Hammond Sports Hall of Fame
The Class of 2021 Inductees

 
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Michael W. Coles Jr.


Robert Haack

Trent Howard

John Novalich

Larry O’Bannon

David Pierce

2021 Inductees:


Michael W. Coles Jr.
A 3-sport Hammond High standout—football, baseball & basketball—this 2001 Times Athlete-of-the-Year was an all-state football quarterback, basketball point guard and baseball outfielder who competed in college (Parkland & Purdue) and professionally. Though he put up big football passing numbers as a Wildcat, he may have left an even larger mark on the baseball diamond. After helping lead Parkland to the 2003 national junior college title with a .434 batting average, he hit .300+ during 2 seasons at Purdue, then batted .312 during an 8-year professional career.  


Robert Haack
This 1964 Gavit High alumnus competed in football, basketball & baseball for the Gladiators, then attended Western New Mexico University (Class of ‘69), where he played football (quarterback) and basketball (forward). A brief, free agent experience with the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons preceded a 38-year high school basketball coaching career in Texas and New Mexico, during which he compiled a 700-486 record. His career also featured a state title, Coach-of-the-Year honors and induction into the El Paso, TX Sports Hall of Fame.


Trent Howard
An all-state, record-setting baseball pitcher for Clark High, this 2008 graduate compiled a 30-8 record & 2.73 earned run average over 4 seasons. He graduated as the school leader in victories and strikeouts (335), while helping the Pioneers to 3 sectional, 1 regional & 4 conference titles. He went on to hurl for Central Michigan University, where he was a 3-time All-Mid-American Conference 2nd team selection, recording a 13-9 record, 3.60 ERA & 203 strikeouts in 212 2/3 innings. Drafted in 2011 by the Baltimore Orioles, he played professionally for 3 years.

 


John Novalich
This multi-sport athlete and Hammond High graduate initially made his mark as a Wildcat football & basketball player (1935-37). Though he gained state-wide recognition on the gridiron as an end, he also went on to excel as a semi-pro basketball & baseball player. He eventually signed a minor league baseball contract and played for major league Hall of Famer Joe Tinker and then in the Chicago White Sox farm system. Following his playing years, he served the city of Hammond and stayed active coaching, directing & promoting youth sports.


Larry O’Bannon
This 1964 Hammond High graduate may not have received all the accolades of other Hall of Famers. But make no mistake about his value and the multiple ways he helped make very good Wildcat basketball teams better. As a point guard and defensive specialist, he earned a reputation as a tough player who did the unsung, so-called “dirty work” that is vital to successful teams. Inserted into the starting line-up as a sophomore, his 10.5 points and 4 assists per game increased to 15 and 7, respectively, as a senior.  


David Pierce
After a distinguished, 3-sport high school career (football, wrestling and track & field), this 1994 Morton alumnus wrestled at Purdue University (heavyweight), for which he was a 3-time, NCAA Division I competition qualifier (1997-99). At Morton, he was Lake 10 Athletic Conference Male Athlete of the Year (1993-94). In football he was a 2-way standout at linebacker & offensive guard, earning Class 4A all-state honors (1993). In wrestling, he compiled an 80-8 record and was a 2-time state finalist. In track & field, he set school records in the shot put & discus.

   

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