The new Bellingham High School Athletic Hall of Fame isn’t getting off to a slow start. Its first class of inductees will include a major league pitcher who threw a no-hitter, another nine-year major league veteran, a couple of former NFL defenders and an Olympic athlete.
They highlight the list of 17 former Bellingham High standout student-athletes and coaches that will be introduced at halftime of a Jan. 12 boys basketball game against Squalicum before the induction ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 13 at the BHS Performing Arts Center.
Leading the way will be former Cubs, Pirates and Cardinals pitcher Cliff Chambers, who threw a no-hitter against the Boston Braves May 6, 1951. Chambers was a member of Class of 1939 at Bellingham, before playing college baseball for Washington State from 1941-’42.
He was not the only former Red Raider standout to go on to play professionally.
Tom Erlandson (Class of 1958) also played football at Washington State before his seven-year NFL career at linebacker with the Broncos, Dolphins and Chargers from 1962-68, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1966.
Roger Repoz (Class of 1958) had a nine-year major league career with the Yankees, Royals and Angels from 1964-72 after playing at Western Washington State College (now Western Washington University), where he’s already a member of the WWU Hall of Fame.
Steve Alvord (Class of 1983) played defensive tackle and defensive end for the Cardinals (1987-88) and Barcelona Dragons (1991-92) of the World League of American football after a standout collegiate career at Washington.
The class also will include former University of Washington track and field athlete Fred Luke (Class of 1964), who won the 1972 and ’76 AAU national titles in the javelin before finishing eighth in the event at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
Joining Chambers, Erlandson, Repoz, Alvord and Luke in the first class will be:
▪ Monte Bianchi (1951), who was a four-sport letterman at Bellingham in football, basketball, baseball and track and field before playing football at USC from 1951-53.
▪ Bob Blum (1964), whose track and field school record he set before going to the University of Oregon still stands today.
▪ John Wilson (1965), a swimmer who won six state titles while at Bellingham, setting five state records in the process. He was the first to be inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
▪ Brad Stephan (1969), who played football and still holds a BHS school record in track and field he set before attending the U.S. Naval Academy, where he played football and track and field.
▪ Jennifer Schwartz (1982), who set a number of school records in track and field and was a multiple state champion before going on to become an All-American at Azusa Pacific.
▪ Dean Dekoster (1982), who held five of eight individual event swimming school records, still holds the best marks in the 200 and 500 freestyles and was a four-year letter winner at Washington.
▪ Cresey Stewart (1983), who set a number school records in track and field and was a multiple state champion before going on to become an All-American at Occidental College.
▪ Sean Linville (1989), who was a three-sport letter winner and all-state selection in football, basketball and baseball before going on to play baseball at Washington. He’s currently the athletic director at Blaine.
▪ Pete Kaligis (1989), who played football and was a multiple state champion in track and field before going on to play both sports at Washington. He’s currently the defensive tackles coach on Craig Bohl’s staff at Wyoming.
▪ Becca Friday (2009), who won multiple state championships in track and field and was a standout in cross country before an All-America running career at Oregon.
▪ Bob Dorr, who coached track and field for the Red Raiders for 31 years, guiding the Red Raiders to three state titles, and has been inducted into the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame.
▪ George Yonlick, who coached wrestling at Bellingham from 1961 to ’86, has been selected to the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame and has an annual wrestling tournament at the school named after him.