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2021 class inducted into the GR Sports Hall of Fame

Six new members were enshrined Tuesday at Van Andel Arena
GR Sports Hall of Fame
Posted at 9:45 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 23:04:06-04
Peter Stuursma joins the show from the GR Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony

Among the new members enshrined into the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday were all of the East Grand Rapids football teams that won a record tieing five straight state championships from 2006 to 2010.

"Consistency," Head coach of those EGR teams Peter Stuursma said. "Our guys just had a belief. Everyday they walked off of the bus or out of our locker room they believed that were going to win. I've kidded, if we were playing the Chicago Bears that day, I think they felt they could win that game."

2021 GR Sports Hall of Fame induction

Tia Brooks-Wannamacher was a star thrower at East Kentwood and Oklahoma University and a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team.

She says it was her coaches that left lasting memory with her and is a reason she is now coaching at the high school level in Ohio.

"It's amazing," Brooks-Wannemacher said about the coaches she had when she was competing. "I learned so much as a person and as an athlete with my coaching so to be able to give back to the sport that has given so much to me is an amazing opportunity."

Beth Launiere is in her 32nd season as head volleyball coach at the University of Utah, has won over 600 games and has 17 NCAA Tournament appearances.

The Northview High School and Aquinas College graduate knew at an early age that coaching was something she wanted to do.

"I probably knew it when I was ten years old," Launiere said. "When I was talking to my high school diving coach about what the lineup should be at Northville Park. I've got a business and economics degree from Aquinas but I kind of knew it was something I wanted to do and then I just had great opportunities."

Kelly Butler played football at Purdue and eventually playing for the Lions and Browns in the NFL and then in Canada as well.

He says the things he learned at Union High School in the late 1990's playing for Scott VanEssen gave him a chance to be successful.

"First and foremost I remember running that hill with coach VanEssen," Butler said. "I remember that in order to be able to standout you have to be able to have something to standout about so work ethic was one thing. So looking at the whole experience, just hard work was first and foremost if you put yourself to work you could at least give yourself a chance."

Tom Werkmeister had a legendary amateur golf career before taking his talents to PGA Tour Champions, among his achievements Werkmeister won six Golf Association of Michigan mid-amateur championships and was the GAM player of the year five times.

"It's crazy actually," Werkemister said. "That is the cool part about this Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame that it's anybody in any sport and to be a golfer here, it's pretty neat."

Bob Kaser the amazing voice of the Grand Rapids Griffins went in as the Warren Reynolds lifetime achievement award winner.