OSWEGO, NY – Humbled, appreciative and thankful are three words that perfectly describe the Oswego High School Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2011.
On Oct. 1, friends, families, former coaches and members of the Hall of Fame came together to celebrate this year’s class of inductees. Once again the event is hosted by the Oswego City School District and the Oswego Buccaneer Boosters.
The latest editions to the athletic honor roll included the 1941 Oswego High School football team, Denise Sawyer, Kim (Schneider) Frohbieter, Wally Brown, Bobbi Jo Louis and Dan Gould in an emotional ceremony at the Oswego High School Dining Hall.
Though this night was quite important in the lives of all of the inductees the theme of thanking teammates, coaches and the Oswego community for its support was a common thread.
The first inductee of the evening was the 1941 Oswego High School football team who gave up only one touchdown all season. The Enwright family was present to accept the award for the team which included the likes of Fred “Rocco” Maniccia, Art Kelly, Chuck Nettles, Jim Comerford, Bill Burke and Leo Enwright.
It was noted they were a “tough group” of guys who loyally stood behind each other. Upon leaving high school, many fought in the Second World War and eventually made major contributions to the community.
Denise Sawyer was the second inductee as the member of the “Class of 75” won the state title in the 880 to become what is believed to be the first Oswego High School state champion. She also took fourth that year in the state meet in the high jump.
Kim (Schneider) Frohbieter was not only an athlete, but a solid student. In athletic competition she played soccer, gymnastics and competed in track and field. She was a dominant force in the shot put with league and sectional titles two consecutive years in ’76 and ’77 and in ’77 she also won the state title in the shot put.
On the college level, she was an outstanding track and field performer at Ithaca College.
She went on to be extremely successful in the field of physical therapy and established the Adult Fitness and Human Performance center at the University of Michigan Flint campus.
She was overwhelmed by the award and noted, “I just wanted to let everybody know how very important it is that we have such a wonderful and diverse athletic program here at Oswego High school. We were just young pieces of clay waiting to be molded. If it wasn’t for you (coaches) and what you instilled in us and the drive to improve ourselves, I don’t think any of us would ever have achieved what we did without our coaches.”
Wally Brown, a member of the “Class of 1959” was next. Participating in baseball, football, basketball, swimming and track and field he not only excelled in sports, but also in the classroom.
He spoke of the importance of working hard in the classroom and noted the importance of intelligence in the athletic realm.
After leaving OHS, he excelled in athletics and academics at St. Lawrence University and has been a practicing doctor for several years in Raleigh, NC.
He also noted the importance of coaches and teammates. Brown said, “The recognition goes to only a few, but credit goes to many. You can’t get a lot of recognition unless you’ve got a good team. I was very fortunate to play with a lot of good teammates.”
One of the top softball players of all time was Bobbi Jo Louis and she was one of the best pitchers coach Mike McCrobie has ever had play for him. She helped the Bucs to league and sectional championships and due to arm injuries she played first base her senior year. She had earned first team honors and had a two-year batting average of .372.
She was generous in her thanks as she recognized her parents as well as former coach.
Louis said, “He taught us on and off the field to show respect and give 110% in everything that we did. I wish everybody could experience what it felt like to put on the Blue and White. It was an amazing time and I would never give it back for anything.”
The final inductee for the evening was Dan Gould, a member of the “Class of 1969.” He is the director of the Institute for Study of Youth Sports and professor in the department of kinesiology at Michigan State University. He has published more than 200 articles in the field of sports psychology and has co-written three textbooks including the most widely used textbook in the world in his area of expertise.
Gould has also worked with Olympic and professional athletes during his career.
He noted that the induction into the Oswego Athletic Hall of Fame is special.
Gould noted, “This means a lot to be because it’s Oswego. All that success came from the coaches, the teachers, and the educators that really made a difference in my life and actually shaped what I do now. This means a tremendous amount to me. I’d like to dedicate this to the coaches and teachers, unsung heroes.”
It was a meaningful night that provided a reliving of outstanding Oswego High School sports memories and Athletic Director Scott Sugar hopes the tradition will continue.
Sugar asked those in attendance (and those watching the rebroadcasts on WBUC) to consider nominating outstanding individuals and teams. It was noted that the more information that is provided provides for continued high quality candidates to be nominated and eventually inducted.
It is hoped that the next class will be announced sometime this winter.