Rec Weekly: Seven inducted into Hammond Sports Hall of Fame
By Anthony D. Alonzo Post-Tribune correspondent March 19, 2014 10:58PM
Former head mens basketball coach Paul Patterson is shown in the huddle during a Taylor University (Ind.) game. Patterson retired last season after building a 734-375 record at the NAIA school. | ANTHONY D. ALONZO/FOR THE POST-TRIBUNE
Updated: April 21, 2014 7:04PM
Hammond Sports Hall of Fame officials rarely struggle to grow the ranks of the Civic Center-based showcase of city athletes. Year after year they find seasoned individuals due for recognition and neighborhoods brimming with competitive student-athletes.
At the 28th annual HSHOF induction dinner March 11 at the Civic Center, seven new inductees were honored, along with three 2013 city graduates, each of whom received the Anderson-Peterson Family Distinguished Athlete Award.
The Hall’s longtime steering committee chair Wes Lukoshus said it’s not by accident that seven strong inductees and three outstanding teen athletes were found to share this year’s honors.
“There are probably (good) stories about each of the inductees,” Lukoshus said. “The Hall of Fame not only recognizes individuals but it’s a bringing together, a celebration of Hammond’s history and outstanding sports heritage.”
For 2014, inductees at the Hammond Hall included: Morton multisport athlete and Southeast Missouri State graduate Spencer M. Greer, who was a longtime coach at Spohn Middle School; Thomas L. Kujawa, who played for Whiting and Indiana State and later led Gavit football and baseball teams to regional crowns; Milan Metikosh, who, from Hammond’s Class of 1947 to the University of San Francisco’s NIT championship squad, contributed as a real team player.
Kerry Mitchell was inducted into the Hammond Sports HOF in recognition of the Hammond alum’s more than two decades of sportswriting as a correspondent for area media including the Post-Tribune; Pat Montalbano, a coach and athletic director with 36 years of service, dedicated his pro career to Clark middle and high schools; and Michael Strabavy, who graduated from Bishop Noll in 1988 and took his track and field and baseball skills to Indiana State, where he earned five varsity letters.
Perhaps below the national sports media radar, 2014 HOF inductee Paul Patterson built a historic record of 734-375 as the 34-year Taylor (Ind.) men’s basketball coach. This mark gave the Morton and Hanover College graduate the top record for a coach among four-year institutions in the state.
“For me, No. 1, it was a surprise and I was humbled by (the induction),” said Patterson, who emphasized character-building and the student-athlete paradigm. “I have so much respect for the level of athletics growing up there.”
Earning the Anderson-Peterson plaque, Cierra Charbonneau, of Morton, Daniel Pobereyko, of Bishop Noll, and Joe Jackson, of Hammond, secured a three-way tie, of which about two dozen panelists help choose youths who excel in “dedication, contribution, ability, service and citizenship.”
Jackson said he was honored learning that he won the award. He wished to thank his mother, Mariela Jackson, his mentor, Lenny Smith, and his girlfriend, Amber Burke-McDonald, for encouraging him to make good decisions.
“First, I didn’t do drugs or fall into any of that,” the Purdue Cal student said. “And I kind of fell in love with my sport, what I did playing football.”
Display cases in the hallways of the Civic Center boast numerous mementos from the Hall’s dozens of inductees.