Robert M. Bonacci, '68
After claiming an Athletic Hall of Fame award as a member of the 1964 MIAA champion football team, Bob Bonacci is earning an individual induction to the Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of his accomplishments on the baseball and football fields.
Bob played an integral role in the Britons’ worst-to-first turnaround on the diamond. After finishing last in the league in 1967 and getting off to a 2-10 start in 1968, the team surged to a 9-3 record in league play, thanks to Bob’s .500 hitting which won him the MIAA’s batting title. In addition to being named the Britons’ most improved and most valuable player, Bob was rewarded with All-America, MIAA most valuable player, and all-league first-team awards.
“Bob was an excellent receiver, especially good at keeping our pitching staff (including me) cool in tough situations,” recalled Kirk Heinze, ’70. “Without his grace under pressure behind the plate and his torrid bat, we would not have won the title.”
After graduating from Albion, Bob turned down a contract offer from the Detroit Tigers to pursue a career teaching health and physical education in the Detroit Public Schools where he worked for 33 years. He spent his summers as a baseball instructor for the Detroit Parks and Recreation Department, and was selected to be the Tigers’ bullpen catcher in 1981. He continued his relationship with the Tigers in 1998 when he started as the team’s scoreboard operator, a position he continues to hold.
Bob has remained active in competitive athletics by serving as a varsity baseball umpire in southeastern Detroit. He has worked as an official at some of the state’s biggest events, umpiring the East-West All-Star baseball game four times, and the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s baseball finals twice. He has also served as a referee during the MHSAA’s football finals on two occasions.
Bob and his wife, Shari Beitelshees Bonacci, ’69, reside in Fraser. The couple has two daughters, Lori and Suzanne, and two sons, Michael and Jeffrey.
Lance Brown helped deliver the first MIAA football championship of the Pete Schmidt era by making a successful transition from fullback to tailback in time for the 1985 season. Lance led the Britons’ rushing attack with 997 yards—517 of those in league games—as Albion posted a 4-0-1 record against league rivals and advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs. He led the league in touchdowns in 1985, scoring eight in league play, and he ended up second in the league in all-purpose yards. In league play, he torched Olivet for 161 yards and three first-half touchdowns, and Adrian for 133 yards and two scores.
Lance continued to roll up gaudy statistics in 1986, rushing for 975 yards and six touchdowns and catching 12 passes for 131 yards.
The two-time MIAA All-Conference first-team selection and 1985 MIAA most valuable player and honorable mention All-American finished with 2,344 career rushing yards. At the time, he was 103 yards shy of the school’s all-time record.
“Lance was blessed with talent, size, and speed, but his heart and determination were what set him apart,” explained Mike Grant, ’87, one of Lance’s roommates and a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2006. “He ran like Walter Payton—always looking to get the extra yard, never stepping out of bounds (taking the easy way out), and always looking to deliver the blow. He was never the fastest guy, but he was reliable and always got the job done.”
A history major at Albion, Lance served as vice president of Sigma Nu fraternity and as a member of the Interfraternity Council and Lacrosse Club.
Now a district manager for Wyeth Pharma-ceuticals, Lance resides in Rockford with his wife, Kristi, and son, Jacob.
When he graduated from Albion, it was easy to spot Bill Dunn’s name in the swimming and diving team’s record book. His times of 22.17 seconds in the 50 freestyle and 53.85 in the 100 butterfly were school standards, and he swam legs on the record-holding 400 and 800 freestyle and 400 medley relay teams.
A four-time MIAA All-Conference award winner, Bill sprinted to MIAA titles in the 50 freestyle from 1979 to 1981, and he was selected as Albion’s most outstanding performer in 1979.
When he wasn’t in the pool, Bill was involved with the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and the Sigma Gamma Epsilon geology honorary.
Bill, who graduated magna cum laude, has put his geological training from Albion to work with ExxonMobil since 1984. He currently holds the title of geophysical advisor with the company’s Sakhalin I Project in Houston. He has also been involved with his kids’ athletic careers, serving on the booster clubs at The Woodlands High School.
Bill and his wife, Virginia, are the parents of Caroline, Jennifer, and Jordan, and they live in The Woodlands, Texas.
R.J. Fabian swung for the fence as the Britons’ third baseman in the early 1980s.
R.J. achieved third-team Academic All-America and MIAA All-Conference first-team status on the diamond in 1983 when he hit .382 (13 hits in 34 at-bats) and tied for fifth in the league in runs batted in with 11. In all games that season, R.J. hit .352 with three doubles, a triple, six homeruns, and 25 RBI.
He was an honorable mention all-league selection as the Britons claimed the MIAA title with an 11-1 record in 1982. Two of his team-best 11 homeruns were slugged against league rivals. His statistics for all games during the season were remarkable as he posted a .365 batting average and drove in 40 runs.
When the statistics from the 1981 season are factored in, R.J. drove in 79 runs while wearing a Briton uniform.
R.J. also served as quarterback on the football team, throwing for 2,660 yards and 11 touchdowns from 1980 to 1982. He achieved MIAA All-Conference status in 1981 after racking up 1,342 passing yards.
A computational mathematics major, R.J. graduated magna cum laude, and he went on to earn an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina in 1990. R.J. has remained active in the athletic arena by serving as a youth coach in baseball, basketball, football, and soccer.
Originally from Jackson, R.J. serves as the director of client solutions for NouvEON, a regional business and technology consulting firm based in Charlotte, N.C. He resides in Huntersville, N.C., with his wife, Laurie, and children Katie, Petey, and Tommy.
Sara Holser holds the distinction of being the first woman golfer from Albion to achieve MIAA All-Conference status. She accomplished the feat in 1993 when she completed the season with a 94.6-stroke average. Her score was boosted by a round of 86 at Olivet’s course.
Sara repeated as an MIAA All-Conference performer in 1994 when she scored in the 80s in three of the six rounds she played and finished with an 89.3-stroke average.
Sara’s impact on the women’s golf program, however, was not limited to her outstanding play on the course. She worked to recruit talented players after a time in the program’s first season that she was the only Briton on the course. Sara guided campus tours, wrote follow-up letters, and hosted overnight visits for potential student-athletes. By the time Sara was a senior, Albion had 10 players on its women’s golf roster.
“Sara was one-of-a-kind, always upbeat, always very pleasant,” said Dave Kennedy, who served as Albion’s coach. “She wanted to excel. That’s what makes a good captain.
“Sara wanted to play with women who were her equal,” Kennedy added. “It is better to play with people of the same caliber.”
Off the course, Sara was a four-year member of Student Senate, where she rose to the position of vice president. A member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, she served as a chairperson for Greek Week activities.
Sara also gained professional experience in the Albion area as a marketing volunteer for the Albion Community Hospital and as a human resource intern at Starr Commonwealth.
Despite her many activities, Sara graduated cum laude.
Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., Sara and her husband, Patrick, ’95, make their home in Ada. Sara is employed by Unilever Foodsolutions as a business development manager, and she reports being busy supporting Patrick’s new optometric practice. The couple has two children, Maya and Max, with a third due in November.
Albion’s football team featured an outstanding defense, dubbed “the wrecking crew,” as the Britons surged to MIAA titles in 1976 and 1977 with 5-0 records both years. The individuals on that defense have been honored in recent years, and now Tyree Minner takes his place alongside Dave Abbott, Fred Cromie, Jim Haskins, and Rick Otis in the Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Tyree ranks at the top with all of them,” said former Briton head coach Frank Joranko, ’52, who was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. “Tyree was an emotional kind of person. He was always vocal in the locker room. Not only did he inspire others to play harder, he played harder himself.”
Tyree, who broke into the Britons’ starting lineup in 1976, used his speed, strength, and agility to become one of the best defensive players in the MIAA.
He earned the first of his two MIAA All-Conference first-team awards in 1977 when he was in on 98 tackles, intercepted four passes and recovered two fumbles. Tyree starred in Albion’s debut in the NCAA Division III playoffs when he intercepted two passes against the University of Minnesota-Morris.
The defensive end served as a captain alongside Steve Mundwiler and Curtis Pope in 1978. He finished the season with 96 tackles, 12 of them for loss, and two interceptions. Tyree also broke up three passes.
An economics and management major at Albion, Tyree went on to earn an M.B.A. from Wayne State University and a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Dallas. Originally from Flint, Tyree manages a plant in Fenton, Mo., for the Chrysler Corporation. He resides in Saint Louis with his wife, Gwendolyn, and daughter, Terrell, and son, Tyree II.
Tom Reason brought national prominence to Albion in football and track and field in the early 1990s.
He won the NCAA Division III national championship in the decathlon in 1994. His march to the title of “Division III’s Greatest Athlete” started with a fifth-place finish in the event in 1992. Tom eclipsed the 7,000-point mark for the first time while finishing second in 1993. Also in 1994, he came within one place of being a two-time All-American in the same meet, placing ninth in the javelin. He was accorded All-America status all three years.
On the league level, Tom ran the lead leg of the Britons’ championship 4x100-meter relay teams in 1991 and 1992, and he won individual titles in the 110-meter hurdles in 1993 and the javelin throw in 1994. He was a member of the MIAA All-Conference team from 1992 to 1994.
The wide receiver from Pinckney also earned three MIAA All-Conference first-team awards on the gridiron as he helped Albion earn MIAA titles from 1990 to 1993. Tom led the nation in kickoff returns as a sophomore, averaging better than 30 yards per run during the 1991 season. In the Britons’ 35-14 win over Denison, he returned the season’s opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown. He went on to finish as Albion’s leading receiver for the season with 27 receptions for 436 yards and five touchdowns. Tom added 39 receptions for 529 yards and seven scores in 1992.
“Tom moved from quarterback to become a real good receiver and kick returner,” recalled Lance Coleman, ’91, who was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. “He was able to switch gears and help the team in any way he could.
“He was strong, had good lateral movement, and was aware,” Coleman continued. “He could get an angle on defenders who would just miss him.”
Tom is a science teacher and coach at Pinckney Community High School. Tom and his wife, Stacy, are the parents of Dylan, Brielle, and Brooklyn.
Dennis Wahr earned MIAA awards on the links and hardwood during his career at Albion.
Dennis led Albion to an MIAA golf championship in fall 1972 when he was the league medalist. He was the medalist with a round of 72 as Albion defeated Adrian, 13-2, to put the Britons into a match with Kalamazoo to decide which team would go into the league’s field day with at least a share of the title. Albion went on to defeat Kalamazoo, 12-3, as Dennis posted a score of 78. Dennis’ rounds of 76—for a 152 total—later helped Albion win the MIAA’s field day by a 14-stroke margin.
The men’s golf team finished second in the league in 1973 as Dennis earned team most valuable player honors after averaging 79 strokes per round.
Dennis also earned three varsity letters on the basketball court. He was an honorable mention All-MIAA and team most valuable player selection after ranking second in the league in free throw percentage (.769, 30-of-39) and fifth in field goal percentage (.511, 46-of-90) during the 1973-74 campaign.
Originally from Jackson, the Phi Beta Kappa inductee graduated magna cum laude and received his M.D. from Wayne State University. He performed his fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and his residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan.
Currently the president and chief executive officer of Lutonix, Inc., in Maple Grove, Minn., Dennis has more than 25 years of experience in medical device development, management, and operations, as well as in clinical practice as a board-certified interventional cardiologist. He is involved with the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. Dennis and his wife, Joyce, are the parents of three daughters, Jennifer, Christine, and Alexa.
Boosted by the pitching of Jim Corbeil in 1988 and the hitting of outfielder Chris King in 1989, Albion won back-to-back MIAA titles.
Corbeil was the MIAA’s most valuable player in 1988. He posted a 4-1 record against league opponents, winning his last four in a row, and had an earned run average of 2.08. Corbeil was joined on the MIAA All-Conference first team by second baseman Dennis Hackett and outfielder Steve Pente. King, Bill Barker, and Mike Hawkins were voted to the MIAA All-Conference second team. Barker was fourth in the league in hitting, posting a .444 batting average with 16 hits in 36 at-bats. Pente was second in the league in runs batted in (15) and homeruns (four). King was second in the league in stolen bases (seven) and third in RBI (14).
The Britons (9-3) won the MIAA by a game over Calvin and Hope in 1989. King was selected the MIAA’s most valuable player after finishing fourth in the league in batting (.390, 16-of-41) and RBI (11). Hawkins, designated hitter Rich Barno, catcher Dave Donigian, and pitcher Mark Smith joined King on the MIAA All-Conference first team. Rob Targosz was an MIAA All-Conference second-team selection.
The teams were coached by Frank Joranko, ’52, who was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995. Other team members included Ron Banovic, Chuck Drier, Kevin Evans, Jim French, Doug Hawkins, Dave Jameson, Brent Keller, Jeremy Krol, Mike Krumm, John Malbone, John Malik, Sean Maloney, Scott Muffley, Mike Murray, Todd Prochnow, Tim Seelig, Mark Smith, Nate Smith, Craig Thompson, David Turner, Jeff Urbanski, Mike Walters, Dan Wilcox, and Dean Wilking.
Propelled by league championship performances in the sprinting events by Jeff Robinson and in the field events by the late Steve Gilbert and Tom Reason, Albion won the outright MIAA championship in 1993 and shared the league title with Calvin in 1994. The teams combined to go 10-0 in MIAA dual meets over the two-year period.
Gilbert earned his second MIAA most valuable performer award in 1993 when he finished as the league champion in the triple jump, shot put, and discus throw events. Gilbert went on to win the NCAA Division III national championship in the javelin with a throw of 223’ 3”, and he placed third in the NCAA championships in the decathlon.
Robinson won league championships in the 100- and 200-meter dashes in 1993, and he successfully defended his title in the 100 in 1994.
Reason, who is being welcomed into the Athletic Hall of Fame as an individual inductee tonight, completed Albion’s dominance of the MIAA most valuable performer award in 1994 as he became the last in an eight-year string of Britons to receive the award. He was the league champion in the javelin throw, and advanced to win the national championship in the decathlon. Reason also ran his way to an MIAA title in the 110-meter hurdles, and he was second in the NCAA Championships in the decathlon in 1993.
Shawn Borich and Stacey Cowan added MIAA titles in the 110 hurdles and long jump, respectively, in 1994.
The teams were coached by Dave Egnatuk, ’71, who was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002. Other team members included Matthew Aldrich, Michael Allen, Pat Baratono, Jeff Barringer, Brian Borden, Terry Browder, Kristopher Brown, Brett Butz, Joel Campbell, Scott Casteele, John Cooper, David Cox, James Darling, Jon Evans, Christian Hall, Eric Harris, Jim Heaslip, Troy Helmick, Don Hogaboom, Daryl Huntsinger, Ron James, Richard Joseph, Stephen Leppard, Matt Lynn, Marc McDonald, Clifford Mickelson, Jason Minock, Aaron Monnig, Andy Mullin, Troy Niles, Mark O’Riordan, Bill Prall, Thomas Raven, Chris Ridella, Eric Russell, Matthew Sculley, Sean Sims, Sam Smith, Mike Suratt, Jason Tague, Andre Thibert, Paul Thompson, Robert Thompson, Matt Verhey, Matt Wehner, Gary Wiegand, and Bryan Williams. David Richardson served as a student coach.