Vikings News · 2019 Inductees

North Canton Hoover High School
2019 Athletic Hall of Fame

North Canton Hoover High School Athletic Director, Tim Walker, is pleased to announce the 2019 Athletic HOF.  The following individuals have been recognized for their significant contributions to one or more athletic programs at Hoover High School.

John Bennett – John Bennett is a 1982 graduate of Hoover High School where he was a standout wrestler. During his time at Hoover, Bennett had a career record of 81-12 including a state runner-up finish as a junior and a 32-5 record his senior year. Bennett capped off his outstanding career at Hoover by winning the State Championship at 98 lbs. as a senior. That same year Bennett, along with teammate and fellow Hall of Famer, CJ Mears, led the Viking wrestlers to a 2nd place overall finish at the State Tournament. Bennett was a 2-tme All Federal League selection along with being named All-County during his junior and senior year. Upon graduation from Hoover, Bennett attended Miami of Ohio where he wrestled his freshman year before a knee surgery ended his wrestling career. Bennett did go on to graduate from Miami of Ohio in 1987 and spent several years in the radio industry before returning to North Canton. Since returning to North Canton, Bennett has been involved in youth and middle school wrestling and currently serves as a personal trainer. Over the years, Bennett along with his mother and father have given countless hours to promote wrestling in North Canton and Stark County. Bennett was inducted into the Stark County Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1988.

Dr. Rick DeBlander  – Dr. Rick DeBlander graduated from North Canton Hoover in 1966 where he starred in three sports and in the classroom. As a football player, DeBlander moved to wide receiver in his senior season as the Vikings transitioned to a more passing oriented offense. That move paid dividends for DeBalander as he was named All Stark County and All State as a wide receiver during his senior year. In addition, DeBlander became the 1st Stark County athlete to receive the Ohio High School Football Coaches Scholarship Award.  DeBlander also played point guard for the Vikings and was named All Stark County as a senior as well. Finally, DeBlander played second base for Coach Hertler and the Hoover baseball team that went 20-2 during his senior year. After Hoover, DeBlander went on to Wittenberg University where an injury ended his football career, but Rick went on to play a key role in the baseball program including serving as a captain his senior year. Following college, Rick attended medical school and became a doctor, just as his high school teammates and fellow Hoover Hall of Famers Greg Gray and Mark Stevens had done. DeBlander married his wife Cathy and together they have three daughters who all enjoyed great high school athletic careers of their own. In 2001 following a pick-up basketball game, Dr. Rick DeBlander had a heart attack and passed away. Although he was taken much too soon at the age of 53, Dr. Rick DeBlander left a legacy of excellence and care for others that will not be forgotten.

 Betty Lou Lehman –  Betty Lou Lehman is a 1951 graduate of North Canton High School. Betty Lou has been a fixture at Hoover football, softball and basketball games for the last 60+ years. The truth be told, Betty Lou actually started attending North Canton sporting events with her father when she was four years old and the high school was located at Charlotte street. During her high school days, Betty Lou played in the band and fondly remembers their trip to Columbus to support the North Canton basketball team who qualified for the State Semi-Finals in 1949. After high school, Betty Lou attended Aultman School of Nursing and then moved out west for a couple of years. She then returned to North Canton and married her husband, Ned, in 1958 and they have two children. Betty Lou has had season tickets for over 50 years and in addition to being a “vocal supporter,” she will always be wearing orange and black. Betty Lou Lehman is a one of a kind contributor to Hoover athletics, and she represents what makes being a Viking so special.

 Dr. Bill Mason – Dr. Bill Mason graduated from North Canton Hoover High School in 1958 as part of the inaugural Hoover graduating class. During his time as a Viking, Mason competed in three varsity sports garnering 12 varsity letters during his high school career. Mason served as a team captain on both the football team and the wrestling team during his senior season. In addition, Mason set the school record in the shot put at that time while serving as a leader on the track team.  Following his time at Hoover, Mason went on to Case Western University where he played football and wrestled and served as a captain on both squads. Mason was honored for his collegiate athletic career by being inducted into the Case Western Hall of Fame in 2004. Following Case Western, Mason went on to medical school at the University of Maryland and served as a naval flight surgeon before ending his career in the Navy as the Chief of Orthopaedics. Dr. Mason and his wife, Patty, have two children and reside in North Carolina where he practiced medicine until 2011.

 Tom McDonald – Tom McDonald graduated from North Canton Hoover in 1968 having competed in four sports as a Viking. McDonald’s family moved to North Canton prior to his junior year, but McDonald wasted no time leaving his mark on Hoover High School. McDonald starred on the football team, setting several school records as a split end and safety on a team that went 9-1 his senior season. In recognition of his work on the gridiron, McDonald was named All Stark County and Honorable Mention All-State along with being named team MVP in his senior year. Along with football, McDonald started at forward on the basketball team and played centerfield for the varsity baseball team that finished District Runner-Up.  Somehow McDonald found time to compete in track and field along with baseball and he set the school long jump record which stood for nearly 20 years. Following his time at Hoover, McDonald went on to Kent State University where he started for 3 years as a defensive back and was named Kent State’s Defensive MVP during his senior season. Following his graduation from Kent State, McDonald taught math and coached football at several high schools and at the collegiate level. Among his many accomplishments, McDonald led Groveport Madison to its first two state playoff appearances during his time as head coach. After a brief time away from coaching, McDonald returned to the sidelines and currently serves as the Defensive Coordinator for Groveport Madison. He and his wife Lynne are proud parents of two children, and they reside in Canal Winchester Ohio.

 Tricia (Lilley) Simmons Tricia (Lilley) Simmons is a 2002 graduate of Hoover High School where she competed in both soccer and softball. In soccer, Lilley was a leading goal scorer while being named to the All-County team as a sophomore. While her soccer accomplishments would have been noteworthy for most, Lilley’s accomplishments on the softball field were beyond outstanding. Lilley started at shortstop as a Freshman on the 1999 State Championship team where she set a state record by having a perfect fielding percentage for the season. Over the next three years Lilley started at shortstop and set numerous records at the plate, many of which still stand. As a result of her accomplishments on the field, Lilley was one of the most decorated athletes ever at Hoover. She was twice named Federal League Player of the Year, and she was a three-time 1st Team All-State selection at shortstop. Following her senior year, she was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Ohio. After Hoover, Lilley went on to Purdue University where she was a four-year starter and started all 232 games during her all career. Lilley was named Academic All-Big Ten three times; and following her senior season in 2006, she was named 3rd Team Academic All-American. Lilley still sits among the top five in several categories in the Purdue record book including runs scored, doubles, triples and assists. Lilley is married to Zach Simmons, and they reside in Seattle, Washington, with their two children.