Copley Athletic Hall of Fame induction set for Dec. 21
COPLEY — Eleven Copley High School alumni have been selected for induction into the Copley High School Athletic Hall of Fame this year.
The newest inductees will be honored at halftime of the Dec. 21 boys varsity basketball game in the Copley High School gym, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
The Hall of Fame was born from the financial support of 1974 graduate and former Fairlawn mayor Pete Kostoff, who approached then-athletic director Larry Banner and long-time teacher/guidance counselor Keith Walker in late 2007 with the idea, according to Hall of Fame officials.
“Enshrinement in the Copley High Sports Hall of Fame means that an individual’s past athletic career, coaching or other contribution is worthy and deserving of joining 34 previous inductees,” Kostoff said. “The selection committee takes into account the full body of work of the nominee during their athletic career at Copley High School. The committee may also take into account other athletic achievements beyond [their] Copley High School career.”
A special night for the Hall of Fame inductees is the annual induction dinner. This year’s dinner will take place Dec. 22 at DoubleTree Hotel in Fairlawn, with the social hour commencing at 5 p.m. The emcee for the induction dinner is Phil Ferguson, WNIR on-air personality and a 1976 Copley High School graduate.
Reservations for the dinner can be obtained by contacting Athletic Director Jim Borchik at jimborchik@copleyfairlawn .org or 330-664-4826. Reservations also can be made by mail to: Jim Borchik, Copley High School, 3807 Ridgewood Road, Copley, OH 44321.
The cost for the dinner and ceremony is $30 per person. Make checks payable to Copley Adult All Sports Boosters. The deadline for reservations is Dec. 17.
This year’s inductees, with information provided by Hall of Fame officials, include:
• Carl Badalich: A three-year varsity letter winner in basketball, football and track, Badalich started at fullback and defensive end in football. However, it was in track where Badalich excelled. In his senior year, he won the Suburban League meet and placed third at the district meet in both the shot put and discus. At the 1964 state meet, Badalich had a 54-foot shot put toss, which is the oldest standing record in the school’s history.
Badalich continued his athletic career at The University of Akron (UA), where he earned a total of seven varsity letters — three in football as a starting defensive end and four in track as a shot putter.
• Tim Berlin: Berlin led Copley to the only district swimming championship in school history in 1991, defeating Firestone by 30 points. He was on the champion 200-yard medley relay (swimming backstroke), won the 200 individual medley (IM) (setting a district record), placed fourth in the 100 backstroke and was the anchor swimmer on the third-place 400-free relay. He led the Indians to a 14th-place finish at the state meet, where he finished 10th in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 backstroke, qualifying as an All-American in the latter. He was the first All-American swimmer from Copley, and he achieved one of the top 100 times in the country.
At the 1992 state meet, Copley finished 11th behind Berlin’s seventh-place finish in the 100 butterfly and his third-place finish in the 100 backstroke. He achieved All-American status in the backstroke and honorable mention in the butterfly. His time in the backstroke in 1992 was 15th in the country.
Berlin finished his high school career with five individual school records (200 IM, 500 free, 100 free, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke) and two relay records (200 medley and 400 free). Four of the seven records still stand.
Berlin continued his swimming career at Rutgers University on a full swimming scholarship.
• Bill Bibby Jr.: He won All-Suburban and All-District honors in basketball. During his junior year, he was named both All-Suburban First-Team and All-District First-Team. He also earned an Honorable Mention All-State. As a senior, he garnered All-Suburban and All-District honors and was recognized in Parade magazine as one of the “greatest players to watch.”
Bibby enlisted in the military in 1963 and volunteered to go to Vietnam. Upon his return, he served at Fort Carson and was discharged in 1968. He worked for the city of Akron and the city of Columbus in various supervisory positions during the course of 29 years. Bibby began a career in ministry and became an ordained minister in 1986. He was appointed a bishop in the Greater Emanuel Apostolic Faith Tabernacle in 2006.
• Nikki Woodall Blair: From 1987 to 1990, Blair was an athlete in basketball and track.
She helped lead the basketball team to back-to-back 20-win seasons as a junior and senior. During those two years, the team’s record was 42-6, it won the Suburban League championship and advanced to the district championship game. She also was named the top defensive player. During her senior year, she led the team in scoring, was named to both the Suburban League and All-Summit County First-Teams and received an Akron Touchdown Club award for her accomplishments.
In track in her junior year, she won the 400-meter dash at both districts and regionals. She placed in the top eight at the state meet in the same event. In her senior year, she helped lead the Lady Indians to a 9-1 record and also joined the cross country team.
In the 1990 track season, Blair qualified for state in the 800-meter dash. At the state meet, she set a Copley High School record, which still stands today, with a time of 2:13:98. This record stood as the best 800-meter time in Ohio for four years.
Blair went on to compete at The University of Kentucky on a full scholarship and capped her career at Middle Tennessee State. After a successful career in the business world, she today works in the Lexington, Ky., school system.
• Dick Bock: Bock was a two-time All-Suburban First-Team selection as an offensive tackle for the 1955 season and became only the third Copley athlete to be selected to the All-District team.
Bock’s efforts helped to turn around Copley’s gridiron fortunes from a 3-5-1 season to an undefeated season in 1955. Bock and his team captured the Suburban League crown that year.
While he was recruited to play college football, Bock chose to remain in Copley, where he achieved success in the pattern-making industry until his death in 1997.
• Tim Brenner: Brenner was Copley High School’s first athlete to be named First-Team All-League in three sports his junior and senior years.
As a wide-receiver and free safety, Brenner was named First-Team All-Suburban in his junior and senior years. He was a three-year letter winner in football, and he played on the 1988-89 Suburban League championship team. He capped his career with 1,400 yards receiving and 11 interceptions.
Brenner also was a three-year letter winner as a point guard in basketball, with a career scoring average of 18.7 points. A member of the 1988-89 Suburban League championship team, he was named First-Team All-Suburban his junior and senior years. During his senior year, he was named First-Team All-District.
Brenner also was a four-year letter winner in baseball and a member of the 1990-91 Suburban League championship team. As a left-handed shortstop, he batted .448 as a junior and .356 as a senior. He was named First-Team All-Suburban in his junior and senior years.
After graduation, Brenner went on to play rugby for Bowling Green State University his freshman and sophomore years. The team was later ranked third in the nation. He transferred to Mount Vernon Nazarene College and continued his basketball career. For most of the season his senior year, Brenner led the nation in the 3-point shooting percentage, was named an All-American Scholar Athlete and helped the team finish fifth in the nation.
Brenner now lives in Copley and has been employed by Raymond James Financial Services for the past 18 years.
• Ryan Gutowski: He was Copley High School’s first state golf champion and was a four-year letter winner at Copley.
In his sophomore year, he placed third out of 200 golfers in the 2001 Ohio Junior Champions Invitational and won most valuable player. As a junior, he placed second at the Good Park Junior Championship. He ended his 2002 campaign with the lowest average on Copley’s team.
During Gutowski’s senior year, he competed at the state tournament and shot 145 to win the individual championship by five strokes to earn First-Team All-Ohio status, and the team shot 627 to win the team championship by eight shots.
He continued his education and golf game at UA, where he lettered all four years. As a junior, Gutowski played a role in the team’s second-place finish in the 2006 MAC Championship.
Upon graduating in 2008 with a degree in public relations, Gutowski turned professional. One of his career highlights was at the Ohio Open at Quail Hollow in 2009, where he shot a 63, including a score of 28 on the back nine, the lowest 9-hole score in Ohio Open history. Another highlight was in the 2012 Tigertown Open at The Elms Country Club, where he finished second.
Gutowski is currently living in Charlotte, N.C., working on a career in public relations and playing golf.
• Rich Isaiah: Isaiah moved to Copley during his junior year from Buchtel High School, where he had participated in football and track. He was a two-year letterman at Copley in both sports.
In his senior year, he was fifth in the district in low hurdles and fourth as part of the mile relay team.
He was a wide receiver and kick returner on the 1985 football team that had a record of 9-2 and made regionals. He was First-Team All-Suburban, First Team All-District, First-Team All-Summit County and First-Team All-Northeast Ohio.
After graduation, Isaiah continued his football career at the University of Toledo on a scholarship. He led in receptions in 1988, 1989 and 1990; earned First-Team All-MAC in 1989 and 1990; and ranked seventh in total receiving yardage. He capped his college career as a three-year letter winner and co-captain his senior year.
After graduating from the University of Toledo in 1991 with a degree in communications, Isaiah went on to play professional football for the Cincinnati Bengals for a year-and-a-half. He currently resides in Toledo and is a senior pastor of The Tabernacle of Praise Christian Church and vice president of field ministry for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
• George Kegg: Kegg grew up in Toledo and graduated from Muskingum College in 1961. After graduation, Kegg accepted his first teaching job with Copley as a junior high school social studies teacher and track and basketball coach. He added football coaching to his workload the following year, and in 1966 moved to Copley High School as head track coach and an assistant football coach.
During the next 25 years, Kegg continued to coach the boys track team at Copley. From 1966 until his retirement in 1991, Kegg’s teams won 198 dual meets and lost 47. Included in these wins were six undefeated dual meet seasons, seven seasons with just one loss and 12 league championships. He coached more than 30 athletes who qualified for the state track tournament, and his 1990 squad captured the Division I state track tournament runner-up trophy.
After retirement from teaching, Kegg continued to coach football in a variety of positions. He coached at Copley Middle School and then at Walsh University. Kegg also served as the executive director of the National Youth Sports Coaches’ Association.
Today, Kegg continues to stay in touch with schools, coaches and recreation departments as a part-time salesman for A-1 Sports Sales in Wadsworth.
• Penny Bala Kungle: In the late 1970s, Kungle was a letter winner in volleyball, basketball and track and garnered All-Suburban honors in both basketball and volleyball her senior year. She was captain of both the basketball and track teams that same year. Additionally, she helped lead the volleyball team to a 7-0 conference record and the Suburban League title.
Kungle went on to play volleyball at UA.
After graduation from Copley, Kungle remained a supporter of Copley athletics over the years. As her daughter came up through the high school ranks, she took a more direct and comprehensive role as a Copley sports booster. She also is the Booster Club liaison to the Copley Sports Hall of Fame Committee and helped manage induction weekend ceremonies. She was also vital to securing and placing the banners at the stadium as the Booster Club representative.
• Sue Craig Wigington: As a member of the basketball, volleyball and track teams in the 1970s, Wigington earned six varsity letters during her three years at Copley.
Wigington was a two-time letter winner and a point guard in basketball. As a junior, she helped the 1976 basketball team finish the year as the Suburban League champions. The team went on to place second in the district that year.
Wigington also earned three varsity letters in volleyball. The team finished the 1975 season as sectional champions and district runners-up. In 1976, Wigington’s talents as a setter garnered her a First-Team All-Suburban selection. She also was the team’s co-most valuable player and was named a Second-Team All-District honoree.
In her senior year, she lettered as a member of the inaugural girls track team competing in the half mile, the shot and the discus. This team finished with a 10-1 record on their way to winning the Suburban League title.
Wigington continued her studies and athletic career at Mississippi State University on a volleyball scholarship. As a setter, she lettered each of her four years. During her sophomore year, she helped her team make it to the SEC Conference championship. In her senior season, she was the team’s top scorer, having scored the most service points. After graduating cum laude, Wigington was inducted into the Mississippi State University Athlete’s Academic Hall of Fame.
The Copley High School Athletic Hall of Fame has added new members to its class every year since 2008, and Kostoff said it is a tradition he expects to continue.
“We hope, as selection committee members, to help keep alive the rich tradition and history that athletics have played at Copley High School,” he stated. “The committee will be honoring Copley High School sports legends every year. Any individual whom you feel is qualified and deserving to be considered for enshrinement can be nominated. All nomination forms must be received by June 1, and can be submitted through our website, www.copley-fairlawn.org. You must include the current phone number and address of your nominee. Please provide as much supporting information or documentation as possible.”
The selection committee is comprised of various past Copley High School teachers, coaches, alumni and the current Copley High School athletic director. The committee’s founding members are: Banner, Keith Walker, Rollie Osborn, Nick Carpas, Kostoff, Jim Smith, Kevin Schaffner, Kungle, Nancy Roberts and Borchik.
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