NFHS Hall of Fame

The National High School Sports Hall of Fame was started in 1982 to honor high school athletes, coaches, officials, administrators, and others for their extraordinary achievements in high school sports. A listing of all members of the Hall of Fame is displayed in the foyer of the NFHS building in Indianapolis, along with plaques of the current class. Plaques of previous Hall of Fame members are on display in the various state association offices around the country.

Members of the National High School Sports Hall of Fame are approved annually through a two-level selection process, involving a screening committee composed of active high school administrators, coaches, officials, and state association administrators, and a final selection committee composed of highly respected athletic, education and business leaders around the nation.

Michiganders in the NFHS Hall of Fame

John E. “Jack” Roberts – 2022

As executive director of the MHSAA from 1986-2018, John E. “Jack” Roberts was only the fourth person to serve in that role full-time over the Association’s first 93 years. At the time of his retirement after 32 years, Roberts was the longest-serving executive director of a state association nationally.

Under Roberts’ leadership, overall participation in high school athletics in Michigan increased 10 percent, and the MHSAA increased its membership by more than 15 percent at the high school and junior high/middle school levels combined. His tenure saw the addition of girls competitive cheer (1994), girls & boys bowling (2004) and girls & boys lacrosse (2005) to the MHSAA Tournament lineup, the creation of a separate wrestling tournament to determine champions by team format (1988) and 8-player football (2010, first playoffs 2011) to assist small school struggling to continue programs, and the expansion of the 11-player Football Playoffs to 256 teams in 1999.

Roberts also led Michigan to become a national leader in improving sportsmanship with a comprehensive package enacted in 1996 that set a statewide tone for appropriate behavior and perspective, and his focus on the “4 Hs” of health and safety – Health Histories, Heat and Hydration, Heads, and Hearts – set the pace nationally as the MHSAA created its first concussion care programming in 2000, enacted return-to-play protocols in 2010, and mandated concussion reporting and insurance for those who suffer head injuries beginning in 2015. A heat management policy and CPR requirements for coaches were introduced in 2013.

In addition to his work specifically in Michigan, Roberts carried significant influence at the national level, serving as part of the NFHS Board of Directors and leading the creation of the NFHS Network for video productions in 2012, serving as that board’s chairperson. He also served on the board of directors of the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). At the start of his career, Roberts served as an assistant director for the National Federation from 1973-80; he was involved with the implementation of Title IX at the local and state levels and made immense contributions as the NFHS representative to the landmark Amateur Sports Act of 1978.

Ken Beardslee - 2016

Michigan celebrated its eighth inductee to the National High School Sports Hall of Fame with the honoring of Vermontville baseball star Ken Beardslee in 2016. Beardslee, who died in 2007, has been proclaimed as “prep baseball’s first ace” in the NFHS National High School Sports Record Book and was featured in the former print version of the book for his incredible feats from 1947-49. In his three years on the mound for Vermontville, Beardslee won 24 of his 25 starts (the team was 31-1 during that time). His 24 victories included eight no-hitters, with two perfect games, and seven one-hitters.

Brad Van Pelt - 2011

Brad Van Pelt was a four-sport standout at Owosso High School. In his senior year (1968-69), he was all-state in football, basketball and baseball, which included a 42-rebound performance in basketball and three consecutive no-hitters in baseball. He also competed in track and field as a senior and earned eight total letters. Though he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers, Van Pelt opted to attend Michigan State University, where he played baseball, basketball and football. He was a two-time All-American in football. Van Pelt played 14 years in the NFL with the New York Giants, Los Angeles Raiders and Cleveland Browns. He died of a massive heart attack in February 2009 at the age of 57.

Jim Johnson - 2007

Jim Johnson, the first ice hockey player to be chosen for the National High School Hall of Fame, scored 249 goals during his four-year (1971-74) ice hockey career at Cranbrook High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In addition to his four letters in ice hockey, Johnson also earned four letters in baseball and three in football. Johnson was drafted by the Atlanta Flames in 1978 but instead chose to pursue a career in coaching and eventually high school athletic administration.

Bob Wood - 2005

Bob Wood became the first tennis coach to be inducted into the NFHS Hall of Fame for unprecedented success at his alma mater, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. As boys tennis coach from 1966 to his retirement in 2002, Wood's teams won 27 MHSAA Championships and finished second eight times in his 37-year career. His teams won 13 consecutive MHSAA crowns, good for fourth all-time nationally. Wood also coached girls tennis for two different time periods, netting a total of 12 MHSAA Championships in 13 seasons.

Richie Jordan - 2001

Jordan was a standout four-sport athlete at Fennville (Michigan) High School. In basketball, he was an all-state guard for four consecutive years and averaged an incredible 44.4 points a game during his senior year. Despite standing only 5-foot-7, Jordan dunked the ball regularly. He also was an all-state running back in football, where he set numerous state rushing records. In track, Jordan was a conference and regional champion for three years in the pole vault, high jump and long jump. He batted .550 during his senior baseball season, and he hit .360 for his career.

Diane Laffey - 2000

Diane Laffey, Michigan's all-time winningest coach in girls basketball and softball, became the third inductee from Michigan into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. Through the 1999 basketball season, Laffey was the Michigan all-time winningest coach with a 468-241 record. Four of her squads played in the MHSAA title game. Through the 1999 softball season, Laffey was Michigan's and the nation's winningest coach with a 701-236-2 mark. Her 1989 team captured the MHSAA Class A title.

Additionally, Laffey is a member of the following Halls of Fame: Detroit Catholic League, Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan, Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association, Metro Detroit Amateur Softball Association, Michigan High School Coaches Association and National High School Athletic Coaches Association.

Lofton Greene - 1986

In the annals of the schoolboy game, Lofton Greene was legendary. His varsity squads posted an incredible 710 victories, 12 MHSAA championships, and 20 regional titles in his 40 years at the helm at River Rouge. The Panthers were defeated but 200 times - an average of five times a season. In total, he has posted 739 wins and 231 defeats in the varsity ranks. Thanks to World War II, 42 of those years were in Michigan.

Born in 1919, Lofton was the sixth of seven children born to Jessie Ruth Thomas and William Henry Greene. One of six boys, he was raised on a farm near Barlow, Kentucky. In 1928, he moved with his mother and his brothers to Jackson, Michigan.

The Panthers earned an unprecedented five consecutive Class B crowns from 1961 to 1965. Players like Kenny Wilburn, Frank Price, and Willie Betts - the first player to appear on four consecutive MHSAA champions - led the team during those years.

Charles Forsythe - 1983

Charles E. Forsythe, State Director of the Michigan State High School Athletic Association for 32 years, was one of the most savent interscholastic administrators of his day. He gave 45 years of distinguished leadership to Michigan athletics while emerging as a significant contributor on the national level. Except for a brief period of military service during World War II, he spent 39 years with the Michigan High School Athletic Association, polishing its administrative and organizational functions and developing the state association into an organization that has acquired a distinguished reputation within the National Federation family. Forsythe is a legend in his home state. He is considered a pioneer in the development of administrative controls in interscholastic athletics and is perhaps the most influential author ever in the field of athletic administration. His published works were not only the first comprehensive ef­forts in the area of high school sports administration, but served for many years as professional blueprints for athletic directors throughout the nation.