BORN: SEPTEMBER 17, 1952, MUSKEGON, MI
Dan Brink was one of the first area wrestlers to win a high
school state championship, pulling off the feat in the early 1970s at
Orchard View. It turns out he was just getting started. Brink went on to
earn All-American honors at both Muskegon Community College and the
University of Michigan, then returned to the Muskegon area and built both
Whitehall and Fruitport into powerhouse wrestling programs.
Brink won his prep state championship as a junior at Orchard View, going 37-7 and winning the Class B 148-pound title during the 1969-70 school year. Following a stellar career at Muskegon Community College, Brink transferred to the University of Michigan. Wrestling at 158-pounds for the Wolverines, he earned a third-place finish in the Big Ten Conference Championships as a senior, then was named All-American with a sixth-place finish at the NCAA tournament at Princeton in March of 1975.
In 1976, Brink came far closer than any other local wrestler before him to reaching the Olympics when he won a Regional Qualifying match. The dream ended as a severe neck injury suffered during earlier competition prevented him from advancing to the Olympic Finals Tryout.
Following graduation, he returned to the Muskegon area and was named wrestling coach at Whitehall High School. Under Brink's guidance, Whitehall compiled a 94-16 dual meet record from 1975-1982. The Vikings won two regional titles, three conference championships, three district titles and won the city meet three times before he stepped down from the position.
Brink resumed his coaching career in 1987, returning a once dominant Fruitport wrestling program to prominence. The Trojans posted a 110-89-1 record in 10 seasons under his leadership. Fruitport athletes earned 10 state medals during the span, and included three state champions. Brink’s teams won two district titles, two conference titles and two city meets during the decade.
Brink lives in Muskegon with his wife, Debby. They have three children, including 1997 Male Student-Athlete award winner Matt Brink.
BORN: June 26, 1939, LAUREL, MS
A three-sport star at Muskegon
Heights High School, "The Wizard of Oss" took his athletic skills to Arizona
State University before returning home to serve more than 30 years in the
Muskegon Heights school system. Along the way, McCarty became the first
individual in state history to lead his high school team to state basketball titles as
both a player and coach. McCarty played guard on Muskegon Heights’ legendary
1956 and 1957 Class A state championship teams, then returned to coach the
Tigers to the Class B title in 1974.
Brought up as a sophomore for the 1956 tournament run, McCarty earned a starting spot in the 20-1 Tigers’ lineup for their 63-53 victory over Hamtramck in the title game. McCarty began the next season as a starter. The Tigers went 20-0, beating archrival Benton Harbor three times, including 74-52 in the state semifinals, en route to a 61-49 victory over Detroit Austin and future Hall of Famer Dave DeBusschere in the title game.
Although basketball was his sport of choice, McCarty attended Arizona State University on a football scholarship. Still, many believe that baseball was his best sport. Recruited by ASU Assistant Chuck Fairbanks and playing for head coach Frank Kush, McCarty earned three varsity letters for the Sun Devils in the days before platoon football. McCarty saw time in the backfield, returned punts and kickoffs, and played in the defensive backfield during his days at ASU.
But it was what McCarty did after his college career was over that set him apart, working more than 30 years as a teacher, mentor, coach and administrator at Muskegon Heights. He was named Heights varsity basketball coach and AD in 1971. He compiled a 100-33 record in five seasons. McCarty’s 1972 team reached the Class B title game before losing to River Rouge, 65-64, after leading by seven with under a minute to play.
McCarty lives in Muskegon with his wife, Carol. They have three children.
Few towns have had a
longer-running love affair with their hometown team than Shelby and its 1971
and 1972 Tigers.
"Oh my goodness," said Mary Beckman, whose older brothers, Fred and Stan Sanford, played on those teams along with her husband, Bob Beckman. "We’re still talking about those teams. They had a chemistry and such a sense of pride. We haven’t seen anything like it here since."
Few towns of any size ever have. The Shelby boys teams which won back-to-back Class C state titles were close-knit squads that galvanized the whole town. Outside of Shelby, the two most recognized names from those teams are Coach Ed Douma and center Paul Griffin. Douma, who retired with a 561-295 record compiled over 31-years at the collegiate level, began his coaching career at Shelby. Griffin played in the NBA for seven years. For the folks in Shelby, the names Beckman, Sanford, Plummer, Van Duinen, Inglis, Danville, Raeth, Dawson, McDonald and Gosselin are just as legendary. Both titles truly were team efforts.
Their win over previously unbeaten Stockbridge in the 1971 title game completed a perfect 24-0 season. Despite three losses — to West Michigan Conference co-champ Scottville Mason County Central, Manistee and Western Michigan Christian — the 1972 Tigers beat Saginaw St. Stephen 71-61 in the 1972 title game.
Members of the 1971 Shelby team were: Bob Gosselin, Jack
Griffin, Brian McDonald, Bob Beckman, Brad Plummer, Tom Inglis, Scott
Dawson, Stan Sanford, Dan VanDuinen, Curt Raeth, Kimm Griffin, Paul Griffin,
Alan Griffin, Steve Danville, Fred Sanford, Steve Pearson and Tom Lipps.
Members of the 1972 Shelby team were: Jeff Near, Norm Donker, Syl Flores, Jim Hoekenga, Paul Byl, Bob Erickson, Blair Hutchinson, Jake Vandehoef, Paul Tate, Stan Sanford, Bob Beckman, Scott Dawson, Dave VanDuinen, Curt Raeth, Paul Griffin, Steve Danville, Dan VanDuinen, Jack Griffin and Bob Gosselin.