2007 FERRIS STATE ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame to Induct Eight This Year
Aug. 23, 2007
Seven athletes along with a veteran coach are included in the Ferris State University Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2007, which will be inducted this fall.
Chosen as the Class of 2007 are: Mike Brooks of Livonia, football (1992-95); Joe Charles of Naples, Fla., men's swimming (1987-90); Lewis Garner of Grand Rapids, men's basketball (1971-75); John Gruden of Rochester, men's ice hockey (1990-94); Karen (Volkers) Keller of Hudsonville, women's volleyball (1987-90); Scott Kelly of Charlevoix, baseball (1982-86); Danielle (Smith) Walker of Norton Shores, women's basketball (1987-91); and coach Ron English of Charlotte, men's and women's golf (1979-97).
A 15-member Selection Committee of faculty, staff, alumni and community members chose the inductees from among 34 nominees. The class spans three decades and includes representation from nine different sports.
The eight new inductees will join 74 honorees already enshrined during the eighth annual Induction Banquet on Sept. 28 at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids. The Ballroom opens at 6 p.m. (EDT) with a reception in honor of this year's inductees. The dinner runs from 7-8 p.m. (EDT) and the induction program follows until approximately 10 p.m. (EDT).
The Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame, which inducted its Charter Class in 2000, was established to honor those student-athletes and coaches who have distinguished themselves in their sport or honorary members who made truly exceptional contributions to athletics.
For ticket information, please contact the FSU Athletics Department at (231) 591-2860.
Following are thumbnail sketches of each new inductee:
Mike Brooks – Brooks, a three-time (1993-95) All-America performer, led Ferris State to four consecutive NCAA Division II Playoff appearances from 1992-95. The 1995 Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference (MIFC) Defensive Lineman of the Year continues to rank as the school's all-time leading tackler after recording 351 solo stops and 316 assists for 667 total tackles from his linebacker position during his playing career from 1992-95. He also netted 22 tackles for a loss of 48 yards, forced four fumbles and recovered six fumbles as a Bulldog standout. The 5-11, 200-pound Brooks holds three of the school's top-five individual single-season tackle totals, including a school-best 205 total tackles on the strength of 105 solo stops in 1995. His 202 total hits in 1994 currently ranks as the program's second-best seasonal figure while his 185 stops in 1993 is the fifth-best mark to date. Brooks' 351 career solo tackles were also a school record. The Livonia Churchill High School product earned All-America honors from C.M. Frank (1st) and the College Sports Information Directors of America (3rd) in 1995 following recognition from C.M. Frank (1st) and CoSIDA (2nd) in 1994. He was a second-team C.M. Frank All-America honoree in 1993. Brooks helped Ferris post a 42-6 mark during his four-year playing career and led FSU to a NCAA-II National Semifinal berth in 1995. The Bulldogs secured their fourth consecutive conference title and third-straight undefeated regular season during his senior season. He was a three-time (1993-95) All-MIFC First-Team honoree and claimed USA Today Defensive Player of the Week recognition during his career. He currently serves as a middle school teacher for Walled Lake Schools along with his wife, Shannon. The couple has two sons, Gavin and Bailey, and reside in Livonia, Mich. Brooks earned an associate's degree in pre-teaching at FSU before going on receive a bachelor's degree in secondary education along with a masters degree in education from Wayne State University.
Joe Charles – Charles, who was named FSU's Most Valuable Performer in 1989-90, earned three All-America honors as a member of the Bulldog men's swimming and diving team. His highest finish, fourth, came in the three-meter diving event at the 1989 NCAA-II Championships. Charles also placed fifth (438.85 points) on the three-meter board and seventh (398.80 points) in the one-meter competition at the 1990 NCAA-II Championships. He remains Ferris' school and pool record holder in three of the four men's diving events, including the one-meter (six dives), three-meter (six dives) and the three-meter with 11 dives. Charles was honored as a team captain following his final campaign (1989-90) and was a three-year letterwinner for FSU. During the 1989-90 season, Charles produced team season and career bests in all four diving events as the Bulldogs placed second at the GLIAC Championships and 14th nationally. As a junior, the Dearborn product attained runner-up accolades in the three-meter event with 520.95 points at the league championships and finished third in the one-meter competition. In his sophomore campaign (1988-89), the diving specialist led Ferris to a second-place league showing while garnering team Most Improved Athlete Award honors. Besides his fourth-place finish in the three-meter competition at the 1989 national meet, Charles also earned honorable mention honors as he placed ninth on the one-meter board falling only one spot short of a fourth All-America performance. His fourth-place national finish was the highest placing ever for a Ferris diver at the NCAA-II Championships. Charles, who was the only Bulldog team member to reach national competition in 1988-89, placed 14th overall in the national team standings on his efforts. He became the first FSU diver to win GLIAC titles on both the one-meter and three-meter boards as a sophomore under head coach Rick Kowalski. During his prep career, Charles was a four-year letterwinner and Class B state diving finalist at Dearborn High School. He currently works and lives in Naples, Fla., along with his wife, Tia, and family.
Lewis Garner – Currently the school's 11th all-time leading scorer, Garner tallied 1,437 points and grabbed 342 career rebounds during his Ferris playing career (1971-75). Now the head men's basketball coach at Davenport College in Grand Rapids, the Niles native established Ferris' single-season free throw percentage record (.859; 61-71) during his senior campaign (1974-75). The captain and four-year starter attained first-team NAIA All-District 23 honors, second-team All-Great Lakes Conference recognition and honorable mention NAIA All-America kudos as a junior (1973-74). He presently ranks seventh in free throw percentage (.780; 142-182), ninth in assists (263) and eighth in made field goals (635) on Ferris' career charts. He holds both the school's fourth-best single-season made field goal mark (243; 1974-75) and eighth-best single-season assists total (139; 1974-75). During his career, Garner sank 635 of 1,342 field goal attempts (.473) and had a career 13.4 points per game average. His best season came in his final campaign (1974-75) as he registered 547 points in 27 contests (20.3 ppg), which ranks as the fifth-best performance by a Bulldog senior class member to date. The Bulldogs posted a remarkable 86-24 (.782) ledger, which included two Great Lakes Conference titles, under head coach Jim Wink during Garner's playing career. Garner led FSU to a 26-4 record, the NAIA District 23 Championship and a national tournament berth during the 1972-73 season. He coached at Reed City High School after a five-season stint as FSU's assistant coach (1990-94) and later moved onto Northwood University in an assistant coaching role. He and his wife, Jodie, have three sons and a daughter.
John Gruden – Gruden became the first NCAA Division I All-American in Ferris State Athletics history as a result of being named to the American Hockey Coaches Association's (AHCA) All-America Team in 1993-94. He also was the first Bulldog player in 12 years to achieve All-Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) First-Team honors and finished as the runner-up for the CCHA's Player of the Year Award. A eighth-round pick of the Boston Bruins in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Gruden netted 40 goals and 64 assists for 104 total points in 155 collegiate contests at Ferris State. The standout defenseman also recorded 77 penalties for 163 minutes. He ranks first in career games played by a Bulldog defenseman along with third in goals and sixth in assists at his position. His 16 goals in 1992-93 represents the most single-season lamplighters ever recorded by a Bulldog defenseman. He netted a school single-game record tying four goals while also notching three assists for seven total points against Notre Dame on Jan. 11, 1994. A member of the 20th anniversary All-Time Ferris State Hockey Team, Gruden played under both head coaches Bob Mancini and Bob Daniels as a collegian. His play helped Ferris post a 21-16-4 mark and advance to the CCHA Championship Tournament Semifinals in 1992-93. Gruden was voted the squad's 1993-94 Most Valuable Player after being honored as the Steve Banonis Most Improved Player in 1990-91. A two-time team captain, Gruden was voted the CCHA's Best Offensive Defenseman in 1993-94 and earned honorable mention All-CCHA accolades in 1992-93. Gruden went on to play professional hockey in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals organizations. He also spent time in the International Hockey League (IHL) and the American Hockey League's (IHL) with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit Vipers and Providence Bruins and one season professionally in Germany. An IHL All-Star, Gruden earned the distinction of being named the IHL's Fastest Skater in the 1997 skills competition. The Virginia, Minn., native presently resides in Rochester Hills, Mich., along with his wife, Polly, and their three children.
Karen (Volkers) Keller – One of only two FSU women's volleyball players to ever be named GLIAC Player of the Year, Keller twice earned the honor (1989-90) as she registered 1,642 career kills and 597 total blocks during her FSU career. A second-team 1990 All-America pick, Keller ranks second in total blocks, fifth in total kills and fourth in attack percentage (.283) on Ferris' career charts. The two-time (1989-90) All-Great Lakes Region standout was named the region's Most Valuable Player in 1990. Keller, who twice (1989-90) received first-team All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors, garnered FSU Most Valuable Player Award recognition in 1990 after guiding Ferris to a 36-6 overall record and a school-record 16-0 league mark. During her Bulldog career, the 6-1 middle blocker led FSU to a 125-40 (.758) cumulative ledger, three league championships and three NCAA-II National Tournament appearances under head coach Jill Hirschinger. The 1990 academic all-conference honoree was a second-team all-league choice in 1988. Keller, a native of Wayland, led FSU in solo blocks three times (1988-90) and twice (1989-90) was the school's seasonal kills leader. She also compiled the team's top block assists mark for two seasons (1989-90) and the squad's best attack percentage three times (1988-90). In Keller's four seasons as a Bulldog, Ferris registered a 41-5 (.891) record and posted three undefeated home seasons at FSU's Ewigleben Sports Arena. Keller continues to rank among the program's top all-time single-season performers in kills, attack percentage and block assists. She was an honorable mention all-state and three-time all-region volleyball recipient in addition to being a Class B all-state basketball performer at Wayland High School. Keller, who has coached high school volleyball since her playing days, currently resides in Hudsonville with her husband, Dennis, and three children.
Scott Kelly – A hard-hitting third baseman, Kelly was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a senior in 1986 after leading the league with a .528 batting average in 17 conference games. In his final Bulldog campaign, Kelly also led the conference with 28 hits and pounded out seven doubles as Ferris State narrowly missed garnering a NCAA Division II North Central Regional bid. The senior co-captain earned third-team All-NCAA Division II North Central Region honors and was named the team's MVP. He collected a school-record 74 hits during the 1986 campaign en route to compiling a Bulldog-best 150 career hits. Kelly set an endurance record as a senior as he played 55 games at third base and catcher. In his senior season, Kelly hit .416 to lead Ferris to its first conference championship in three seasons with a 14-3 GLIAC mark. A first-team All-GLIAC pick, Kelly pounded out 74 hits as a senior and drew 31 walks. The Charlevoix native ranks fourth on the career hit list (150), third in runs (113), second in singles (117), seventh in doubles (23) and second in walks (84). In his four seasons at Ferris State, Kelly led the Bulldogs to two conference championships and a runner-up finish. He coached high school baseball at Boyne City and Charlevoix and is active in fastpitch softball. He was a member of the Grand Rapids Kamphuis Pipeline team that won a national title in 1997 and earned All-America honors from 1996-98. Kelly and his wife, Celia, co-founded and direct the Bay Area Substance Education Services, a non-profit corporation addressing adolescent substance abuse problems in Northwest Lower Michigan. He also wrote a book titled "Young People in Recovery." The couple resides in Charlevoix and have three children.
Danielle (Smith) Walker – Walker presently stands as Ferris' career rebounding leader (856) and fifth-leading all-time scorer (1,330). She garnered honorable mention All-GLIAC honors in 1990-91 after leading Ferris to a 13-14 overall record and an 8-8 conference mark. Walker, who led the Bulldogs in both scoring and rebounding three consecutive seasons, had a team-high 41 steals in 1989-90 and the squad's best blocked shots figure (10) in 1990-91. Her 14.8 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per contest averages as a sophomore (1988-89) both stand among Ferris' best sophomore class marks in history. She also registered the school's fourth-best rebounding average (7.8 rpg) for a freshman in 1987-88. The 5-10 Oak Park native was twice (1989-91) named the squad's Most Valuable Player Award winner. Walker, who played for both Pat Dolan and Lori Hyman during her Bulldog career, served as FSU's team co-captain as a senior. She led Ferris to a 39-69 (.361) overall record in her four seasons. Walker was Ferris' Most Improved Player Award recipient in 1987-88. A versatile player, she also ranks among the program's career leaders in field goals (6th - 531), free throws (5th - 268), steals (4th - 167) and blocks (7th - 37). In her junior season, Walker led Ferris in scoring 12 times in 27 outings. She was Ferris' leading points getter in 13 contests as a senior while ranking among the GLIAC's overall statistical leaders in both scoring and rebounding. Walker was a two-time all-state, all-league and all-area honoree at Royal Oak Shrine before coming to Ferris State and since has became a teacher. She and her husband, Ferris men's basketball alum, Jarvis Walker, have three children and live in Norton Shores, Mich.
Ron English – English was a nine-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Golf Coach of the Year during his tenure as Ferris' men's and women's golf coach from 1979-97. He led Ferris to eight consecutive conference men's golf titles from 1988-95. Additionally, English began the women's golf team at Ferris in 1979 and also served on the NCAA Golf National Selection Committee. In addition to serving as the head golf coach, English also managed FSU's Katke Golf Course. His men's teams won conference championships in 14 of his 19 seasons overall at Ferris State. Twice, he helped the women's program to top five national tournament finishes while the men's team placed ninth at the NCAA-II Championships in 1986 when he was honored as the NCAA Division II District IV Coach of the Year. The 1990 Michigan PGA Teacher of the Year claimed the Northern Michigan PGA Golf Professional of the Year honor in 1995. He was a three-time Northern Michigan PGA Teacher of the Year and formerly served as president of the Northern Michigan section. The Lansing Everett High School product played collegiate golf at Michigan State University and was the 1970 Spartan Invitational Champion. He's won several Michigan PGA Golf Tournaments since that time, including the Head Professional Championship and Michigan Senior Open title. He's also served as president of the Michigan PGA Seniors organization and now works as the PGA Golf Professional, General Manager and Golf Course Superintendent at the Charlotte (Mich.) Country Club. His wife, Francee, serves as his assistant manager, and the couple have two children, Cassandra and Blake.