League inducts five new members into Hall of Fame
A week after voters gave them the thumbs up, athletes, coaches and families in the Portland Interscholastic League celebrated another successful school year at what is now their annual banquet.
And they got some more good news when, midway through the event, the score of Grant's state playoff baseball game was relayed to the crowd. The Generals won 8-4 at Klamath Union and will play at home today in the quarterfinals against Newberg.
On top of that, Grant baseball coach Rob Kennewell was named the PIL's coach of the year.
'It's certainly been an interesting year,' says Cleveland's Mike Shanahan, who was named athletic director of the year in his second year at the school. 'But, thanks to the voters, maybe now our kids can get a chance to have a normal year.'
Other award winners included Cleveland's Wayne Harris, who was named assistant coach of the year, and athletes Mike McGrath of Lincoln and Suzanne Hanson of Benson, the sportsman and sportswoman of the year for boys and girls athletics.
The district also honored four key individuals in the drive to raise $500,000 to save spring sports: Marshall golf coach Tom Hewitt, Grant track coach Greg Cotton, Foot Traffic owner David Pietka and parent Frank Wall, who has two sons headed to the state track meet this weekend.
'We were able to raise enough money in 50 days to save the spring sports season,' PIL Athletic Director Greg Ross told the audience of 200 at Multnomah Athletic Club. 'I don't know if there are too many other communities where this could happen.'
Among the evening's highlights were stories of the five inductees to the league's Hall of Fame: Mary Christianson (formerly Mary Officer), Bill Franzke, Ed Lewis, Roy Love and Ralph Harper, who was inducted posthumously.
Lewis, who is 88, helped Washington High win the state basketball title in 1928, when a jump ball at center court followed every basket. Lewis, at 6-5, was a key to winning possession. He went to Oregon State and played under legendary coach Slats Gill and was voted the OSU player of the half-century in 1950.
Harper, who graduated from Franklin, played in two Rose Bowl games, for Oregon State in 1942 and Southern Cal in 1944. He coached Benson's football team to the state title game in 1952.
Love, a Cleveland graduate, was head coach of the Portland State baseball program through the 1960s and is now a major fund-raiser for Cleveland.
Mary Officer won state titles for Madison in the long jump, 220-yard sprint and 100-meter hurdles at the 1973 state track and field meet.
Franzke, a Grant High grad, coached at Madison for 30 years. He remembered that one of his first calls after getting hired as track coach was from Grant coach Mark Cotton, who wanted to be sure his team had competent opponents.
'He went over the basics of running a track meet and getting kids to come out,' Franzke says. 'I thought that was pretty nice of him. That showed me a lot about the camaraderie in the league.'