By Greg Gulas
The Trumbull County Sports Hall of Fame held its 14th annual induction ceremonies Sunday with 13 new honorees gaining entrance into its hall of honor at DiVieste’s Banquet Center.
Family, friends and memories was the overriding theme with inductees pausing to reflect, and then thank those who had a hand in molding them, kick-starting their careers and preparing them for life.
Vince Peterson, a former Warren Western Reserve and Youngstown State football standout, was one of three brothers (younger brothers Michael and Andre also played football for the Penguins with the three siblings combining to earn 12 overall letters) to play for former head coach and current school president, Jim Tressel.
His father, Lambert, passed away last week and he recalled the influence that the family’s patriarch had on everyone living under his roof.
“My father had a 10th-grade education, stood 5-foot-11 and weighed 195 pounds. He was the smallest one in the house, including my mother but he had rules and you had better follow them,” Peterson said. “He told us that you learn hard, play hard and there was no option on ‘skip day’ – we weren’t allowed, it was as simple as that.”
Peterson added that he played for four great coaches during his formative years, coaches that shaped him both on and off the field.
“When I played Little League football, Danny Rayburn was the coach who had a big influence on me and when I got to high school, I learned from Phil Annarella,” he added. “I played for two great coaches in college, first, the late Bill Narduzzi and then coach Tressel. Coach Tressel taught you not only about football, but about life as well.”
He made sure that his two brothers accompanied him to the podium as he accepted his honor.
“Tonight, this award isn’t for me or my two brothers. Instead, it’s for my dad because he was the true MVP of our family,” Peterson said.
Tressel served as guest speaker and called the honorees’ exploits something of which to be very proud.
“Every time I attend a hall of fame banquet, I am impressed with the bonds that have been forged and the support of the families because the memories that have been made really do last a lifetime,” Tressel said.
Jan Burns, the lone female inductee, noted that two words, ordinary and extraordinary, pop into her mind when she thinks of hall of fame.
“In my life, I’ve only ever thought of myself as ordinary so I am absolutely humbled by my selection,” she said. “My parents never missed any of my games, always made sure that I had clean uniforms and everything that I needed in order to compete. They are the extraordinary parts of this equation.”
Like Peterson, Tim Davis was a 1972 Western Reserve graduate, later becoming a two-time all-Big Ten first-team selection and All-American under the watchful eye of legendary head coach Bo Schembechler at the University of Michigan.
“My father was the rock of my family and he always told me that a faulty foundation will always frustrate its builder,” Davis said. “From the Bible, we learn that bad associations spoil useful habits so make sure you have the right foundation that will push you forward.”
Also honored were Carl Capellas (soccer), Matt Emch (football), George Fetchko III (track and field, wrestling), Gerald Lenarcic (baseball, basketball, football), Pat Merrick (football), Bill Miller (football/track and field), Ray Muche (football), Col. Harris E. Rogner (posthumous, basketball and football), James “Jimmy” Sanders (posthumous, boxing) and Frank Supancic (swimming).