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Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame Inaugural Class

(part 2)
By Robert E. Martin
This issue we would like to introduce the remaining inaugural inductees to

the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame for the year 2002.

Ernest 'Ernie' Thompson

Ernest 'Ernie' Thompson
Ernie Thompson of Saginaw High was one of the most dominating

basketball players to ever play in Saginaw County. The 6'3 jumping jack had

extraordinary leaping ability, consistently outjumping much taller

opponents as he ruled the backboards. He was also an exceptional baseball


The Baltimore Orioles wanted to sign him for his pitching exploits, but his first love was basketball. This is where he gained his greatest fame, as he was named All-Saginaw Valley first team three straight years, making it the first time in the history of the league that a cager had accomplished that feat.

The 1961-62 season was a magical one for the Trojans and all of Saginaw
proper. Thompson turned in one of the most brilliant games in state title 
history, pouring in 42 points to lead Saginaw High to a 69-58 win over

Benton Harbor.  Saginaw High finished the season with a perfect 22-0 record.
Thompson accepted a scholarship to Bradley University where he played both 
basketball & baseball.  In May of 1963 he hurled a no-hitter for the freshman
team and on the hardcourt the 6-3 pivot played on two National Invitational 
Tournament teams for the Braves. During his sophomore season he scored 286
points and netted 1,032 points in 82 games during his three-year career.
He was inducted into Bradley's Hall of Fame in 1967.
William D. 'Bill' Watson

Bill Watson was born Dec. 18, 1916 in Boley, Oklahoma, and came to Saginaw when he was 7-years old. He was discovered in a gym class at Saginaw High School by coach Chester R. Sackhouse, who had 50 boys high jumping a cross bar with Watson bouncing over it with several feet to spare.

Watson was called a one-man track team at Saginaw High and also toiled in football and basketball for the Trojans.

The 6 ft. 200 pounder was known for his muscular physique and set shot put, broad jump and high jump records while at Saginaw High.

William D. 'Bill' Watson

His toss of 53-10 3/8 in the shot put established a new state meet record

and he added a discus record of 160-10 5/8 to his list of accomplishments

while at the University of Michigan.
"Big Bill' was the first black athlete ever elected captain of the

Wolverines' track team. In 1937, his sophomore season at U-M, he held the

indoor shot put record, but was also outstanding in the broad jump, high

jump, sprints and high hurdles.
Watson was touring Europe with a handpicked U.S. track team when World War

II erupted, dashing his Olympic aspirations. He captured the World

Decathlon championship in Cleveland in 1940. Many thought Watson could have

set a new World Decathlon record in the Olympics, but the '40 and '44

events were canceled because of the war.
His career as a track star may have peaked when in 1943 he won the National

AAU Decathlon Championship at Elizabeth, N.J. for the second year in a row.
When the Olympic Games were resumed in 1948 in London, Watson had forsaken

a top-flight track competition for a career with the Detroit Police

Department, where he worked for 25 years, winning eight meritorious service

He retired in 1966 and died at the age of 56 in Detroit. He is buried in

Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw.

Curt Young

Curt Young
Arthur Hill High School's Curt Young was been known for his football

exploits while in high school, earning six letters while playing football,

basketball and baseball for the Lumberjacks, where he graduated in 1978.

During his senior season he rushed for 12 touchdowns and passed for 660 yards and even more scores as he was voted Most Valuable Player in the Saginaw Valley League's West Division.

He attended Central Michigan University where he was allowed to play both football and baseball.  He compiled a fine 6-2 record for the Mid-American Conference champs in '80, as the Chippewas made it to the NCAA Midwest Regional before being sidelined by Bringham Young.

He received national exposure by being selected to the Baseball Federation Team. After compiling a 13-5 record at CMU, Young was drafted in the fourth round by the Oakland Athletics in June 1981 while playing ball in Alaska for the Anchorage team. He broke into pro ball in a big way as he compiled a 17-8 record for Modesto in the Class A California league.

Young worked his way through the minors and ended up as a starting pitcher

for Oakland. His best season was in 1987 when he was 13-7 with 124

strikeouts and 44 walks while logging 203 innings. He had back-to-back

13-win seasons and pitched in both the 1988 and 1990 World Series.
He pitched for the A's from 1983-91 and split time with the Kansas City

Royals and New York Yankees in 1992. He finished his career in '93 with

He was inducted into the Arthur Hill Letterwinner's Hall of Fame in 1986.
Click the Pic for a larger view
Arthur Hill State Class A Champions 1973:

Row 1: Guy Pelkey, Mark Thompson, Doug Dijak, Jim Bonnell, Terry Eurick,

Terry Murphy, Ron Rummel, Paul Walderzak, Bob Jones, Curt Thon, Nelson McMath.
Row 2: Jay Brooks, Pat Breathaur, Mike Carl, John Krogman, John Rabideau,

Bob Suhr, Rodney Francis, Tim Jank, Jim Rolf, Dick Mott.
Row 3: Jay Witheridge, Dennis Preston, Chuck Baker, John Plowdrey, Pat

McCarthy, Greg Branch, Dan Robar, John Lervezuk, Mike Damore, Scott

MacArthur, Bob Adams, Jack Champagne.
Row4: Greg Grady, Brad Benzenburg, Mark Guimond, Tom Mauch, Brian Ferguson,

Bob Becker, Tom Thompson, Tom Nichols, Todd Losee, Nolan Bryant, Dave Goodrow.
Row 5: Mitch Tarras, Tim Webster, Bob Lange, Steve Westphal, Steve Fick,

John Young, Dave Foy, Mark Donaghy, Tom Schoen, John Laubenstein.
Row 6: Managers Pat McCutcheon, Kip Decker, Scott Ballien, Randy Klien.
Row 7: Assistant Coach Tom Karac, Head Coach George Ihler, Assistant Coach

Dan McShannock, Assistant Coach Ed Periard.
1973 Arthur Hill High School Varsity Football Team
A team of this caliber only comes around once every century or so.

The Arthur Hill Varsity Football Team put its school on the map when it

turned in an incredible season as arguably one of the finest prep teams to

ever come out of Michigan.
The Lumberjacks completely dominated opponents as the squad went undefeated

9-0 and unscored upon, outscoring its foes 443-0. The senior-dominated team

had 17 of 22 starters returning from an 8-1 team.
They opened the season with a 40-0 win over Midland on September 14.  Its

next opponent, Highland Park, went down to defeat 51-0 on September 21.

Arthur Hill trounced Midland Dow 55-0 on September 28, followed by a 46-0

over Flint Northwestern on October 5th. AHHS went 5-0 with a 40-0 shutout

over Bay City Handy October 12. Pontiac Central was spanked 66-0 on October

19th, followed by a 34-0 blanking of Flint Northern on October 26th. The

Hillites outscored Bay City Central 47-0 on November 2nd, and finished its

perfect season with a lopsided 64-0 win over rival Saginaw High on November

For the book, they were the first Class A team to go undefeated and

unscored upon since 1933. They averaged 49.2 points-per-game for better

than a point-a- minute production.  The first team committed only three

turnovers the entire season on one fumble and two interceptions. The group

also scored 48 of the 54 times it had possession of the ball.
The first offensive unit fumbled only once in its own territory (48-yard

line), the only time the Hillite defense had to take the field in its own


The Lumberjacks collected four state championship trophies: United Press

International, Associated Press, Detroit Free Press and Detroit News - all

Arthur Hill placed 13 players on the All-Saginaw Valley League team - eight

on offense and five on defense. Ron Rummel and Terry Murphy were named to

the Associated Press all-state team, while Murphy garnered all-state honors

from the Detroit news. Making the Detroit Free Press all-state team were

Murphy and Terry Eurick. Landing first team all-state honors from the UPI

were Murphy, Rummel, Eurick and Paul Waklerzak. Eurick was second and

Rummel third in Michigan Player of the Year honors, as voted upon by

coaches, sportswriters and broadcasters.
Lumberjack head coach George Ihler completed the grand slam as far as post

season honors went. He nabbed Coach of the Year Honors by the AP, UPI,

Detroit News and Free Press. Ihler was also named National High School

Football Coach of the Year.


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