Jamie Milkovich

Induction Year : 2015

Sport: Wrestling

It was just a few years ago when a young student was anxious to engage Jamie Milkovich in conversation. He asked how it felt to be a millionaire, the result of “owning” the Maple Heights school that the teen assumed was named in Milkovich’s honor. He was quickly corrected. Milkovich Middle School in Maple Heights is not named for Jamie, but for Mike Milkovich, Jamie’s uncle and the founding father of the city’s scholastic wrestling dynasty that includes 10 state championships.

Jamie Milkovich may not be a millionaire, but he’s rich, very rich, in qualities such as dedication, respect for tradition and accomplishment.

What Uncle Mike started in the 1950’s, Jamie has carried forth for more than three decades inside and outside the Mustangs wrestling room. Milkovich, a Buckeye state champion in his senior year at Maple Heights High at 145 pounds in 1977, eclipsed his personal mat triumphs by taking the reins of the school’s wrestling program in 1981. He’s yet to let them go. This winter, Milkovich will mark his 35th year as head coach of the Mustangs.

Jamie has made the most of his time in charge. He has won 434 dual matches, making him Ohio’s all-time winningest Division I head coach. Milkovich has qualified 94 wrestlers for the annual state tournament, coached 50 of them to state placings, including 21 semi-finalists and nine champions. He joins three other members of the Milkovich family in the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame, former head coach Mike Milkovich and cousins and fellow Mustang mat standouts Patrick and Tom Milkovich.

Jamie has spent his entire life involved in Maple Heights wrestling, with the exception of his four years at Auburn where he was a two-time All-American (1980-81) and set the university’s record for career victories with 98.

Milkovich returned home to become Maple Heights’ head wrestling coach at the age of 22 in 1981. His accomplishments have not been overlooked by city officials. In 2013, June 19 was proclaimed “Jamie Milkovich Day” in Maple Heights. Also in 2013, he was named Maple Heights Citizen of the Year.

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.

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.

Frances Dickenson

Induction Year : 2015

Sport: Tennis

Frances became enchanted with tennis at the age of 10 while living in South Florida. She achieved a national junior ranking of seven and won the prestigious International Junior Orange Bowl Tennis Tournament in singles and doubles. Frances was the recipient of the Florida State Sportsmanship Award. She practiced with and competed against Billie Jean King and Karen Hantze Susman, who both went on to win major tournaments.

Marriage and children took Frances away from competing in tennis, but in her mid forties she returned to Florida to the top of the rankings. She was Florida State Champion in the 45 Singles and ranked number one for two years in a row. Still as a Floridian, she won both the 35 and 45 Western Singles Titles in Indianapolis.

Frances began bringing family members into tennis competition. She and her daughter, Farrar, finished third in the Mother and Daughter Division of the 2002 Nationals in Newport, Rhode Island. In 2012, she competed in the National Senior Games in Cleveland and won the Ladies Doubles and Mixed Doubles, the latter with her husband, David. It seems Frances found a good partner in David. They were the number one ranked Senior Husband and Wife team in the United States for both 2013 and 2014. During those years, they won four National Titles.

Frances serves on the Executive Board of the International Tennis Club of the United States and is the Women’s Captain. She has always given back to the game, helping many players and inner city children. She helped start the Eugene Scott Scholarship Fund that benefits junior players, one being Lauren Davis from Gates Mills, Ohio, ranked as high as 55 in the world.

Frances and David, who was inducted into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, Reside in Gates Mills, Ohio.


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.

Peter van Dijk

Induction Year : 2015

Sport: Swimming & Diving

A lasting legacy has to start some place. In 1946, teenager Peter van Dijk represented the New York Athletic Club at the AAU national swimming championships in Columbus, Ohio. Robert Busbey was swimming for Cleveland’s Fenn College, the forerunner of Cleveland State University. A chance meeting before the meet wound up with the two young swimmers rooming together during the event and establishing a lifelong friendship.

An immigrant from the Netherlands born in Indonesia, van Dijk grew up in Venezuela as his father worked in the oil industry. He continued his swimming career at the University of Oregon and during a two-year stint in the U.S. Army.

He earned a Master’s Degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Busbey (1976 Greater Cleveland Sports hall of Fame) was on his way to becoming CSU Athletic Director. With van Dijk having established his design work with Cleveland’s Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building in the early 1960’s, it was natural that Busbey looked to van Dijk’s firm for CSU’s physical education building and natatorium in 1971.

Van Dijk’s design for the pool’s wide gutters, depth and lighting earned national acclaim as CSU went on to host national championships. He also won acclaim for his work at Blossom Music Center, Cain Park, John Carroll University and Ursuline College.

He also found the time during the past 40 years to compete in age-group swimming throughout the world. He won 50 national championships in freestyle and backstroke. In 2014, he won his 17th international gold medal as he brought home four golds at the Montreal Masters World Championship at age 85.

Northeast Ohio’s landscape bears the lasting legacy of the talented architect with a love for water.