Five men and two women from Hammond’s historic athletic past will be inducted into the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame, Thursday, May 12 at the Hammond Civic Center.
Comprising this year’s 36 th annual induction class are: Hammond High/Weber State and professional basketball player Jermaine Boyette, Hammond High & professional baseball player/pitching coach/instructor Joe Fletcher, Hammond High/University of Chicago basketball player and nationally-recognized women’s sports leader Portia Fultz Archer, Clark alumnus and longtime NW Indiana high school/college coach Gary Hayes, Gavit multi-sport & St. Joseph’s College softball player Terri Meier Fech, Morton & University of Evansville football/baseball player Mark Peters and Hammond High swimmer/golfer James Whitaker, representing the Hall of Fame’s new “Veterans” category. Fletcher and Whitaker will be inducted posthumously.
This year’s after-dinner induction program also will recognize 2021 inductees Mike Coles (Hammond High), Robert Haack (Gavit), Trent Howard (Clark), John Novalich (Hammond High), Larry O’Bannon (Hammond High) and David Pierce (Morton), whose induction last year occurred virtually due to COVID-19.
Anderson-Peterson Family Distinguished Athlete Award recipients
Also, during this year’s program, the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame will present its 31 st annual Anderson-Peterson Family Distinguished Athlete Award to two 2021 high school graduates of Hammond schools who depict athletic achievement, academic excellence, dedication, citizenship, and school and community service. This year’s recipients are Courtney Blakely of Bishop Noll and Joshua Lamb of Morton.
Blakely, a 4-year letter winner, completed her standout high school basketball career as Noll’s all-time leading scorer with 2,234 points. She also led all high school scorers in Indiana as a senior, earned Associated Press all-state honors, was named to the Indiana All-Star team and received the John Wooden Award. Away from the basketball court, she achieved a 3.5 grade point average, while being active in Student Council, Women’s Empowerment Group, Math Club and as a Student Ambassador. She also volunteered monthly at the Gethsemane Baptist Church food pantry. She has continued her education and basketball career at Middle Tennessee State University.
Lamb earned nine varsity letters competing on Morton football, swimming and baseball teams. As a senior, he earned team MVP recognition in baseball, achieved Academic All-state honors in football and was salutatorian of his Morton graduating class with a 4.305 grade point average. Within his community, he has engaged in the Hessville Commerce and Community Creative (HC3) Clean-up initiative. He attends Marian University on a baseball scholarship.
Additionally, during the program, the Hall of Fame will award its Richard Jay Special Achievement Award for distinguished support of Hammond sports/athletics to radio station and media outlet WJOB.
The Hall of Fame also will observe this 50 th anniversary year of the adoption of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal governmental funding.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 each, or a table of eight seats for $200 at the Hammond Civic Center. Individual tickets also are on sale at Rich’s Barber Shop (Hammond), House of Pizza (Hammond) and Cheers (Munster). Any remaining tickets will go on sale induction night at the door for $35.
More about the 2022 Hammond Sports Hall of Fame inductees:
This Hammond High basketball standout and 1998 NWI Times & Post-Tribune All-NW Indiana Area Player of the Year went on to star in college at Weber State (Class of ’03). A 3-time All-Big Sky point guard, Big Sky Player of the Year (‘03) and All-America Honorable Mention, this WS Hall of Famer was voted the school’s Player of the Decade for 2000-10. Professionally, he played briefly with the NBA’s Utah Jazz, 10 years overseas, and in the former Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and United States Basketball League (USBL).
JOSEPH CASEY FLETCHER “FLETCH”
A standout pitcher at Hammond High, this 1981 alumnus was drafted by the New York Yankees in ’82 and pitched for Yankees’ and Montreal Expos’ farm teams until ’85. The St. Joseph’s College alumnus went on to become a collegiate pitching coach at St. Joe, Jacksonville (FL) and Michigan State. In ‘02, he started a business as a pioneering pitching instructor. Fletch’s Pitching Essentials Network earned acclaim for its effective focus on mechanical consistency, body control, recovery, health and nutrition.
PORTIA FULTZ ARCHER
A respected athlete and leader, this 1986 Hammond High alumna excelled as a basketball point guard & volleyball setter. She continued her hoops career at the University of Chicago (Class of ’90) where she was a 3-time all-conference selection and active in campus organizations. In addition to serving as COO of the NBA G League and as an Executive Board Member/Trustee of the Women’s Sports Federation, she has been recognized by Adweek among the “Most Powerful Women in Sports” and as a “Game Changer” by Sports Business Journal.
Wherever he coached—spanning 7 decades (1968-2021) over 102 competitive seasons—this 1964 Clark graduate succeeded. As a 33-year head basketball coach, he led Lake Station HS boys & girls, Griffith HS boys, Purdue Calumet men & women and Calumet College of St. Joseph men to a combined record of 474-253. He guided Griffith to the Indiana Class 3A 2015 state championship game. His Purdue Calumet teams were 214-116, earned 4 conference titles & an NAIA D-I women’s national tourney berth. His boys & girls tennis teams at Lake Station, Portage, Gary West Side & Gary Wirt were 540-215 and won 16 sectional & conference titles.
TERRI MEIER FECH
A versatile, multi-sport Gavit High standout, this 1985 alumna earned 12 varsity letters competing in volleyball (setter/outside hitter), basketball (point guard), cross country and was especially impressive as team MVP in track & field, setting a school record in the long jump and contributing to 2 other school marks in the 400-meter & 800-meter relays. She went on to star in softball at St. Joseph’s College (Class of ’89, magna cum laude), earning all-conference and team MVP honors as a stolen base and pitching strikeout leader 4 consecutive years.
This 2-sport, 1973 Morton graduate starred as a football quarterback and baseball pitcher/3 rd baseman. In football, he earned all-state honorable mention and NWI Times’ Region Offensive Player of the Year recognition. For his baseball prowess, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers. Choosing to continue his football & baseball careers at the University of Evansville, on the gridiron he ranked among the top 10 NCAA Division III quarterbacks nationally in passing and total offense as a junior. On the diamond, the ’78 alumnus set 5 school pitching records.
JAMES K. WHITAKER
This year’s initial Veterans category inductee is a 1951 Hammond High alumnus who excelled for the Wildcats in swimming and golf. Competing on 2 state championship swim teams, he broke the state record in the 100-yard backstroke. As a golfer, he won The Post-Tribune Lake & Porter County Junior championship in ’51, went on to play for the University of Illinois and continued thereafter to compete & excel in the sport.