Class of 2018

George Bitner
BORN: APRIL 26, 1937, SPOKANE, WA

   An elementary school teacher, George Bitner began his coaching career at Holton in 1965 then moved on to Spring Lake, taking over the boys golf program in 1968. In 1980, he started the girls golf program at Spring Lake.
   With a “KISMIF” coaching motto – kept it simple, make it fun – his boys squads did well, advancing to state tournament play seven times but his girls teams were exceptional. The ladies won 17 conference championships and qualified for state tournament play on 14 occasions, capped with three consecutive Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 girls golf titles between 2014-16.
    In total, it was a coaching career that spanned over 90 combined seasons. Bitner was inducted into the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996, and was named USA Today's Boys Golf Coach of the Year in 2014.

Dick Locke
BORN:  JULY 2, 1940, COOPERSVILLE, MI
DIED: OCTOBER 26, 2014, WYOMING, MI

Roger Locke
BORN:  SEPTEMBER 9, 1941, GRAND RAPIDS, MI

    Dick and Roger Locke were brothers and both standout football players at Muskegon High School, part of the Locke family that Big Reds historians still talk about to this day. Dick and Roger took the lessons they learned at Muskegon and went on to bigger fame as college players at Arizona State University, where they were teammates with 2008 MASHF inductee Ossie McCarty.
    Dick went from an overlooked high school player to earn a full scholarship at ASU as a two-way lineman from 1958-1961. He was selected All-Border Conference three times and was ASU's captain as a senior. After college, he went on to a career as a teacher, coach and athletic director that included a long stint at Wyoming Park.
    Roger, also a two-way player as an end, was All-Border Conference as a junior, and ASU team MVP and an All-Western Athletic Conference selection as a senior in 1962. Selected to the roster of the annual Blue-Gray Bowl, he was drafted by San Francisco of the NFL and Oakland of the AFL before signing with Winnipeg of the Canadian Football League. Roger played in Canada with the Blue Bombers for two seasons under coach Bud Grant before a leg injury cut short his professional career. He retired from football in 1966.

Nate McLouth
BORN: MARCH 28, 1981, MUSKEGON, MI

    Nate McLouth took his baseball talents from a small-town, where he led his Little League team to the state finals, all the way to the major leagues. A three-sport athlete, McLouth quarterbacked Whitehall High School to a West Michigan Conference football title in 1999, and excelled on the basketball court, but it was on the baseball diamond where he would leave an indelible mark. McLouth stole 180 bases in 181 attempts at Whitehall and his career total still ranks No. 1 in state history. He helped the Vikings to a state runner-up finish in baseball as a sophomore shortstop in 1998 and was named Michigan's co-Mr. Baseball as a high school senior.
    McLouth turned down a baseball scholarship to the University of Michigan after he was drafted in the 25th round by Pittsburgh in 2000. He worked his way through the minors and made his major-league debut in 2005. A run-scoring double off the wall versus Houston in August was his first major league hit.
    His best year came in 2008 with the Pirates when he was named to the National League All-Star team. He led the league in doubles that season with 46 and also won a Gold Glove for his work in the outfield. He was traded to Atlanta in 2009, re-signed by Pittsburgh in 2011, picked up by Baltimore in 2012 and Washington in 2014 until a shoulder injury ended his career. McLouth finished his 10-year MLB career with a .247 batting average, 101 homers and 333 RBIs.

Marie Thomas
BORN: MARCH 28, 1971, MUSKEGON, MI

    A three-sport star at Orchard View High School, Marie Thomas went on to become one of the best to ever play at Grand Valley State University. Thomas was the leading scorer and rebounder at GVSU for three consecutive years from 1992 to 1994, when she averaged a “double-double” of 22 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She was a three time all-conference honoree and her 44 points scored in a single game remains a Laker record. Thomas, who was inducted into the GVSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002, still ranks second in school history in rebounds and fourth in points scored.
    At Orchard View, Thomas was a four-year starter in basketball and softball and a three-year varsity starter in volleyball. She was a dominating pitcher and slugger in softball, but basketball was her best sport and she totaled 1,700 points and 1,100 rebounds during her prep career – earning first team All-State in both her junior and senior years.