PHILADELPHIA — The late Brad Van Pelt, a four-sport standout at Owosso High School and 1969 Trojan graduate, who later won All-American football honors at Michigan State University and All-Pro distinction for the New York Giants in the NFL, has been inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame.
Van Pelt was one of 12 inductees July 2 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown in Philadelphia, Penn. The 29th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was the closing event of the 92nd annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
“It was a very special honor, especially having it that weekend at such a historical place, Philadelphia,” Van Pelt’s younger brother Kim Van Pelt said on Wednesday. “It was very nicely done. It’s a great honor. Brad was recognized for all of his high school accomplishments, not just in football.”
Van Pelt’s brothers, Kim and Rob were in attendance, along with their wives and Brad Van Pelt’s son, Bret was also on hand to accept the award.
Van Pelt starred in football, baseball, basketball and track and field for the Trojans. In his senior year (1968-69), Van Pelt was voted All-State in football, basketball and baseball. As a senior, Van Pelt delivered a 42-rebound performance in basketball and three consecutive no-hitters in baseball. He also competed in track and field as a senior and earned eight total letters.
Kim Van Pelt was one year behind Brad Van Pelt at Owosso and they played on the same teams together for the Trojans. He said his older brother starred at quarterback and defensive back on the football team, was a power pitcher in baseball and a power rebounder in basketball and also managed to throw the shot put in the spring during baseball season.
“He had three no-hitters in a row and his next game was a one-hitter,” Kim Van Pelt said. “He averaged 18 strikeouts in that stretch and his average (that season) was 17.”
Owosso’s Pudge Hahn, a close friend of Brad Van Pelt, since his high school days, remembered seeing one of Van Pelt’s no-hit gems against Davison. It had a memorable beginning, Hahn recalled.
“The first batter who got up to bat got hit by a fastball,” Hahn said. “and the rest of the people just moved back out of the batter’s box. Nobody stood close to home plate. That was one of his no-hitters. I remember that for that reason. He hit that guy right square in the ribs. Just let it fly. But Brad never aimed to hit anybody.”
Hahn also remembers Van Pelt’s senior year of football when he quarterbacked Owosso to a Big Nine championship. His rollout running talent was on display during a big game against Grand Blanc, Hahn recalled.
“Brad won a league championship his senior year,” Hahn said. “(Against Grand Blanc), he practically ran the ball down the field himself — Brad right, Brad left and Brad up the middle.”
Though he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers, Van Pelt chose to attend Michigan State University, playing baseball, basketball and football. A talented safety, he was the first defensive back to win the Maxwell Award as college football’s most talented player.
He was a two-time All-American in football. Van Pelt played 14 years in the NFL with the New York Giants, Los Angeles Raiders and Cleveland Browns. He died of a heart attack in February 2009 at the age of 57.
Van Pelt, a two-time All-American safety under coach Duffy Daugherty at MSU, was honored posthumously last fall by Michigan State University. His name and number 10 were added to the Spartans Ring of Fame.
Van Pelt was honored along with several other inductees into the National High School Hall of Fame.
Leta Andrews, the winningest coach in high school basketball history (boys or girls) from Granbury (Texas) High School, along with four outstanding former high school athletes who later excelled at the Olympic, college and professional levels, headlineed the 2011 class.
Andrews, who completed her 49th year as a high school girls basketball coach this past season, won her 1,334th game on Dec. 7, 2010, to surpass Robert Hughes, the all-time boys basketball coaching leader from Fort Worth (Texas) Dunbar High School who retired in 2005 with 1,333 victories. Andrews finished the 2010-11 season with 1,346 career victories. She is the all-time girls basketball coaching leader by almost 150 victories.
Among the other former high school athletes selected for the 2011 class were Randall McDaniel, football and basketball player, Agua Fria High School, Avondale, Ariz.; Kevin McReynolds, baseball player, Sylvan Hills High School, Sherwood, Ark.; Kenny Monday, wrestler, Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa, Okla.; and Billy Owens, basketball player, Carlisle, Pa., High School.
The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, fine arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and activity programs. This year’s class increases the number in the Hall of Fame to 386.
The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.