MUSKEGON, Mich. – The 35th Annual Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony was an opportunity to honor our local heroes and legends.
This year the Hall welcomed in four new members, another Distinguished Service Award winner and male and female student/athlete recipients of the year.
The 2022 Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame induction class is comprised of Philadelphia Eagles football player Todd Herremans of Ravenna, Muskegon Catholic Central football’s Mike Ribecky, Grand Haven two-sport standout Abby (Cole) Hatch and Oakridge multi-sport star Dr. Calvin Johnson were enshrined in the local sports Hall of Fame.
The foursome is joined by Gene Young Distinguished Award winner Ken Erny, longtime Fruitport Athletic Director and Hall of Fame soccer coach.
The 2022 High School Scholar Athlete Award winners are Abbie VanderKooi, Western Michigan Christian (Track) and Ira Jenkins, Whitehall High School (Wrestling).
The event was held at the Mercy Health Arena (formerly L.C. Walker Arena) on Saturday June 18, 2022.
“A grand slam class,” MASHF president Mike Mack said. “I am thrilled with this class. It’s amazing that after all these years, we still come up with this type of class.”
Todd Herremans started 126 of 135 games as an offensive lineman during his 11-year NFL career, all but one season with the Eagles. The 2001 Ravenna High School alumnus even caught two touchdown passes in his NFL career. At Ravenna, he was a four-sport athlete, who earned first-team all-state honors in football. Herremans blossomed as a football player at Saginaw Valley State University, where he earned first-team Associated Press Little All-America honors and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year accolades. He was selected by the Eagles in the fourth round (126th overall) of the 2005 NFL draft. He retired in 2015.
Mike Ribecky is one of the rare local sports Hall of Famers who possesses credentials as a player and coach. The 1973 Muskegon Catholic Central graduate was a standout two-way lineman with the Crusaders. On a full-ride scholarship at Western Michigan University, Ribecky was a four-year starter at offensive tackle, where as a senior he helped the Broncos finish second in the nation in rushing yards and earned second-team All-Mid-American Conference honors. In his ongoing 44-year coaching tenure as an MCC assistant, Ribecky specializes as defensive coordinator and offensive line coach. “Bunny” has served as right-hand man for three different MASHF coaches and is approaching 400 wins with 12 state titles.
Abby Cole Hatch, a 2013 Grand Haven High School alumna, thrived in volleyball and basketball for the Buccaneers before she went on to become a second-team All-American in volleyball at University of Michigan. Widely considered the best female athlete to come from Grand Haven, the 6-foot-5 Hatch finished runner-up for Michigan’s Miss Volleyball in 2012 and led the Bucs to the state semifinals. She earned Under Armour second-team All-America honors. In basketball, Hatch powered Grand Haven to back-to-back Class A state championships in 2012 and 2013. As a senior, she was selected the Associated Press Class A Player of the Year and finished third in Miss Basketball voting. Hatch also played basketball at U-M.
Dr. Calvin Johnson was a four-sport star at Oakridge and went on to play point guard at Dartmouth despite his smallish stature at 5-foot-10, 150 pounds. The 1977 Oakridge High School alumnus earned Associated Press first-team all-state honors in basketball, he co-captained the Eagles’ football team as quarterback/running back/kicker, and he also excelled in track and cross country. Johnson was a Detroit Free Press honorable mention all-state QB as a senior, and he finished fifth in long jump at the state track meet that school year. He exceeded expectations at Dartmouth, earning accolades in various tournaments while majoring in a rigorous pre-med program.
Ken Erny spent 30 years as a universally respected AD at Fruitport and a Michigan High School Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame coach, who founded the sport at the school in 1990. In 19 years as the Trojans’ coach, he amassed a 242-133-20 record with several trips to the regional finals. As Fruitport’s AD, Erny oversaw the Trojans’ first three team state championships and a half-dozen individual state titlists. A self-described “workaholic,” Erny was not quite ready to retire but his ALS diagnosis in the summer of 2020 forced him to step down. In October 2020, Fruitport’s soccer field was dedicated to him, now called Ken Erny Field.
Abby VanderKooi captured four consecutive state championships as a cross country runner for the Warriors from 2018-21. She became only the eighth female cross-country athlete in MHSAA history to win an individual state championship four times.
Ira Jenkins dominated on the wrestling mat this past winter, as he finished a perfect 52-0 record in the heavyweight division for the Vikings to win back-to-back individual state championships.