The importance behind the FHC Athletic Hall of Fame

The importance behind the FHC Athletic Hall of Fame

Every year since 2015, several teams, players, and coaches are inducted into the prestigious FHC Athletic Hall of Fame for their immense efforts toward Ranger athletics. These inductees are highly representative of the great accomplishments that FHC athletics have been able to produce up to today.

Recently, some incredible former FHC athletes, coaches, and teams were honored on the Thursday before Homecoming for the 2023 class of inductees. Some of these accomplished athletes are Anthony Bowie (soccer) and Derek Dennis (basketball and baseball). Each had illustrious athletic careers at FHC and spoke to the feeling of being inducted.

It is a true honor to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Dennis said. “Obviously, while playing high school sports, you want to win and be a great teammate, but you’re never really thinking about long-term goals of being in the Hall of Fame. All of the names of the coaches and student-athletes who have been inducted have some amazing history and accomplishments under their belts. I am very fortunate to be called a Hall of Famer with those incredible people and teams.”

Dennis was a multi-sport athlete who dominated the court in basketball and owned the field in baseball. Dennis later went to play baseball at the University of Michigan, earning himself a spot on the All-BIG TEN freshman team, and then later at Davenport. Alongside Dennis in the 2023 ceremony was Bowie, a soccer player who led the team to a 2015 state championship along with winning himself the title of Mr. Soccer for the state of Michigan. Bowie then went on to play for Western Michigan University after his record-setting high school career. Bowie explains the honor of being inducted.

Being inducted into the FHC AHOF is a unique honor and came as a bit of a surprise for me,” Bowie said. “The other individuals honored had more complete careers than I did in my time at FHC, but this honor for me centers around the 2015 soccer season. 2015 was probably my favorite season of my career given the accomplishments of our team and the experiences of being with that group of guys every day during that fall season. I’m proud to be able to represent such a great group of guys in receiving this award.”

While we honor only a select few in the ceremony each year, those selected represent much more in the FHC community. The FHC Athletic Hall of Fame creates a strengthened sense of connection back to FHC once athletes graduate, and aspiring goals for younger athletes to come. Event coordinator Brad Anderson, who teaches at FHC and is an inductee from the class of 2016, explains the meaning and importance of the Hall of Fame.

It [FHC AHOF] creates tradition and a collective memory of the great deeds and accomplishments that came before,” Anderson said. “We honor coaches, athletes, teams, and community members for their exceptional contributions to athletics at FHC. This is a fun chance for people to get together and celebrate these accomplishments and make sure people, however far and wide they’ve gone, know that they are appreciated and remembered. In our society today, memory is momentary, but here at FHC if you make your mark we want to honor and celebrate that.”

The ceremony has cemented itself as a future FHC homecoming special, being held the Thursday before all upcoming homecoming football games. The vision of the Hall of Fame ceremony is to be one like the ESPYs in a sense. The event is formal and aims to provide the utmost respect and celebration for those who are inducted. Anderson shares how he wishes the ceremony to be in future years.

My goal is for the FHC Athletic Hall of Fame dinner to become huge,” Anderson said. “The tailgate on the day of the homecoming is a big deal. The parade and game are also big deals. I want Thursday of Homecoming week to be dedicated to the dinner where we remember the deed of the past. Homecoming is all about people coming back to their roots, which is going to be a significant piece of the Hall of Fame. I would love for all coaches, captains, and past inductees to be a part of the dinner and ceremony. My goal is to make it a big formal event the night before homecoming where people get a chance to enjoy each other’s company.”

While the FHC Athletic Hall of Fame and the ceremony are great representations of the strong community FHC provides, we mustn’t forget the hard work athletes, teams, and coaches put into FHC athletics to reach the Hall of Fame. Importantly, all athletes in high school are taught one or two things by coaches, whether it be plays or lessons. What separates good coaches from great coaches is the ability to make a substantial impact on the lives of their athletes. Dennis explains how his former basketball coach at FHC, Ken George, helped him achieve this great honor.

Coach George will forever be the best coach I have ever played for,” Dennis said. “I got the opportunity to play Division I baseball and even played two years in the Cape Cod collegiate baseball league with some of the best college coaches in the nation, and I can still say coach George is the best coach I’ve ever played for or against. I learned so many life lessons playing basketball for coach [George]. In life, you go through ups and downs but being able to adjust to adversity is a key to being a successful person, team, and leader. He was an incredible coach and a father figure to us all.”

We wouldn’t have the amazing Hall of Fame if athletes such as Bowie and Dennis and coaches like George hadn’t dedicated so much to FHC. Also, organizers like Anderson take so much time to honor those who have been selected for the award. Everything for the FHC Athletic Hall of Fame is set in place; the greats of the past have been selected, and it’s up to future athletes to continue the tradition. Bowie shares a few words of advice for current and future FHC athletes from his own high school athletic experiences.

My advice would be to enjoy this season of your playing career whether it is just beginning or coming to an end,” Bowie said. “Also, embrace playing with your friends that you have grown up with. There is nothing like high school athletics and the experiences you will have. Take all the lessons learned from coaches and teammates and continue to apply them throughout your athletic career and in life after high school.”

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