BORN: SEPTEMBER 16, 1961, MUSKEGON, MI
came to girls athletics in the 1970s, Annette Bohach set the standard. She
was an all-state basketball player at North Muskegon and one of the top
softball players in the city.
But where Bohach towered well above the rest of her peers was in track and field. In 1979, shortly after capturing her third consecutive Class C state shot put title, Annette took on a talented field in the National Junior Track and Field Championships and walked away with the title. Her throw of 47-9 with the four kilo shot put was the best in the nation. (The mark scored two feet better than the state's Class A record and easily outranked the area's all-time best of 43-3.) She also had the sixth-best eight-pound throw at 48-6. The performance landed Bohach a spot on the USA team that faced the Russians that summer.
The following year she enrolled at Indiana University where she became a perennial Big Ten champion in her specialty and for many years held the Big Ten record. As a freshman in 1980, she became the first Greater Muskegon track and field athlete to qualify for the Olympic Trials. She also qualified and made it into the finals in both 1984 and 1988 just missing a spot on the squad.
Despite being a proven drug-free competitor in an event that was crawling with violators, Bohach continued to excel, finishing fourth in the 1983 National Championships. Annette's all-time best throw was 55-6 while her best effort in the discus was 165-6. Bohach also was an accomplished powerlifter, capturing the World Championship title in Los Angeles in 1984 and placing sixth in 1989. Her best lifts were 275˝ pounds in the bench press, 475 in the squat and 475 in the dead lift.
BORN: JANUARY 4, 1943, KENT CITY, MI
are those who say John Huizenga was born with a bat and ball in his hand.
After all, it seemed like Huizenga was playing baseball every spare minute
from the time he was big enough to toddle around the bleachers at Marsh
He was a three-year starter for Muskegon's legendary baseball coach Harry Potter during the days when Big Red baseball ruled the roost. He took his hitting and fielding talents to Western Michigan University where he started as a sophomore catcher. Huizenga was named a first string All-American during his junior year when he batted .409 while playing the entire 42-game schedule without a single error.
The Detroit Tigers liked what they saw in Huizenga and drafted him in the fourth round in 1965. But it turned out to be a dead-end road. Huizenga started out playing Class A ball at Daytona Beach, Fla. and Rocky Mount, N.C., where he hit .279. The next year, he improved that average to .302 and was named to the All-Star team. In December of 1966, Huizenga was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles before being bought back by the Tigers the following May.
Huizenga played Class AAA ball in Toledo but, seeing little opportunity to move into a starting catching spot for the Tigers - Detroit great Bill Freehan had that position locked up - Huizenga decided to quit baseball and take up teaching.
He coached Whitehall's baseball team for 25 years, compiling a 398-177 record, while winning 13 West Michigan Conference titles and seven county championships. Huizenga, who also refereed various sports, doubled as athletic director during the latter part of his coaching career, which ended in 1993.
BORN: NOVEMBER 23, 1940, MUSKEGON, MI
was one of those rare athletes who made as big an impact on the sidelines as
he did on the hardcourt. That's because Visscher returned to the two
colleges where he played basketball to take up the coaching reins.
Visscher, a Muskegon High School prep star, was a standout basketball player at Muskegon Community College where he averaged 20 points per game. He transferred to Weber State College in Utah in 1964 and made an immediate impact. During his junior year, he averaged 18.4 points and 11.3 rebounds while setting school records in almost every statistical category, including field goal percentage for a season at 54 percent. Visscher led the Wildcats to the conference championship the following year with a 20-5 overall mark. He averaged 21 points per game and 14.3 rebounds en route to District 7 All-America honors.
Visscher was selected in the 19th round of the 1966 NBA Draft by the Baltimore Bullets, but decided to embark on a coaching career. In 1966, he accepted the head basketball position at Muskegon Community College, then returned to Weber State as freshman coach the following year. In 1968, he was added to the varsity staff. He was named head coach of the Wildcats at the beginning of the 1971-72 season.
In his first season at the helm, Visscher guided the team to the Big Sky Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament. Weber State downed Hawaii in the opening round contest, then fell to eventual champion UCLA in the Western Regionals. Gene was rewarded with the Big Sky’s Coach of the Year honor. The Wildcats repeated as conference champs in 1972-73, and were ranked as high as No. 18 in the nation by United Press International. The team was again selected to play in the NCAA tournament, losing to Jerry Tarkanian’s Long Beach State squad in the first round. Visscher was recognized a second time by the conference as coach of the year. The Muskegon native stepped down following the 1974-75 season with a 58-38 mark in four seasons.
Visscher returned to Michigan, coaching varsity basketball at Charlotte High School from the fall of 1975 through the spring of 1978. In the fall, he returned to the college ranks, working as an assistant at the University of Wyoming. Visscher closed out his college coaching career as head of the Northern Arizona University varsity program from 1981 through 1983.
BORN: OCTOBER 26, 1960, MUSKEGON, MI
Football fans at Reeths-Puffer High School still talk about their Rocket.
After all, Johnny Williams was the most electrifying runner in school
history before taking his talents to the University of Wisconsin and the
Williams starred on the gridiron in 1977-78 and was the forerunner of an outstanding crop of area running backs that included Orchard View's Curtis Adams and Muskegon Catholic's Bobby Morse. All three became star backs at their respective colleges before entering the NFL.
Williams was a two-time all-stater at Puffer and rushed for 1,316 yards in 1977. He had a game-high 301 yards against Fruitport that same year and scored 118 points during his senior year, ranking him among the top all-time football players in Muskegon area history. Williams ranks third on the area's all-time rushing list with 2,988 career yards. Upon graduation, he entered the University of Wisconsin where he gained 101 yards in his first game as a starter. He also scored the touchdown that beat Michigan in 1981 on a screen pass for 70 yards. He finished that season with 748 rushing yards.
In 1983, Williams was drafted in the 14th round by the Michigan Panthers of the USFL and made an immediate impact, rushing for three touchdowns in his first game. He closed the season with 624 yards on 153 carries. Johnny scored 12 touchdowns as the Panthers won the league's first championship crown. The next year, he rushed for 113 yards on 23 carries.
In 1985, Williams was signed by the NFL's Dallas Cowboys before being waived midway through the season. He had stints with three more teams, including the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts, before joining the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in 1988. He retired after that season.
prevailing question of the day when Muskegon's Big Reds would suit up for
football games back in 1927 wasn't whether they would win, but by how much?
Muskegon, which ranks in the top 10 in the nation in most football wins, has fielded a football team for more than 100 years. And the 1927 Muskegon team was arguably the greatest team ever in the area and perhaps in the state of Michigan.
The 1927 team, coached by former Hall of Fame inductee C. Leo Redmond, outscored its opponents 445-6. It averaged 44.5 points while shutting out nine opponents on its 10-game schedule. The Big Reds' closest game was an 18-0 blanking of rival Grand Rapids Union.
The scores of Muskegon's games, in order, were: Muskegon 89, Muskegon Heights; Muskegon 56, Manistee 0; Muskegon 27, Chicago Marshall 0; Muskegon 45, Kenosha (Wis.) 0; Muskegon 40, Grand Rapids South 0; Muskegon 59, Kalamazoo Central 0; Muskegon 32, Benton Harbor 6; Muskegon 18, Grand Rapids Union 0; Muskegon 35, Lansing Central 0; and Muskegon 44, Grand Rapids Central 0.
In over 110 years of football, Muskegon High School has produced 17 state championship teams, including 11 unbeaten and untied squads. Many of those teams played in different decades and all probably could make a claim to being the best team ever. But, statistically, the 1927 team far outranked the rest.
Members of Muskegon's 1927 team included Bill McCall, Mart Westerman, John Van Westen, William Ginman, Clifford Bailey, Francis "Bub" Meier, Roy Peterson, Charles DeBaker, Robert Soper, Bernard Caughey, Clifford Ripley, Henry Kreifeldt, George Nevins, Dave Johnson, Russell Damm, William Meeske, George Swartout, Donald Hazard, LeRoy Walcott, Arthur Keillor, Raymond Ackerly, Gus Westerlund, Clair Helmer, Herbert Kent and Raymond Dull.