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Hall of Fame

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PrintOxford Athletic Hall of Fame

The Oxford Community Schools Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Intramurals is proud to continue its sponsorship of the Oxford Athletics Hall of Fame!

An all-star selection committee was chosen in 2009 by the athletic department to assist in nominating, researching and inducting deserving members from the past.

The Oxford High School Athletic Hall of Fame was established as an extension of the athletic department to provide a means by which to assist the school in recognizing the efforts and achievements of various past student-athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors to OHS Athletics while reinforcing the department’s rich sense of history and tradition.

In each of the first two years of the Hall of Fame, up to ten (10) members will be inducted and will be considered the Hall’s “Charter Members.” Every year thereafter, up to five nominees will be inducted. Nominees must be formally nominated by any member of the public before May 1 of the current year to be considered for induction the following year. If you know of a deserving person, please nominate them by downloading the form below and returning it to the athletics office.

HOF Committee Nomination Form

In summary, the purpose of the Hall of Fame is three-fold:
1. To honor the accomplishments of past student-athletes, coaches, administrators and special contributors
2. To serve as a positive example of what is possible to achieve for current and future Wildcats
3. To re-connect with alumni, fans and contributors from the past.

Nominees must essentially come from one of four (4) different categories:
1. Student-athletes
2. Coaches or Administrators
3. Distinguished Alumni/ae letterwinner
4. Special Contributors


2014 HOF Class News
“Tester to Join Hall of Fame” Oxford Leader (September 3, 2014)
“Danny VanVleet Headed for Hall of Fame” Oxford Leader (August 20, 2014)“Terry Geliske to Enter Hall of Fame” Oxford Leader (August 13, 2014)
“Five More OHS Athletes to Enter Hall of Fame” Oxford Leader (August 6, 2014)

2013 HOF Class News
“Oxford Grows its Hall of Fame by Five” Oxford Leader (September 11, 2013)
“Hall, Schmidt and White Headed for Hall of Fame” Oxford Leader (August 14, 2013)
“Wildcat Hall of Fame to Induct Five More Stars” Oxford Leader (August 7, 2013)

2012 HOF Class News
2012 OHS Hall of Fame Photo Gallery
“OHS Hall of Fame to induct seven” Oxford Leader (September 19, 2012)

2011 HOF Class News
“Mike Gardner headed for hall of fame” – Oxford Leader (June 29, 2011)
“Oxford’s big man headed for hall of fame” – Oxford Leader (July 13, 2011)
“Inman headed for OHS hall of fame” – Oxford Leader (July 20, 2011)
“Oxford’s most accomplished soccer player headed for Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (July 27, 2011)
“Bud Laidlaw: Athlete, coach, booster, now Hall of Famer” – Oxford Leader (August 3, 2011)
“Basketball legend Patti Niemi to enter OHS Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (August 10, 2011)
“Longtime Oxford AD headed for Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (August 17, 2011)
“Richmond goes the distance to the Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (August 24, 2011)
“Rowley: ‘I believe I was destined to coach here’” – Oxford Leader (August 31, 2011)
“Hall of Famer Ed Stull played it all and had a ball” – Oxford Leader (September 7, 2011)

HOF News Archives
(see directory for individual news stories)
“First 10 Chosen for OHS Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (July 21, 2010)
“First 10 inducted into OHS Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (September 22, 2010)

Official Oxford Athletics Hall of Fame Nomination Form

2015 Hall of Fame Game
Friday, September 11, 2015 – Wildcat Stadium
Oxford vs. Troy Athens Varsity Football, 7pm

2015 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Saturday, September 12, 2015 – OHS Performing Arts Center
6pm Social, 7pm Ceremony

7:00pm – Induction Ceremony: Admission is free (refreshments provided)


Ball Sketch

Cross Country, Track and Field

A mentor to thousands of students in and outside the classroom, Elmer Ball is regarded as not only the most successful track & field coach in Oxford history, but one of the most successful coaches in the history of Oxford athletics.

Ball began teaching in Oxford in 1954 after graduating from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Drafting and a minor in History. During his 36-year career, he taught not only drafting, but wood working and mathematics. Prior to his time as a Chippewa, Coach Ball attended Reed City High School where he earned five letter awards in the sports of football, basketball and track and field.

As the Wildcats’ head cross country coach from 1963-74 and again from 1995-96, Ball’s teams established a 123-21 dual meet record, claiming four MHSAA regional championships and four league titles. The boys’ team finished as the 1971 state runner-up behind individual state champion Doug O’Berry. Previously, Ball coached Jim Goodfellow to a cross country state title in 1969.

If his cross country accolades weren’t enough, Ball’s name is synonomous with Oxford High School track and field. He was an assistant under legendary coach Lee Noftz from 1964-80 and was promoted to head coach in 1981. He led the Wildcats to a 101-18 record in dual meets, eight league championships, an Oakland County co-championship and the MHSAA Class ‘B’ Boys’ Track title in 1991. When Ball stepped down after the 1992 season, he had coached 11 individual state champions in as many years on the job.

A leader not only in the teaching ranks, Ball was also a leader in his avocation as well, serving as president of the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA) in 1975 and earning numerous awards from the organization. Elmer was named Oakland County Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1991 and earned MITCA Coach of the Year honors in 1983 and 1991 as well. Ball was honored with MITCA’s Charles Sweeney Award in 1988 for outstanding service to the sport of track and field, his school, community, and MITCA. Sweeney Award recipients epitomize the definition of “Coach.”

Ball continues his service as a coach for the Wildcats cross country program, volunteering since 2002. Elmer and his late wife Jeraldine are the parents of Mike (’74) and Steve (’76) Ball, both Oxford graduates.


“Elmer Ball: A leader on the field and in the classroom” – Oxford Leader (July 21, 2010)



Jim Bates Sketch

Class of 1964
Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field

After an outstanding career as an athlete at Oxford High School, Jim Bates emerged as one of the most outstanding defensive coaches in American football.

As a prep star, Bates earned ten varsity letter awards in four sports. It was football, however, that Bates excelled at. He was all-county, and all-league in his senior year, earning the linebacker a scholarship to the University of Tennessee (UT). His junior and senior years, the team won both the Gator and Bluebonnet Bowls, respectively. In Bates’ junior year, the Volunteers won the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title and finished No. 2 nationally.

Earning a bachelor’s degree from UT, Bates began his coaching odyssey at Sevier (TN) County High School (after a year as a graduate assistant at UT). Bates then coached at Southern Mississippi in 1972. In 1973, he led the offensive line for Villanova University before switching to linebacker coach. Bates spent the next two seasons as Kansas State’s linebacker coach before becoming secondary coach at West Virginia University in 1977. He held the same position at Texas Tech University for two seasons and then was promoted to defensive coordinator/secondary from 1980-83.

Bates joined the professional ranks as defensive coordinator for the United States Football League’s San Antonio Gunslingers in 1984 and was named the head coach in 1985. In 1986, Bates was named defensive coordinator for the Arizona Outlaws. After spending the 1987 season out of football, Bates served as an assistant coach for the Detroit Drive (Arena Football League). He returned to the collegiate ranks in 1989 as linebacker coach at UT. Staying in the conference, Bates was named defensive coordinator/secondary coach at the University of Florida in 1990 when the Gators won the SEC title.

Bates began his National Football League coaching career when named linebacker coach for the Cleveland Browns (1991). He coached the Browns’ defensive ends for the 1992 and 1993 seasons before ascending to the defensive coordinator position with the Atlanta Falcons a year later. Bates returned to Cleveland in 1995 as a secondary coach before working with the Dallas Cowboys as linebacker coach (1996-97) and assistant head coach/defensive line (1998-99). Jim moved to Miami where he led the Dolphins’ defense. Under Bates’ tutelage, Miami’s defense finished no lower than 10th in the NFL in total yards allowed and led the league in fewest passing yards allowed in 2001 (176.8). The Dolphins allowed only 162.0 passing yards per game in Bates’ five seasons as DC. During his tenure in Miami (2000-04), Bates’ defenses ranked fifth in yards allowed (294.8). In addition, the defense didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher over the last four games of 2002 and the entire 2003 campaign. As the Dolphins’ interim head coach in 2004, Bates guided the Dolphins to a 3-4 record including a 29-28 win over eventual Super Bowl champion New England on Monday Night Football. Bates produced 19 Pro Bowl selections while with the Dolphins.

After accepting to the defensive coordinator position with the Green Bay Packers in 2005, Bates served as assistant head coach/defense with the Denver Broncos in 2007. He moved to the defensive coordinator position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009.

Jim Bates resides in Florida. His son Jeremy is currently the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks while his son James was a linebacker and captain of the 1996 National Champion Florida Gators.


“Jim Bates selected as part of the OHS Athletic Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (July 28, 2010)


Fedorinchik - Head Shot

Class of 1991
Football, Basketball, Baseball

Mike Fedorinchik solidified himself as a program-changing athlete in each of the three sports in which he wore an Oxford uniform during the early 1990’s.

Fedorinchik was a starting safety and a two-year starting quarterback on the Wildcats football team, leading OHS to its first-ever Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) playoff appearance in 1989 before a loss to East Grand Rapids in the regional final. As a senior, Fedorinchik led Oxford to an exhilarating win over Lapeer West scoring the final touchdown and two-point conversion to beat the Panthers 22-21. Down 38-28 to two-time defending state champ Farmington Hills Harrison in the MHSAA Class BB semifinal, Mike rushed for over 100 yards and three touchdowns while also passing for over 100 yards to beat the Hawks 48-38. Oxford advanced to the state final, finishing as state runners-up in 1990 with a 12-1 record. As a starting quarterback, Fedorinchik led Oxford to a 21-3 two-year mark, recording 2700 passing yards, 800 rushing yards, 19 passing touchdowns and 12 rushing touchdowns. In all, Fedorinchik was selected to play in the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association (MHSFCA) all-star game at safety and earned all-Flint Metro League (FML) 1st team, Oakland County Dream Team, all-county, all-metro area as well as Detroit News and Detroit Free Press all-state honors as a senior.

On the hardcourt, Mike played in 67 career games for the Wildcats recording 874 points (fifth all-time upon graduation), 155 three-point field goals (1st all-time), 208 assists and 138 steals. On two occasions, Mike scored 30 or more points in a game. He also tallied eight or more three-point field goals in two different games.

Mike also made a lasting impact as a baseball player for the Wildcats. He is among Oxford’s all-time leaders in home runs (16) and runs batted in (80) after playing in over 70 career varsity games. Fedorinchik also stole 30 bases and hit for a .407 average as a Wildcat. As a senior in 1991, he led OHS to an 18-5 record on his way to a selection in the Flint area all-star game and all-FML 1st team honors. Mike was also twice selected as a member of the Oakland County Dream Team.

The former OHS senior athlete of the year and eight-time varsity letter winner, Fedorinchik, resides in Oxford with wife Stephanie and daughters Nadia and Alivia. He is the co-owner of J.W. Sales, a manufacturing representation agency headquartered in Pontiac.



Gambol Sketch

Class of 1982
Football, Track and Field

A late bloomer with vast potential as a prep star, Chris Gambol turned into one of the most powerful athletes ever to wear the Oxford blue and gold.

As a member of the Oxford gridiron team, Gambol played defensive end. He was hampered by a knee injury, playing only the final four games of his junior season. However, he earned the attention of Iowa head coach Hayden Fry at a Hawkeye summer camp in 1982. Chris earned three letters in track and field as a thrower for head coach Elmer Ball. While a member of the team, Gambol earned all-state honors as a shot putter and set the OHS record in the discus event, with a throw of 157’4” – a record that would stand for 20 years.

Gambol entered the University of Iowa on scholarship as a two-sport performer. The OHS honor student made an immediate impact as a member of the track team. In 1986, Gambol won the Central Collegiate Championships in shot put. 1987, however, was a milestone year for Gambol as he captured the Drake and Princeton Relays shot put titles, in addition to winning the National Invitational Championship in the shot put and the discus. He also won both events at the Central Collegiate Championships. A four-year letter winner and team co-captain, Chris was the 1987 Big Ten Conference Outdoor Champion in the shot put, entering a school record throw of 60’1/2”. The record would stand for 14 years and marked the first time in Iowa history that an athlete won the Big Ten outdoor shot put title. In the same season, Gambol finished third in the discus at the Big Ten meet and was named Iowa’s team MVP.

Initially recruited as a tight end, Chris grew into a position on Iowa’s offensive line as a guard. By his senior year in 1986, Gambol had bulked up to nearly 300 pounds. The two-time letter winner protected Heisman Trophy finalist Chuck Long and helped the Hawkeyes to the 1985 Big Ten Championship, a spot in the Rose Bowl and a No. 9 final national ranking. After the 1986 season, in which the team won a thrilling Holiday Bowl game over San Diego State, Gambol became the first Iowa lineman taken in the 1987 NFL Draft (3rd round, 58th overall), chosen by the Indianapolis Colts.

Chris played one game with the Colts in 1988, spending the entire 1987 season on injured reserve before being picked up by San Diego. After spending 1988 with the Chargers, playing in 11 games as offensive tackle, Gambol returned home to Michigan as a free agent to play six games for the Detroit Lions in 1989. New England was the final stop for the four-year pro. In 1990, Gambol started 15 of 16 games for the Patriots. In all, Gambol played 34 games in the NFL before retiring in 1991.

Chris Gambol received a BBA degree in finance in 1986 and an MBA from the University of Iowa in 1991. He resides in Illinois.


“Gambol was a ‘late’ bloomer – Still a Wildcat Hall of Famer” – Oxford Leader (August 4, 2010)




Class of 1994
Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field

Nine-time letter winner Mike Gardner enters the Oxford High School Athletics Hall of Fame as not only the most accomplished quarterback in school history, but as one of the finest leaders to ever wear an Oxford uniform.

Gardner made an immediate impact on the gridiron during the fall of 1990. Unprecedented for a freshman, Gardner intercepted three passes in his first varsity game and went on to lead the team in interceptions as a defensive back. Gardner helped the Wildcats to an undefeated regular season (9-0) that included a Flint Metro League (FML) championship. The Wildcats went on to the state finals where they finished 12-1 and runner up to the Dowagiac in the Class BB state championship.

The 1991 football season came with great anticipation and the Wildcats did not disappoint. Gardner quarterbacked Oxford to another perfect regular season (9-0) that resulted in a FML championship before losing to Marine City in the MHSAA playoffs.

In 1992, Gardner led a squad that recorded the school’s only 13-0 perfect season. Having avenged previous losses to Dowagiac (21-20) and Marine City (48-7), Gardner helped secure the state championship as the team recovered from an early 13-0 deficit to beat Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills in overtime, 20-13.

Gardner led the 1993 Wildcats to yet another undefeated regular season, completing the longest winning streak in school history (25-0), before losing a heartbreaking 28-25 overtime thriller to East Grand Rapids in the Class BB final. In all, Gardner led the Wildcats to a 34-2 record as a starting quarterback. He passed for over 3,500 yards and 40 touchdowns and was named first team all-FML, first team all-Metro North, all-county Dream Team as well as first team Class BB all-state as a senior.

In 4 years as a varsity football player for the Wildcats, Gardner never experienced a loss in the regular season. He was part of a 46-3 overall four-year record that included four straight FML championships, three state regional championships, three trips to the state finals and one state championship title.

Following a stellar prep career, Gardner was offered an athletic scholarship to play at Northwood University. Mike started games at quarterback in each of his four years of eligibility and graduated in 1999 with a bachelor degree in Business Management. At the conclusion of his career, he was the school’s only two-time football captain and the 7th ranked passer in school history. Today, Mike is still listed among the Timberwolves career leaders in pass attempts and completions.

Gardner helped found the Populus Group of Troy in 2002, a staffing company which exceeded $100 million in revenue in 2010. He is married to former Wildcat scholar and cheerleader, Pam Read (’94).


“Mike Gardner headed for hall of fame” – Oxford Leader (June 29, 2011)



Class of 2000
Football, Wrestling, Track and Field

Three sport standout Eric Ghiaciuc is considered by many to be one of the most successful student-athletes in Oxford History.

Although an outstanding throws athlete for the Oxford thin clads, Ghiaciuc was most noted for his exploits on the gridiron and the wrestling mat. Ghiaciuc’s size (6’4”, 303 lbs.) made him a fixture on the offensive line. However, the Wildcats struggled during Ghiaciuc’s freshman and sophomore campaigns, entering a 5-4 record after the 1996 and 1997 seasons – a rarity for Bud Rowley coached teams. It was in 1998 that Ghiaciuc and the rest of the Wildcats caught fire. Oxford lost only the home opener that season, claiming Flint Metro League (FML) and MHSAA Regional championships before falling to Farmington Harrison in the MHSAA Class A Semifinal, finishing 10-2.

Ghiaciuc came into his own as a wrestler during the 1998-99 school year, advancing all the way to the MHSAA state championship match in the 275 lb. weight class, losing to Mason’s Levi Rice. Wrestling dominance continued for Ghiaciuc in his senior season as he once again advanced to the 2000 MHSAA Division 2 Finals. This time Eric took home a state title with a dominating 14-1 win over Dan Heintz of Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

In 1999, the MHSAA changed to a divisional football playoff format, but that didn’t stop Ghiaciuc, now a senior, and the Wildcats from qualifying in the Division 3 bracket. Oxford entered a perfect 9-0 record, avenging the previous year’s loss to Farmington Harrison in the season opener. The Wildcats claimed another FML championship before finishing 10-1 and succumbing to Flint Powers Catholic in the MHSAA District Final. Ghiaciuc was named all-FML, all-county, all-Metro Detroit, and all-state Class A. He was also ranked as the Michigan’s 37th-best prospect by the Detroit News.

With a dominating physical presence, several schools courted Ghiaciuc, but he chose to accept a scholarship to play football at Central Michigan University. Ghiaciuc redshirted in 2000 and saw limited action in 2001 before taking over the starting center role in 2002. He started the next 37 games for the Chippewas. Eric anchored an offensive line that produced a 1,000-yard rusher in each of the three seasons he started and 105 total touchdowns. The Industrial Education major graduated with a 3.30 grade point average and was selected to play in the 2005 Hula Bowl before being drafted in the fourth round (119th overall) of the NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.

As a pro, Ghiaciuc started 42 of the 48 games he played. The offensive lineman also recovered two fumbles in his career. Eric has been a member of six NFL franchises including the Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. He now resides in Lake Isabella, Michigan.


“Oxford’s big man headed for hall of fame” – Oxford Leader (July 13, 2011)


Goodfellow Sketch

Class of 1989
Cross Country, Track & Field

Quite possibly the most accomplished distance runner in Oxford history, Mike Goodfellow was also one of the school’s fiercest competitors.

Although he was born into a running family, Mike Goodfellow used tenacity and training more than genetics to accomplish his feats. After being introduced to competitive running as a middle school student, Goodfellow quickly became a star.

In cross country, Mike won the Coaches’ Award after earning 2nd team All-Flint Metro League (FML) honors as a freshman. Goodfellow went on to become a three-time FML champion in addition to being named all-Oakland County his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. In 1987, Mike finished third at The Athletics Congress National Junior Olympic Championships with a five kilometer (5K) time of 15:37 on his way to back-to-back Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Regional and Class ‘B’ state titles in 1987 and 1988. To this day, Goodfellow is the only Oxford athlete to repeat as an individual state champ in any event, in any sport.

As a track standout, Goodfellow won eight individual FML track championships including the 3200m run three years in a row (1987-89). He also won the 1600m run in back-to-back years (1988-89) at the FML meet and the MHSAA Regional. Goodfellow won the MHSAA 3200m Regional title all four years as a Wildcat (1986-89). As a junior, Goodfellow captured the Oakland County title in the 1600m run on his way to a 4th place finish at MHSAA Finals. Amazingly, Goodfellow captured both the mile and two-mile titles at the 1989 MHSAA Class ‘B’ Finals. Mike went on to compete in the 1600m at the 1989 Midwest Meet of Champions after setting the OHS record (4:19.1). He also finished as one of the top 2-mile runners in school history, recording a time of 9:25.7.

Heavily recruited, Goodfellow accepted a cross country and track scholarship from Central Michigan University (CMU) and immediately helped the Chippewas to the 1989 Mid-American Conference and National Collegiate Athletic Association District IV cross country championships. The team finished 19th in the country his freshman year. Mike spent four years as a member of the cross country team and three years as a steeplechase and 5K competitor on the CMU track team. He received a bachelor of applied arts degree in Health Administration from CMU in 1993. Mike served a short stint as head coach of the OHS cross country teams after graduation, leading the Wildcats to an 8-1 record.

Mike Goodfellow and his wife Michelle live in Pinckney, Michigan with their three children. Mike manages a hardware store in South Lyon.


“Star runner sprints into hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (August 11, 2010)



Class of 2003


Caryn Inman shall forever be remembered as one of the greatest all-around student-athletes in Oxford history.

Inman earned twelve varsity letter awards. As a basketball player she made an immediate impact on Ian Smith’s 1999 squad that finished 23-1. Inman made all-Flint Metro League (FML) and led the Wildcats in 3-point field goal percentage (.345). In 2000, Inman was named all-FML and led the Wildcats in steals (85), assists (114) and assists in a game (9). The Wildcats finished with a second consecutive FML title and a 21-1 record. As a junior, Inman helped propel the Wildcats to a MHSAA quarterfinal appearance and a 22-3 record. Once again, Caryn led the team in steals (101) and assists (113). She was named captain and earned all-area, all-FML and all-state honorable mention honors. Inman ended as the school’s 7th all-time scorer (982).

Just as accomplished in volleyball, Caryn was named team captain and most valuable player in both her junior and senior seasons. She was also named all-FML and all-area after the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. She helped lead the Wildcats to FML and MHSAA district championships and a 44-8-4 record during her junior campaign. As a senior, Caryn was named to the all-county volleyball team and was named all-state honorable mention. Oxford finished undefeated in FML play for the second straight year and recorded a 49-3-1 record.

Inman was also a four-time all-FML honoree in track and is part of a 3200m relay team that set a school record that would stand for seven years (3:45). Inman was named team MVP in 2002 and 2003 after leading the Wildcats to back-to-back FML titles as a middle distance runner. While the team finished as MHSAA regional runners-up in 2002, Inman remained undefeated in the 400m during FML competition for three straight years. She qualified for MHSAA Finals four consecutive years.

Inman enrolled at nearby Madonna University after earning the Helen Smith Award prior to graduation. As a volleyball player, Inman earned several accolades. She was named to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) all-freshman team in 2003 and was named to the WHAC all-conference volleyball team over the next three seasons. In addition to receiving NAIA all-region honors for three consecutive seasons, Inman was also named the WHAC and NAIA Region VIII volleyball player of the year in 2006. She earned NAIA second team All-America honors in 2006 after being selected NAIA All-America honorable mention team in 2005. Inman remains in the top ten in nine separate season and career statistical categories at Madonna.

Caryn also enjoyed an award-winning collegiate basketball career for the Crusaders. She received WHAC first team honors in 2007-08 and was twice named an NAIA Academic All-American. In addition, Caryn earned the WHAC Champions of Character Award following the 2005-06 season and was selected as team captain and most valuable player for the 2007-08 season before graduating with a degree in secondary education.

Inman is married and resides in Ortonville. She is employed as a teacher and coach by Oxford Community Schools.


“Inman headed for OHS hall of fame” – Oxford Leader (July 20, 2011)



Class of 2000
Football, Soccer

The most accomplished soccer athlete in school history, Kellen Kalso is also remembered as one of the most talented defenders in Michigan history.

Selected to play varsity soccer as a freshman in 1996, Kellen made an immediate impact on the Wildcats roster. The young team captain was a proven leader on and off the pitch, finishing as a Flint Metro League (FML) all-conference selection in addition to being named to the all-area team as well as the all-county and Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association (MHSSCA) all-state honorable mention squads.

In addition to serving as a successful placekicker for the varsity football team, Kalso continued his meteoric rise in the soccer world as a sophomore, again captaining the Wildcats in 1997. Although playing out of his natural position, Kalso led Oxford in scoring and assists as a midfielder. He was once again named to the all-FML, all-area, all-county and Detroit News Dream Teams in addition to being named to the MHSSCA all-state team for the second consecutive year.

Kellen led the Wildcats in most statistical categories in 1998. Not only did Kalso earn all-FML, all-area, all-county and Detroit News Dream Team honors during his junior campaign, he also tallied his third consecutive MHSSCA all-state award and was named to the Parade Magazine All-American team. After the MHSAA district tournament, Kellen was asked to be part of the inaugural U.S. Soccer Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Florida. He made his international debut on November 28, 1998 and tallied an assist against Sweden on his way to being named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-American team.

Although Kalso’s prep career ended after only three years, he continued his soccer career in the Residency Program during the first semester of his senior year. As part of the U.S. Under-17 team, Kellen helped the country earn a fourth place finish in the World Championships in 1999. For his efforts, he earned Adidas, Parade Magazine and NSCAA All-American honors. Kalso ended his prep career as a three-time all-state honoree in addition to claiming four all-American awards. He also won six team state titles and one national championship with his club team, Vardar.

The OHS Student Council and National Honor Society member returned for graduation before signing a national letter of intent to play for 1999 NCAA Champions, the University of Indiana. After a preseason injury, Kalso redshirted and transferred to Michigan State University. He started every game of his four-year career for the Spartans and set MSU career records for games played, minutes played and was named to various All-Big Ten teams after his junior and senior seasons.

Kalso graduated from MSU with a bachelor’s degree in Communications in 2004 and resides in Orlando, Florida.

“Oxford’s most accomplished soccer player headed for Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (July 27, 2011)


Lantry Sketch

Class of 1966
Football, Track & Field

One of Oxford’s most outstanding male athletes, Mike Lantry’s story is one of athleticism, courage, adversity and triumph.

As a prep star for the Wildcats, Mike played football for legendary coach Walt Braun and ran track for veteran mentor Elmer Ball. As a football star, Mike played linebacker and was a record-setting place kicker. In track, Lantry was a hurdles champion, but was most noted for his abilities as a thrower, earning the MHSAA Class ‘B’ shot put state title as a senior in 1966. Lantry’s school record throw of 60’ 7 ½” was the farthest throw among all classes in 1966 and remains the oldest standing track and field record at OHS.

Instead of taking his talents directly to the college ranks, Mike instead enlisted in the United States Army after high school, seeing combat in Vietnam as a part of the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Already a proud veteran, Lantry enrolled at the University of Michigan as a track athlete and a football walk-on in January of 1971. The 6’ 2”, 210-pound place kicker enjoyed a stellar football career starting in all 33 games played by the Wolverines from 1972 to 1974. In 1973, Lantry led the Wolverines in scoring on their way to an undefeated (10-0-1) season. In the same season, Mike was named to the Football News All-America Team. Lantry broke school records for most field goals in a career (21), points after touchdowns (113) and was the first Michigan kicker to boot a 50-yard field goal. In addition, he was named All-Big Ten Conference first team three times and was named to the All-Big Ten Conference first team academic list as a sophomore.

Lantry is still regarded as one of the finest specialists in Wolverines history and ranks third in all-time scoring (176 points). He is still the only kicker to make two field goals over 50-yards in the same game (Stanford, 1973). Mike also earned three letters as a shot-putter on the track and field team and graduated from Michigan’s School of Education with a bachelor’s degree in 1975.

Lantry played briefly in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys, but is better known as a successful businessman. He is the President of Lantry & Associates, a company that represents manufacturers in the automotive industry.

Mike currently serves as an executive board member for the “M” (letterwinners) Club and is a member of the Sarasota chapter of the University of Michigan Alumni Association. He is the father of Mike, Jr. of Sarasota, Florida and Stephanie of Los Angeles, California.


“Hall of Famer Mike Lantry made his mark in football & track” – Oxford Leader (August 18, 2010)


Laidlaw - PSU 1

Class of 1991
Football, Basketball, Baseball

Chris Laidlaw shall forever be remembered as one of Oxford’s greatest three-sport athletes of the 1990’s.

Laidlaw earned three varsity letters in basketball and baseball and earned two letters in football. During the 1990-91 school year, Chris accomplished what no other male athlete had during Oxford’s 27-year affiliation with the Flint Metro League (FML) – he earned all-FML first team honors in three different sports.

Chris immediately aided a struggling Wildcats basketball team in 1989 by tying the school record for most assists in a season (131) while averaging 10.8 points per game. As a junior, Laidlaw again topped 100 assists and averaged 19.7 points per game during FML play. In 1991, Chris set the school records for assists in a season with 140 and led Oxford to a 13-win season. He finished his basketball career as the all-time Oxford career assist leader (362) and the second all-time leading career scorer (984).

As a member of the Wildcats baseball team, Laidlaw hit .417 his junior season and had a career batting average over .350, but it was as a pitcher where he made his mark. Earning first team all-FML honors in 1990 and 1991, Chris’ two-year earned run average hovered just above 1.00 (1.05 in 1991) as he collected 10 victories on the mound.

Laidlaw caught 71 passes and totaled over 800 receiving yards in his varsity career to establish himself as one of the top wide receivers in Oxford football history. He played an instrumental role in helping the Wildcats to their first-ever MHSAA playoff run in 1989 and a trip to the MHSAA Class BB Finals in 1990.

Laidlaw attended Huron University in South Dakota where he played football and baseball for two years before transferring to Panhandle State University in Oklahoma. He would receive a bachelor’s degree from Panhandle State in 1997 and begin his football coaching career there before coaching and earning a master’s degree from North Dakota State University. Chris has also coached wide receivers at McPherson College and Wayne State University.

Laidlaw now teaches history and serves as the defensive coordinator at Cypress (TX) Christian High School in Houston where he helped lead the Warriors to the state semifinals in 2011. He resides in Spring, TX with wife Shannon and four children.



Bud Laidlaw

Class of 1951

Although Bud Laidlaw earned an impressive seven total varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball at OHS, he is most remembered as one of the greatest volunteers and youth sports leaders in Oxford’s history.

Laidlaw began his coaching career as a teenager, taking it upon himself to organize sandlot games among neighborhood children. Soon after, Oxford Midget League founder Charles Curtis invited him to coach. The team Bud inherited went winless the previous year, but finished undefeated in the first season under Laidlaw’s tutelage. Laidlaw quickly became one of the most successful and respected coaches in the organization for his fundamental approach and easy demeanor.

Today, the Oxford Midget League is known as the Oxford Recreational Baseball Association (ORBA) and has thrived, in part, due to the efforts of Bud Laidlaw. For 35 years, Laidlaw held positions as a coach, league equipment manager and president of the organization.

Bud took his passion for working with youth to the Oxford Wildcat Athletic Booster Club where he earned Life Member status. Serving several years as treasurer, Laidlaw rarely missed organizational meetings and did whatever was required to raise money for the needs of the athletic program. The selfless leader did everything from working in the concession stand to selling raffle tickets with amazing effectiveness. Laidlaw raised thousands of dollars through his extensive community relationships and his legendary sense of humor.

Although a full-time employee at General Motors for 32 years and a committed family man, Laidlaw’s volunteerism wasn’t limited to community sports. Bud was involved with the Meals on Wheels program and was a past president and lieutenant governor of the Oxford/Orion Optimist Club. In addition, Laidlaw tutored sixth and seventh grade students at Oxford Middle School. For his efforts and achievements, Bud was honored by the Oxford Chamber of Commerce with the 2000 Adult Youth Volunteer Award.

Married to the former Joan Culver for over 49 years, Laidlaw lost his battle with lung cancer in February of 2008 at the age of 74. Although he left behind six children, 17 grandchildren, two step grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, Laidlaw will forever be a shining example of servant leadership for students, coaches, boosters and community members for years to come.


“Bud Laidlaw: Athlete, coach, booster, now Hall of Famer” – Oxford Leader (August 3, 2011)


Meads Sketch

Class of 1952
Football, Basketball, Track and Field, Baseball

One of the most accomplished student-athletes in Oxford’s history, Dr. Ed Meads was as much a standout in the operating room as he was on the field.

As a Wildcat, Meads earned 12 letter awards in four sports. The four-time captain was named all-Tri-County League seven times. He also earned all-state honors in the half mile, finishing 4th at the 1952 MHSAA Finals after breaking the school record twice. In addition to his athletic accolades, Meads was also one of Oxford’s brightest students. He won the 1952 Oxford Cup and received the University of Michigan (U-M) Regent’s Scholarship.

Before receiving a bachelor’s degree from Michigan in 1956, Meads earned three letter awards as an offensive guard for the Wolverines. After the 1955 season in which Meads was named Michigan captain, he earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from both the United Press International and Associated Press wire services. In addition, he was 3rd team all-Big Ten Conference that same season. As a student, Meads belonged to the prestigious Sphinx and Michigamua honor Societies and earned the Fielding H. Yost Scholar Award.

After graduation, Meads was accepted to The University of Western Ontario Medical School. Incredibly, Ed not only excelled in his studies, but lettered twice for the Mustangs, helping them to the 1957 Canadian National Football Championship. He was named MVP that year and was named to the All-Canada team in 1957 and 1958 as both a center and middle linebacker. Meads earned a M.D. from UWO with honors in 1961. He was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Scholar Society and is currently a member of the UWO Athletics Hall of Fame.

Dr. Meads served his internship at Wayne State Hospitals until 1962 when he returned to UWO for his general surgery residency through 1966. In 1967 he earned the prestigious McLaughlin Traveling Fellowship Award and was a visiting professor at Vanderbilt University. During the Vietnam War, Dr. Meads served as a Major in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and was Chief of Surgery for the 91st and 93rd EVAC Hospitals, earning the U.S. Army Bronze Star in 1969 for his contributions.

Meads was named the A.D. McLachlin Professor of Surgery and served UWO for 34 years as a member of the department of surgery. Before being named professor emeritus at the UWO School of Medicine in 2004, Dr. Meads served as Chief of Surgery at St. Joseph Hospital in Ontario from 1980 to 1990. Dr. Ed Meads resides in London, Ontario.

“Meads was outstanding athlete, student” – Oxford Leader (August 25, 2010)



Class of 1981
Basketball, Track and Field

Patti Niemi enters the Oxford Athletics Hall of Fame as the most prolific scorer in the storied history of Oxford girl’s basketball.

Niemi’s basketball career began in 1975 when she made the OMS boys squad because girls’ teams didn’t exist. The 5’11” Niemi immediately became a star at OHS in 1977 and helped lay the foundation for the future Wildcat basketball dynasty. Although the team won just three games, they lost nine games by four points or less. Niemi finished as the team’s third leading scorer and earned all-Oakland A honorable mention accolades after playing in 19 of the team’s 20 games.

Niemi started every one of the Wildcat’s 22 games as a sophomore and led the team in field goals made (124) on her way to first team Oakland A honors. Although the team improved dramatically (17-5), setting a school record for most wins in a season, they ultimately lost 74-45 to Flint Beecher in the MHSAA district final of 1978.

The Wildcats improved on their school record for wins (20-3) behind Niemi’s scoring prowess in 1979. The Wildcats defeated Utica Ford II in the championship of the Oakland A Tournament. Niemi’s led the team in scoring (24) and rebounding (7). Patti also led the team in scoring for the season (425) and earned not only all-Oakland A first team and league MVP honors, but made the Class B all-state first team.

1980 proved to be the high water mark for the Oxford program under the senior leadership of Niemi. After starting the season 1-1, the Wildcats went on a 24 game winning streak en route to a 25-2 overall record including Oakland A, MHSAA district and regional championships. OHS eventually fell in the final minutes of the MHSAA Class B semifinals to Ladywood High School, 45-42. Patti led the Wildcats in scoring in 24 of the 27 games played and scored 30 or more points on six different occasions. Niemi again earned all-Oakland A and Class B all-state first team honors. She was also named all-state in the high jump as a senior track athlete.

Patti became the school’s first 4-year all-conference basketball selection and ended her career as Oxford’s all-time leader in six categories including points in a game (34), points in a season (607) and steals in a season (96). Niemi’s 1,399 career points (which took place prior to the 3-point field goal) set a school record that is still in place, 31 years later.

Niemi received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Arizona State University in 1987. In addition to owning a successful real estate company in the Phoenix area, she is a competitive barbershop singer with the international champion Scottsdale Chorus. She is married, has three grown children and resides in Arizona.

“Basketball legend Patti Niemi to enter OHS Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (August 10, 2011)



Coach and Athletic Administrator
Football, Basketball, Track and Field

A native of Golden, Illinois, Lee Noftz came to Oxford in 1963 as a teacher and coach and left as the patriarch of the modern era of Wildcats athletics.

Although Noftz enrolled at Western Illinois University in the fall of 1948, he only attended classes for two years before the outbreak of the Korean Conflict. Lee enlisted in the United States Air Force. While in the military, he met his future wife, Bertha. In 1952 the couple was married. Noftz majored in engineering prior to his enlistment, but he completed his degree in secondary education, in part, so that he could follow his dream of becoming a coach.

He was hired by Brown City Community Schools in 1956 and coached the Green Devils track team to a league championship. Noftz became friends with fellow Brown City football coach, and future hall of famer, Walt Braun. In 1960 Braun was hired at Oxford. Three years later Noftz followed him, hired to teach social studies and be an assistant coach in the Wildcats football, basketball and track programs. A year later, Noftz took over as head coach of the boy’s basketball program. In 1970 Noftz continued to coach football, but gave up the boy’s basketball job, instead taking on the varsity track coach position. In addition, Lee became the school’s athletic director – a post that he held for the next 22 years.

Still a classroom teacher, Noftz eventually left the coaching ranks in 1978 to focus on his athletic administration duties. He had built the Wildcats track program into one of the most formidable in Oakland County. In 1980, Lee was recognized as the Meet Honoree at the Oakland County track & field championships. Once a part of the Central Suburban League, OHS joined the Oakland A Conference in 1969. In 1980 Noftz led the effort to transition OHS to the North Oakland Activities Association. Four years later, Noftz’s leadership led the Wildcats to Flint Metro League (FML) affiliation.

Noftz eventually became Oxford’s first full-time athletics administrator, but not before leading a dramatic expansion of the athletic program, especially in girls sports before retiring in 1992. Under his leadership, the Wildcats captured dozens of FML and MHSAA district and regional championships including the 1991 MHSAA Class B boy’s track and field championship.

Although retired after 36 years in education, Noftz continues to serve youth as a driving instructor, a position he’s held for over five decades. Lee and wife Bertha have four grown children, all OHS grads, and will celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary in September. They reside in Oxford.

“Longtime Oxford AD headed for Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (August 17, 2011)’


Oliver Head Shot

Class of 1925
Football, Basketball, Baseball

Believed to be Oxford’s first student-athlete to earn twelve varsity letters, Merritt Oliver was one of the most versatile and skilled athletes in the early era of Wildcats athletics.

Before the advent of college bowl games, professional football, high school playoffs and just after the point value of a touchdown moved from five to six points, Oliver was a dual-threat quarterback and fullback for the Wildcats gridiron teams of the mid-1920’s. Affectionately known as “Munky” by his teammates, Oliver was named football team captain in 1924.

Oxford was without a school gym until 1929. Team captain Oliver and the other Oxford cagers played in a garage with a low ceiling. In fact, the success of Oliver and his teammates helped forge the Wildcats into an early power. In 1926 Oxford claimed the Michigan High School Athletic Association Class “C” District and Regional crowns but could not advance due to, in their opinion, home facilities with non-regulation features. This inadequacy prompted voter-approved construction of a new gymnasium at the Washington Street School.

Oliver also led a rebirth in the baseball program. It had been since 1913 that Oxford captured the Tri-County League championship and Merritt’s accomplishments as a shortstop and pitcher led the Wildcats back into contention for league titles.

Although Oliver pre-dates the Oxford Cup award (began in 1930), he most certainly would have won the award not only through his athletic achievements, but as a member of the school band and drama club in addition being a top scholar.

Oliver moved on to Ferris State Institute where he participated on the Bulldogs football and basketball teams before receiving a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy in 1928. Oliver, wife Mildred along with children Jack and Jane finally settled in Reading, MI where Merritt opened a pharmacy. Known simply as “Doc” by the community, Oliver served as a pharmacist for 35 years and was chief of the Reading Fire Department for several years. In 1978, Oliver was inducted into the prestigious Golden Eagles Society by Ferris State College.



Phipps Head Shot

Class of 1976
Basketball, Volleyball, Softball

2012 marks the anniversary of the passage of Title IX – landmark legislation in the fight for gender equity in America. There is no better example of this plight in Oxford Athletics history than 1976 OHS alumna, Pam Phipps.

Although an outstanding three sport athlete in the early years of girls’ inclusion in school sports, Phipps is best known for a sport she didn’t play at Oxford. Pam played basketball, volleyball and softball for the Wildcats earning team captain status and all-Oakland “A” honors, but it was a job at Oxford Hills Golf Course during her senior year that started her on a remarkable playing and professional career in golf.

After graduation from OHS, Phipps attended Central Michigan University (CMU) where she was a member of the Chippewas women’s golf team for two years. Attracted by the only professional golf management program in the United States, she later transferred to Ferris State University (FSU) in Big Rapids. Phipps immediately contributed to the Bulldogs golf team. She was medalist at both the Michigan State University and CMU invitationals in 1980. In 1981 Pam was named team captain and MVP for the Bulldogs.

Phipps graduated from Ferris State in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing & Professional Golf Management. As one of the only females in the country armed with this degree, she and the other few female graduates struggled to find opportunities because course owners were unsure women were fit for the industry. Within a year of graduation, however, Phipps earned Class “A” Member privileges from the Professional Golf Association (PGA) of America.

In 1985, Pam was named Head Golf Professional at Oyster Reef Golf Club in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Four years later, she was hired by Palmetto Golf to oversee two courses in South Carolina, but it was in 1994 that Pam made one of the greatest gender breakthroughs in golf. Phipps became only the 138th PGA Master Professional, and the first woman to accomplish the feat. Since then, Phipps has been a leader in her profession. She was the first Director of Golf at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida in 1995. In 1996, Pam was named the Southeastern Section Golf Professional of the Year and later voted the LPGA National Golf Professional of the Year.

Since returning to Michigan in 2000, Phipps has held the position of Director of Golf for Black Lake Golf Club in Onaway. Owned by the United Auto Workers, this beautiful course consistently ranks among the top women-friendly courses and top overall public courses in the United States by Golf Digest.



Quayle Head Shot

Class of 1949
Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field

Arguably the greatest male student-athlete in the history of Oxford Athletics, Don Quayle was in a class all his own during the late 1940’s.

Quayle earned an amazing fifteen letter awards during his career at OHS – Four each in the sports of football, basketball and baseball and three in track & field. Don was a cast member in plays, was a four-year marching band member, choir soloist, president of the senior class and the unmistakable winner of the 1949 Oxford Cup.

The Wildcats football squad tied Lake Orion and finished with a 5-2-1 record under Captain Quayle’s leadership in 1948. As a junior, Quayle also captained the basketball squad to a 13-5 record that included Tri-County League and district titles and a hard-fought loss in the regional final. As a senior, Quayle helped Oxford rattle off nine straight wins on their way to consecutive Tri-County League and state district titles. Quayle starred at first base for the Wildcats baseball team while splitting time with an OHS track team that won the 1949 Tri-County League championship.

Don attended Michigan State College (MSC) where he was a member of Coach Clarence “Biggie” Munn’s legendary national championship football teams in 1951 and 1952 serving as a kicker. Quayle even earned his numerals as a member of the Spartans freshman basketball team. It was as a member of the MSC baseball team that Quayle made the deepest impact. Don was converted to pitcher by legendary Spartan skipper John Kobs and the hard-throwing, power-hitting southpaw didn’t disappoint. Quayle and the Spartans entered four stellar seasons and set the table for MSC’s first-ever Big Ten baseball Championship in 1954.

Armed with a bachelor’s degree from MSC, Quayle entered the US Army as a lieutenant. Don served as a member of the 11th Airborne Infantry for two tours. After his discharge, Don received a master’s degree from the University of Colorado. Quayle and wife Mary Jo spent time in Rapid City, South Dakota where Don taught, coached and served as a player/manager for a semi-pro baseball team in the Basin League. Quayle also earned a doctoral degree in Education from the University of Wyoming and became a member of the esteemed Phi Beta Kappa organization.

For over 43 years, Quayle and his family resided in Riverton, Wyoming where he served as a basketball coach, instructor and department chair at Central Wyoming College. Don retired as Professor Emeritus in 1985 and was extremely active in his community before passing in 2012.


rayner pic


Class of 2001
Football, Soccer

A two-year letter winner on the basketball team and a standout on the soccer field, Dave Rayner is best known as the most decorated kicker to ever play football for Oxford High School.

Rayner’s Oxford football career ended with a four-year combined record of 33-12 that included four playoff appearances, and a trip to the Class ‘A’ semifinal. Individually, Rayner set all but one of the Wildcats place kicking and punting records. His 43.3 yard punting average over four years remains the best ever, while 82% of his kickoffs reached the end zone. By his senior year, Rayner was named 1st team all-Flint Metro League (FML) twice, 1st team all-state in Class ‘A’ and was named to the Detroit Free Press Football “Dream Team.” Rayner was also named the 27th best player in Michigan according to the Detroit News. His success did not stop on the football field, as he was named to the all-FML soccer team as a sweeper, scoring 11 goals and distributing 8 assists.

Rayner accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Michigan State University, where he hoped to contribute early under then-head football coach Bobby Williams. As a freshman for the Spartans, Rayner would see action in nine games. Rayner went on to start every game for the Spartans over the next three seasons. After four seasons, Dave left MSU as the Spartans’ all-time leader in scoring (334 points), field goals made (62), and extra points made (148). He was only the 14th player in Big Ten Conference history to reach 300 points in a career. Rayner was selected 2nd team all-Big Ten his senior year, and was chosen special teams player of the week three times. Rayner graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology.

In 2005, Rayner was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the 6th round (202nd player selected) of the National Football League (NFL) draft. Over the next seven years, Rayner played for eleven different teams, proving to be one of the strongest kickers in the League. Rayner’s NFL career accomplishments include hitting a 54-yard field goal that tied for longest in Green Bay Packers history in 2006 and a making career-long field goal of 56 yards while a member of the Buffalo Bills. Rayner has converted over 72% of his field goals as a pro and is currently the only kicker in Detroit Lions history to make a game-tying field goal in regulation and a game-winning field goal in overtime (12/19/10 vs. Tampa Bay).

Dave Rayner is the son of Larry and Linda Rayner. He currently resides in Berkley with his wife Louise.




Class of 2004
Cross Country, Track and Field

Donnie Richmond has established himself as one of the most dominant distance runners in Oxford history.

An eight-time letter winner at OHS in cross country and track and field, Richmond not only excelled at the high school level, but also in middle school and as a collegiate student-athlete. Donnie burst onto the scene at Oxford Middle School where he set OMS records in the two-mile cross country course (11:21) and in the 3200m (10:39). In eighth grade, He ended his middle school career as the OMS record holder in the 1600m (4:57) and 3200m (10:39).

At OHS, Richmond continued his domination over the competition. While a freshman in 2000, the Wildcats captured the Flint Metro League (FML) cross country championship with the help of Donnie’s 2nd place overall finish. Richmond went on to win the next three individual FML cross country titles and led OHS to four total FML team titles. During Richmond’s sophomore through senior cross country seasons, he was named team captain and earned all-county honors. As a sophomore Donnie was the Junior Olympic state cross country champion and national regional runner up. The next year Donnie won the MHSAA regional cross country individual championship and earned all-state honors, finishing 11th at the MHSAA cross country state finals in 2002. To date, Donnie remains the OHS boys cross country record holder (15:48).

One of the most prolific runners in FML track history, Richmond remains the only male athlete to win ten individual track and field league titles. Donnie captured the 1600m and 3200m FML championships each of his four years as well as winning the 800m event in both his junior and senior seasons. In fact, Richmond never lost an individual race in FML competition during his amazing four year career. He was twice named an OHS track team captain. He won the MHSAA regional championship twice in the 3200m (2003, 2004) and won the Oakland County 3200m championship in 2004 as well. In addition, Richmond was a 1600m regional champion as a senior. In all, Donnie qualified for MHSAA track finals five times and ended his OHS career as the school record holder in the 3200m (9:20) and the 800m (1:56.1).

Richmond enrolled at Central Michigan University where he was a part of the 2004 Mid American Conference (MAC) championship men’s cross country team. Richmond also helped CMU earn the 2005 MAC indoor and outdoor track championship as well as 2006 MAC outdoor track title. Donnie earned a total of seven varsity letters as a Chippewa.

Richmond graduated with honors from CMU in 2008 with bachelor’s degrees in both marketing and logistics management. He continues his running career as a member of the Playmakers elite team. Donnie resides in Portland, Michigan.

“Richmond goes the distance to the Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (August 24, 2011)


Bud Rowley


The most iconic coach in Oxford High School history, Bud Rowley epitomizes Wildcats football and what it means to wear the Oxford blue and gold.

The Adrian native was a standout athlete for the Maples before matriculating to Northern Michigan University in 1968. While under the direction of legendary coach Rollie Dotsch, Rowley earned three varsity letters. As a defensive back and punt returner, Rowley led the Wildcats in return yardage as a junior.

After receiving a degree in education in 1972, Bud continued his playing career as a semi-pro in the Flint area. He began his teaching and coaching career at Oxford in 1973. It wasn’t until 1976 that then assistant coach Rowley advanced to the head coach position. Although Rowley inherited a struggling Wildcats program, it didn’t get better immediately. Over the next four seasons Oxford won a total of eleven games before he was replaced by Mike Buck. Rowley coached football and wrestling for a short time at Madison Heights Bishop Foley before returning to the helm at OHS two years later where he began to establish Oxford as one of the most consistently successful programs in Michigan history. From 1982 to 2009 the Wildcats recorded 28 consecutive winning seasons – fourth most in state history.

In 1984 Oxford joined the Flint Metro league (FML) and over the next quarter century became the leagues preeminent football program under Rowley’s leadership. The Wildcats captured ten FML titles and won 80% of their league games from 1984 to 2009. Rowley remains the winningest football coach in the 43-year history of the FML.

To date, the Wildcats have qualified for the MHSAA football playoffs a total of 15 times under Rowley. Oxford has captured four MHSAA regional titles and one MHSAA district championship in his tenure. However, the most successful period in school history was from 1989 to 1993. During this five year span the Wildcats won 55 games and advanced to the MHSAA Class BB Finals three times, winning the 1992 state title after defeating Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills 20-13 at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Rowley’s program has produced dozens of collegiate football players including son Kyle who played at Michigan State and Saginaw Valley State and now coaches alongside his father. In addition, the program has produced two NFL professionals in Eric Ghiaciuc (’00) and Dave Rayner (’01). Rowley enters the 2011 season with a career coaching record of 221-107-1 (.672), good enough for 32nd among all gridiron coaches in Michigan history. After 36 years as an industrial arts, physical education and health instructor, Rowley retired from teaching in 2010.

Wearing his signature yellow pants, Rowley continues to pace the sidelines every Friday night in the fall and remains a leader of young men – in much the same manner he has for thousands of former Oxford student-athletes. He resides in Oxford

“Rowley: ‘I believe I was destined to coach here’” – Oxford Leader (August 31, 2011)


Helen Smith Sketch

Class of 1952

Helen Smith will forever be regarded as the matriarch of the Oxford Wildcats Athletic Booster Club (OWABC) and one of the most loyal supporters in the district’s history.

The 1952 graduate was one of the most involved students among her peers at OHS. Smith was senior class vice-president, a member of chorus, newspaper staff and glee club in addition to being a performer in the junior and senior plays and a member on the cheerleading team.

After high school, Smith attended Michigan State College until she returned home to help run the family business in 1954. For 20 years Helen Smith was the secretary of the Smith Silo Corporation. Although Smith’s grandfather, Hiram patented the concrete stave silo in 1908, it was her father Warren that became a leader in the industry and moved the company to Oxford in 1930. Today, a model is on display at the Henry Ford Museum.

An avid supporter of Oxford teams, Smith has missed just one homecoming game since 1948, when only pneumonia could keep her from cheering on the Wildcats. In 1968, Smith became a charter member of the OWABC. As treasurer, she helped raise and grant thousands of dollars toward advancements the athletic program couldn’t afford. She also organized and ran the senior athletic banquet on behalf of the OWABC for 30 years.

Smith’s involvement in the lives of children has not been limited to athletics. She is the longtime chairperson of the American Legion Post 108 scholarship and is involved in Boys’ and Girls’ State selections on the post’s behalf. Additionally, Smith serves on the committee to select the Michigan State Police Student Trooper Award and was Treasurer of the Oxford Community Schools Board of Education from 1974-76.

For her contributions to the school and community, Smith has been honored with several awards. They include the G.E. Meads Award for Outstanding Community Service, the 1973 OHS Mother of the Year Award and the first-ever Wildcat Booster of the Year. Helen has also served as Grand Marshall of the Oxford Christmas Parade and is the namesake of the Helen Smith Award given to Oxford High School’s top female athlete since 1980.

Helen Smith is the mother of three children who graduated from OHS (Gayle ’74, Patti ’76 and Juanita ’77) and still resides in Oxford.


“Oxford athletes couldn’t ask for a better friend than Helen Smith” – Oxford Leader (September 1, 2010)


Ian Smith Sketch


The most successful basketball Coach in Oxford History, Ian Smith still ranks as one of the most successful in the state of Michigan as well.

The Gary, Indiana native came to Oxford in 1975 after serving in the United States Navy and earning a bachelor’s degree in physical education with a minor in history from Wayne State University where he played basketball on scholarship. Ian taught history at Oxford High School and was regarded as one of the district’s most outstanding educators.

In his first three seasons as head coach of the three-year-old varsitygirl’s basketball program, Smith entered only a 19-40 overall record. Over the next 24 years, the Wildcats finished with a winning record. In fact, on 14 different occasions, Smith’s teams won more than 20 games in a season. During one stretch in the mid-1980’s, the team won 72 consecutive games at home. Although there were many fine teams throughout Smith’s career, the high-water mark for the program came in 1981 when the varsity team finished 26-1, winning the North Oakland League title as well as the Class ‘B’ District and Regional tournaments before falling in the MHSAA semifinal to Marshall.

After a stellar 27-year career in which Smith was named the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Regional Coach of the Year five times, his coaching record stands at 493-135 (.785 winning percentage). Coach Smith’s win total ranks him 7th among all girls’ basketball coaches in the MHSAA record book. His teams captured 13 league titles (including nine Flint Metro League championships), 16 MHSAA District trophies and six MHSAA Regional championships. On two occasions (1981, 86), the Wildcats reached Michigan’s final four in Class ‘B’. In addition to winning both the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press Coach of Year awards twice in his career, Smith served in a leadership role on several MHSAA committees and coached six all-state first team players.

On January 30, 2006, Ian Smith lost his battle with multiple myeloma cancer. He is survived by his wife Joanne. Today, Oxford High School teams play sports in the “Ian Smith Gymnasium,” named in the coach’s honor. He was inducted into the BCAM Hall of Fame in 2001.


“Winningest basketball coach in OHS history to join Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (September 8, 2010)


Ed Stull

Class of 1976
Football, Basketball, Baseball

Ed Stull will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Wildcats student-athletes of the 1970’s.

The three sport athlete earned eight total varsity letters in football (3), basketball (2) and baseball (3) during a period in which freshman were part of the middle school campus and were ineligible for varsity competition.

Upon entering high school in tenth grade, Stull earned the starting quarterback job for the Wildcats – a position he kept for the next three seasons. He also handled the punting duties and even played as a backup linebacker under head coaches Al Armstrong and Tom Danna. Although the team struggled against more experienced Oakland A opponents in Stull’s sophomore season, the Wildcats improved offensively over the next two years under his leadership.

Stull played junior varsity basketball as a sophomore, but quickly became an important factor in the Wildcats basketball program under head coach Walt Studinger. Stull earned all-Oakland A first team honors as a senior. In just over two full seasons of varsity play, Ed amassed 629 points. The total is good enough for eighth place on the OHS all-time scoring list and occurred prior to the implementation of the three point field goal. Interestingly, Stull’s son Ryan (’04) ranks one spot above his father on the prestigious scoring list with 636 points and three seasons of varsity play.

A standout in football and basketball, Stull was most accomplished in baseball. With very few organized youth sports opportunities in Oxford, a young Ed often competed with older college players in the heyday of the Pontiac Class A Baseball League. As a prep, Stull starred as a pitcher and third baseman for Art Marcell and the Wildcats. Ed twice earned all-Oakland A first team honors as a sophomore and junior. As a senior in 1976, Ed pitched five consecutive shutouts in league play, once again earning all-Oakland A honors as well as all-county and all-region accolades.

A National Honor Society member and two-year member of student council, Stull was named “Ideal Senior” by his peers and won the Oxford Cup upon graduation from OHS with high honors. Despite being recruited by several universities to play baseball, Stull attended Michigan State University to fulfill his dream of becoming an engineer. Ed joined the Spartan baseball squad in his sophomore year and was a member of the 1979 team that won the Big Ten title – a feat that would not be duplicated at MSU for another 32 years.

Stull earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1981 from MSU where he also met his future wife, now a veterinarian, Judy (Duncan). He has worked as an engineer for several companies and currently is self-employed, responsible for over 17 United States patents. Ed and Judy reside in Oxford.


“Hall of Famer Ed Stull played it all and had a ball” – Oxford Leader (September 7, 2011)


Sutherland-LighterBkground (2)

Football, Wrestling, Cross Country, Softball, Track and Field

One of the greatest teacher-coaches in Wildcats history, Ray Sutherland will forever be remembered as a master relationship builder and for the positive impact he made on thousands of Oxford students.

Sutherland began his career at Oxford Middle School in 1972 after earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Michigan University. After a few years at OMS, Ray transferred to the high school where he would complete a 40-year career teaching biology, anatomy and physiology.

Today, the Wildcats wrestling program is one of the finest in all of Michigan. The state champions of today have Coach Sutherland to thank. The former collegiate wrestler at NMU started the wrestling program in 1972 and built it into a strong contender before moving on. In addition to coaching wrestling, Sutherland also coached football and softball for the Wildcats for several seasons.

Already a skilled coach, Sutherland achieved legend status when veteran mentor Elmer Ball coaxed Ray into coaching track and cross country. The 1968 Avondale High School product eventually coached state champions Carianne Byrd (half mile) and Mike Goodfellow (mile and two mile) as head track coach.

It was his skill at working with distance athletes like Byrd and Goodfellow that made Sutherland one of the finest cross country leaders in Michigan. Over a nearly 30-year span as head cross country coach, his teams captured 16 conference titles and three Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) regional championships. Sutherland finished his career with nearly 320 dual meet wins to his credit and was named 1992 MHSAA Regional Coach of the Year. He was also honored as a finalist for the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA) cross country coach of the year in the same season. From 1998 to 2003, Sutherland coached the Oxford boys’ team to an undefeated 40-0 record and six consecutive Flint Metro League (FML) titles. In 1984, the boys’ team raced to a perfect 13-0 record on their way to a FML crown and posted a record for the most dual meet wins in school history.

Sutherland coached Goodfellow to the 1987 and 1988 MHSAA Class B state cross country titles and recorded four top-ten state finishes (two each with boys and girls teams. In addition, Sutherland has coached 19 individual league cross country champions and five MHSAA individual regional champions.

Retired from Oxford High School in 2012, Ray now resides in The Villages, Florida with wife Susan.



Van-Guilder Pic


Class of 1987
Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, Track and Field

Arguably the finest female basketball player Oxford High School has produced, Roslyn “Roz” Van Guilder has been a tremendous success on and off the court.

As a sophomore, Van Guilder was named MVP of the varsity girls’ soccer team and as a volleyball player, she was named to the all-league and all-county lists. Although Roz also had a stint with the track and field team, she is best known for her exploits on the hardcourt, playing for legendary basketball mentor Ian Smith.

Van Guilder’s high school basketball career was nothing short of extraordinary. After playing only two varsity contests as a freshman in 1983, Roz started 24 of 25 games as a sophomore and after only one full season established herself as 12th on the OHS all-time scoring list (309). Impressively, the team finished 20-5 in 1984 and advanced to the MHSAA Quarterfinal. Roz led OHS in rebounds and assists. Although Oxford finished 16-7 in 1985, the team reached the MHSAA Regional Final. Van Guilder led the team in nine different statistical categories. In addition to scoring 435 points and pulling down 222 rebounds, Roz set school records for most steals in a season (120) and most steals in a game (14). After a stellar junior campaign, Van Guilder was named to the Oakland Press and Detroit Free Press Dream Team lists and was a unanimous 1st team all-Flint Metro League (FML) selection. In addition to earning all-state status, her junior performance garnered dozens of scholarship offers before she finally chose Michigan State University. 1986 would see the Wildcats make another trip to the MHSAA Class ‘B’ Quarterfinal and a stellar 23-3 record. This time, Van Guilder would set two more school records for most steals in a season (150) and most points in a game with a 38-point effort versus Fenton. The first team all-state player led OHS in nine separate categories on her way to an incredible six school records and a spot atop the FML all-time scoring list with 1,258 points. The mark would stand for over 22 years. After the 1986 season, Van Guilder finished 8th in the voting for Michigan’s “Ms. Basketball Award.” She was also a part of the Ohio vs. Michigan all-star series and played in the Junior Olympic Games in New Mexico.

Hampered by injury, Van Guilder played in 21 games for Karen Langeland’s Spartans as a freshman. Roz averaged three rebounds and six points per contest as a sophomore, but played only nine games into her junior season before being granted a medical release due to back injuries.

In 1992, Roz Van Guilder earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from MSU. She resides in Lansing and has been employed by the State of Michigan for 17 years, serving as a Traffic and Safety Engineer for the Department of Transportation.

“Legendary hoopster VanGuilder makes Hall of Fame” – Oxford Leader (September 15, 2010)





If first impressions mean everything, Andy Vascassenno has been one of Oxford Community Schools’ greatest assets for over 40 years.

As a volunteer worker for the athletic department, Vascassenno has literally greeted thousands of visitors with his trademark smile as a ticket seller and football equipment manager, dating back to the 1960’s. A native of Detroit and a graduate of Denby High School in 1938, Vascassenno served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II. Stationed in Louisiana, Vascassenno stormed the beach at Normandy on D-Day and served his country until the war’s end in 1945.

Andy worked at Fisher Body in Pontiac after the war where he helped the company manufacture springs for automobiles and other vehicles. It wasn’t until 1964 that Vascassenno came to Oxford. After marrying Judy Valentine, (Oxford Class of 1956) Andy began working as a custodian at Oxford Junior High. A short time later, he became head custodian at the school where he was employed for over 21 years before retiring in 1986.

In the fall of 1966, Vascassenno was approached by the Oxford Dad’s Club because they needed volunteers to help work on the line-to-gain crew at home football games. When another volunteer was removed for arguing with the officials, Andy became a regular. As they say, the rest is history. Over the next four decades, Vascassenno served the athletic department in countless capacities under three different directors. During football season, Andy was the equipment manager, responsible for repairs and transport of equipment to and from games. He also worked behind the scenes selling tickets, setting up and breaking down equipment for volleyball matches, basketball games, wrestling meets and almost every other athletic event. In addition, Andy was also the official judge for the pole vault event at track meets.

Vascassenno made such a significant impact on the community through his hard work and selfless attitude, that he was honored by the Oxford-Orion Community Coalition with an ‘Unsung Hero’ Award. Later that year, on his 82nd birthday, Andy was selected as the Grand Marshall of the 2003 Oxford Christmas Parade. In 2008, the Oxford Wildcat Athletic Booster Club (OWABC) awarded Vascassenno with an honorary varsity letter and jacket. In February of 2009, Vascassenno retired from his avocation with the athletic department after an astounding 43 years of service.

A former resident of Lakeville for 32 years, Andy Vascassenno currently resides in Lake Orion with Judy, his wife of 45 years. His children Christine, Sandy, Kathy, Amy and Scott were all graduates of OHS.

“Andy Vascassenno: A constant in Oxford sports since 1966″ – Oxford Leader (September 22, 2010)

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