, many college stars and several professionals, but Mike Rupp certainly raised the bar when he broke into the National Hockey League in 2003.

He played his first NHL game for the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 13, 2003—his 23rd birthday—and scored two goals. Five months later he scored the winning goal in the seventh game of the Stanley Cup finals as the Devils defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 3-0. It was his first playoff goal. He also assisted on the other two goals. It was heralded as the greatest performance by a rookie in the history of the Stanley Cup.

When he had his “day” with the Cup, Mike and his family chartered a bus to take the massive silver trophy to all their old haunts, including the Honey Hut ice cream stand on State Road where Mike and his wife, Christi, spent many summer nights, and St. Edward High School, where he won his first trophies.

Mike was on the St. Edward state championship teams of 1995 and ’96, and the Eagles’ state runnerup team of 1997.

Mike played 12 seasons in the National Hockey League with New Jersey, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, and the Minnesota Wild. While playing with Pittsburgh, he scored a hat trick against the Rangers in Madison Square Garden.

In 610 NHL games, he scored 54 goals, had 45 assists and 855 penalty minutes.

Erica Rose

Induction Year : 2014

Sport: Swimming & Diving

Erica Rose wasn’t born in the waters of the world. It just seems that way. The native of Cleveland Heights has swum in and around 16 countries.

Her list of accomplishments stretches from high school, to major college competition, to the international stage. Rose, who began swimming for the Lake Erie Silver Dolphins at the age of seven, was a two-time state champion and two-time runner-up in the 500 free at Hawken School where she lettered in all four scholastic years (1997- 2000). The Hawks won three state championships in her time at the Gates Mills school.

Erica was recruited by Northwestern University where she competed all four years in distance and individual medley events, advancing to a Big Ten Championship finals and an NCAA championship qualifier.

Rose excelled in open water events, enjoying a 12 year run of success that started at age 14. She was a member of seven World Championship teams, holds 10 national titles as well as seven Pan Pacific and Pan American titles.

She also scored a World Championship title in the 5K open wager swim in Perth, Australia in 1998.

Erica went out a winner. Although she had announced her retirement in 2011, she competed in the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim around New York City. At age 28, she won the grueling 28.5 mile test believed to be the longest swimming event in the world — with a time of 7 hours, 29 minutes and 46 seconds.

For added energy during the demanding Gotham swim she munched on sugary dried pineapple. For a light moment, Rose recalled having to tread water when a Norwegian Princess cruise ship was crossing her path.

Erica and her fiance, Brendan Dancik, live in Ann Arbor, Mi., where Erica is working on a dual degree in global public health and business administration at the University of Michigan. They will be married next month in Cleveland at The Arcade.

A.J. Perry

Induction Year : 2014

Sport: Martial Arts

AJ Perry’s road to international acclaim during his 40 years as a Martial Artist began in front of the television set in his W. 162nd St. home in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood. “The first time I saw the Green Hornet™ television show,” AJ said, “I was interested. And then I saw ‘Marlowe,’ the detective show, with James Garner and Bruce Lee—I was definitely hooked!”

AJ attended classes at St. Edward High School where he wrestled under Howard Ferguson. By age 15, he was practicing karate moves in a friend’s garage. That led to classes with Master Kim. AJ went on to teach Martial Arts at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. As his career as a Martial Artist started to take off, he began earning trophies and championships at local and regional competitions. He won several U.S. Open championships and in 2002 he took the bronze medal at the World Championships in Panama-third in the world. That, he says, was his highlight.

He was inducted into the World Traditional Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2006. Master Perry was also inducted into the World Sokieship Council Hall of Fame in 2005.

Now 53 years old, AJ is an 8th degree Grand Master who lives in Vermilion and runs two Martial Arts schools, one in Amherst and the other in Lorain Community College . His son Aaron (3rd degree Black Belt), once his star protege, is now his assistant instructor.

Master Perry says among the great role models who touched his life are previous Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame inductees Phil Bova, Ken McBride, Rich Rollins and Garry Roggenburk.

AJ’s full-time job is with Dominion East Ohio Gas (30 years) where he is a tech services specialist involved with fueling vehicles powered by natural gas. AJ is President of The Three Deuce Five Foundation located in Brookpark, Ohio. He is a tireless volunteer for Marines in need, such as those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after service in Middle East war zones. His Martial Arts demonstrations have raised thousands of dollars for Marine support groups. One demonstration included completing 2,200 pushups in 90 minutes.

The word Samurai translated means to serve. Master Perry as a Martial Artist has chosen to serve Marines in need as well as instilling this same spirit into his students.