Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame Inaugural Class
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
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
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.
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.
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.