BOURBON – The Triton Athletic Hall of Fame inducted another class on Saturday at the third annual Hall of Fame induction banquet. The Hall of Fame recognized two contributors, one coach, and four student athletes. Rounding out this years class were William Moriarity – Contributor; the late Kenneth Keller – Contributor; Coach Mark Heeter; Julie Lozier – Athlete; Jack Carpenter – Athlete; Curt Kreft – Athlete; and James Erwin – Athlete.
The seven inductees were honored during the Hall of Fame weekend. The festivities began with recognition at the Triton Boys Varsity Basketball game against Culver on Friday, January 11th. The inductees were then honored at a dinner ceremony at the Back Forty in Bourbon on January 12th.
The Athletic Hall of Fame was developed by Triton High School Athletic Director, Mason McIntyre, in 2011.
“I believe it’s important to know and understand our rich athletic tradition,” McIntyre said. “Since the schools inception during the 1963-64 school year, many athletes have worn the blue and gold. But these athletes, coaches, and contributors that were recognized set themselves apart by running the fastest, winning championships, and otherwise distinguishing themselves in high school and college athletics.”
The inductees were chosen by a selection committee of five members who include Larry Lemler from the Town of Bourbon, Dave Shively from the Town of Etna Green, Ken Blackford from the Town of Tippecanoe, and members at-large Duane Walters and Hal Kuntz.
Todd Gongwer, author of “Lead…for God’s Sake,” was the featured speaker for the evening. Since writing “Lead…for God’s Sake!” and having his book endorsed by coaching greats such as Urban Meyer and Lou Holtz, Todd has become a sought after speaker, teacher, and coach on the subject of leadership throughout the nation. Todd gave the inductees and the 170 person crowd an inspirational speech about reaching excellence by focusing on being your best instead of being the best.
Retired Triton bus driver William Moriarity was the first contributor inducted into the Class of 2013. William began driving the bus full-time for the Tippecanoe schools in 1957. When Tippecanoe consolidated with Bourbon and Etna Green in 1963, he officially became a Triton School Corporation employee. William retired in 2007 after 49 years as a full time bus driver. During his time, William drove as many athletic trips as he could and has two championship rings as the bus driver for the girls basketball IHSAA State Championship teams in 2000 and 2001.
The late Kenneth Keller was the second contributor inducted. Kenneth was represented by his daughters, Maria Keller, Ramona Keller, and Cindy Keller Shaffer. Kenneth’s grandson, Craig Keller Shaffer was also on hand to celebrate the many contributions of his late grandfather. Kenneth Keller was a long time teacher, guidance counselor, athletic director, and IHSAA official. Kenneth was also in charge of the construction of the current Triton High School Baseball field named in his honor, “Ken Keller Field.”
Coach Mark Heeter followed the Keller family as he was inducted as the third Triton Hall of Fame Coach. “I have always said that great players make good coaches look great. I know this was certainly the case for me,” Coach Heeter said as he addressed the crowd of former players, coaches, faculty, staff, and students during his acceptance speech. Coach Heeter is best known for the back-to-back state championships that his teams won in 2000 and 2001.
Julie Lozier was the first student athlete who was inducted. Julie scored 1,421 career points at Triton and went on to play basketball at Ball State University. She was twice named MAC player of the week and still sits toward the top of the record books in FG% and Blocked Shots at Ball State. Julie currently resides in Muncie where she is the Director of Operations at Central Indiana Orthopedics.
The next athlete inducted was 1981 graduate Jack Carpenter. Jack, who currently is the Triton Elementary Physical Education teacher, is no stranger to being in a Hall of Fame. Jack is a member of the Bethel College Hall of Fame as he was inducted in 2005. His distinguished basketball and golf careers at Triton High School and at Bethel College are something to celebrate. However, Jack says, “Being a Hall of Fame member is great. But I want to ensure that I am a Hall of Fame Father, a Hall of Fame Husband, and a Hall of Fame son!”
Curt Kreft, current Triton Elementary third grade teacher, is one of Triton’s greatest male Cross Country and Track Athletes. Curt participated successfully at Triton and also at Liberty University in Virginia. Curt is the current Triton record holder in the 800m with a time of 1:56, and also the 1600m with a time of 4:20. He also remains in the top of the record book at Liberty University in the indoor 1500m and the indoor Mile running a 4:07. During his acceptance speech, Curt recognized his Grandpa saying, “As I look back and reflect about achieving those goals, though fun and exciting, I realize that they didn’t satisfy me as I thought they would. My Grandpa Kreft wrote me a letter while, while I was at Liberty, and though I don’t remember much of what was written in the letter, I have never forgotten his closing words, “Only Jesus can satisfy the soul.” That’s a truth that has helped me live through achievements and disappointments.”
The last induction of the evening was James Erwin. A 1973 graduate of Triton High School, James was a man of firsts. He was a member of the first winning season in Triton Football history in 1970 going 8-1. James was member of the first Triton Wrestling team in 1971 and was also the first Triton individual wrestler to advance to the IHSAA State finals. James confessed to purposely tripping up a teammate, during the final seconds of a game against North Miami, so he couldn’t make a tackle to prevent a touchdown. “North Miami hadn’t scored a touchdown all year and this was the final game of the season. I didn’t want them to finish the year without at least scoring one. I’ve held that in for all of these years and I’m so relieved to finally confess!” James is the owner of the Pickin’ Patch in Plymouth, where he currently resides.
The induction banquet was full of laughter, tears, stories, and highlights from the many accomplishments, contributions and lives that have been touched by these inductees. “Although I am saddened to see the evening come to an end, I’m excited about tomorrow and what the future holds for the Triton Athletic Hall of Fame,” Mason McIntyre said.
Plans for the 2014 Hall of Fame weekend have already begun. The selection committee and the Triton Athletic Department look forward to recognizing a new class of individuals who have distinguished themselves on the courts and the fields of Triton High school and beyond.