Inductee Class of 2016
Captain of the USA national hockey team in 1975 and a second-round draft pick of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, Herb Boxer played hockey in 1967-70 at Michigan Tech University and spent 14 years coaching at Tech, including five as head coach (1985-90). He played in the NCAA ice hockey finals in 1969 and 1970 and coached in the finals in 1981. He also was a scout for the NHL's Quebec Nordiques (1991-94) and was head coach of the Central Hockey League's Memphis RiverKings (1994-97), taking them to the Eastern Division playoff championship in 1997. He was inducted into Michigan Tech's Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Bob “Cubby” Carlson
A standout athlete at Gladstone High School and Northland College, Bob Carlson spent 29 years as head football coach at Ontonagon High School. He led the Gladiators to 50 straight wins and was 158-106-4, including a Class C state playoff runner-up finish in 1989 among seven postseason appearances. He is a member of Northland's Hall of Fame and the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He died in 2005.
An All-America fullback at Notre Dame University in 1936, Larry Danbom played in the fourth College All-Star Football Game in Chicago against the NFL champion Green Bay Packers. The All-Stars won 6-0. He also was a linebacker at Notre Dame. He was an all-state running back in 1932 at Calumet High School, was a two-time basketball captain and was on the track team. He also played local ice hockey and baseball from 1929-33.
(Munising / Negaunee)
A versatile athletic contributor, Dave Ghiardi coached prep basketball at Dowagiac, Lake Linden and Munising, taking Munising to the Great Lakes Conference title in 1969. He played basketball, football, baseball and ran track at Negaunee High School and had a regional tourney scoring record of 34 points. He was a four-year basketball starter at Northern Michigan University and was MVP in 1960. He was honorable mention All-America in 1960 and joined NMU's Hall of Fame in 1995. He also officiated basketball for 20 years, was Munising's golf coach for 23 years and was a play-by-play radio announcer for football and basketball.
A three-sport athlete at Menominee High School. Jeff Gressick was a dominating baseball pitcher who was drafted in the 14th round by the Kansas City Royals in 1972. He pitched in the minor leagues for three years before being sidelined by an elbow injury that required surgery, and was the Class A Midwest League's starting pitcher in the 1974 all-star game. In 1975 he signed with the Minnesota Twins and played briefly at Class AA before the injury flared up and he retired. He then pitched in the Upper Peninsula's Wishigan League for three seasons and was MVP in 1977. He was All-U.P. in football and basketball.
The New Baltimore, Mich. native earned 10 letters in four sports at Lake Superior State University and was the outstanding female athlete in 1991. She became varsity girls basketball coach at St. Ignace LaSalle High School in 1999 and has directed the Saints to five state championships and three runner-up finishes in 16 seasons. She has a 337-65 record after winning the Class D state title in 2015. She has also helped raise $90,000 for Mackinac Straits Hospital oncology department and local patients with a charity basketball game. She has been confined to a wheel chair since 2005 when she was paralyzed due to a medical procedure.
Byron “Sod” Johnson
A 1963 Bessemer High School graduate, Byron Johnson was a four-year starting defensive end at Northern Michigan University. He was inducted into NMU's Hall of Fame in 1988. He earned two bronze stars as a combat medic in Vietnam.
A 35-year tenure as a college and professional coach followed a football playing career at Northern Michigan University. He was an assistant football coach in 1962 at Iron Mountain High School and three years in New London, Wis., then returned to NMU from 1966-70 under Rollie Dotsch. He then coached college football at East Carolina, Virginia, Western Illinois, Holy Cross and Missouri before entering the pro ranks in the United States Football League with the Oklahoma Outlaws and Birmingham Stallions. He spent 15 years as an assistant coach in the National Football League, serving with the Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions and Houston Oilers. He is in NMU's Hall of Fame.
A former Michigan State University football player, Rich Salani was 84-64 as football coach at his alma mater, Hancock High School (1973-91). The Bulldogs won five Copper Country Conference titles and had unbeaten seasons in 1983 and 1984. He was U.P. football player of the year for Hancock in 1968 and a Sunkist All-America honorable mention, and was a two-time All-U.P. basketball player and MVP. He was a three-time track MVP and won U.P. track titles in 1968 and 1969.
Mandi (Long) Zemba
A Hall of Fame track and field selection in NCAA Division II, Mandi (Long) Zemba is the most decorated female athlete in the history of Grand Valley State University. She joined the GVSU Hall of Fame in 2014 and the NCAA Hall in 2015. She won eight NCAA track titles and was a 13-time NCAA All-American. Zemba won the 2005 national cross country championship, claimed the 3,000 and 5,000 meter titles at the 2006 NCAA outdoor national track and field championships and finished 16th in the 5,000 meters in the USA Track and Field Championship in 2006. A holder of six GVSU records, she also ran for the U.S. in the Pan Am Games.