GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Some new faces joined the ranks of some of Grand Rapids’ most iconic sports legends Tuesday night, as six people from West Michigan were inducted into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame for the organization’s 50th class.
Inducted on Tuesday was the late Fred Julian, who played at the University of Michigan and was a longtime coach at West Catholic High School and Grand Rapids Community College.
He wasn’t the only Wolverine joining the class of 2022. Jenison native David Brandt was honored after a standout career at Michigan, where he played on the offensive line for the Michigan national championship team back in 1997.
“I was very fortunate to grow up in Jenison,” Brandt said. “Back then, we had a very great football program. Every year, we were winning. In my senior year we were really good, we went 10-1, and then I got fortunate enough to play for Michigan, so I’ve always been in the state. I left for a little bit (for a brief stint in the NFL), but I’ve always enjoyed being here.”
Cornerstone men’s basketball coach Kim Elders was also inducted into the hall of fame, which adds to his list of accomplishments including multiple national championships while coaching the golden eagles.
“I’m blown away, and it’s just overwhelming to see all these faces. To me, just being honored in Grand Rapids where I grew up is just awesome, and it’s right up there with some of the other accolades, and it’s a very exciting night for me,” Elders said.
Josette (Carter) McCullough was also inducted as a former three-sport athlete at Ottawa Hills, and a standout DI basketball player at the University of Delaware.
“To be able to come back home and be welcomed with open arms, it’s kind of hard to put into words, but I’m just really excited about it,” she said.
This also marks the third Hall of Fame induction of the year for former Michigan State and Unity Christian soccer player Laura (Heyboer) Heethuis. She set multiple state records and was a three-time All American with the Spartans.
“Seeing the women up there, it’s the 50th year of Title IX, so seeing people that have kind of paved the way for somebody like me to come through and be a part of women’s sports, and obviously all of these people too,” she said. “Grand Rapids is great, West Michigan is great, so getting that opportunity to be up there next to them might open up opportunities for others, so that’s what I’m hoping to do.”
Diane House was also inducted as the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The former physical education teacher was involved in the West Michigan sports community for more than 50 years and founded the local Special Olympics program.
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this report, it incorrectly named a school that Julian had coached at. It has since been corrected.