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The top 100 high school athletes of all time: First installment features CMU great Gary Hoogeboom

By: Tom Markowski, July 1, 2017, 11:00 am


The following is the first installment of State Champs’ list of the top 100 male athletes in the history of Michigan high school athletics. This list was created after hours of compiling facts and opinions. In analyzing data and comparing athletes of the 1920s to those of the 1990s and beyond we found difficulty in imagining how the athletes of the past would compare and compete against the present-day athlete. The adage, ‘bigger, stronger, faster’, must be applied but one cannot overlook the records and achievements of those in the 1930s, ‘40s and earlier.

It is the intent of State Champs to expose and honor the achievements of athletes, some of whom our readers might not familiar with and to create conversation on just who were some of the best. 

We have a few guidelines for athletes to be considered for this list. One is they had to attend high school, for at least one school year, in Michigan. They also had to compete in sports at the high school they attended. Playing for club teams and travel teams outside of the school does not meet these guidelines.

Athletes like boxers Joe Louis and Chris Byrd, for example, did not, as far as our research could ascertain, compete in athletics, at least in boxing, their main sport, in high school.

Other athletes, like hockey standouts like Mike Modano did not compete in the sport they excelled at in high school.

State Champs would like to thank Wikipedia, MHSAA historian Ron Pesch, Detroit area historian Bill Hoover and others like Michigan sports writers Denny Grall and Bill Kahn for their expertise. These, and others, provided so much of the information and opinions about these athletes that made this project possible.  

It must be noted that much of the information obtained, especially on some of the Negro League players, was sketchy.

The following is a list of the athletes ranked 91 through 100. Next week we will release the athletes ranked 81-90.



  1. George Goeddeke, Detroit St. David, Notre Dame, Broncos (AFL/NFL): Made All-Catholic in both basketball and football, and was all-state in football. Started all four years in both sports in high school. Goeddeke ran track one season. Played center at Notre Dame three seasons (freshmen were ineligible for varsity competition) and was a full-time starter all three seasons. Notre Dame was 9-1 in 1964, his sophomore season. His senior year Notre Dame won the National Championship after playing Michigan State to a 10-10 tie in East Lansing. He played seven seasons on the offensive line with the Denver Broncos and made All-Pro one year.
  2. "Jumpin’ Johnny" Kline, Detroit Northwestern/Detroit Northeastern, Wayne State: Reached the Olympic trials for high jump and long jump and triple jump, even though he never did the triple jump before the trials.  He finished behind Lorenzo Wright (Olympic medalist) in the triple jump. He played for the Harlem Globetrotter and went to camp with the Detroit Pistons.
  3. Earl Brown, Jr., Benton Harbor, Notre Dame: A tremendous center and the top individual player in the Southwestern Michigan Conference, Brown finished his senior year as the league’s top scorer. Twice named to the All-Conference team, Brown starred in both basketball and football at Notre Dame. Even today he is considered by many as one of the university’s greatest two-sport athletes.
  4. Harry Kipke, Lansing Central, Michigan, Globetrotters: Kipke earned 13 varsity letters at Central including three in basketball. Kipke served as captain his senior year. He was honored on the All-Tournament team when his team advanced to the Class A semifinals in 1920. He later played and coached at U-M. Kipke was U-M’s first nine-letter winner and was selected All-America once.
  5. Gary Hoogeboom, Grand Rapids Northview, Central Michigan, Cowboys (NFL): Hoogeboom was all-state in basketball and football, and starred at quarterback at Central Michigan University, he guided the Chippewas to an undefeated MAC Championship in 1979 while setting a school record of 4,045 all-purpose yards and being named MVP of the conference. He was drafted by the Cowboys and enjoyed an 11 year career in the National Football League finishing with 9,500 passing yards and 49 touchdowns.
  6. Steve Beck, Southeastern, Arizona State: A muscular 6-4 forward, Beck also excelled at football and baseball. He was selected by Phoenix in the NBA Draft but did not play for the Suns. He was named all-state in football and basketball. He averaged in double figures in scoring at ASU all four seasons. His high school coach, Henry Washington, said Beck could have played baseball professionally.
  7. Wilbert "Wilbur" King, Detroit Pershing, Pittsburgh Crawfords (Negro League Baseball), Globetrotters: Baseball was King’s predominant sport but he also ran track at Pershing. He played professional softball for the Joe Louis Brown Bombers and football for Detroit Pioneers. He also played with the Harlem Globetrotters and the Detroit Gems in NBL (which later became the Los Angeles Lakers, after they left Minneapolis).
  8. Steve Fraser, Hazel Park, Michigan, Olympics: Fraser was the 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling in th1 198-pound weight class. Fraser was a Michigan High School Athletic Association state wrestling champion (185 pounds, 1976) and later an All-America at U-M. Fraser’s gold medal was the first for the U.S. in the Greco-Roman category.
  9. Phil Regan, Wayland Union, Western Michigan, Tigers, Dodgers, Cubs (MLB): A three-sport star at Wayland, Regan earned all-state honors in basketball and football before briefly attending Western Michigan. He signed a baseball contract with the Detroit Tigers in 1956. In over six seasons with Detroit Regan went 42-44 with a 4.50 ERA. Traded to the Dodgers before the 1966 season, Regan responded by going 14-1 with a 1.62 ERA, 88 strikeouts in 116 innings. He led the league with 21 saves to help the Dodgers capture the NL pennant. The Sporting News named him the National League Reliever of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year. He played in one All-Star Game and pitched in the World Series.
  10. Mike Kadish, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Notre Dame, Dolphins, Bills (NFL): An all-state football player at Catholic Central, Kadish was an All-America lineman at Notre Dame in 1971 and was named the Buffalo Bills MVP in 1977. Played 10 NFL seasons and was part of the 17-0 Dolphins team that won a Super Bowl.