GRAND BLANC – The Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame announced its 2017 inductees. The selected inductees will be honored at a banquet on December 2 at the Genesys Athletic Center. Three teams and seven individuals will be honored.
Ainsworth’s Mike Harding was a three-sport star athlete who is among those chosen to be inducted.
Harding received Big 9 Honors in football, basketball and baseball. He attended Hillsdale college where he played quarterback and defensive back, was a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-Star shortstop and a starter in basketball. Harding later coached the Hillsdale girls’ softball team to a129-28 record and won three Great Lake Intercollegiate Athletic conference titles.
Carman-Ainsworth baseball coach Larry Gall was also selected. Gall coached for 23 years at Carman-Ainsworth, where he took the team to a 513-177 record, winning 10 league championships, six district titles, two regional titles and a state runner-up. Gall was also named the League and District Coach of the Year several times throughout his career and the Class A Coach of the Year in 1979 and 1981. In1989, Gall was inducted into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Jon Runyan, from Carman-Ainsworth, is also among the inductees. Runyan was a three-sport athlete at Carman-Ainsworth, participating in football, basketball and track and field. He was a two-time Class A champion in shot put and was an All-Big Ten and All-American tackle at the University of Michigan. Runyan then had a 14-year career in the NFL, winning league championships and receiving All-Pro honors. In 2010, Runyan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey and served two terms.
Also being inducted is captain of the 1978 Flint Northern Class A State Champions Craig Tucker. Tucker was All-American at Coffeyville Junior College and is their All-Time career scoring leader. From 1980-82, Tucker was a University of Illinois standout and chosen second team Big Ten in 1982. In April 2017, Tucker was inducted into the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame.
The 1996 and 1997 “Mr. Golf” recipient Mike Austin has also been selected to be inducted. Austin graduated from Flint Powers and also received All-State and All-Conference honors during his time there. He went on to become captain of the Ohio State University golf team and was All-Big Ten for three years and Academic All-American for two. Austin played professionally for seven years on the National Golf Association Tour, winning the 2003 Michelob Ultra Classic.
The 1977 Goodrich boys golf team is one of three teams being inducted. The team was the 1977 League, Regional and Class C State champions and finished the season out at a perfect 25-0. Three team members received All-State honors that year and set the team scoring record for all classes.
The 1983 Burton Atherton volleyball team is also being added to the Hall of Fame. The 1983 team won Atherton’s first state title in the school’s history when it won the Class C title. The team finished the season out with an impressive 44-2 record, with many of the wins coming against large schools in weekend tournaments. Three of the team’s players earned scholarships to two major Michigan
universities, six earned all-Conference berths and two earned All-State honors.
The third and final team to be selected this year is the 1980 Beecher girls’ basketball team, who
captured the 1980 Class B State Championship, coached by Dave Hollingsworth. The team was ranked No. 1 all year and went undefeated in Big Nine play. They had excellent senior leadership from four of their starters, Diana Wiley, Shelly Sparks, Melody Bridges and Faye Cotton. The team finished the season out with a 52-2 record.
This year’s Veterans’ Committee selection is Bob Crane. Crane was a Flint Central graduate and an
outstanding youth baseball player specializing in pitching. Crane was a Kiki Cuyler award recipient as the State of Michigan’s American League MVP and won the State American League Baseball Championship on his Oakley Traynor team. After high school, Crane signed with the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League. Crane then returned to Flint to play in the City League where he had the best Earned Run Average for two years and led the league in strikeouts and victories for three years.
Bob Holec will be the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Service Award for his work on behalf of the Greater Flint Area Baseball/Softball Association. Holec has been part of the commission since 2004, where he was the Association’s president from 2004-2008. Holec then took a year off before returning to his position, from which he will retire at the end of this year. Summer youth and adult leagues in both sports and tournaments throughout the summer would not exist if it were not for Holec’s admirable leadership.