BG to honor five at game

The founder of BGSU’s baseball, basketball and track programs will be among five new members inducted into the BGSU Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend.

Fred Beyerman, who came to BG in September 1915, was hired as an instructor of physical education, but had an interest in developing an athletic program. He recruited and coached the school’s first basketball team during the 1915-16 season.

Beyerman was also the coach of BG’s first baseball team, which began play in 1918.

While serving as the school’s baseball and basketball coach, Beyerman was named athletic director and was the leader in the founding of the Northwest Ohio Athletic Association, which began play in the 1919-20 season and consisted of five schools — BG, Toledo, Bluffton, Defiance and Findlay– competing in baseball and basketball. Football, track and tennis were added to the program within three years.

Beyerman served as NWOAA president for four years and won the school’s first championship during that time when the baseball team captured the NWOAA championship in 1921. He also established the school’s first athletic committee and put the first track team together in 1923 before leaving BG to start the Wood County Insurance Company. Beyerman died in December of 1955. The rest of the class of 2003 consists of: Hank Reest, Mark Szlachcic, Erik White and Jerry York.

Reest was an All-American swimmer for BG in 1959 and 1960. He won All-American honors in the 220-meter freestyle during his sophomore year, becoming the first sophomore in school history to win All-American honors in swimming. He was also part of a 440-meter relay team that went undefeated in the regular season, won the Mid-American Conference championship and finished sixth in the nation during the 1959-60 season. Following his graduation, Reest was honored with the inception of the Henry Reest Swimathon Trophy by BG swimming coach Sam Cooper.

Szlachcic was a wide receiver for the Falcons from 1989-1992 and helped lead the team to back-to-back MAC titles and bowl game victories in 1991 and 1992. He currently ranks second in school history in career receptions with 182, third in receiving yards with 2,506, fourth in touchdown catches with 18 and 10th in all-purpose yards with 2,821.

White compiled a record of 24-7-2 over three years as the Falcons starting quarterback. He led BG to a record-tying 16 consecutive MAC wins in 1991 and 1992 and won the Vern Smith Award and All-MAC First-Team honors both years. He ranks third in school history in completions [515], attempts [950], yards passing [6,072] and touchdowns [39].

York is BG’s all-time winningest hockey coach. He compiled a record of 342-248-31 during his 15-year tenure at BG. He was the head coach of the Falcon squad that won the NCAA championship in 1984. York is currently the head coach at Boston College, his alma mater. He became the second coach in NCAA history to lead two different schools to national championships when he led BC to the national title in 2001. He enters the 2003-04 season as college hockey’s fifth winningest coach with a record of 668-473-61.

The class of 2003 will be introduced at halftime of Saturday’s football game between BG and Liberty.

Coming off an upset of Purdue and having defending national champion Ohio State coming up next week, the Falcons have the challenge of staying focused on the task at hand, beating Liberty.

“It’s pretty easy, you have to show up every week and play,” head coach Gregg Brandon said. “I’ll tell them what I told them before Eastern Kentucky. ‘If we play with full-speed effort, and we limit our mental errors, we’ll win the game.'”

Quarterback Josh Harris said he is is focused on Saturday’s game.

“You can’t look past anybody. We can’t come out with a lackluster performance,” Harris said. “We’re trying to do something special this year. I’m not thinking about being 3-0 because we’re not 3-0.” Brandon is hoping for a full house Saturday night.

“I’d love to see 25,000 fans here Saturday night, because we’ve got a solid team,” Brandon said. “If you’re a football fan, I would think you would want to be here. Our offense is full-throttle, our defense is aggressive, tackles well and plays hard. If you’re a football fan of any kind, I’d think you’d want to be here on Saturday at 6 p.m.”