The Perkins Hall of Fame inducted 11 new members and three cross country teams from the 1980s on Sunday, January 16. The induction ceremony was at Mesenburg Hall in Huron.
Perkins High School graduate Brandon Schnittker, Class of 2001, delivered the keynote address. The Hall of Fame inductees were in three categories: Distinguished Alumni, Distinguished Staff, and Distinguished Athletes.
Some 200 guests, including former Perkins Schools staff members and administrators, friends, and family members attended the ceremony. Video of the event by BCSN Erie is available here.
The 2022 Induction Class members are:
(Inducted by Cathy Dorin-Lizzi)
Jeff and John Lizzi are the twin sons of Marylou and Bruno Lizzi. They grew up in Perkins Township and spent much of their childhoods at Sandusky Star Lanes. Although Jeff played 7th to 9th grade football, his natural ability and passion for bowling surfaced when he was 16. After graduating from Perkins High School in 1983, Jeff pursued his dream and joined the Professional Bowlers Tour, where he would go on to win 15 regional titles (his first at age 18) and captured the prestigious Brunswick Memorial World Open.
During his 25-year professional career, Jeff was able to compete and win events overseas, made numerous TV appearances, and was a two-time member of the US Bowling Team that competed for the Japan Cup. He has racked up 108 perfect 300 games and is a member of the Sandusky and Ohio State Bowling Council Halls of Fame.
Meanwhile, his brother John also graduated from PHS in 1983, and attended Bowling Green State University and Kansas State University.
John then started his flour milling career working for Pillsbury, ConAgra, and Harvest States Milling Companies. A member of the National Milling and Baking Organization, John held positions ranging from Plant Superintendent to Plant Manager.Following his 20-year flour milling career, John along with his brother Jeff purchased Star Lanes, the family business they grew up in.
Being involved their entire lives in the third-generation business started by their grandparents, John and Jeff focus their time on creating competitive leagues, family experiences, coaching and most importantly making memories for their customers.
John and his wife Tracee live in Sandusky and have three daughters,Taryn, Alyssa and Courtnee and a son John Jr. Jeff and his wife Cathy live in Sandusky, and have one daughter, Olivia, who attends Briar Middle School.
(Inducted by Ryan Finn)
Steve Finn was born and raised in Lima, where he was a standout student athlete at Lima Central Catholic High School. Steve graduated from Heidelberg College in 1975, where he was a member of the wrestling team, and received his masters degree from Ashland University in 1998.
In 1975, Steve began his 40-year teaching and coaching career at Tiffin Columbian High School and St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, Arizona. He returned to Ohio in 1980, and served the next 35 years as an educator, administrator, and coach at Perkins.
Steve began his wrestling coaching career at Perkins, as the head middle school coach from 1980-1986 and was an assistant high school coach in 1987. He became the head high school coach in 1988. During 13 seasons (1988-2001) as the high school’s head wrestling coach he amassed a career record of 140-45-4. He was responsible for establishing the Sandusky Bay Conference Middle School and JV Wrestling Tournaments, as well as the Perkins Biddy Wrestling Tournament.
His teams earned many honors, including placing in the top-ten in the state of Ohio four times. He has coached a school record 40 state qualifiers, five state champions, eight state finalists and 21 state place winners. In 1999, Perkins was honored to be one of eight teams invited to the inaugural Ohio State Dual Meet Tournament. The team also participated in this event in 2000 and 2001.
Steve was instrumental in developing the US-China Cultural Exchange Program at Perkins. He has visited China as an honored educational ambassador on three occasions. Steve was influential in developing the Perkins School District’s first Crisis Management Program, a comprehensive plan designed to maintain student safety in the event of an emergency.
Steve remains active in the community, volunteering as a mentor to high school students in Ottawa and Erie counties. He is also a founding member of the Chuck Teagarden Classic Perch Fishing Tournament, a charity event that honors his late friend and raises money for local student scholarships.
In retirement, Steve enjoys his family, fishing and traveling. He has been married to his wife, Gail, for 42 years. They have three children, Ryan, Allyson, and Kyle. He is also the proud grandpa to his granddaughter, Ari Finn Brady.
(Inducted by Jeanne Cramer)
John was born and raised in the greater Cleveland area. His parents were immigrants from Slovenia who were never able to finish their formal education due to their internment in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. As a result of their horrific experiences, they vowed that their children would have every opportunity to be well-educated.
John attended Cleveland St. Joseph High School where he participated in numerous activities but enjoyed band the most. He received the Outstanding Junior and Senior band awards while in high school, along with the Chemistry Award his senior year. Upon graduation in 1973 – and despite a full ride offer to the University of Dayton to major in Chemistry – he chose to study music at Bowling Green State University. John received both his bachelor’s degree in 1977 and master’s degree in 1979 from BGSU.
John began his teaching career at Sandusky St. Mary’s Central Catholic High School in 1979. John joined the music staff at Perkins in 1984 as the assistant director to Dennis Lavy. His duties included the Fifth and Sixth Grade Bands, and Marching Band Director. After Mr. Lavy retired in 1985, John assumed the duties of the head band director.
From 1984 to 2014, the large Pirate Band enjoyed much success in both the marching band and concert band settings. The marching band qualified for state every year and was one of only three bands in Ohio to qualify that many years in a row. The wind ensemble also qualified for state every year and, like the marching band, received state superior ratings for most of those 31 years.
John currently directs the North Coast Concert Band, a community band of 85 adult performers. He is the manager of Forte Music in Sandusky and is in charge of Cedar Point’s Music in the Parks Festival. He often consults with area bands. John assists his daughter Jennifer, who is the director of the Port Clinton High School band and also his son-in-law, Josh Barringer, the assistant director of the Sandusky High School Band.
He and his wife Peggy live in Perkins Township.
(Inducted by Char Schuman)
Frank Laudonia was born and raised in Greenwich, Conn. After graduating from high school in 1966, he went to John Carroll University and graduated in 1970. He received his master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 1978.
Frank began his teaching career at Perkins High School in 1972 and retired in 2007. He started as a self-contained special education teacher and eventually became head of the special education department. He worked with a dedicated and gifted group of educators who changed the way that students were identified and taught.
Frank also was involved in the Perkins Education Association, and had been the union’s president, a building representative, chief negotiator.
Frank also was a successful coach. He was assistant freshmen football coach and an assistant baseball coach. In 1976, he became the head golf coach and held the position for 31 years. Frank's first SBC title came in the 1977 season; it was also a first for the Pirate golf team. The team earned a total of 14 SBC titles in his 31 years of coaching.
One of Frank’s fondest golf memories was Alan Schlessman winning the Division 2 State Golf Tournament in 2000. Among the outstanding golfers during his 31 years were Justin Bertsch, who went on to play in an NCAA golf finals with University of Toledo and three PGA Tournaments; Dave Voight played at University of Cincinnati and has won countless Plum Brook Men's Championships; Jeff Beatty led the SBC three years in a row; Eric Claxton, Perry Mullins, and Tim Perrin are all golf professionals; and Scott White was the first golfer to achieve first team SBC.
Coaching the first Girls Golf Team to go to a Sectional Tournament was another very enjoyable experience. Frank has been inducted into the Ohio High School Golf Coaches Hall of Fame.
Frank was married to his late wife Diane, and has two daughters, Sara and Megan.
(Inducted by Dr. Rebecca Teagarden)
Chuck was born in Wheeling, West Virginia and raised in Claysville, Pennsylvania. He graduated from McGuffe High School in 1973, and went to Kent State University on a wrestling scholarship. He graduated in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in health and physical Education. He received a master’s degree from Ashland University in 1991.
Chuck’s teaching career began at Furry School in 1979. He later taught at Meadowlawn School and concluded his career at Briar Intermediate School.
Many recall his dedication to teaching physical education skills and his wonderful ability to work and relate with students from kindergarten through high school.
He served as head wrestling coach from 1980-1988. Perkins won the Sandusky Bay Conference Championship in 1987 and 1988. He coached three state placers and 11 state qualifiers. His overall record was 73-33-3.
Chuck took great pride in being a part of the Perkins community. He loved teaching whether in the gym, the wrestling room, or on a trout stream.
He passed away on June 8, 2017. He is survived by his wife Susan, and their two daughters, Dr. Rebecca Teagarden and Meridith Teagarden Gallogly, both graduates of Perkins Schools.
Distinguished High School Athletes
(Inducted by Ray Neill)
Michael Bixler was born and raised in Sandusky, and attended Perkins from kindergarten through graduation in 1999. Michael was active in athletics and played football, basketball, and baseball at PHS. His path through high school sports took an unexpected turn when two major knee surgeries and a fractured wrist caused him to miss about 50% of his athletic career during his sophomore and junior years. While his recoveries were long and difficult, the return to sports senior year was successful.
Michael was a member of the PHS basketball team, winning the 1998-1999 Sandusky Bay Conference championship, and a member of the 1999 SBC, Sectional, and District Champion baseball team, where he earned 1st Team All-Ohio, Mizuno All-Ohio Team, 1st Team All-District, SBC Outstanding Performer, and 1st Team All-SBC honors.
Michael graduated with the highest grade point average in the Class of 1999. Athletics and academics led him to The Ohio State University, where he walked onto the baseball team. He obtained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Business.
His career began at ARES Inc. as a Design and Program Engineer for 10 years, where he specialized in weapons design. Notable jobs include the design and development of the 5.56mm LSAT machine gun and a 105mm cannon.
Michael moved into the automotive industry in 2014 as a Program Engineer for Tenneco, Inc., where he designs suspension products for noteworthy Ford vehicles such as the F-150, the SuperDuty, Expedition/Navigator, and the new wave of electric vehicles set to come to market in the upcoming years.
In 2012, Michael married his best friend, Emily Reddaway, and has three beautiful children, Owen, Isla, and Ethan.
Shannon Chill Barnum
(Inducted by Amy Litz-Didion)
Shannon Chill was born in Sandusky to Vernon and Linda Chill. She was raised in Fairview Lanes with her younger brother, Matthew, and grew up attending Perkins Schools through her graduation in 1989. She was a member of the girls’ volleyball, basketball, and track teams. Her achievements include being a three-sport, 10-time varsity letter winner, and recipient of The Pirate Award.
Shannon earned All Conference Honors in basketball and volleyball. She was 2nd Team All District, and Honorable Mention All Ohio, in basketball in 1988-1989. She set a number of school records in both volleyball and basketball, was a team captain, and earned the Coach’s award and the MVP Award. Shannon still holds two basketball rebounding records, and is the only girls player to have scored more than 1,000 career points in just three seasons of playing varsity basketball.
Shannon was an SBC champion all four years in track. She ran the 100, 200, and 400 meter sprints, the 300 hurdles, and the 400, 800, and 1600 relays. She was also a two-time state runner-up in the 300 hurdles in 1988 and 1989, and earned a 4th place finish in 1987.
Shannon was a member of the 400, 800, and 1600 relay teams, earning three 4th place finishes and one 5th place finish at the state track meet in 1986 and 1987. She set a variety of both school and conference records in track, was a team captain, and won four MVP Awards.
Shannon still holds the PHS record in the 300 meter hurdles set in 1988. She also holds a record as a member of the 1600 meter relay, set in 1986.
After graduating from Perkins High, Shannon attended, and ran on a track scholarship at Miami University. She graduated from Miami in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in criminology. For six years, Shannon worked in casework, group homes, children's services, and juvenile probation. Next she attended Ashland University and earned an elementary teaching certification in 2001.
In 2002, Shannon moved to San Tan Valley, Arizona, and taught for several years in the classroom, and then in health-physical education. She lives in Arizona with her husband of 16 years, Brian Barnum, and their two daughters, Skylar and Sydney.
(Inducted by Gary Piper)
Dennis was born to the late Paul and Ann Neate, and grew up on a family fruit and vegetable farm, and the youngest of five siblings, all PHS graduates. Dennis graduated in 1989 and was a member of the National Honor Society, recipient of the Pirate Award, Leader, and Rotary Scholarship at graduation.
While attending PHS, he participated in football, basketball, and track, and earned 10 varsity letters. As a senior, he was captain on both the football and basketball teams. In football, Dennis earned 1st team all SBC in both 1987 and 1988. In 1988, he was the only two-way All Conference selection in the SBC as both a guard and linebacker. He was a two time "Hitter of the Year" recipient, team MVP and most valuable lineman in 1988 and 1st team All Ohio Division II selection as a guard his senior year.
In basketball, he was all conference and all district in 1988, while earning the most valuable player award for the 1988 –1989 season. In track and field, Dennis participated in the shot put and discus. Dennis placed third in the SBC in 1989 in the shot put event.
After graduation, Dennis attended Baldwin Wallace University, and graduated in 1993 with a double major in business administration and speech communication. He played on the BW football team, starting three years and serving as captain in 1992. He was a two time academic all conference selection, 2nd team all conference performer in 1992, and graduated as the 7th all-time leading tackler at the Division III school. He won the most valuable linebacker award as a senior.
Dennis remains active in many community activities and has lived in Medina since 1997. He is a past President of the BW Letterman’s Association, board member of the Medina County Park District, board member of the Medina County Economic Development Corporation, and advisory board member for Westfield Bank. He is a 2002 graduate of Leadership Medina County, and a 20-year-plus member and Past President of the Medina Sunrise Rotary club. Dennis has two children, Katie, currently a junior at the University of Dayton, and Jimmy, a senior at Medina High School.
(Inducted by John Schlessman)
Mark Speer was born and raised in Sandusky, graduating from Perkins in 1984. He currently resides in Cypress, Texas. While at Perkins he was inducted into the National Honor Society and a member of the 1984 State Champion Track & Field team as well as an integral member of the undefeated ‘83-‘84 SBC conference champions basketball team. The basketball team went on to finish with a 20-2 record (best in Perkins history) and a final UPI ranking of 6th in Ohio.
Mark’s individual basketball accomplishments include being the all-time leading scorer, 2nd all-time rebounder, most points in a season, highest career (51.1%), season (59.4%), and game (92%) field goal percentage. After his junior season he attended several scouting camps and was selected as a ’83 Metro Index All-Star. In his senior year he was the District 6 Class AA Player of the year, NW Ohio District 1st team, and a 3rd team All-Ohio selection. He was selected as a starter in the 1984 North/South Ohio All Star game.
In Track & Field, he set Perkins school records in the high jump and 110-meter-high hurdles. In the high jump, he was the 1983 state runner up and 3rd place in 1984. He also finished 4th at the 1984 state meet in the high hurdles and helped Perkins win its first team state title. He was selected to compete in the 1984 Midwest Meet of Champions, where he finished 5th in the high jump and helped his Ohio teammates to a victory over Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.
Mark attended Kenyon College, where he graduated with distinction in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He continued his athletic career in both basketball and track & field earning 12 varsity letters: four each in basketball, indoor track, and outdoor track. In basketball, he was starter his first year and finished his career with 852 points and 408 rebounds but was most notably known for his high-flying “alley-oop dunks”.
He was the most successful male athlete in the history of Kenyon’s indoor and outdoor track & field programs. A nine-time NCAA All American: three times in the high jump, three times in the decathlon, twice in the 55M high hurdles, and once in the 110M high hurdles. His best finishes were as the 1986 NCAA Outdoor National runner-up in high jump and at the 1987 NCAA Nationals with 3rd place in decathlon. He won the 1987 All-Ohio Collegiate Championship in the decathlon, which matched him up against decathletes from Division I.
Mark was invited to participate in the prestigious Jesse Owens Classic in high jump against the USA’s best jumpers. He holds several records at Kenyon, most notably the high jump (6’ 11” meters) and decathlon (6,737 pts). He was inducted into the Kenyon College Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Mark later earned an MBA from Louisiana State University. He is currently a sales & marketing executive with Huber Engineered Materials, and has won numerous sales awards during his 30+ year career in the chemical industry. He is also co-founder and CEO of Speer Capital LLC.
He has two sons Christian and Zane, and cherishes the times he volunteered as their coach.
(Inducted by Jeremy Blakely)
Kyle Steinhauser was born in Sandusky and attended Perkins Schools, where he excelled in both academics and athletics. He graduated in 2009. He was a three-year letterman in football and team captain his senior year. He also lettered in Academics and Band, was a member of National Honor Society, and received the Guidance Department award.
His biggest accomplishments were in track and field. Kyle threw the discus and earned four varsity letters, and was a two-time captain. As a freshman, he finished fourth in the SBC and sixth in the District. As a sophomore he earned first place at the SBC, district, and regional meets, and made his first appearance at the state meet.
He threw a personal record mark of 167’ 7’’ to finish the season as the state runner-up. In his junior season, he retained his SBC title setting a new meet and Perkins school record of 180 feet and finished as the district, regional, and state runner-up. At the state meet, he threw a school record-breaking throw of 180’ 5’’. He was part of the 2008 track and field state championship team.
In his senior season, he won the SBC title for a third consecutive year. Despite dealing with a season long knee injury sustained during football, he finished in second place at the district and regional meets. In his final competition, Kyle threw a PR and new school record of 186’ 2’’ to become the state runner-up for the third consecutive season. He earned Academic All-Ohio honors at each of his state meet appearances. At graduation, he held school (individual, 2-man, 3-man), PHS stadium, and SBC records in addition to various invitational and relay records.
Kyle attended Ashland University and received his Bachelor’s degree in sport management with a minor in business administration in 2012. He obtained his MBA with a concentration in finance in 2014.
At Ashland, he was a member of the track and field team, red-shirting his first year to recover from knee surgery. He made the dean’s list each semester and was a scholar athlete during his sport seasons.
Kyle achieved his goal of becoming a National Champion and earned his second All-American award. He was also an Academic All-American each of his three years at nationals and earned All-Conference Academic Excellence awards for each track season he competed at the GLIAC meet. He was named the Co-National Scholar Athlete of the Year for Outdoor Field events in his senior year.
Kyle has been a case manager with Lincoln Financial based in Cleveland as part of its National Planning Team. He was promoted to Senior Case Manager in 2019 and advanced to Director of Planning in 2021.
Cross Country Teams, 1987, 1988, 1989
(Inducted by Chris Roth and Matt Smith)
The 1987, 1988, and 1989 Perkins Cross Country teams achieved local, state, and national acclaim by winning three consecutive Division 2 State Championships.
The accomplishments of the team along with the individual accomplishments of Larry Sparks and Matt Smith helped cement the unprecedented legacy of Perkins distance running that Scott Fry and Coach John Hinton started several years earlier.
The 1987 team was led by Perkins legend Larry Sparks. Close on his heels were captains Scott Smith and Shane Powell, along with Jeff Riffle, and Scott Powell. Chris DelSignore and Chris Roth rounded out the varsity squad. The team scored a state record 47 points, which is still the second-lowest score in Division 2 history.
The 1988 team persevered through injuries to it’s top three runners – Larry Sparks, Jeff Riffle, and Scott Powell. Matt Smith, Mark Bennett, and Mark Chapman developed into consistent varsity runners, while Chris DelSignore and Chris Roth continued to add essential depth to the Pirate’s second state championship team.
The 1989 team took on a unique personality of aggressiveness and tenacity. Matt Smith was the state runner-up and was followed by Mark Bennett, Marc Chapman, Ryan Fisher, and Chris Roth. Tom Spicer and Bryan Porter were valuable members of the varsity squad, with Brandon Canada serving as an alternate.
The sacrifices and dedication of all the team members produced a special team chemistry and enduring friendships. The alumni of these teams helped create a tradition that is still valued today.