Four athletes, one coach and a team that came within one victory of a world championship will be inducted into the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame, Tuesday, March 7 at the historic Hammond Civic Center.
Comprising this year’s 37th annual induction class are
- Gavit High multi-sports/University of Notre Dame track & field thrower Juan Alba
- Hammond High/Eastern Montana College basketball player Roy L. McPipe
- Hammond High multi-sports/Butler University shot putter Mark Allan Nagy
- Bishop Noll boys’ cross country and track & field coach Jim Tarka
- 1972 Little League World Series runner-up Hammond Edison
- Representing the Hall of Fame’s “Veterans” category: 1940s Hammond High and Indiana University football player Louis Kosanovich
Anderson-Peterson Family Distinguished Athlete Award recipients
Also, during this year’s program, the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame will present its 32nd annual Anderson-Peterson Family Distinguished Athlete Award to two 2022 high school graduates of Hammond schools who depict athletic achievement, academic excellence, dedication, citizenship, and school and community service. The recipients are Armani Ruiz and Demetrius Dean, both from Hammond Central.
In high school, Ruiz earned all-conference recognition in volleyball, swimming and softball. She also achieved academic all-state honors, graduating with a 3.7 grade point average. Additionally, she was a member of National Honors Society and the school newspaper staff. She attends Stonybrook (NY) University.
Dean earned seven varsity letters in football and wrestling, gaining a sectional championship and regional runner-up honors as a wrestler. A National Honors Society student, he also participated in the Hammond Area Career Center’s engineering /manufacturing program. He attends Purdue University Northwest.
Blakely, a 4-year letter winner, completed her standout high school basketball career as Noll’s all-time leading scorer with 2,234 points. She also led all high school scorers in Indiana as a senior, earned Associated Press all-state honors, was named to the Indiana All-Star team and received the John Wooden Award. Away from the basketball court, she achieved a 3.5 grade point average, while being active in Student Council, Women’s Empowerment Group, Math Club and as a Student Ambassador. She also volunteered monthly at the Gethsemane Baptist Church food pantry. She has continued her education and basketball career at Middle Tennessee State University.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 each, or a table of eight seats for $200 at the Hammond Civic Center. Individual tickets also are on sale at Rich’s Barber Shop (Hammond) and Cheers (Munster). Any remaining tickets will go on sale induction night at the door for $35.
More about the 2023 Hammond Sports Hall of Fame inductees:
As a 12-letter, high school athlete, this 2000 Gavit alumnus was a 2-time all-state football offensive lineman. He also recorded a school record-setting 125 victories on the wrestling mat while winning 3 sectional & 3 regional championships plus 1 semi-state title in the 215-pound weight class. As a track & field thrower, he excelled in the discus, winning a combined 4 sectional & regional titles. He went on to throw at the University of Notre Dame, competing in the discus and hammer events and earning All-Big East honors & 3 varsity letters.
ROY L. McPIPE
Following a relatively limited high school basketball career, this 1970 Hammond High graduate blossomed at the former Eastern Montana College (now, Montana State University Billings). During 3 seasons of play, the potent guard set several school scoring records while averaging 19.4, 26.6 and 28.4 points a game, respectively. He also was a frequent double-digit rebounder and 2-time NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) All-American. He signed professionally with the ABA’s (American Basketball Association) Utah Stars in 1974.
MARK ALLAN NAGY
This 1979 Hammond High alumnus excelled in football and track & field for the Wildcats. On the gridiron in the trenches as an offensive & defensive lineman, he earned all-state honors as a center. In track & field, he set school & sectional records in the shot put and won sectional & regional titles. Continuing his shot put career at Butler University (Class of ’83), he went on to earn 4 varsity letters, claim a college state championship and set a Butler performance record.
Head coach of Bishop Noll boys track & field and cross country teams (1980-94), he led the track & field Warriors to a 2nd place state finish in ’87 and 3rd place in ’88. He also coached 5 individual state champions, a state titlist relay and guided Noll to 6 outdoor and 7 indoor conference titles. He also was named conference coach-of-the-year 9 times. Additionally, he founded Northwest Indiana’s Calumet Region Striders running organization and its Gold Cup road race series.
1972 HAMMOND EDISON LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM
The summer of 1972 saw a team of south Hammond boys—Tom Byelick, Rob Clark, John Davis, Pete DelRio, Gary Friedrich, George Leonakis, Steve Moore, Tim Parker, Tom Parker, Jim Pawlowicz, Joe Rixie, Mike Rozgony, Peter Vargulich and Jeff Wright, managed by Pete Vargulich and coached by Joe Cornell–claim the United States championship and world runner-up honors of the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, PA. During its tournament run of single elimination play, Edison compiled a 12-0 record en route to the U.S. title before falling to Taipei City, Taiwan, 6-0, in the world championship game.
LOUIS KOSANOVICH (Veterans Category)
A 2-sport (football & golf) Hammond High athlete, this 1943 alumnus was especially prominent on the gridiron. But after graduating from high school, the call of Uncle Sam and World War II interrupted his athletic career. As an army staff sergeant he received a Bronze Star. In ’46, he resumed his education & football career at Indiana University. Overcoming a knee injury, he was a 2-time letterman as a Hoosiers quarterback. He also earned a bachelor’s degree in ’50.