The first induction ceremony for the Ironton High School Athletic Hall of Fame will be Saturday night in the high school cafeteria.
Five members make up the first class and they’re names everybody around here will know well. 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 in connection with the Ironton Basketball Shootout taking place 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 Hall of Fame ceremony. Tickets at the door are $15 and are on sale at Ironton High School in the auto shop office and at Iron City Hardware. You can also contact Tiger Clan member Rick McKnight at (740) 525-8011.
Here’s a look at the honorees:
‰George 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.
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.
‰Coy Bacon was a standout 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.
Bacon later played for San Diego, Cincinnati and Washington. He was the Most Valuable Player for the Bengals in 1976. He finished his career with the USFL’s Washington Federals.
‰Ken Fritz was a 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. Fritz was also voted the SEOAL Co-Player of the Year.
Fritz played at Ohio State where 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.
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.
‰Mike 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. Burcham owns the school’s career home run record that still stands and is in the school’s Hall of Fame.
Burcham coached Ironton baseball for 17 years with a 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.
‰Bob 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.
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.
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.