Frank Joranko, one of Albion College's true athletic champions, was inducted into the Hall of Fame as an athlete in 1991.
After graduation, Joranko continued his string of championships as a coach on both the high school and collegiate levels. He coached Ferndale High School to the state championship in 1972, when he was named the Michigan High School Football Coach of the Year. In 1973, Joranko returned to Albion College and has served the school in several capacities. As head football coach, Joranko led the Britons to their first 9-0 season as they captured the 1976 MIAA championship. In 1977, the team not only took the MIAA crown, but also gained the MIAA's first-ever post-season appearance in the NCAA Division III playoffs.
As head baseball coach, he coached nine MIAA championship teams with two NCAA tournament appearances. In 1976, he was selected as an American Baseball Coaches District Coach of the Year. During his 23 years as Albion's head baseball coach, Joranko compiled a record of 200-95 in the MIAA, the best baseball coaching record in league history. He also served Albion as athletic director from 1975 to 1991 and as professor of physical education until retiring from his position at Albion this past spring. Tomorrow after the Homecoming football game, the Albion College baseball field will be dedicated in Joranko's honor.
Joranko served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955 in the Medical Corps as a physical conditioner at the William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, Texas. He also served as the Grand Marshall for the Albion Festival of the Forks. Joranko enjoys reading, fishing and golf. He and his wife, Joyce Weiss Joranko, '55, have three children: James, Dan and Tim.
Selected to the All-MIAA second team in 1977 and 1978, and to the All-MIAA first team in 1979, Milton Barnes was chosen as an NCAA All- Region player in 1979. His junior year marked one of the finest seasons in Albion's basketball history. The 1977-78 team won the first MIAA basketball championship since 1957 for Albion, and finished third in the nation in NCAA Division III. By the end of his career, Barnes had established records for field goals in a game and remains in the top 10 on the all-time scoring list for Albion with 1,137 points.
Upon graduation, Barnes continued his basketball successes as a coach. From 1986 to 1988, he served as the assistant basketball coach for the University of Minnesota. In 1988, Barnes returned to Albion and became the athletic director and the head basketball coach at Albion High School. He coached the Wildcats to the Class B state championship game in 1991, where they were the runner-up, finishing the season 26-1. He returned to the University of Minnesota later that year, and is currently the associate head basketball coach.
Barnes enjoys golf, reading and his son Andre. Barnes and his wife Lyn live in St. Louis Park, Minn.
An outstanding football defensive lineman, James Dobbins was a core member of Albion's defense. A four-time letter winner who served as co-captain his senior year, he was selected as an All-MIAA defensive lineman in 1966 and 1968, and he was a member of the Briton MIAA championship teams in 1965 and 1966.
Dobbins also lettered four times in baseball. In 1968, he was a member of the rags-to-riches team that posted a 2-10 mark at the halfway point of the season and bounced back to a 9-3 record the second half and went from last in the league to an MIAA championship.
Upon graduation, Dobbins earned an M.D. from Michigan State University in 1973. He served on the College's Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1985 to 1991 and continues to act as the team physician for Briton football.
Dobbins is currently a physician in Marshall where he lives with his wife, Sandra Ulrich Dobbins, '71. The Dobbins have three children: James, John and Jennifer.
The most prolific scorer in MIAA field hockey history, Tomasine Polizzi Marx was named Most Valuable Player each season during her four-year career at Albion, where she led the Britons to three conference championships, two regional playoffs and a 24-4-2 conference record.
Marx scored 73 goals in 64 career matches, set four MIAA scoring and field records, was named to the MIAA All-Star Team and was named to the USA Field Hockey's Mitchell and Ness All-American team as an honorable mention selection.
After graduation, Marx continued to play field hockey with the Detroit club team and represented the Great Lakes region at the national tournament. Marx is employed as an associate administrator for the Detroit Macomb Hospital Corporation and lives in Grosse Pointe Woods with her husband William and their children, Gianna and William.
Ronald Megregian divided his athletic talents among three sports while attending Albion. He began his freshman and sophomore years running varsity cross country and in his junior year switched to soccer. But it was in baseball that Megregian truly excelled.
As a shortstop, Megregian contributed a .366 batting average and outstanding leadership to the 1968 MIAA championship team which battled back from a last-place finish the previous year to take the crown. A member of the varsity team for four years, Megregian was named to the All-MIAA team three years in a row. In his senior year, he batted .494, was team co-captain, earned the league's Most Valuable Player honors and was named to the Division III All-American team.
After graduation, Megregian went on to earn his teaching certificate in 1973 from Michigan State University and has since taught fifth grade math and science at Plainfield Elementary School in Saginaw Township.
Megregian lives in Saginaw with his wife Kay. They have three children, Corey, Abbey and Toby, and a grandson, Cody.
An outstanding all-around athlete, Barbara Hill Meyer played intercollegiate tennis and field hockey all four years at Albion. She also participated in basketball, badminton, softball, volleyball and bowling at the intramural level. In 1948, Meyer was voted Most Valuable Player in field hockey.
Her love of sports continued when she was off the playing field as well. One of two Albion students who worked for the establishment of a physical education minor, she graduated with a degree in English and history along with a physical education minor.
Upon graduation, sports continued to be an important part of Meyer's life, and she taught physical education in Birmingham, Mich., for one year. In spite of contracting a severe case of polio, she assisted in creating and running a girls' athletic league in softball, basketball, field hockey and volleyball, and was later honored for her efforts. She and husband Richard Meyer, '50, live in Albion and have three children: Margaret Sindt, '73, Philip, and Douglas, '76.
As a student manager for four different sports, Skip Neilson provided an invaluable service to the players and coaches of the teams with whom he worked. His impact is reflected in the seven varsity letters he earned: four in basketball, one in track and field, one in football, and one in baseball. Neilson was voted the Intramural Athlete of the Year for his Sigma Nu Fraternity, and Sigma Nu won the All Sports Trophy the four years Neilson attended Albion.
Since graduation, Neilson has coached the Ford Adray slo-pitch softball team to six World Championships in the corporate division of the United States Slo-pitch Softball Association (USSSA). His teams won 15 state championships and qualified for the world tournament every year from 1974 to 1994. In 1979, Neilson received the lifetime service award from the Ferndale Junior Baseball Program for 25 years of service to the youth of Ferndale as a manager, coach and umpire.
Neilson retired this year from his position as a senior systems analyst for Ford Motor Company. Neilson enjoys stamp collecting, sports officiating, and he is very involved with his church, the Drayton Avenue Presbyterian Church in Ferndale. Neilson resides in Farmington Hills.
Winston Schuler was a valued member of the long-remembered 1929 football team who defeated Michigan State University (2-0). The team went on to win the MIAA championship in a 9-6 win over Alma, which featured Schuler's 65-yard run in the fourth quarter. Schuler also contributed to the track team's 1929 MIAA championship, the second in a row of championships for the purple and gold. After graduation, Schuler taught history and political science and coached athletic teams in Wakefield, Mich., until 1934. It was then that he returned to Marshall, Mich., to assist his father in operating his hotel and restaurant.
In a few short years, the restaurant was turned over from father to son, and it was renamed Win Schuler's. Schuler's active participation in sports continued for 25 years more as he combined the family business with officiating for the MIAA at football and basketball games, and at colleges and high schools across the Midwest. He was commissioner for the MIAA conference from 1961 to 1966.
Schuler will be known by most people as the inventor of the original recipe for the world-famous Win Schuler's Bar-Scheeze. Schuler passed away May 13, 1993. He is survived by his wife Harriet Schuler of Harbor Springs, three children and two stepchildren: Hans, Thomas and James Schuler, Deborah Perry, and Scott Cameron. One of his four grandchildren, Larry Schuler, '82, also played football at Albion. He is accepting the award on behalf of the Schuler family tonight.
A football defensive tackle, Steven Spencer was a three-time All-MIAA athlete from 1975 to 1977, MIAA Most Valuable Player in 1977 and a Division III All-American in 1976.
The 1976 football season was one of the finest in Albion athletic history. They won the MIAA title with a 5-0 league record and were also ranked as high as number two nationally in NCAA Division III. The Britons ended the season with a 9-0 record, the only team to finish undefeated in either Division II or III.
In 1977, the team repeated its MIAA championship and went on to its first post-season game. Even though they dominated the game until the fourth quarter, the Britons were defeated by the University of Minnesota-Morris.
Spencer taught high school in St. Ignace for three and a half years and is currently a partner in the Spencer Dairy Farm. He and his wife, Julie Johnson Spencer, '78, live in Richmond with their sons, Michael and Scott.
One of the College's finest basketball players, as well as an acknowledged campus leader, Michael Williams not only served as a captain of the team for three years, but was also selected as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Man of the Year while attending Albion.
In 1977, the Britons finished second in the MIAA as Williams contributed 12.4 points per game and in 1978 won their first MIAA crown since 1957. In the NCAA Division III tournament, the squad advanced to the Final Four and placed third in the nation. Finishing his career at Albion as the second leading scorer in the school's history with 1,319 points, Williams also ran track his freshman year, when his 440 relay team set a College record of 43.5 seconds.
Upon graduation, Williams continued his involvement with sports. He served as the assistant coach for the 1991 Albion High School boy's basketball team that reached the state final game with a 26-1 record, with former teammate Milton Barnes as head coach.
Williams is currently the mayor of Albion and director of Community Based Programs for the Starr Commonwealth Family and Child Guidance Clinic. He lives in Albion with his wife Denice and their daughter Jasmine.
1972 was a time of change for the sport of golf at Albion College. As a league sport, golf moved from spring to fall that year, and the team played in both seasons. Fall was a winning season for the Briton linksmen when they captured the MIAA championship with a 5-2 overall record.
Albion defeated Calvin, Alma, Hope, Adrian and Kalamazoo, while losses came at the hands of Olivet and the University of Michigan-Flint. Contributing to the Briton success were three exceptional golfers, Dennis Wahr, Danny Taylor and Dave Walker. All three were selected to the All-MIAA team. Wahr was selected the team's Most Valuable Player, as well as the All-MIAA Most Valuable Player. Team captain Taylor received the Most Improved Player honors. Walker was a runner-up medalist in the 1972 conference tournament.
Coached by Roy Millis, the team included Walker, Wahr, Taylor, Chuck Judson, Steve Krohn, Jim Orth, and Gary Hollidge. All members of the team are still active on the golf course.
The club sport of soccer had been on campus at Albion only a very short time when the 1969 soccer team captured the MIAA championship—unofficially. It wasn't until 1970 that soccer became an official varsity sport. The 1969 Britons were a very talented team that finished the season with an impressive 8-3 record. Their championship crown was proof that soccer was here to stay at Albion College.
Season highlights for the purple and gold include a 3-2 victory over Spring Arbor College, a 1-0 victory over Calvin College in the MIAA championship game and a landslide 13-2 triumph over Jackson Community College.
Captain Jim Francis, who was elected Most Valuable Player, led the team's offensive unit with 16 goals and 10 assists for the season. Derrol Brooks also had an impressive season with 10 assists and four goals. Dave Johnson was elected Most Improved Player.
The team was coached by Tom Balistrere. The team members include: Mike Alanson, Pete Bendon, Drew Birach, Brooks, Bill Campbell, Brad Collins, Bill Conley, Chris Conrad, John Crispin, Francis, Frederick Grambort, Don Haffner, Ben Hare, Roger Jirikovic, Johnson, Doug Kerr, Frank Larimer, Bill Maharay, Marty O'Rourke, Mike Smith, Bob Thomas, Bruce Tobin, Geoff Upward, and Gray Wright. Many of the players are still involved with soccer today. Some play, while others coach, and they are even getting their children involved in the sport.