BORN: NOVEMBER 5, 1926, HOLLAND, MI
A February 1945 graduate of Muskegon High School, Bill Bos was best known
here as the city’s “Mr. Tennis” in the 1950s. He helped rescue
the game of tennis from near-oblivion in Muskegon and made it one of the
most popular forms of recreation for the youth in this area through his
unique personal appeal and gifted talents as a player, teacher and
administrator. After leaving Muskegon in 1956, he continued to promote and
popularize the game at a national level, conducting clinics all over the USA
for the Wilson Sporting Goods Company. Throughout his subsequent career, he
was actively involved in nearly every facet of the game: a player, a
teaching professional and a collegiate tennis coach at the Naval Academy in
Annapolis. He eventually settled in Texas, where he remains active as the
director of tennis programs at Lakewood Country Club in Dallas.
Besides tennis, Bos was a gifted basketball player. He was the starting center on the Muskegon Big Red cage teams of 1943-45. At Kalamazoo College he captained the school’s 1950 MIAA championship team. But tennis was Bill’s sport and when he returned to Muskegon, he coached the local high school and junior college teams, along with his duties as director of the city’s rejuvenated summer tennis program. His efforts resulted in the construction of new courts and development of young local stars. As a player, Bill won the city singles championship in 1950 and 1952. He turned professional in 1953.
After a successful five-year stint as tennis coach for the Naval Academy, Bos moved to Texas to become head pro at the Dallas Country Club. While there, he helped stage numerous big-time tennis matches, including the famous Rod Laver-Ken Rosewall match of 1972. He also continued to teach the game at every level from neighborhood youngsters to celebrities like Ted Williams and President George H.W. Bush. In 1995, he was inducted into the Texas Tennis Association Hall of Fame.
BORN: FEBRUARY 1, 1947, MUSKEGON, MI
Among the numerous Muskegon-area gridders whose careers landed them in the
National Football Leaque, Jerry Collins’ credentials were based more on
determination than high-profile press notices during his prep and collegiate
years. Despite a fine career at Western Michigan University as a defensive
end, Collins was not drafted by the Buffalo Bills, but was signed as a free
agent, lured by a $12,000 signing bonus and an additional bonus if he made
the squad. The Buffalo organization was apparently impressed enough with
his strength and quickness and he remained on the Bills squad for three
seasons (1969-71). Another rookie who was signed by Buffalo that year under
far different circumstances was the USC sensation O.J. Simpson.
Jerry played football at Muskegon High School from 1962-64 as a halfback, fullback and linebacker on defense. He was co-captain in his senior year and was named to the LMAC All-Conference team. Unfortunately his Big Red teams did poorly (except for a respectable 5-2-2 record in his senior year), which might have cost him all-state recognition in the press.
Western Michigan University was aware of his potential and recruited him as a defensive end. He became a standout in the Mid-America Conference, but as in high school, he was denied the publicity that comes to gridders in the more elite conferences. After graduation, Collins bypassed an offer to stay on at WMU as an assistant coach to try his luck with Buffalo, which was sorely in need of defensive players with Jerry’s skills. Although he fell short of becoming a first stringer with the Bills, he was a solid back-up linebacker with plenty of game action - even filling in for starting linebacker Mike Stratton after an injury to Stratton. He did, however, see more game time as a regular on special teams. Jerry retired from professional football after the 1971 season.
BORN: OCTOBER 6, 1946, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
DIED: JANUARY 24, 2008, WASHAGO, ONTARIO, CANADA
One of the most productive hockey players in the history of professional
hockey at the L.C. Walker Arena, Gary Ford scored 337 goals and 878 total
points in ten seasons with the Muskegon Mohawks from 1967 to 1979. Gary
signed his first professional contract with the Montreal Canadians
organization and was immediately assigned to their Muskegon affiliate for
the 1967-68 season. That first season was nothing short of spectacular for
Ford and the Mohawks. Muskegon won the regular season IHL championship and
continued on to capture the Turner Cup playoffs with relative ease. The
Mohawks virtually swept individual IHL awards, including top scoring honors
and a rookie of the year trophy for Ford. He scored 56 goals along
with 59 assists and added a sensational game-winning goal in over-time of
in the Turner Cup finals against Dayton.
The talent-laden Montreal Canadiens made advancement difficult at best and despite his impressive statistics, Ford remained in Muskegon for the next five seasons, averaging better than 100 points per year, climaxed by an IHL record 141 points in 1972-73. The following year he was called up to Halifax, the Canadiens top AHL affiliate, but was back in Muskegon before the season was over. He finished out his career with the Mohawks following the 1978-79 season, retiring at age 32. During his solid 10 year career here, he was the IHL’s Most Valuable Player twice, led the league in total scoring on three occasions and was an IHL all-star three times. He also set league season records for most game-winning goals with 11 (since broken) and most power play goals with 25. He led the Mohawks team in scoring six times and trailed only Bryan McLay in career total points with the Muskegon franchise at the time of his retirement.
BORN: FEBRUARY 3, 1934, ESCANABA, MI
Already a high school coaching legend in the Muskegon area, only a prolonged
career as an active coach delayed Pete Kutches’ induction into the Muskegon
Area Sports Hall of Fame. Kutches' credentials as a winning football
coach at several local high schools rank him among the elite of all-time
gridiron mentors in the area - indeed, in the state of Michigan. His 126-25
overall record in 15 years as head football coach translates into a
remarkable .833 winning percentage. He was the first head coach in
Michigan history to guide two different schools to state football
A native of Escanaba in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Kutches earned all-state honors in both basketball and football at Escanaba St. Joseph High School. He played college football at the University of Wyoming. A two-way starter for the Cowboys, Kutches also was called upon to serve as the Cowboys' place kicker in the 1956 Sun Bowl match-up against Texas Tech, when their regular kicker was lost to injury in Wyoming's regular season finale. Kutches delivered on all three PAT attempts and recovered a fumble deep in Texas Tech territory late in the game to set up the game winning touchdown.
Following college graduation, he returned to Michigan and began his long coaching career at Hudson, Michigan in 1958. The following year, he moved to Muskegon High School, becoming an assistant coach. He made a major contribution in re-establishing winning football at Muskegon under head coach Roger Chiaverini in the late 1960s. When Chiaverini became head coach at Muskegon Catholic Central in 1971, Kutches was persuaded to join him as an assistant. Kutches became the Crusaders’ head football coach in 1980 after Chiaverini departed. His MCC football teams in the next four years were the stuff of legends. From 1980 to 1984, MCC gridders won 40 games, three Lake Michigan Athletic Conference championships and Michigan High School athletic Association Class B state championships in both 1980 and 1982. The team was finished state runner-up in 1981 and compiled a string of 20 consecutive victories during the span.
Kutches' reputation as a winning coach was soaring by this time, and he was lured by Reeths-Puffer High School to become their head football coach in 1984. Kutches spent the next 11 years there as head coach, where he continued his winning ways with a 86-20 record. During that span, he led the Rockets to a Class A state championship in 1992, becoming the state's first coach to lead two different schools to MHSAA gridiron crowns. His teams earned four playoff appearances and seven conference titles before his retirement.