By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Cruiser Athletic Hall of Fame will welcome seven new inductees.
“We are very excited to present our second hall of fame class,” said Groveport Madison Athletic Director Steve Petros. “Cruiser athletics has a rich history that we are working very hard to connect with our current student athletes. The feedback we have received from the community about our hall of fame has been overwhelming and we look forward to continuing this tradition. We encourage everyone to come out on Sept. 13 to meet and greet our new hall of fame class. It is nights like these that really make it great to be a Cruiser.”
The athletic hall of fame inductions will take place on Sept. 13, prior to the varsity football home game against Licking Heights. The ceremony will be held in the Groveport Madison High School gymnasium starting with an invitation only reception for inductees and family from 5-6 p.m. followed by the public ceremony at 6 p.m. At 7:10 p.m. the inductees will be introduced on the football field of Cruiser Stadium prior to the start of the varsity game.
The hall of fame inductees
•Jason Coppess, class of 1989, was first team all-state in football, first team all-OCC and was named Central Ohio Lineman of the Year. He was a four year varsity letterman at the University of Cincinnati and team captain in 1993. He was named first team all-IFA in 1993 and earned honorable mention All-American in 1993.
•Tommy Cunningham, class of 2004, was a four time state placer in wrestling placing 5th, 3rd, 2nd and 3rd. He was a three time Ohio Capital Conference champion and 1st
team All-Metro. He finished with a 155-17 record. After high school he was a three time Southern Conference placer at Virginia Military Institute and made the NWCA All-Academic Team.
•Pam Higgins, class of 1963, was the 1965-67 women’s golf district champion and won the 1968 Ohio Amateur golf title. She is a three time golf tournament champion on the LPGA tour.
•Allen Miller, class of 1958, was named to the all-Franklin County League and all-district team in both football and basketball. He holds the school’s varsity boys basketball single game scoring record with 42 points. He lead the county in scoring in basketball in 1957-58. He played professional football for both the NFL’s Washington Redskins and the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
•Ben Needham, class of 1977, was all- Ohio Capital Conference in both football and basketball. He was all-state in football and a three-year letterman in football at the
University of Michigan. He was drafted by the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals. He played for three years in the USFL and was named all-USFL. He served as a coach at Groveport Madison for six years.
•Bob Starr, head football coach, was a career Cruiser for more than 30 years. He started as a P.O.D. teacher in the district and was head football coach until 1979 when he went into administration to become Middle School South principal and then became principal at GMHS. Coach Starr lead the Cruisers to multiple league football titles in the Mid-8 League (in 1971 and 1973) and the Ohio Capital Conference.
•The 1968 varsity wrestling team, lead by Coach Bob Carter, went undefeated in all of its dual meets and the Mid-8 League tournament. The team was part of a period of dominance for the Cruisers where the team won four consecutive Mid-8 League wrestling titles from 1965 to 1968.
The Groveport Madison Cruiser Athletic Hall of Fame is located in the hallway and commons area near the gym inside the high school.
Each year, a hall of fame committee reviews nominations and selects the inductees. According to Petros, the nomination guidelines are:
•nominees are eligible for consideration five years after they graduate;
•nominees can be an individual athlete, a coach, a team or a community member who has been notably active with the athletic program;
•athletes should have achieved honors such as being named all state, all district, all county, all league or similar recognition from their era; or made achievements in their post graduate athletic career.
To obtain a nomination form for next year’s hall of fame inductions, go online to gocruisers.org and look under athletics.