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A dash to stardom

Bob McIntyre had no idea he was a state-caliber sprinter when he turned out for track in the spring of 1961.

But when Medford High coach Dean Benson held tryouts and McIntyre flew past all his teammates, the secret was out.

Two months later, McIntyre won a state title in the 440-yard dash, setting a meet-record time of 49.2 seconds in the process.

That feat earned McIntyre a scholarship to Stanford, and in 1965 the dashing wonder ran a leg on a 4x100-yard relay team that blazed to a world record.

McIntyre is one of 10 new inductees to the Medford Sports Hall of Fame. They'll be honored at a ceremony at 6 p.m. on April 28 at the Skyline Plaza.

Other inductees are former athletes Whitney Grant (basketball), Angie Jacobs (softball), Kevin Towers (baseball) and Bob Wolcott (baseball), coach Dennis Murphy (basketball) and special contributors Dick Entinger, B.G. Gould, and Steve Wisely.

McIntyre primarily had been a high jumper for the Black Tornado track team as a sophomore and junior, but burst into the sprinter spotlight as a senior in 1961.

"When I won those tryouts in the sprints, coach Benson turned to me and said, 'You might be doing some running this season,'" McIntyre recalls with a chuckle.

Benson knew all along that McIntyre's best event was the 440, but the coach brought him along slowly, entering him in the 100- and 220-yard dashes. McIntyre didn't run an open 440 until midway through the season. He broke the coveted 50-second barrier his first time out of the blocks, clocking 49.8 in a dual meet against Klamath Union.

"That surprised me, but it didn't surprise Benson," says McIntyre, who ran a 48.9-second split on the Tornado's mile relay squad at the Hayward Relays in Eugene. "He had a grand plan for me."

A diligent worker in practice, McIntyre blossomed into a standout sprinter and a capable long jumper at Stanford.

And on a pleasant evening in Fresno, Calif., in May of 1965, he teamed with Larry Questad, Dale Rubin and Eric Frische to register a world-record time of 39.7 at the Fresno Relays.

"It was a magical moment because everything went perfectly in that race," says McIntyre, whose best mark in the long jump was 23-111/2. "The start was perfect, the handoffs were perfect and all four of us ran flawlessly. We knocked more than a second off our previous-best time, which is incredible for a race that short."

Questad, the anchor leg, ran the open 100 yards in 9.3 that same day and would later finish sixth in both the 100 and the 220 at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City.

McIntyre graduated from Stanford with a degree in biological sciences. He went on to medical school, became an anesthesiologist and practiced in Medford until his retirement in 2002.

Staying fit remained a priority. At the age of 39, McIntyre began competing in decathlons and twice finished as the national runner-up in his age group.

Now 64, he works out several days a week at Superior Gym and golfs regularly at Rogue Valley Country Club.

Here's a look at the other inductees:

u LARRY BINNEY — The softball coaching legend is best-known for his accomplishments at North Medford: four state championships, 17 Southern Oregon Conference titles and an eye-catching record of 471-103-1 over 20 seasons.

Binney, who won national coach-of-the-year accolades in 1999, cemented his status as a coaching legend in 2002 when he molded together a young, inexperienced Black Tornado squad and, following an 8-5 start, led it to 18 straight wins and a state title.

Binney stepped down as the Black Tornado coach in June of that year but couldn't stay away from the sport he loves. He ricocheted to Southern Oregon University, where he compiled a 109-51 record in three seasons. Binney left SOU following the 2006 season.

u DICK ENTINGER — A two-time president of the Medford Linebackers, Entinger has had his hand on the pulse of various athletic fundraising efforts since moving to Medford in 1976.

The Pennsylvania native was a key figure in raising the $700,000 that was needed to install the FieldTurf and new track at Spiegelberg Stadium in 2004. He was also co-chair of the fundraising effort that upgraded the track at South Medford in 1987 and helped lead a $200,000 project that put six-lane, all-weather tracks at McLoughlin and Hedrick middle schools in 1999.

In 1992, Entinger headed up a delegation of 31 high school athletes and a handful of coaches that traveled to Austria for a sister city Olympiad.

u B.G. GOULD — The Medford statistician has been a fixture at football, basketball, baseball and softball games since moving to the Rogue Valley in 1967.

Gould, 55, has worked for the Medford School District since 1986, compiling statistics for coaches and the media and rolling out the red carpet for visiting sports teams.

Gould, a 1970 Medford High graduate, also served as the official scorer for the Medford A's/Southern Oregon Timberjacks from 1986-99, a stretch of 1,033 games. He's also been a baseball umpire for more than 20 years.

u WHITNEY GRANT — A four-year starter on the University of Portland women's basketball team, Grant, a point guard, finished among the Pilots' all-time leaders in 3-point baskets (second), assists (seventh) and points (12th).

At South Medford High, Grant twice helped the Panthers to the Class 4A state tournament and became the school's all-time leading scorer and assist leader.

She was also a South Medford valedictorian.

u ANGIE JACOBS — Jacobs led Medford High to its first state championship as an all-state catcher in 1984 and earned a scholarship to California. At Berkeley, she helped the Golden Bears to third place at the 1986 NCAA tournament and was all-Pac-10 the following year as a senior — remarkable feats considering she had to have the thumb of her right hand reattached after a mill accident six months prior to her junior season.

Jacobs had several surgeries, always taking a softball with her so doctors knew how to manipulate the thumb so she could throw. She earned a national inspirational award for competing under extraordinary circumstances.

Jacobs later became a two-time ASA All-American and played two years in the Women's Professional Fastpitch League. At the same time, she held assistant coaching jobs at St. Mary's College, San Jose State, Oregon and Utah.

Jacobs later became the head coach at Miami-Ohio and set a school record for coaching wins.

u DENNIS MURPHY — The 19-year South Medford High boys basketball coach reached his crowning achievement on March 10 when the Panthers defeated Lake Oswego, 58-54, for the Class 6A state championship.

Murphy has posted more than 500 wins in a glowing coaching career that dates to 1975.

At South Medford, Murphy has claimed 11 conference championships, four appearances in the state tournament semifinals, one state runner-up finish and one title.

Murphy also won one state basketball and one state baseball title at the Class 2A level while coaching at St. Mary's in the 1970s.

Murphy has also been a successful athletic director and a tireless fundraiser at South Medford.

u KEVIN TOWERS — The 1979 Medford High graduate has been general manager of the San Diego Padres since November 1995.

The Padres won the National League West his first season and advanced to the World Series in 1998.

Towers was a first-round draft pick of the Padres in 1982 and pitched in the minor leagues for seven years before a series of arm operations ended his career. He toured the country as a scout with the Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates before becoming San Diego's scouting director in 1993.

Towers was a three-sport athlete at Medford, starring as a pitcher for Jim McAbee while also playing football for the legendary Fred Spiegelberg and basketball for Frank Roelandt.

U STEVE WISELY — In his nearly 20 years of leading the Medford School District, Wisely put his stamp on Medford athletics in numerous ways. His first order of business, when he came aboard in 1985, was to remodel Spiegelberg Stadium. It got new paint, new stadium seats and a renovated press box. Overgrown hedges around the field's perimeter were removed.

A couple years later, a new track was installed.

Wisely was a hands-on superintendent in the classroom and on the athletic fields. One could find him at football and basketball games nearly every weekend.

"He had high standards and high expectations that were felt by everyone in the district," said Bruce Howell, who served as the district's athletic director from 1990-2003. "Everyone stepped it up a notch to have things nice."

u BOB WOLCOTT — Selected by the Seattle Mariners in the second round of the 1992 Major League Baseball draft, Wolcott advanced through the minor leagues in three years.

The former North Medford High standout bagged a 9-3 win over the Boston Red Sox in his major league debut on Aug. 18, 1995 and later beat Roger Clemens.

But Wolcott's greatest moment came on the national stage. In Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, the then 22-year-old pitched the Mariners to a 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. Wolcott got off to a dreadful start, walking the bases loaded with none out in the first inning, but he struck out Albert Belle, retired Eddie Murray on a popup and induced a ground out from Jim Thome to escape the jam.

Wolcott finished the 1995 season with a 4-2 record and a 4.45 ERA. Following several trips to the Mariners' AAA farm team, the right-hander was later taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 1997 expansion draft. After a brief stint with Boston and one season playing with the Kintetsu Buffaloes of Osaka, Japan, Wolcott was out of baseball at the age of 27.

Wolcott, who went straight from high school into pro baseball, returned to school at Oregon State University and earned a degree in mechanical engineering in 2005.

Medford Sports Hall of Fame inductee Bob McIntyre was a state champion quarter-mile runner at Medford High School and was on a world record relay team at Stanford in the 1960s. Jim Craven 3/23/2007