11 to be inducted into Butler County Sports Hall of Fame

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Eleven people will be inducted into this year’s Butler County Sports Hall of Fame class.

MORE: ‘Gentle giant’ among 11 going into Butler County Sports Hall of Fame

Here’s a look at all of the inductees:

JIM BLOUNT

Blount was a quarterback on fellow Hall of Famer Chuck Thackara’s Big Blue football teams and was an experienced sports reporter by the time he graduated from Hamilton High in 1953.

He started writing sports news for the Journal-News while a seventh-grader and worked full time as a news reporter between his junior and senior years. He also volunteered as an assistant football coach at Hamilton, Wyoming and Steubenville high schools.

Jim Blount.
Caption
Jim Blount.

After graduation from the University of Cincinnati, Blount returned to Hamilton as a teacher, a counselor, assistant football coach and head track coach.

He was the scout for Taft’s unbeaten 1962 State championship basketball team. He was a free-lance football and basketball scout on the college level and wrote articles on scouting for coaching magazines.

His 1963 track team won the district championship, only the second title in the history of the city’s high schools. Blount was vice president of the Ohio Association of Track Coaches and a registered track official, working at state meets for several years.

He returned to the Journal-News and was editor from 1971 until 1986. He then returned to teaching and was Hamilton’s first Teacher of the Year in 1991.

Blount authored several books on Butler County history and produced history videos for the Hamilton Community Foundation. Blount also spent many years as press box announcer and record keeper for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was elected to the Hamilton High Hall of Fame in 2004.

• • •

PETE CONRAD

Pete Conrad spent more than 30 years covering sports in Butler County for the Journal-News.

He was a 1974 graduate of Talawanda High School and a 1978 graduate of Miami University, where he worked for The Miami Student. He was the first sports writer hired for the Mason and West Chester Pulse Journal and worked there for several years before finding his home at the Journal-News in Hamilton.

Pete Conrad.
Caption
Pete Conrad.

He covered everything from Little League to high school to college to professional sports during his career and won numerous awards for his work.

He was also editor of the Oxford Press for the last few years of his life.

Pete spent 29 years covering Miami University athletics. A plaque was dedicated on Sept. 21, 2013, honoring his years of covering the school and it hangs in the press box at Yager Stadium.

Pete was inducted to the Butler County Softball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2014.

• • •

JOE GIULIANO

Joe Giuliano was a two-sport athlete for Badin High School, playing both basketball and baseball in the early 1990s.

He played varsity basketball for two years under Coach Gerry Weisgerber and, he played four years of varsity baseball for Mark Maus.

It was on the baseball diamond where Giuliano shined the most helping lead the Rams to a Division III State championship his freshman year in 1991. He pitched in both the state semifinal and state final game and was credited with wins in both.

Giuliano and the Rams returned to the state semifinals in Division II in 1993, but lost to eventual champion Hebron Lakewood in the semifinals.

Joe Giuliano
Caption
Joe Giuliano

Credit: JIM WITMER

Credit: JIM WITMER

Giuliano received numerous accolades during his four years with the Rams. He was named the Greater Catholic League North Player of the Year in 1992, and again in his senior year of 1994. He also was selected to the All-Ohio Division II Coaches Poll second team in 1994.

During his high school career, Joe earned a record of 25-8 with 284 strikeouts in 185 innings pitched.

In June 1994, he was selected in the third round (90th overall) in the Amateur Baseball draft by the Atlanta Braves and three days later signed a professional contract to play Minor League Baseball with the Gulfport Braves in Florida.

Joe played three years with the Braves and four years in the Cincinnati Reds organization. He played for the Gulfport Braves, the Danville Braves, the Eugene Emeralds, the Burlington Bees, the Rockford Reds and the Dayton Dragons.

In seven Minor League seasons, Giuliano posted a record of 21-33 with 379 strikeouts in 489 innings pitched. Joe was inducted into the Badin Hall of Fame in 2009.

• • •

RAY HAMILTON

Ray Hamilton earned his 508th career win last season, his 19th with Lakota East. He previously coached varsity baseball at Ross from 1989 through 1999 where he amassed 197 career wins.

In his time at Lakota East, Hamilton has compiled 311 wins which makes him the all-time wins leader in Lakota history. Ray won a Division I State championship in 2011 with Lakota East, and also has a regional championship (2011), two regional runner-up finishes (2008 with Lakota East and 1995 with Ross), four district championships (Ross in 1995 and Lakota East in 2008, 2011 and 2013), a district runner-up finish (Ross in 1998) and eight total league championships.

Ray Hamilton.
Caption
Ray Hamilton.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

He won five Fort Ancient Valley Conference championships with Ross (1991, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998) and three Greater Miami Conference titles with Lakota East (2005, 2010 and 2011).

Hamilton was named FAVC Coach of the Year four times (1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998) and GMC Coach of the Year three times (2005, 2010 and 2011). Hamilton has also coached in the Southwest Ohio Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game twice (1992, 1996) and coached in the Mizuno State All-Star Game in 2011.

In his high school playing days, Hamilton was a three-year varsity starter at quarterback in football for Lakota High School, and a two-year varsity starter at catcher in baseball. He went to Appalachian State on a full scholarship for football in 1983 where he earned first team All-Conference in the Independence Community College league. He also was a two-year starter at quarterback for Missouri Southern where he led the team in total offense.

• • •

MARC JOHNSON

Marc Johnson is a three-time state champion in track. The 2003 Middletown High School graduate won the Division I State 100-meter dash championship in back-to-back seasons and is a member of the 400-meter relay OHSAA State champion team from 2002.

Johnson won the State 100 dash with a time of 10.82 seconds in 2002. He returned to defend his title in 2003 and won his second straight 100-dash championship with an even faster time of 10.66 seconds. Also in 2002, Johnson was a member of the state champion 400-meter relay team, which set an OHSAA Division record time of 40.79 seconds and a state meet record of 40.91 seconds, both of which still stand as records today.

Johnson holds the Middletown school record in the 100 dash at 10.61 seconds. He went on to run track at Kent State University where he was a two-time Mid-American Conference champion in 2007 when he won the 60-meter title in 6.67 seconds and the 100-meter title in 10.45 seconds.

In 2005, Johnson was an NCAA National Outdoor Championship qualifier in the 100 dash placing 22nd overall in 10.39 seconds. He also qualified for the 2005 National Outdoor Championships in the 400-meter relay and for the 2007 NCAA National Indoor Championships in the 60-meter dash.

Johnson is a school record holder in the 400 relay (39.73 seconds) and he was a three-time Mid East Region qualifier in the 100 dash and a four-time Mid East Region qualifier in the 400 relay.

• • •

STAN KAPPERS

Stan Kappers played basketball for three years at Fairfield High School leading the Indians to a 16-4 record in the 1982-83 season, their best ever record to that year. He was a tri-captain that season as well as being named All-Greater Miami Conference, All-Golden Triangle and as a District 15 All-Star.

Kappers went on to play four years at St. Joseph College where he averaged 18 points and 6.6 rebounds per game during his four years. He finished his college career with 2,028 points and 742 rebounds. He also was an 80 percent free throw shooter and a 66.4 percent field goal shooter at St. Joseph.

Kappers received numerous awards during his time at St. Joseph including being named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Player of the Year in the 1986-87 season. In addition, that year, Kappers was named to the All-District and All-Region first teams. His season stats that year were 23.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and he was a 65 percent field goal shooter.

In the 1987-88 season, Kappers was named to the Great Lakes Valley Conference first team and as an NCAA Division II All-American.

He is currently executive director at Mount Pleasant Retirement Community and is a member of both the Fairfield High School and the St. Joseph College Halls of Fame.

• • •

PAM GOETZ MITCHELL

Pam Goetz Mitchell was a three-year varsity tennis player for Middletown High School earning several high honors. In her senior year of 1965, Pam was ranked No. 2 in Ohio and No. 7 by the Western Lawn Tennis Association. She was also ranked No. 18 nationally by the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association.

She played first singles all three years at Middletown and played three years at first singles for Roosevelt Junior High. Mitchell was selected all three years of her high school career to play on the Girls Intersectional Team in Wilmington, Delaware, where she competed against other U.S. Sectional winners.

Mitchell also played on the National Junior Wightman Cup squad all three years of her high school career. Mitchell went on to own the Pam Tennis Camp at Seven Hills School in Cincinnati and she was the assistant pro at the Camargo Racquet Club in Cincinnati.

While living in California, Mitchell was the tennis pro at the Palm Springs Club in Rancho Mirage, California, where she also played No. 1 doubles for the Palm Springs Area Ladies League. Mitchell won the Invitational Ladies Doubles in La Quinta, California in 1984 and she played in numerous celebrity exhibition matches in both New York and California.

Mitchell was inducted into the Middletown Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.

• • •

KYLE SCHWARBER

Kyle Schwarber was the fourth overall pick in the 2014 Amateur Baseball Draft by the Chicago Cubs and two years later, in 2016, helped bring a World Series Championship back to Chicago for the first time in 108 years.

Schwarber graduated from Middletown High School in 2011 having earned four varsity letters in baseball and three in football. In baseball, his four-year career batting average was .408 with 18 home runs and 103 RBIs. As a senior, he was the Position Player of the Year for both the Greater Miami Conference and for The Middletown Journal's All-Area team. Schwarber was named to the All-Ohio second team for football his senior year.

He attended Indiana University on a baseball scholarship where he was named Freshman All-American in 2012. The next year, as a sophomore, he was named to the All-American first team. Schwarber played for the U.S.A. Collegiate National Team later in 2013 and then as a junior in 2014, he led the Hoosiers to the NCAA World Series where he batted .348 with a .456 on-base percentage and a .643 slugging percentage. He also was a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award.

Chicago Cubs' Kyle Schwarber.
Caption
Chicago Cubs' Kyle Schwarber.

Credit: Nancy Stone

Credit: Nancy Stone

In his first year with the Cubs organization, Schwarber played in a total of 72 games for three different teams hitting .344/.428/.634 with 18 home runs, 53 RBIs and 18 doubles.

In 2015, Schwarber played in the Futures Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati where he was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

On June 16, 2015, Schwarber was promoted to the Major Leagues where he would set a Chicago Cubs record with five postseason home runs and the most home runs in a single postseason game by a player 22 years of age or younger.

In 2017, Schwarber hit 30 home runs for the Cubs and in 2018, he finished second in the MLB Home Run Derby with 55 home runs (the second most ever).

• • •

JOHN SMITH

John Smith played basketball and golf for three years at Nils McKinley High School before graduating in 1961. He was a four-year member of the golf team at Capital University where he received his degree in Education. He was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in his graduating class at Capital. He received his Masters’ degree from The Ohio State University in 1969.

Smith was a head basketball coach for 23 years beginning at Columbus Marion Franklin for one year and at Columbus Mifflin for eight years. He was an assistant coach at Furman University from 1982 through 1984, before going to Hamilton to coach the Big Blue.

Former Hamilton High School basketball coach John Smith with the jersey of Kwasi Sherman.
Caption
Former Hamilton High School basketball coach John Smith with the jersey of Kwasi Sherman.

Credit: Robert Leifheit

Credit: Robert Leifheit

His 13 years at Hamilton High School boasted two Greater Miami Conference championships (1992 and 1993) and three GMC co-champions (1986, 1987 and 1990). His teams were Division I District Champs in 1990 and 1992 and Division I Regional runners-up in 1990. He also coached for one year at Columbus Briggs.

His coaching honors included being named the Associated Press’s Central District AA Coach of the Year in 1977 and 1978, the U.P.I. Ohio AA Coach of the Year in 1978, the A.P. Southwest Division I Coach of the Year for two years, GMC Coach of the Year for four years, and the Journal News Golden Triangle Coach of the Year for two years. Smith was named the Butler County Coach of the Year in 1996.

His overall high school coaching record is 332-182.

• • •

BRENDA STIEGER

Brenda Stieger graduated from Fairfield High School in 1983 where she lettered in basketball and softball for the Indians. She was honorable mention in the Greater Miami Conference for basketball and All-GMC second team as a sophomore and first team as a senior in softball.

She went onto to play basketball and softball for two seasons at Alice Lloyd College. She was the Most Valuable Player in softball one year.

Stieger began her coaching career as the junior varsity basketball coach at Little Miami for one season. She then came to Fairfield as the JV basketball coach and in 1995 became the JV softball coach for two seasons. Stieger assumed the head varsity softball coaching duties in 1997 and has continued in that role now having completed her 22nd year this past season.

Brenda Stieger.
Caption
Brenda Stieger.

Credit: Hubbard

Credit: Hubbard

Under Stieger's direction, the Indians have won four GMC titles, 16 district appearances, nine district championships, nine regional appearances and three regional final appearances.

She has been selected by her peers as the GMC Coach of the Year three times and has a career record of 446-157. Her GMC record is 285-101, making her the winningest coach in Fairfield history.

In 2015, Stieger was inducted as a member of the Butler County Softball Hall of Fame. In 2017 she was honored by the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Women's Sports Association for Outstanding Achievement; having more than 400 career wins.

Stieger currently serves as Secondary Wellness Coordinator at Fairfield Schools.

• • •

ANGELA TOLBERT

Angela Tolbert graduated from Hamilton High School in 2000. She earned three letters in girls’ basketball, playing one year under head coach Dan Brandenburg and two years for head coach Dave Churchman.

In her sophomore year, she won the Rebounding Award, received an Academic Certificate with a 3.4 GPA and was named honorable mention in the Greater Miami Conference. She also set the school record with a field goal percentage of 59.8 percent, going 91 for 152 shots and scoring a total of 222 points for the season.

In her junior year, Tolbert led the GMC in scoring with averaging 18.5 points per game and scoring 349 points for the year. She won the Best Offense and Rebounding Award three consecutive years as well as earning an Academic Certificate for three straight years.

Tolbert was voted to the GMC first team in both her junior and senior seasons and was named All-Butler County for three years.

Tolbert scored 443 points in her senior year to bring her career total to 1,014, placing her second on the all-time scoring list for Hamilton High School girls’ basketball.

After graduation, Tolbert attended Southern Illinois University where she was called “a pure shooter” who also had a natural ability to slash to the basket and score and rebound and has the ability to be a solid player defensively.”

Tolbert was inducted into the Hamilton Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.