Dave Walsh: Ironton to host Hall of Fame ceremony
The first induction ceremony for the Ironton High School Athletic Hall of Fame will be held Saturday night in the high school cafeteria. Anyone who had an outstanding career as a player or coach or was a booster or contributor to the athletic programs at Ironton High School is eligible.
Five members make up the first class and they're well known. They are George McAfee, Coy Bacon, Ken Fritz, Mike Burcham and Bob Lutz. The dinner will start approximately 7:15 p.m. The festivities are being held in conjunction with the Ironton Basketball Shootout being held earlier in the day. The Ironton boys will play Akron Buchtel in the final game at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 in advance for the shootout and clinic. Tickets at the door are $15. Tickets will go on sale Tuesday at Ironton High School in the auto shop office and at Iron City Hardware. Persons can also contact Tiger Clan member Rick McKnight at (740) 525-8011.
Here's a profile of the inductees
McAfee led Ironton High School to an undefeated season in 1935 and was named first team All-Ohio. He then went to Duke University where he was a two-time All-American. After college, McAfee played for the Chicago Bears.
The second pick overall in the 1940 draft, McAfee played from 1940-41 and 1945-50 with his career interrupted by a stint in the military due to World War II. During his career, he scored 234 points, gained 5,313 combined yards and intercepted 25 passes in eight seasons. He averaged 7.3 yards per carry his rookie season and scored 12 touchdowns in 11 games. McAfee was on three NFL championship teams and was named All-Pro three times and to the 1940s All-Decade Team. He was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966. His No. 5 jersey was retired by the Bears.
Bacon was an outstanding football and basketball player at Ironton who went on to play at Jackson State. He then played a year of minor league football for the Charleston Rockets where he was discovered by a scout for the Dallas Cowboys and signed to the team's taxi squad.
When starting defensive tackle Roger Brown went down with an injury, the Los Angeles Rams traded for Bacon in 1968. He became a starter on the defensive line and was part of the Fearsome Foursome that included Lamar Lundy and future Hall of Fame players Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen. In 1971, he made second-team All-Pro and earned the team's Defensive Lineman of the Year award. He was second team All-Pro again in 1972. Bacon later played for San Diego, Cincinnati and Washington. He was the Most Valuable Player for the Bengals in 1976. He wrapped up his career with the USFL's Washington Federals. He was inducted into the American Football Association's Semi Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Fritz was and three-year starter for the Fighting Tigers and played on two playoff teams. He was named the 1975 Associated Press Ohio Class AA Lineman of the Year. He was also voted the SEOAL Co-Player of the Year, a rare accomplishment for a lineman.
Fritz played at Ohio State. He lettered four years and started at guard for three years. He was named first-team All-Big Ten in 1978 and 1979, and was a two-time first-team Association Press All-American. He was also a two-time team captain. In 1979, the Buckeyes won the went 11-0 in the regular season and won the Big Ten. They lost to Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, 17-16, costing them a national title. The Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers took him in the 10 round of the NFL Draft.
Burcham played football and baseball at Ironton and graduated in 1961. He went to the University of Rio Grande where he was a standout catcher in baseball. He set the school's all-time home run record that still stands. He's in the schools Hall of Fame.
Burcham coached Ironton baseball for 17 years (323-129 record). The Fighting Tigers won seven league championships, 10 sectionals, four districts, one regional and the 1972 Class AA state championship. He was elected to the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame. The former assistant football coach also served as the school's athletic director for 30 years and was elected to the Ohio High School Athletic Directors' Hall of Fame.
Lutz, a 1961 graduate of Ironton St. Joseph, retired as Ironton's head football coach in 2012. He left as the Ohio High School all-time leader in victories. He had a 381-91-5 mark for a career that spanned three years as the head coach at Ironton St. Joseph and 39 at Ironton. His record at St. Joseph was 20-8-1 and 361-83-4 at Ironton.
His Ironton teams qualified for the postseason playoffs 28 times and his playoff record was 43-26. Lutz coached Ironton to state championships in 1979 (Class AA) and 1989 (Division III). He had six teams finish as state runners-up (1973, 1982, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1999) and 10 teams were state semifinalists.
Lutz was a two-time Associated Press Coach of the Year and he was elected to the Ohio High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame as well as the National High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Lutz became the all-time wins leader when Ironton beat Nelsonville-York 32-12 on Oct. 23, 2009, at Tanks Memorial Stadium for victory 361. He passed former Hamilton Badin coach Terry Malone. Lutz signed with Marshall University, but didn't get to play football due to a knee injury.
David Walsh is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or email@example.com.
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