Inductee Class of 2008
Terry Ahola came from a small hometown hill to become a U.S. Ski Team racer. He competed on the Europa Cup/World Cup series and was ranked as high as third in the nation in slalom before sustaining a serious knee injury in 1983. He joined the North American Pro Tour in 1984 and was selected rookie of the year. He remained on the tour until 1991, then joined the Legends of Skiing at Vail and became a valued ambassador of the sport.
Sonja (Paquin) Duncan
An all-state basketball (1,351 points) and track performer at Cedarville High School, Sonja (Paquin) Duncan earned All-America basketball honorable mention at Saginaw Valley State University in 1986, where she ranked in the top 10 in seven career categories, including first in games played (127) and third in points (1,721), and first in single-season scoring (621). She then coached girls basketball at Rudyard, Pickford and Cedarville.
Clifford "Red" Erickson
Nicknamed "the battering ram of the North," Clifford Erickson was selected to the Alma College Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. Regarded by many as "the greatest athlete to come out of Newberry," Erickson played football at Newberry from 1922-25 and Alma from 1926-29. He was a guard on Alma's 1927 MIAA champions, then earned all-league honors as a fullback in 1929.
A member of Escanaba High School's all-time all-star football team, Don Jacobs made a bigger splash as a log rolling champion. He won 11 World Senior Division titles and placed in the top three several times in trick-and-fancy birling from 1961-2003. He also performed at major sport shows around the country and received the sport's prestigious Russ Ellison Award in 1987.
A four-sport athlete at Marquette Graveraet High School, Francis L'Huillier was an outstanding fastpitch softball player. He played on eight U.P. championship teams and three state champions, had a career batting average above .400 and hit more than 800 career home runs. He also spent more than 30 years as a coach and basketball official.
A versatile three-year player for the NFL's Chicago Bears, Joe LaFleur is believed to be Delta County's first professional football player. The Bears won the NFL title in 1924, LaFleur's last season, when he played guard, center and punted. He also played fullback and halfback on the 1923 team which finished second to Jim Thorpe's Canton Bulldogs. He was also a four-year football, basketball and baseball player at St. Norbert College from 1913-17.
An all-around athlete at Escanaba Holy Name High School, Bob McGinn became an award-winning sportswriter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Green Bay Press-Gazette as a beat writer covering the Green Bay Packers, beginning in 1979. He began his journalism career with the Escanaba Daily Press and The Delta Reporter in Gladstone. In 1998 he was cited by Men's Journal as one of America's top 20 sportswriters. A five-time sportswriter of the year in Wisconsin, he has won numerous writing awards.
Shana (Decremer) Ojala
An NCAA Division II Kodak basketball All-American at Northern Michigan University in 1997, Shana (DeCremer) Ojala played two years at NMU and two years at Michigan Tech. She was the GLIAC Player of the Year in 1996-97, a three-time GLIAC all-star, a three-time regional all-star and a two-time GLIAC all-defensive player. She was U.P. Class D player of the year and Class D all-state at Ewen-Trout Creek High School in 1992.
(Sault Ste. Marie)
A four-year baseball letterman as a pitcher at Central Michigan University, Dan Rambo also pitched for seven years as a professional in the minor leagues, reaching as high as Class AAA. A second-team Mid-American Conference pick in 1988 at CMU, he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1989 and was California League Pitcher of the Year for San Jose in 1990. After playing independent baseball, he became baseball coach at Pickford High School.
An All-U.P. football player at Hancock High School in 1944, Joe Ricci played football and hockey at Michigan Tech University. He was the Copper Country Senior Baseball League MVP in 1948 and played independent baseball with South Range, Houghton and Escanaba. He was an all-tournament selection when Escanaba Harnischfeger won the Class A state fastpitch softball championship in 1954. He also helped the Escanaba Hawks win hockey's Gibson Cup in 1954 and also skated for the Portage Lake Pioneers and Marquette Sentinels.