The Trumbull County Sports Hall of Fame has inducted 12 new members during enshrinement ceremonies this past October.
The organization’s 19th class includes Brian Beinecke (football), the late George A. Bollas (wrestling), Vanness “Van” Brandon (football), Tony Davis (football), Bill Dreier (contribution to sports, official), Nia Grant (volleyball), Larry Kempe (football, coach), the late Richard Raidel (football), Tom Raphtis (football), Bob Todd (golf, coach), Dan Williams (football, coach) and Mandy Zolciak Willis (basketball).
A 1964 graduate of Warren G. Harding High School, this year’s golf inductee states that he would have played sports scholastically, but the numbers and great athletes the Panthers’ programs had at that time were truly imposing.
Born January 4, 1946, he became an assistant boy’s golf coach at Warren JFK in 1998, serving as an assistant coach for five seasons before assuming the head coaching reins, a post that he held for the next four years.
What a job he did as JFK’s head links coach.
During his time with the Eagles’ boys golf team, they made eight state appearances with two State championships (2000 and 2001) and a runner-up (2002) finish to their credit.
For his efforts, he was named Trumbull County “Coach of the Year” four consecutive seasons from 1999-2002.
He became a part of the Kennedy family when his oldest daughter, Molly, was just a freshman with his youngest daughter, Sarah, following in her sister’s footsteps two years later.
He attended then Youngstown University to study business, later spending 35 years with the Denman Tire Corporation in its manufacturing division.
Upon retirement he remained highly active with John F. Kennedy Catholic School, volunteering his time to supporting the JFK family as a member of its Finance Committee (2003-07) and Booster Club.
A member of its Varsity Club, he has been a member of the St. Mary’s-John F. Kennedy Catholic School Athletic Hall of Fame committee since its inception in the early-2000’s.
He formerly worked at Candywood Golf Club until its closing, currently enjoying his love for the outdoors by maintaining the five fields (baseball, two football fields, soccer and softball) in their sports complex that highlight JFK’s Upper Campus.
He is also member of the Warren Chapter of the Salvation Army and the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association).
He retired in 2010 to take care of his ailing wife, the former Fran Lillitcotch, to whom he was married for 48 years before her passing in 2017.
He will be inducted into the Warren Sports Hall of Fame next month.
Along with his late wife, they are the proud parents of two daughters, Molly and Sarah.
He has two grandchildren, Abby and Hannah, and resides in Warren.