Aberdeen High School sat down on Thursday evening to honor its present and its past in the 17th annual Aberdeen Hall of Fame/Senior Recognition dinner at the AHS Commons.
The 17th Hall of Fame class inducted on Thursday were Julie Cowan, Joe Daniels, Ralph Faulkner, Rick Anderson and Ray Ryan, and the 1970 undefeated football team. Fifteen AHS seniors were honored for their athletic and academic achievements in their high school careers.
Alexxi Timmons (12 varsity letters total in soccer, basketball and softball) and Jordon Logan (10 varsity letters total in football, wrestling and baseball) were the recipients of the O.R. Austin Award for Athletic Achievement.
Ali Morris (nine varsity letters total in soccer, tennis and wrestling) and Erikk Machowek (11 varsity letters total in football, wrestling and baseball) won the Jay Goldberg Coaches Awards.
The other 11 seniors honored were: Kiana Dixon (10 letters), Lillian Walsh (10), Seth Caba (nine), Veek Cheema (nine), Emily Fisher (eight), Clair Hurd (seven), Molly Rabung (six), Sam Stipic (six), Chase Johnson (six), Tristian Jimenez (six) and Megan West (six).
Aberdeen teacher William Rabung was honored with the Ken Waite Award for his contributions behind the scenes to Aberdeen athletics. Rabung has been the public address announcer at several Bobcat sporting events and was also cited for his willingness to serve as a volunteer at other functions.
1970 Undefeated Football Team
The 1970 Aberdeen football team made its mark on the history books with the first undefeated season since 1907, when the school went 2-0.
One year removed from a large class of seniors who were expected to grab the Southwest Washington League title in 1969, the Bobcats reloaded under head coach Al Eklund, defensive end Joe Daniels, quarterback Eddie Smith and running backs Mike Beck and Larry Godfrey.
Aberdeen blew out then-undefeated Olympia, 48-7, in November at Stewart Field behind 132 yards and three scores by Beck, two touchdowns for Godfrey and three passing TDs by Smith. The Bobcats sealed the undefeated season by surviving Hoquiam, 14-6, on Thanksgiving Day for the league title.
Daniels earned all-state honors for the season, while he, Smith, Beck, Godfrey and lineman Mike Walker were named to the all-league team. Other offensive starters in the Hoquiam game were Rich McCartney, Dennis Peters, Marma Rauhala, Mike Goings, Bill Gulbranson and Dick Hoff.
“It is hard to talk about that team without really thinking about coach Eklund; he was a tremendous teacher and football coach,” Smith said. “He was definitely a player’s coach. His top assistant, who was a great contrast to Al, was Dewey VanDinter. He would really get after you, but he was great. The third coach, who doesn’t get too much notoriety, was Stew White. We had no linemen returning and Stew turned it into a powerful unit. I have to credit the kids and the coaching staff was absolutely fabulous.”
“This was one heck of a team to play for,” Godfrey said. “I don’t have too much to say, but ‘Huddle Up!’”
Retired teacher/coach Randy Hancock, also an AHS Hall of Fame member, inducted two from The Daily World — Rick Anderson and Ray Ryan. Hancock put both sports writers up for induction and spoke well of them before bringing Anderson up for his award.
“I have the privilege of speaking on behalf of a special individual who has touched all of our lives,” Hancock said. “Rick blends in and that’s precisely the way he prefers it. He goes about his job, totally focused on the job at hand. When I put both Rick and Ray Ryan up for induction into the hall of fame, it fulfilled a personal goal of mine to be recognized forever for all that they’ve done for this community; not just Aberdeen, but all of Grays Harbor. My respect for both of them is heartfelt.”
Anderson has been Daily World sports editor since 1977, coming to the paper in 1972 as a news reporter and part-time sports writer from the University of Washington. His flair for writing and his humor are a benchmark of the Daily World sports pages. He has won several Society of Professional Journalists awards for his columns, news and sports stories, including sports columns last year.
The Ballard-Seattle native covered Aberdeen’s state basketball championship victory (coached by Hancock) over Shorecrest in 1982 and every Aberdeen-Hoquiam football game that has been played since 1977.
“If you look at the other Hall of Fame inductees, you have a star football player who played three years in Division I football, a two-time Olympic fencer, a woman who I consider one of the best volleyball players the Harbor has ever produced, an undefeated football team and a sports writer who enriched the lives of hundreds of Grays Harbor athletes every summer on his track team,” Anderson said.
“Then, you have another sports writer, whose athletic accomplishment was being asked to demonstrate a lob shot in an intermediate tennis class,” he added. “So, you might ask, who doesn’t belong here? … I feel blessed to have spent my career in an area where people have been so nice, a staff who have been so supportive and readers who have been so supportive and passionate about sports.”
Ray Ryan began his career in Grays Harbor at the age of 37 at The Daily World after a career as a bank clerk. “Uncle” Ray quickly established himself as one of the more accomplished sports writers in the state, writing for the paper for more than 48 years. He passed away in 2013.
Ryan’s writing style was quick, efficient and fluent in flowing prose that made his work memorable and entertaining. “In nothing flat, his byline translated into ‘read me,’” former Daily World editor and publisher John Hughes once said. “He wrote quickly, with flair and wit.”
Ryan, a Seattle native who attended Stanford University and the University of Washington, teamed up with AHS Hall of Fame coach Al Bivens to form the Grays Harbor Greyhounds, a youth summer track club that toured the Northwest and British Columbia for many years. The team provided a foundation for a generation of Bobcat athletes, including his children.
Ryan also partnered with former Hoquiam coach Bill Jamison to revive the Grays Harbor All-County Track Meet and helped organize the meet for years. That meet has since been named the Ray Ryan Invitational All-County Meet.
“On behalf of Ray Ryan and our family, we would like to thank the community for this honor,” Mick Ryan, Ray Ryan’s son and also an AHS Hall of Fame member, said. “I can imagine my Dad looking down here tonight, smiling at everyone and being proud.”
Julie Cowan (Van Lierop) transferred from Ocosta to Aberdeen as a sophomore and became a three-year standout in volleyball, basketball and track for the Bobcats. In time, Cowan earned the distinction as one of the best volleyball players to come out of Grays Harbor.
Cowan graduated from AHS in 1988 and received a full scholarship to play volleyball at the University of Washington. She later transferred to St. Martin’s College in Lacey. At St. Martin’s, Cowan had two stints on the Saints volleyball team and earned all-conference honors in 1996.
Today, she is a homemaker living with her family in Centralia.
“I haven’t prepared anything to say, but I do want to say that I am truly grateful to be remembered and honored tonight,” Cowan said.
Ralph Faulkner graduated from Aberdeen in 1911 and played three sports, but made his mark after graduation. He moved to California and became one of the world’s most renowned fencers and a famous trainer to the Hollywood stars. The committee accepted the Hall of Fame award on his behalf.
Faulkner qualified for two Olympic Games — 1928 and 1932 — in fencing, but only competed in the team events. He followed the 1928 Olympics by winning the saber world championships and began a career in motion pictures as an actor and stuntman. His last movie was the 1981 live stop-motion adventure “Clash of the Titans” at 90 years old.
Faulkner opened a fencing studio in Hollywood and trained many famous actors, including Errol Flynn, Anthony Quinn, Tony Curtis and John and Bo Derek.
Aberdeen educator Derek Cook, a member of the selection committee, spoke about Joe Daniels, who lives in Illinois and was unable to attend.
Daniels was one of the key members of the 1970 AHS undefeated football team who went on to play three seasons at Washington State University under coach Jim Sweeney as a defensive end from 1972-74. He also played on the Crosstown Motors’ state open division champion slow-pitch softball team and was named twice to the all-tournament team.