BREMERTON — After 71 years of athletes, coaches and teams working hard for Olympic College, the school has finally established an Athletic Hall of Fame.
“We’ve been talking about this for a couple years,” said Barry Janusch, OC’s athletic director. “We just decided that this was, well, way way overdue. As long as we’ve had athletics here at OC since 1946, we should have had a Hall of Fame.”
Finally, six months ago, OC put together a committee to start choosing a list of 12 inductees to honor in the first Hall of Fame class.
“We came up with some criteria of years of attendance and, obviously, accomplishments here at OC and accomplishments after OC, in athletics or the private sector,” Janusch said.
Janusch said when they started, they had a very long list of possible inductees, considering coaches, athletes and teams from every year since OC was established. From there, the committee worked to whittle the list down to only 12.
“We wanted to acknowledge the people that have been here,” Janusch said. “One thing we really tried to do this first year was to have someone, or a team, from each of the decades that OC has been in existence.”
He said it would have been “real easy” to have all 12 inductees be from just the 1940s and 1950s, but they really wanted to honor people throughout the long history of OC athletics.
The next class of inductees will be chosen next year. Janusch said they plan to pick 12 new inductees every year for three years; after that, the plan is to pick new athletes every other year.
To honor the inductees, OC is holding a celebration and banquet on June 10 at the Bremer Student Center on the OC-Bremerton campus, 1600 Chester Ave., Bremerton.
There, they will also honor this year’s most valuable male and female athletes of the year and other notable athletes and coaches.
“For them to see the tradition and hear the accomplishments of some of the other people is important,” Janusch said. “We mainly just want to acknowledge the outstanding people that we’ve had involved in athletics here at Olympic College.”
After the induction, Janusch said an area within the Bremer Student Center will be designated for the Hall of Fame, with each inductee’s photo and biography displayed permanently.
The inaugural Hall of Fame class:
— Matt Armitage, Baseball:
Matt Armitage (1997) helped the Rangers win the NWAC North Region Championship and compiled a 30-9 record. He was named North Region MVP after hitting .416 with 4 homeruns & 42 RBI’s. After his two year stint as a Ranger, Armitage transferred to Whitworth University.
— Pete Defour, Track & Field
Pete Defour, aka the “Slender Sprinter,” ran track at Olympic College for Coach Doc Rethke in 1948 & 1950. Defour won five conference championships (two in the 220m, two in the 440m, & one in the mile relay). In 1950, Defour set Washington State Junior College Athletic Conference meet records in the 220m & 440m sprints.
— Billy Landram, Men’s Basketball
Former North Mason High School standout Billy Landram averaged 20 points and 10.5 rebounds in his two seasons as a Ranger (1997-1998). At Olympic, Landram was a two-time 1st Team All-League selection and was the North Region MVP as a sophomore. Landram transferred to San Jose State University, where he averaged 10.9 points and 3.5 rebounds in his two seasons as a Spartan.
— Henry Muyskens, Distinguished Service
Henry “Hank” Muyskens spent 44 years at Olympic College as a professor, baseball coach and timekeeper for men’s and women’s basketball. Hank began teaching math and physics in 1952 and was an assistant baseball coach in the 1960s and early 70s. In 1958, Hank became the timekeeper for the basketball teams. During his time at OC, Hank was also a scout for the New York Yankees.
— Mike O’Brien, Football
Mike O’Brien was a hard-hitting defensive back for Olympic College in the mid-70s. During his time as a Ranger, O’Brien was named a Junior College All-American. O’Brien transferred to UC Berkeley, where he finished his collegiate career. After college, O’Brien played briefly with the Seattle Seahawks, three years of semi-pro football, and with the Oakland Invaders of the USFL.
— Phil Pesco, Men’s Basketball
Phil Pesco coached basketball at Olympic College for 14 years starting in 1946. In his time as the Rangers coach, he won six Northwest Championships and took three teams to the National Junior College Championships in Hutchinson, Kansas. Pesco’s 1949 team went 32-2 and finished third at the National Tournament.
— Erika Quint, Softball
Former Central Kitsap High School standout Erika Quint played softball at OC during the 2008-2009 seasons. Quint was named 1st Team All-League Pitcher both years as a Ranger and was the North Region Pitcher of the Year in 2008. After her stint at OC, Quint transferred to Western Washington University, where she finished second among school career leaders in strikeouts (438), tied for third in shutouts (10), fourth in wins (39) and fifth in both complete games (36) and innings pitched (379).
— Dr. Roland “Doc” Rethke, Track & Field/Golf Dr. Roland Rethke was one of the most successful coaches in Olympic College history, as well as a popular professor. Doc’s Track & Field teams won three straight championships during the 1950, 1951 and 1952 seasons. As the OC golf coach, Doc coached his teams to championships in 1961, 1962 and 1964.
— Karen Schillinger-Johnson, Women’s Basketball/Volleyball/Track & Field
Karen Shillinger-Johnson was a three-sport standout at Olympic College in the late 1970s. Schillinger-Johnson led her teams in volleyball and basketball to four NWAC Tournaments (two in each sport). She also reached the NWAC Tournament both years in Track & Field; competing in the high jump and hurdles. Schillinger-Johnson transferred to Central Washington University, where she continued as a three-sport star. In 1979, she was named the CWU Female Athlete of the Year.
— Joni Slagle, Women’s Basketball Former North Mason High School star Joni Slagle played basketball at Olympic College in the 1973 and 1974 seasons, where she averaged 25 points and 20 rebounds during her sophomore season. She then transferred to Western Washington University, where she played in 1975 and 1976. At WWU, Joni averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds her senior season. She is a member of the WWU All-Century Team. After her time at Western, Joni played professionally for the Brisbane Bullets in Australia.
— Charolette York, Women’s Volleyball/Tennis/Basketball
Charolette York spent 30 years at Olympic College coaching volleyball, tennis and basketball; as well as teaching physical education. York also served as NWAC Women’s Commissioner for Olympic College for 29 years and served on the NWAC Executive Board for six years. She was a trailblazer for young female athletes as she was a tireless advocate for women’s sports, especially in the early years of Title IX. The NWAC championship Most Valuable Player award is named for Charolette.
— 1981 Women’s Softball Team
Coached by Toni Turnbull, the 1981 women’s softball team won the only softball championship in school history, beating Edmonds 14-7 in the title game. Led by All-League catcher Deb (Picinich) Bentler, the ‘81 team finished 31-7 on the season. Bonnie Lingan was named to the NWAC Tournament All-Star team.
For more information, visit www.olympic.edu/athletics/olympic-college-athletics-hall-fame.
Michelle Beahm is a reporter for the Central Kitsap Reporter and Bremerton Patriot. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.