Bob Constant

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Bob Constant

Athletic Achievement—Class of 1979

Known as “Bobby C.” in school, Robert “Bob” Constant has left a legacy through his athletic career at Grand Haven High School.

In football, Bob was a two-way player, starring as a tailback on offense and a safety on defense. He earned first team all-Lake Michigan Athletic Conference honors in both positions. In basketball, Bob averaged 17 points per game and set individual records for the most assists for a season and a career. Bob’s success in track was equally impressive, setting several sprint records that he still holds today.

Bob’s love of all three sports continued in college at Wisconsin Eau Claire and later, Hope College.

The hard work and commitment that drove his success in sports also helped his career. Bob worked his way from an entry-level position at TruGreen to Corporate Vice President. Later, he helped lead the ARS Company.

Tragically, after a courageous struggle with pancreatic cancer, Bob passed away on October 5, 2016. Like many of his sports records, Bob’s passion for excellence and drive are remembered today.

Gene VanDongen

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Gene VanDongen

Athletic Achievement—Class of 1955

Gene VanDongen’s athletic career spans several sports and many years, beginning with his childhood in Grand Haven.

From learning the basics of sports on the Robbins Field Playground at Elliott and Seventh Streets to playing baseball, basketball, and football for the Buccaneers, Gene had an early and strong start in competitive athletics. Serving as captain of both the GHHS basketball and baseball teams in 1954-1955, Gene also found time to start the Varsity Club and serve as its first president. While in high school, he participated in club baseball teams, including the Continental Motors and Grand Haven Merchants teams.

After high school, Gene was awarded a scholarship to Michigan State University, although he was never able to pursue the opportunity due to an injury playing baseball. Later, Hope College pursued him for their football roster, which resulted in Gene being voted “Most Valuable Player” and given the position as co-captain of the team. While playing football for Hope College, the MIAA league voted Gene to the all-league first team. He later fulfilled his dream to study at Michigan State University, where he earned his master’s degree, preparing him for a career in education.

After college, Gene pursued teaching for Northview Public Schools, where he started a football program and coached distinguished players like Steve Moerdyk and Gary Hogeboom.

John Cox

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John Cox

Athletic Achievement — Class of 2002

John Cox’s contribution to Grand Haven High School sports is lasting, including several wrestling records that may be challenging to break.

John was a multi-sport athlete, competing in football, rugby, and wrestling, which was his true passion. His achievements in wrestling are abundant, including being Grand Haven’s first four-time state medalist (all-state), a 52-1 season record, and achieving a state championship in his weight class.

In addition to representing GHHS in wrestling, John was a Michigan Freestyle and Greco-Roman state champion, a member of the Cadet and Junior National Teams, as well as the winner of the prestigious Ironman World Wrestling Championship. At the National High School Coaches Association Senior Championships, he placed third in the country. John’s conduct in preparation for the contest and in competition itself has been proven meritorious time and again, earning him several of the top acknowledgments in the sport.

Upon graduation, John earned a full athletic scholarship to attend The United States Naval Academy, where he earned several honors for athletic abilities, outstanding leadership, work ethic, and competitive spirit. After graduating from the Naval Academy, John was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Following his years of service, John earned his master’s degree from Boston University and began a career in medical equipment sales. Today, John lives in Upstate New York with his wife and three children, where he spends countless hours as a volunteer coach, helping youth realize their wrestling goals.

Doug Vanderwall

Athletic Achievement, Class of 1961

Doug VanderWall '61A two-sport standout in basketball and baseball, Doug Vanderwall’s true passion sparkled on the baseball diamond.

Vanderwall was on the 1960-1961 baseball teams that set a consecutive game win streak of 56 games, a record that stood for 50 years and now ranks second in the state. His career won-lost record was 33-1 and his 31 consecutive wins still ranks second in the state.

Vanderwall had an earned run average of 1.19 now ranked 23rd in the state and his 369 career strikeouts still ranks him at the 30th spot. He batted .422 and drove in 40 runs in 1960 and batted .334 and drove in 35 runs in 1961.

At Central Michigan University, Vanderwall was their top pitcher for three years. Only a serious arm injury prevented him from playing professional baseball. He taught and coached at Fruitport for 30 years.

Vanderwall is still deeply involved in his home community of Grand Haven. He and his daughter, Char, keep the statistical record books for all home basketball games and unofficial score books for all away games. Vanderwall also runs the official time clock for Fruitport home football games.

Vanderwall was inducted into the GHHS Hall of Fame in 2008 with his 1960-61 baseball teammates. He and his teammates are also inductees of the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame.

Michael F. Young

Athletic Achievement – Class of 1985

Michael Young '85In life, and in death, Michael Young inspires.

The former Rockford City Manager, who died unexpectedly on January 27, 2016 had a passion for wrestling.

He compiled an 85-14 record over four years, a winning record which still stands as 7th overall at Grand Haven. His accomplishments led to an academic/athletic scholarship at Grand Valley State University while he earned his degree in Public Administration.

Michael went on to assist with the wrestling programs at Grand Haven and Rockford and his enthusiasm and leadership helped build those programs. He was an ambassador for kids, coaches, fans, parents and officials in the sport.

He was responsible for mentoring young men and women both in sports and his chosen profession and became one of the most accomplished and dedicated wrestling referees in the State of Michigan. His selection to referee in several state tournaments is a testament to his professionalism in the sport.

He mentored many high school wrestling programs and inspired hundreds of children through programs such as the GHHS Adam Provencal Invitational and the Rockford Wrestling Club that teaches children as young as 5 years old.

Young also inspired adults. His 20-year tenure as City Manager of Rockford resulted in numerous new initiatives that made that city a better place to live.

As a husband and father, he passed along his love and passion of being the best that you can be and lived by the credo, “Do only what you believe in, and do that thing with absolute dedication and conviction.”

Kosanic, Ryan

Athletic Achievement – Class of 1995

ryan_kosniakThe only Grand Haven High School athlete to hold back-to-back state championships, Ryan Kosanic is no stranger to singular accomplishments. He holds GHHS records for the 6 and 11 dives, was named to the All-State diving team both his junior and senior years at Grand Haven, the All American team as a junior, and All American Top Six as a senior.

At Indiana University, he mastered the relatively new sport of synchronized diving, and with teammate Mike Collier “stunned a field of professional divers” when he became the U.S. National Synchronized Diving Champion on the 3-meter board in 1997. He graduated from IU in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in computer information systems, and ten years later established Covalent Marketing, a database marketing consulting company headquartered in Chicago.

Kruggel, George

Athletic Achievement – Class of 1978

George-KruggelVoted Grand Haven High School’s Most Valuable Swimmer 1976-78, George Kruggel’s many accomplishments include 1977 State AAU record times in both the 100-and 200-meter butterfly. In 1978 he became the first-ever All American Swimmer at Grand Haven High School, where he set five individual records in the 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley, and the 100-yard butterfly, and those records stood for 30 years.  In 1977, George was a Bronze medal winner at the Summer National Junior Olympics.

Kruggel was a member of the Michigan State University Swimming and Diving Team 1979-82, where he was a four-year Varsity Letter Award winner and record holder in the 100-yard butterfly. In 2008, he was awarded the MSU Swimming and Diving William Heusner Service Award.

A former Tri-Cities YMCA board member, George also coached youth swimmers there in the United States Swimming program, and, while working for GMB Architects/Engineers, George helped to design the swimming pool and aquatic center at the new GHHS. He resides in Grand Haven with his wife, Lori, and their daughters.

Hoogerhyde, George

Athletic Achievement – Class of 1979

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Swimmer George Hoogerhyde was an outstanding athlete and a two-time Class A Champion. Titles he holds include 1979 State Champion in the 50-yard freestyle and 1979 State Champion in the 100-yard freestyle. He was also named a 1979 All American in the 50-yard freestyle, 1979 All American (Honorable Mention) 100-yard freestyle and 1979 All State (all classes) in 100-yard freestyle. He served as the 1979 co-captain of the GHHS swim team and is also a former high school record holder in three individual events and one relay.

George was a member of the Ohio State University Men’s Swimming and Diving Team from 1979-82, and there he is a former record holder in three individual events and three relays. During his senior year at OSU, he finished as runner-up at the Big Ten Conference meet in three events and was voted the school’s Most Valuable Swimmer. The three-year NCAA qualifier was also an Olympic Trial Qualifier in 1984.

Currently the Vice President of Development for KIDS HOPE USA, George resides in Grand Haven with his wife and family.

Football Team

1953 Football Team

1953-Football-Team001-1024x356The 1953 Football Team is the only GHHS football team to go through the entire season without a loss or tie game. Coached by Gene Rothi and Don Constant, the team bonded both on and off the field. To this day, they remain friends, with some living in the area and others scattered throughout the U.S.

The team was recognized by the Detroit Free Press as Mythical State Champs in Michigan for 1953 and was ranked third in the state by the United Press. 1953 was also their first year playing Class A football.

Team members included:  Bill Anderson, Len Anderson, Chuck Arbogast, Bill Barger, Lamar Barger, Troy Barger, Chuck Benes, Joe Bernia, Ron Bloom, Marv Boerma, Peter Bol, Dave Botbyl, Lester Burch (Mgr.), Don Constant (Line Coach), Louie Coon, Don De Vecht , Gene DeKoyer, Jerry DeWitt, Bob Dykman, Pete Fisher, Mike Gruen, Chuck Jackson, Dave Klaassen (Water Boy), Ron Kline, Dave Lake, Bill  Mac Phee, Rich Marod, Bill Munch, Tad Murdick, Bob Newton, Ted Parker, Don Prelesnik, Bill Prince, Bob Purcell, Rudy Rebar, Gene Rothi (Head Coach), Ernie Rouwhorst, Jim Smith, Ed Suchecki, Roger Susterich, John Terrill (Mgr.), Bob Thomas, Gene Van Dongen, Jerry Warner, and Don Zysk.

Secory, Frank

Athletic Achievement – Class of 1929

Secory001Frank Secory is being honored posthumously. He was a GHHS athletic standout who then attended Western State Teachers College where he starred in baseball and football while earning a Bachelor of Science degree.

Frank became an American left fielder and umpire in major league baseball. He played for eleven years with the Detroit, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Chicago Cubs organizations, playing for the Cubs in the 1945 World Series. Mainly an outfielder, he stood six-feet one and weighed two hundred pounds. Frank played his first major league ball game on April 28, 1940 at the age of 27 and went on to play 186 games until 1946.

Frank was an umpire in baseball’s National League from 1952-1970. During his nineteen years of officiating, he umpired four World Series and six All-Star games. He umpired in nine official no-hitters, setting a National League record and earned the Baseball Writers Association of America “Umpire of the Year” award before retiring in 1970.

Frank was also inducted into the Western Michigan University Hall of Fame for football and baseball in 1976 and into the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.