A state champion coach, mentor to many standout players, and still a successful player in his own right, Bill Beekman has enjoyed a long and varied career on the local tennis courts.
Beekman coached the Marion High School boys' team from 1970-95 and the girls' team from 1984-99 and compiled a 603-147 combined record (80.4 winning percentage). In 1991 he guided the boys to the state championship, the first team since 1975 from outside the Indianapolis area to win the title.
Yet, Beekman got a late start on his tennis career. With the encouragement of then Giants coach Jules Walker, Beekma...
Judy Burns Powell
Nearly 30 years after her graduation, Judy Burns Powell remains one of Grant County's most accomplished girls' high school basketball players. Her shooting and ball handling skills led the Marion Giants to back-to-back state Final Four appearances in 1980 and '81 and three highly successful seasons at Division I Bradley University in Illinois.
Burns Powell also played in the IHSAA individual tennis state finals in 1981, and she was a standout softball player. Yet, it was on a basketball court where she really excelled.
In her final two seasons, Burns Powell led the Giants to unbeaten regul...
Willard "Mutt" Chambers
A standout athlete, game official, and long-time director of the Marion Parks and Recreation Department, Mutt Chambers spent a lifetime involved in athletics and enriching the lives of local youths.
Chambers was a fine football and basketball player for the Marion Giants and graduated in 1935 during the Great Depression. College wasn't an option, but Chambers continued to play basketball for the Draper Dodgers and Hoosier Comets independent teams.
At one of those games, University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp was in attendance and invited Chambers to try out for the Wildcats....
Over a 40 year period no one had a bigger influence over Marion Giants basketball than Bill Fowler. Fowler first arrived on the scene when he led the Giants to the 1940 North Central Conference basketball title. It was the first of many Indiana All Stars from Marion High School. His basketball talents earned him a trip to Kentucky to play basketball for the legendary coach Adolph Rupp. Fowler's career was cut short by World War II, but after a stint in the Coast Guard, Fowler returned to Marion and became the long time voice of the Marion Giants.
Starting in 1947 Fowler became a legend arou...
When one says that this player or that player is the best to ever play a particular sport on a particular level, well, that covers a lot of territory and a lot of years. But if you make a statement to the fact that Roger Hamilton is the greatest runner to ever play football at a Grant County high school, then you might not get much disagreement.Of course, since Hamilton's last football season for the Marion Giants was in 1970, that was long before a lot of people were even born. That was some 40 years ago. Yet, if you are a die-hard Grant County high school football fan you just might have hea...
Larry Hedden is one of the finest basketball players to ever come out of Grant County. A 6-foot-5 center, he was almost unstoppable in the post, and he ran the floor well enough to score on the fast break.A two-year standout at Mississinewa, Hedden scored 1,162 points (21.5 per game average) and led the Indians to a pair of sectional championships and a regional title in 1954. He was the first Grant County player to average more than 20 points a game and accomplished it twice in the 1953 and '54 seasons. Following his senior season he became the first county player not from Marion to make the ...
During a nearly 30-year coaching career spent entirely in Grant County, Jim Law showed he was adept at building and reviving football programs at the high school and collegiate levels. Law won 168 games at Oak Hill and Taylor University and was elected to the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 2005.Beyond his on-field success, Law established a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at Oak Hill that once was the fourth largest in the nation. A tireless worker for the Indiana Football Coaches Association, he sat on the committee that helped set up the state's first postseason state tournament.A...
Sarah Pack Grupe
State champion gymnast Sarah Pack Grupe remains one of Marion High School's most successful female athletes. During her four years of school she earned 11 varsity letters in gymnastics, volleyball and track and field.Yet, it was her exploits in gymnastics that sets Pack Grupe apart from other Marion girls. As a sophomore, Pack won the all-around championship and the vault at the 1989 state finals. The next year, she was the balance beam state champion.Pack Grupe recalls that she first became interested in gymnastics when she was in pre-school. Oldest sister Elizabeth and a neighbor were learni...
Paul Patterson has become a small school coaching legend during his 31 years at Taylor University. Replacing Don Odle, another Grant County Sports Hall of Famer, in 1979, Pafferson's Trojans teams have compiled a 678-337 record for a 68.8 winning percentage.At Taylor, Patterson guided the Trojans to 15 conference and 14 NAIA National Championship tournaments. He has won 12 different coach of the year awards, including 1990-91 NAIA National Coach of the Year, and was inducted into that organization's hall of fame in 1995. In this past season, Patterson coached in his 1,000th collegiate game.Pat...
Grant County's most successful golfer, Boyd Toney was a fierce competitor on the course and a courteous gentleman away from it. Toney won a record 12 Chronicle-Tribune Grant County amateur men's titles from 1959-74 and was successful in numerous state and regional tournaments.Born in 1924 in Forest City, North Carolina, Toney in his youth became a caddy at a course just down the street from his childhood home. From the beginning, Toney constantly studied and practiced on ways to play a better round of golf.Military service interrupted his golf game and he entered the U.S. Navy in 1943. While s...