Elmore Smith

Induction Year : 2014

Sport: Basketball

Elmore Smith was one of the greatest shot blockers in NBA history during his eight-year career in pro basketball from 1971 to 1979. Twice he finished as the league leader in blocked shots and set a single game record of 17 in one game, a mark which still stands 40 years later. He spent two seasons each with the Buffalo Braves, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The seven-footer’s name will always be associated with the greatest big men in basketball history, known as “Elmore the Rejector,” he was drafted by the Buffalo Braves and after two seasons was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers to replace Wilt Chamberlain. Two years later the Lakers traded him to Milwaukee for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Cleveland acquired him to replace Nate Thurmond as the backup center.

Although he had grown to seven feet tall by the time he was in high school in Macon, Ga, his career did not look promising. Only three colleges recruited him. He enrolled at Wiley College where the coach told him he probably never would get to play. Wiley had not won a game in three years. So Elmore transferred to Kentucky State which went on to win two straight NAIA national championships and Elmore was a two-time All-American.

He was the third player picked in the 1971 NBA draft and signed a multi-million dollar contract with Buffalo. For his career he averaged 13.4 points per game and 10.6 rebounds. Knee surgery in October, 1978, hastened his retirement. He remained in Cleveland and now, at the age of 65, lives in Beachwood. He is frequently seen at Cavs games. He also has a line of barbeque sauce available in many retail stores. Cleveland was by far the best experience, he once said, “The guys I played with were all good friends and we stay in touch.”

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.

Wally Morton

Induction Year : 2014

Sport: Swimming & Diving

Dedicated commitment.

Wally Morton was the epitome of that quality during his 39-year tenure in the Physical Education Department at Cleveland State University as the men’s and women’s swimming coach. He coached the Vikings to 20 conference titles during 46 winning seasons, totaling a school-record 387 dual meet victories.

After graduation from Miami University (Ohio) in 1970, where he was a member of two Mid-American Conference championship swimming teams, Morton came to CSU in 1974 and served seven years under legendary CSU coach Bob Busbey. He was named head men’s coach in 1981 and women’s head coach in 2007.

His teams won 14 Penn-Ohio, two Midwestern Collegiate Conference and two Horizon League championships. He was named conference coach of the year nine times. At the time of his retirement in June 2014, his swimmers held 11 men and six women league titles.

He guided five swimmers and one diver to the NCAA championships and three to Olympic qualifiers, with Nedim Nisic representing Bosnia at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

The men’s team earned 47 Mid-Major All-American Awards from the College Swimming Coaches Association.  He women’s team received 17 Mid-Major honors.

Both teams have received the Scholar All-American Award a combined 57 times, with 27 earning Academic All-American laurels.

But all those numbers pale in comparison to Morton’s tireless hours spent helping Northeast Ohio’s high school and club swimming teams. As Aquatics Director, he was always generous in making the quality CSU facilities available to athletes and coaches for practices and high-caliber meets.

He lives in Strongsville with his wife, Carol. They have a son, Rob.

Joe Jurevicius

Induction Year : 2014

Sport: Football

Joe Jurevicius knew about winning.

At all levels, from Lake Catholic High to Penn State University to the National Football League, the strong armed wide receiver made his presence felt with his standout play. More often than not, Jurevicius used his strength and skills to outfight defenders and make the reception.

He did just that during the 2002 NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia as he turned a short crossing pattern into a 71-yard gain that proved pivotal in Tampa Bay’s victory. In Super Bowl XXXVII, he had four catches for 78 yards in Tampa Bay’s world championship win against Oakland.

Drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft, No. 55 overall, he played four seasons in New York. He did not have a reception in New York’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXV in 2000.

After signing with the Seahawks as a free agent, he had a team-high five catches for 93 yards in Seattle’s loss to Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL in 2005. He finished that season with a career-high 10 touchdowns.

He finished his pro career with the Cleveland Browns, retiring in 2009 after seven knee operations. He totaled 323 receptions for 4,119 yards and 29 touchdowns during his pro career.

During his collegiate career, he had 94 receptions for 1,905 yards and 15 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he helped the Nittany Lions go 12-0 and defeat Oregon in the 1995 Rose Bowl. Penn State finished No.2 in the national polls.

He earned all-state honors three times at Lake Catholic as a wide receiver and punter, with the Cougars winning state championships in 1991and 1992. He also played basketball.

An avid outdoorsman, he pursued those interests in business.

Jurevicius lives in Gates Mills with his wife, Meagan, and their two daughters, Caroline and Ava. A son, Michael William, died in infancy.

Larry Dolan

Induction Year : 2014

Sport: Baseball

A lifelong baseball fan, Larry Dolan bought the Cleveland Indians in February, 2000, and proceeded to make his mark not only in his hometown but within baseball. A lawyer by profession with special skills in the field of labor relations, he was largely credited with negotiating long-term labor peace between the owners and players’ union when he served on the Major League Baseball Ownership Committee and Executive Council. He also served on the MLB Diversity Committee.

His exploits as an athlete also should not be overlooked. Son of an inventor, Larry grew up in Cleveland Heights and attended St. Ignatius High School, where he played both football and baseball. He threw a touchdown pass in the Wildcats’ 13-0 victory over East Tech in the 1949 Charity Game before 30,227 at the Stadium. He was the catcher on the baseball team which also won the Senate championship in 1950.

He went on to the University of Notre Dame where he played on the freshman football team. After graduating in 1955 he remained at Notre Dame for law school. He then served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps for two years before returning home in 1958 to become an assistant prosecutor in Geauga County.

He also joined a law firm now known as Thrasher, Dinsmore and Dolan. He soon became a partner in the firm and later was named president and managing partner.

For nearly 25 years Larry managed the firm’s practice and professional development, building a reputation of excellence in general, civil and business law.

Now 83, Larry has retired from active management of the Indians. The club is now run by his son, Paul. Larry and his wife, Eva, have six children and seventeen grandchildren.

Bob Beutel

Induction Year : 2014

Sport: Basketball

Bob Beutel is the quintessential triple threat. He was an outstanding high school athlete. He was an outstanding collegiate athlete. Today, he is an outstanding scholastic coach.

His treble of excellence spans nearly 50 years and includes performances that earned Beutel national recognition on the football field as well as a place in the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s girls’ basketball  recordbook.

A native of Willowick, Beutel attended Eastlake North High School (Class of 1968) where he excelled in football and basketball, earning All-Ohio honors in both sports. He was recruited to play basketball at Ohio State University, but decided to play football at Big Ten rival Northwestern.

The decision worked out quite well. Beutel earned Big Ten honors as well as being named an ABC- TV National Player of the Week. He led the Wildcats in tackles in 1972 and ranked third in The Big Ten in that category in the same season.

When his playing days were over, Beutel took his bachelor’s degree in education and returned to his alma mater where he coached North’s girls basketball team for 25 years. His Lady Rangers compiled a record of 461-134 with 12 district titles and two trips to the state tournament’s final four.

Beutel considers coaching his daughters, Britt and Brooke, as one of the highlights of his career.

After spending a combined 40 years as student and a teacher in the Willoughby-Eastlake school system, Beutel retired in 2005. But not for long. A year later, he was approached and accepted the head coaching job of the girls’ basketball team at Gilmour Academy. In eight years, he has led the Lady Lancers to a record of 144-47.

Beutel’s second bite of the apple has lifted his career coaching victory total to 605, which ranks him seventh on the all-time list of Ohio girls’ basketball coaches.

Beutel and his wife Claudia live in Chardon.