Courtesy: Dennis Grall, Executive Secretary of the UP Sports Hall of Fameand Escanaba Daily Press
Upper Peninsula standouts with coaching pedigrees highlight the latest group selected to the U.P. Sports Hall of Fame.
Six men who have coached in four different sports are among the 10 inductees selected recently at Island Resort and Casino. The 42nd banquet will be held in spring at a location and date to be determined.
Legendary college hockey coach Rick Comley headlines the coaching group. He is joined by basketball coaches Paul Miller of Escanaba, Bob Whitens of Hermansville and Deke Routheaux of Ironwood, track and cross country coach Bob King of Manistique and football-basketball coach Ron (Satch) Englund of Menominee. They were all excellent athletes in their formative years.
They will be joined by basketball standouts Pat Groleau of Nahma, Deanna (Sutton) Kreski of Rudyard, hockey notable John Vasseau of Marquette and the late Ron Nettell of Houghton, a hockey and football ace.
RICK COMLEY (Marquette) - A native of Stratford, Ont., Rick Comley led Northern Michigan University (1991) and Michigan State University (2007) to NCAA hockey championships and Lake Superior State to the NAIA title (1974). He compiled an overall 768-596-10 record from 1974-2011. He was national coach of the year in 1980 and 1991. He played at LSSU (1967-71) and was also athletic director at NMU (1986-2000), where he was instrumental in starting the hockey program in 1976.
RON (Satch) ENGLUND (Menominee) - An assistant football coach at Menominee High School from 1975-2011, he helped the Maroons of UPSHF inductee Ken Hofer win three state championships. Twice he was selected assistant coach of the year by the state coaches. He has been girls basketball coach at Marinette, Wis. Catholic Central 1990 and led the Cavaliers to six straight WISAA state titles. He also coached Little League and youth basketball teams, starting the Menominee Catholic Central girls program in 1974.
PAT GROLEAU (Nahma) - A two-time all-state basketball player for the Nahma Arrows, Pat Groleau was an NAIA All-American at Lake Superior State College (1972) and was a two-time team MVP. He also earned three track letters at LSSC. He ranks ninth all-time among U.P. high school scorers (1,926 points) and had a school-record 49 points. He earned a total of 11 letters at Nahma.
BOB KING (Manistique) - A 45-year coaching veteran in track and cross country, Bob King coached in California at Mira Loma High School (1967-82) and Fair Oaks Del Campo (1982-2012). His cross country teams were 591-52 in dual meets and his track teams were 271-42-4 in dual meets. He was inducted into the Sac Joaquin Section Hall of Fame (2011) and California Coaches Hall of Fame (1991). From 1967-90, his personal pick-up truck logged 850,000 miles hauling athletes to meets.
DEANNA (Sutton) Kreski (Rudyard) - After an all-state season at Rudyard High School (1986), Deanna Sutton played basketball for two years at Lake Superior State and two years at Northern Michigan University. She had 1,707 points and 1,191 rebounds in college, was GLIAC freshman of the year (1987) and GLIAC player of the year and all-region (1991-92). She averaged 28.5 points and 19.5 rebounds as a Rudyard senior. She has been a volunteer girls basketball coach at St. Ignace LaSalle High School.
PAUL MILLER (Escanaba) - Considered among the best athletes in Escanaba High School annals, Paul Miller became a highly successful high school basketball coach. He directed Stephenson to the Class C state championship in 1981 and was U.P. coach of the year at two schools (Escanaba and Stephenson) while compiling an overall 303-200 record. An all-state basketball player, he scored 1,111 points. He was also All-U.P. in football. He was a basketball letterman at Northern Michigan University and Southern California College and lettered in track at NMU.
RONALD (Wimpy) Nettell (Houghton) - A football and track standout at Houghton High School, Ron Nettell played football and hockey at Michigan Tech University before a knee injury ended his career. He averaged a school-record 10.7 yards per carry for 8-0 Tech (1948) and was team MVP. Considered by many to be one of the finest athletes from the Copper Country.
DEKE ROUTHEAUX (Ironwood) - A head coach of the men's and women's basketball teams at Gogebic Community College, Deke Routheux brought the Samsons to two national men's tournaments. He was 390-275 in 24 seasons (1982-2006) with the men's team and started the women's program in 1976, going 56-38 in six seasons. He was also the school's athletic director. He played basketball at Ewen-Trout Creek High School, Gogebic and Wisconsin-Parkside.
JOHN VASSEAU (Marquette) - In a career that spanned three decades, John Vasseau played hockey, fastpitch softball, baseball and golf. He helped the Marquette Sentinels win the Michigan Ontario Hockey League and Gibson Cups (1955-56), state senior championship (1958) and Mid-American title (1959). He was on the 1959 Senior National Tournament all-star hockey team and was an all-star catcher from the 1940s-60s.
BOB WHITENS (Hermansville) - A standout high school athlete, Bob Whitens became a coach of three sports and was athletic director at North Central High School. He coached the Jets to the 1984 Class D boys basketball state title and was 243-222 in 21 seasons. He was 28-10 in a season-plus in girls basketball and spent 14 seasons as girls track coach. In 1957, he helped the Hermansville Redskins win the Class E state basketball title and averaged 22 points a game.