Hillman inducts 2017 class into Sports Hall of Fame

News Photo by James Andersen The Hillman Sports Hall of Fame inducted its fourth class on Saturday at Hillman High School. Pictured left to right are Jay Johnston, Grant Marlatt, Richard Brown, Karen and Lonnie Porter, Curt Tebo and Julie Shiffer Shepherd. Johnston, Tebo and Shiffer Shepherd were inducted and Oliver (Obie) Farrier, represented by the Porters and Marlatt, was chosen as a member of the Richard Brown Trailblazers Club, which honors athletes and athletic contributors who competed and contributed before 1955.

HILLMAN–During their time at Hillman High School, Curt Tebo, Julie Shiffer Shepherd and Jay Johnston had decorated, often record-setting careers.

But for all of their accomplishments, it was their dedication and passion for all the sports they played they made them successful. That passion and dedication led each of them to the Hillman Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday as they were inducted as the 2017 class, the fourth in the Hall of Fame’s history.

Oliver (Obie) Farrier was also honored as part of the Richard Brown Trailblazers Club, which honors athletes and athletic supporters who’s accomplishments and contributions took place before 1955.

“What a great group again,” Hall of Fame committee member Eric Muszynski said. “As the years go by…there are some amazing student athletes who have been a part of this school and the funny thing is we’re just tapping into it a little.”

Tebo graduated in 1984 and won nine letters while playing basketball, football and baseball and running track.

On the gridiron, Tebo was a star and established himself as one of the school’s best football players during a three-year varsity career. As a senior he earned all-state and all-conference honors as both an offensive lineman and a linebacker. He also won the team’s Hatchet Award as a senior. 

Tebo also found success as a coach after his playing days. He coached Hillman’s softball team from 2006-14, leading the Tigers to a district title and five North Star League titles while winning more than 200 games. In 2011 he was named District Coach of the Year by the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association.

It’s a great honor to be amongst all these great people from Hillman schools sports program,” Tebo said. “It’s a privilege to be part of a school program where sports play such a big part of (the town) in Hillman.”

Shiffer Shepherd graduated in 1996 won letters in softball, volleyball and basketball. Softball was where Shiffer Shepherd made her mark and was part of a successful period for the program. During her career, Shiffer Shepherd helped Hillman win four district titles and was part of Hillman’s 1996 state runner-up team which lost 3-1 to Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard in the final.

Shiffer Shepherd was named Hillman’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1995 and earned all-North Star League honors in softball four years in a row and all-state honors in three of her four softball seasons. 

“I’m here to thank the committee for selecting me. It’s an honor to be chosen,” Shiffer Shepherd said. “I have so many great memories from being an athlete and student at Hillman High School. As I’ve grown older, I realize how much time and effort my parents, teachers and coaches spent teaching me different valuable lessons. Those four years of high school sure go by fast.”

Johnston won 10 letters at Hillman while starring in basketball, football, track and baseball. While he set records in nearly every sport he played, Johnston was the unlikeliest of sports stars. As a middle schooler, Johnston admitted he didn’t have much athletic ability and credited boosts of confidence with helping him blossom into a star.

One instance was on the football field where Johnston, then a sophomore, caught a pass and took off running down the field, expecting to see players coming after him.

“It’s confidence. Confidence was the key,” Johnston said. “I just took off running and I didn’t see anybody. I looked back and they’re laughing. I looked back and they’re still laughing. I said, ‘What’s going on?’ (They said) ‘There’s nobody that can catch you.'”

On the basketball court, Johnston, standing 6-foot-3, discovered he could dunk two-handed and became a star for the Tigers. During his junior and senior seasons he scored 876 points and had a single-game record of 40. He earned all-conference honors in those two years.

 Johnston’s speed in football carried over to the track where he set a school record in the 220 and qualified for the state finals as a senior.

Farrier graduated from Hillman in 1933 and is the fourth person to be chosen for the Trailblazers Club. He played basketball and baseball for the Tigers. Farrier was known for his blazing fastball which was said to leave his catchers with sore hands. Farrier garnered some interest from the minor leagues until he had a shoulder injury.

“I want to thank the Hillman High School Hall of Fame Committee and the Richard Brown Trailblazers Club for recognizing Obie for his athleticism and giving me the opportunity to talk about the man I was privileged to call Dad,” Karen Porter, Farrier’s daughter said.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.