Five to be inducted into Mecosta County Area Sports Hall of Fame

RUSHING THE QUARTERBACK: Randy Park (75) pressures the quarterback as a member of the Big Rapids Brewers, a semi-pro football team that competed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Park is a 2016 Mecosta County Area Sports Hall of Fame inductee. (Courtesy photo)

RUSHING THE QUARTERBACK: Randy Park (75) pressures the quarterback as a member of the Big Rapids Brewers, a semi-pro football team that competed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Park is a 2016 Mecosta County Area Sports Hall of Fame inductee. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — Longtime Big Rapids High School teacher Randy Park received some surprising news last week from one of his former students.

The student congratulated him on his induction into the Mecosta County Area Sports Hall of Fame, but Park initially thought he was being deceived.

A call from Hall of Fame organizer Joe Bechaz the following day confirmed Park’s acclaim.

“It is a tremendous honor,” Park said. “I actually had no clue I had even been nominated, so it was quite a surprise. Over the years, some of the different people who have gone in, I remember when Charlie Emmons went in (1990) and some of the legends of the area, so it’s a great honor. I never really anticipated anything like this.”

Park is one of five 2016 inductees, along with Don Rankin, Mark Sellers, Al Beamer and Bob Allan. They formally will be inducted at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Hemlock Park prior to the “Old Timers” baseball game.

Park taught history and special education at BRHS from 1990-2008, and also coached varsity football from 1982-2000. He was the head coach beginning in 1993, leading the Cardinals to three winning seasons.

He played on the Big Rapids Brewers in the Michigan Charity Football League beginning in 1974, with ticket revenue sales going to a local charity.

After losing his leg stemming from a motorcycle accident in 1977, he organized an amputee contact football team, the Tri-State Amps, in 1981.

“I played in our game in ‘81 at Ferris,” Park said. “Ferris let us use the field and we got equipment from the Michigan charity league. We played a team from the charity league and the money went to a young amputee who lost his leg and couldn’t afford an artificial leg. Things like that, the community just jumps behind it. It’s a great community and a fantastic area, and I am really glad to be a part of it.”

Beamer was the quarterback of the 1968 undefeated Ferris State football team. After graduation, he taught at BRHS, where he also served as an assistant football coach. He spent 32 years as a teacher before becoming assistant principal for the last three years of his career.

Sellers was a three-sports standout at Chippewa Hills High School, graduating in 1983. He earned all-conference honors in baseball three seasons and garnered all-state accolades in his junior and senior years.

He also was an all-conference honoree on the football team two seasons, and played a season on the basketball team.

Sellers continued his baseball career at Central Michigan University, where he was a part of four straight Mid-American Conference title teams.

CHIPPEWA: Mark Sellers gets ready for an at-bat for Central Michigan University during the 1980s. Sellers was inducted into the 2016 Mecosta County Area Sports Hall of Fame. (Courtesy photo)

CHIPPEWA: Mark Sellers gets ready for an at-bat for Central Michigan University during the 1980s. Sellers was inducted into the 2016 Mecosta County Area Sports Hall of Fame. (Courtesy photo)

Rankin was a four-sport athlete in high school and college. He was an all-conference quarterback for the Cardinals in 1962 and 1963, and also was named to the all-state team in 1963. He was a tennis state finalist in 1963 and 1964, and was an all-conference honoree in basketball during the 1964 season.

He also played on the BRHS baseball team and was a pitcher for Ferris in 1965. He was the Bulldogs’ quarterback in 1965 and was on the tennis team in 1966. He also played two seasons on the basketball team.

Rankin earned a Bachelor of Science in business education in 1968 and a Master of Science in 1970 — both from Western Michigan University. He was Chippewa Hills High School’s principal and assistant principal from 1983-97.

Allan worked in the Pioneer sports department for 17 years and currently a graphic designer with the company.

He has won numerous Michigan Press Association awards in several categories, including sports and feature writing, photography and editorial.

Allan said he has covered between 4,000 and 5,000 events in Mecosta County and has received awards for his in-depth coverage of local athletes and teams.

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Posted by Ryan Zuke

Ryan is the sports editor for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering local prep sports and Ferris State athletics. He can be contacted at (231) 592-8363 or rzuke@pioneergroup.com.

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