The mission of the Stadium High School Athletic Hall of Fame is to recognize and honor the accomplishments of an alum as an athlete, coach, administrator, sportswriter or broadcaster, official, or any other related category
Some might say it’s about time while others would say: The time is just right to establish a Hall of Fame to honor the student-athletes who have excelled over Stadium High School’s 115-year history. Many of those athletes went on to star and win medals in the Olympics, become collegiate All-Americans and compete in the baseball, football and basketball professional leagues. There were teams that won state, league and regional championships as well. The Hall of Fame will honor each and every one.
Her nickname was “Bunkie” and her Stadium classmates deemed her as the “most athletic girl” in the class of 1937. She honed her skiing skill on the slopes of Paradise as member and secretary of the Stadium Ski Club. And later, after she graduated, she accomplished what was considered an unbelievable athletic feat. Her biographer described it this way: “it was if a pick-up team from lower Slovakia came over to the United States and beat the New York Yankees in baseball.” Her name: Gretchen Kunick Fraser, the first American skier, male or female, to stun the world by winning a gold and silver medal in the 1948 winter Olympics. She was also one of the first women athletes whose image was to appear on a box of Wheaties.
While at Stadium in 1924, Herman Brix divided his time by practicing playing the lead in the opera “The Pirates of Penzance” and then down on the playing field of the Stadium Bowl to hone his skills as a star tackle on the Tiger football team. He went on to start as a lineman on the UW Husky football team that played Alabama in the 1926 Rose Bowl and then to win a silver medal in the shotput at the 1928 Olympics. But his love was for acting and in Hollywood he went by the stage name Bruce Bennet where he played Tarzan, Daniel Boone, Cole Younger and as Humphrey Bogart’s sidekick in “The Treasure of the Sierra” and many other roles in a 40 career in film.
When Doris Kovanen graduated from Stadium, and when scholarships were limited, she had 32 offers for five different sports. She eventually chose the University of North Carolina and started as a first-year student on the 1981 Tar Heel soccer team that went undefeated and became national champion. In her fourth season, she was selected to play for the national team at the world championships, but an injury halted that plan. She finished her career at UNC garnering first and second team NCAA All-America honors, a reginal tournament MVP and three-time all-conference recognition.
This 1958-59 Tiger basketball team coached by Jack Heinrick played above the rim on offense was known for its oppressive full court press on defense and was the only team in the state to start three and at times four Black ball players. During its run at the AA State Championships, it began by rolling over undefeated Lake Washington, defeated Olympia by holding it to 29 points and won the State Tournament by a lopsided 70-50 win over Burlington-Edison. Herman Washington and Jim Johnson were named first team All-State and Rich Brines and first year student Charlie Williams were named to the second team. Williams went on to star at Seattle University and then teamed up with the great Connie Hawkins to lead Pittsburg Pipers to the 1968 championship of the American Basketball League.
Stadium High School athletes have competed with honor, integrity, and the pursuit of excellence throughout its rich and storied history. The athletes mentioned in the above sections were just a few who helped establish Stadium’s tradition of excellence on and off the field of play. The Stadium Athletic Hall of Fame is a place where we can honor and recognize former and future athletes for their athletic contributions to Stadium, the Tacoma community, and the world.