By Chuck Stark
Special to The Sun
It’s Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame time again.
It’s a time to recognize our rich sports history, and make sure that history is never forgotten.
The reality is every community needs a Hall of Fame. It’s a way of honoring excellence and connecting generations.
Hall of Fame? What does it mean?
I like this definition: a number of individuals acclaimed as outstanding in a particular profession or activity.
That pretty much says it all.
This year’s annual celebration — the 30th — happens on January 27 at Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo. It’ll be another fun day of celebrating Kitsap sports history.
Since 2005, when the Hall of Fame was expanded to include all sports, 184 athletes and 23 teams have been inducted. You’d think the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable — which took over the event when the Oldtimers Association disbanded — might be running out of deserving candidates, but you’re wrong.
Olympic bobsledder Bree Schaaf, world champion boat racer Kyler Talbot, Tiffany (McDonald) Kasdorf — the best modern-era softball pitcher to come out of the area — and two state high-school championship teams from the 1980s are among the headliners of the class of 2017.
Seabeck’s Jim Barber, considered by many to be the father of soccer in Kitsap Country, will be honored with the Rex Brown Distinguished Service Award. It recognizes individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions that have impacted the Kitsap community.
Bremerton’s Jerry DiGiovanni, who devoted 45-plus years to the world of sports officiating, is this year’s recipient of the Richard (Dick) Todd Officials Award.
The rest of the 2017 class (in alphabetical order):
Justin Adrian: The older brother of Olympic gold-medal swimmer Nathan Adrian was a semifinalist at the 2004 Olympic Trials, a two-time All-American and record-holder in the 100-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly at the University of Washington. He later coached the swim team at Bremerton High.
Jamil Al-Agba: The Bremerton native moved to southern California with his mother, Barbara, to pursue a tennis career in 1997. He was a former No. 1-ranked United States Tennis Association junior player (18s in 2003, 16s in 2002). He played No. 1 or No. 2 singles during a four-year career at USC, and played on the Pro Futures Tour until 2008, finishing with an overall record of 90-54 in singles.
Richard Arena: A standout three-sport (football, basketball, track and field) athlete at East High, he’s remembered for hitting the game-winning shot and being the state tournament MVP for East High’s 1973 state-championship basketball team. A tight end, he caught 79 passes for 731 yards and eight touchdowns during an outstanding football career at the University of Puget Sound. He was a coach and later an administrator in the Central Kitsap School District.
Gordy Brockman: The 6-foot-8 Brockman led South Kitsap to a 21-2 record and state basketball appearance in 1971. He scored 38 points in a game as a senior, when he was limited because of mononucleosis, and went on to be a two-year co-captain and starter at Seattle Pacific. He played a year of pro ball in France.
Gordy Bushaw: He coached volleyball at Central Kitsap for 31 years, winning seven Olympic League championships and three Narrows League division titles. His 2006 teams placed fifth at state, the best finish in school history.
Jeff Carlsen: A three-sport star at North Kitsap — the 6-foot-6 Carlsen was league MVP and all-state in baseball as a pitcher and football as a quarterback, and he was first-team all-league in basketball. The hard-throwing right-hander had off-season shoulder surgery following his junior year at Washington, but still ranks among the career leaders in several statistics. He signed with the Chicago Cubs after his senior year (2001) and played two years in the minors.
Greg Chapman: An elite marathoner in the late 1960s and ‘70s, Chapman’s been a big part of the local running scene since 1973. He coached at Olympic High (cross country for 18 years; track and field for 19) and helped with girls soccer at Central Kitsap for 18 years. Olympic won a state track title in 2014, the first for a county school in 64 years.
Mike Dotson: An outstanding basketball player at East High (class of ’69) and Olympic College, Dotson hit over 2,000 home runs during a storied 19-year slowpitch career. He coached football, basketball and baseball at Ridgetop Junior High for 15 years, winning multiple championships.
Tiffany (McDonald) Kasdorf: McDonald pitched 11 no-hitters her senior year at North Mason, striking out 294 batters and posting a 0.30 ERA. The Kitsap Sun Female Athlete of the Year in 2003 and ‘04 led Florida State to four straight regional appearances in the NCAA softball tournament.
Bree Schaaf: The Olympic High grad placed fifth in the bobsled at the 2010 Olympics in her rookie season. Prior to that, she played volleyball at Portland State and competed at the national and international level in the sport of skeleton. She was an analyst/broadcaster for NBC in the sliding sports at the 2014 Olympics.
Corky Sullivan: One of the top players on West High’s outstanding 1960 and ’61 teams, Sullivan walked on at Oregon and earned a scholarship by his sophomore season. A two-way player at defensive end and tight end, he caught 32 passes for 542 yards and four TDs as a senior. He played in the 1964 East-West Shrine game.
Kyler Talbot: The 1984 Central Kitsap grad was a novice offshore powerboat driver in 2009. By 2015, the owner and driver of the Talbot Excavating team won three championships in the stock-class at the Super Boat International Offshore World Championships in Key West, Florida. Talbot died after a fall in his Bremerton home in July. He was 47.
The 1982 North Mason football and 1988 North Kitsap baseball teams will also be inducted.
The ’82 Bulldogs: Coach Phil Pugh’s bunch was the first team from West Sound to win a state football championship after the state instituted the playoffs in 1973. After reaching the semifinals two straight years, it was supposed to be a building year for North Mason. But the Bulldogs, powered by Pat Eigner, who rushed for 1,555 yards that year, beat Woodland 28-14 in the Class A title game at the Kingdome.
The ’88 Vikings: This remains the only boys state title in school history. Virgil Taylor was the coach and his pitching-rich squad featured future Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher Aaron Sele, current North Kitsap baseball/football coach Jeff Weible and hard-throwing Curt Morrison, who got the win in the Class AA title game. North (26-5) beat Mount Vernon 4-1 in the semifinals and Tahoma 12-4 in the finals at Cheney Stadium.
Chuck Stark is the former sports editor of The Sun. Reach him at email@example.com.