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Eagle Point reboots Hall of Fame

Six individuals, one team will be inducted Friday night

EAGLE POINT — Eagle Point High School athletic director Kacey McNulty calls it “the restart.”

That’s because after almost a decade of waiting, there’s a new class going into the Eagle Point Hall of Fame.

Come this Friday, six former Eagle Point standouts and one team that captured a state championship will be the first class in what McNulty has said will become an annual event at the school, with names from decades prior getting the recognition he feels they wholeheartedly deserve.

The inductees span over five different decades, ranging from the 1940s to the 1980s. They are: Doris Hickson Grosch (Class of 1949), Jack Greb (1957), Ellen Callaghan Payne (1959), Steve Modee (1969), Phillip Cam (1973), Joe Meerten (1985) and the Eagles’ state championship-winning baseball team from 1978.

The inductees will be honored at a social event prior to Eagle Point’s football game against North Bend this Friday night.

“It’s an incredible group of people that we’re inducting,” McNulty said. “I plan on making this a huge event in the future. Right now, we’ve made up posters, we made plaques and we’re going to put them in our high school lobby and they’ll be there forever.”

McNulty said the last time Eagle Point inducted members into its Hall of Fame was eight years ago. But now, with a selection committee of Eagle Point stalwarts assembled, it won’t be another eight years before the next class is put together.

“We’ll do it yearly and we want to be more robust in our first few years,” McNulty said. “We’re going back to the early ones, and trying to pick those individuals up. Our committee has a lot of ideas on future inductees and we’re going to be heavy at the start to make sure we’re getting everybody inducted that should be and their time is well-overdue. Then we’ll catch up and get to the present where we’re looking at some people who have been out of high school for 10 years or something like that.

“Our committee went out and found the earliest ones we could possibly find, and we’re picking those up and getting them in here and recognizing all of their great accomplishments.”

Payne won a state championship in tennis — one of the few sports offered to young women at the time — with doubles partner Shirley Hansen. She also was a standout softball player, competing with a handful of local teams, including the Rogue Valley Dairy Maids in her early teens.

Payne, who served as the pitching coach for some of Eagle Point’s first varsity softball teams, will also be inducted into the Oregon ASA/USA Fastpitch Softball Hall of Fame in December.

“We wanted to make sure we got Ellen Payne into our Hall of Fame,” McNulty said.

Like Payne, the 90-year-old Grosch had to solely play with local travel teams during her teenage years because softball wasn’t offered at the high school level. A hard-hitting first baseman who also had a lot of speed, Grosch won numerous state and regional awards during her softball career.

Grosch also helped start the Little League program in Eagle Point and served as the first coach. She’s a member of the Oregon ASA Softball Hall of Fame.

Meerten was a three-sport standout during the early- and mid-80s, earning all-conference recognition in football, basketball and baseball. It was on the gridiron where he was at his best, being named to the all-state team as a tight end in his senior season.

Meerten, who is retiring from his job with the school district later this year, went on to play at the University of Oregon, eventually signing a free-agent deal with the Atlanta Falcons. He also played in the World Football League.

Modee won back-to-back state championships in the 880-meter run in 1968 and 1969, as well as winning a state title on Eagle Point’s relay team in 1969. Also a standout cross-country runner, Modee went on to run at the University of Oregon, where he was a teammate of Steve Prefontaine.

Greb earned 11 varsity letters during his time at Eagle Point, lettering four times in football and basketball and three times in track. He won a state title in the high jump in 1957 and was part of an Eagle football team that made the state semifinals.

Greb went on to play at Yuba College, where he is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame.

Mentioned amongst the best of the best to ever represent Eagle Point, Cam excelled as a wrestler and football player. As a senior in 1972-73, Cam was a first-team all-state selection in football, went 32-0 — with an astonishing 30 wins via pin — on his way to a state title in wrestling and was a state medalist in the shot put.

Cam went on to be a dual-sport athlete at Portland State, competing in football and wrestling. Following his senior season at PSU, Cam signed a free-agent contract with the Oakland Raiders.

Cam also started the Eagle Alumni Association as well as organized the Eagle Point alumni football game for nearly two decades.

The 1978 baseball team, coached by Ron Edmonds, won 22 straight games on its way to the state title that spring. Led by future pros Greg Glass and Jay Greb, these Eagles are considered arguably the best team in school history. Glass was named state pitcher of the year after going 10-0 on the mound, while Jay Greb was also an all-state selection.

“We’re trying to get those earlier standouts that we could find and we’re picking those up and getting them in here because it’s long overdue that they be recognized,” McNulty said. “They brought home state championship trophies for us.”

“It’s a totally new committee, new athletic director, new members all together, so it’s a restart of our Hall of Fame,” McNulty continued. “I’m really pleased with (the selection committee’s) knowledge of history. … These individuals really know their stuff and I’m happy they’ve taken this challenge to get our Hall of Fame going.”

Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.

The 1978 Eagle Point baseball team won 22 straight games and captured a state title. They will be inducted into the EPHS Hall of Fame this Friday, along with six former athletes. (Photo courtesy of Eagle Point High School)