NORTH BEND — A couple of common themes came up repeatedly when North Bend inducted its newest class to its hall of fame on Friday night — an appreciation for teams and the community and how North Bend High School provided a foundation for ongoing success.
The school honored four individuals — educator and coach Sumner Bryant; athlete, teacher, historian and coach Steve Greif; swimmer and runner Jennifer Mollier-Horning; and swimmer Colin Wallace —and the 2005 basketball state champions, the school’s first girls team to capture a state title.
“I’m really honored to be in this group, because to me the Hall of Fame represents a group of people that took advantage of the great opportunities this community gave them,” Greif said.
Greif was a three-sport standout for the Bulldogs and two-sport athlete at Southwestern Oregon Community College before earning his teaching certificate and returning to North Bend where he taught and coached for many years.
He credited his parents for giving him a sense of the value of community and his first youth coach, John Guenther, for instilling a love of sports.
“Sports changed me,” Greif said, adding that he gained confidence and learned the value of hard work.
Wallace rewrote many of North Bend’s swimming records and went on to swim for the University of Wyoming. He said his success in college was all due to his time at North Bend, where he also had his fondest memories.
To that end, he credited coach Chris Richmond.
“What he really taught me was leadership,” Wallace said. “That I’m not doing it for myself. That what I do reflects on others as well.
“People are looking up to us (as captains). It’s not about us, it’s about the others on the team.”
Wallace, who graduated in 1996, won multiple district titles and had a pair of runner-up finishes at the state meet as a senior.
Some 15 years earlier, Mollier-Horning was also having success in the pool and as a cross country and track athlete — she lettered all four years in all three sports — while setting multiple track and field school records and earning multiple state medals in swimming.
Still, she was surprised to learn she would be inducted.
“My mind went though a series of feelings — disbelief, pride, disbelief, humility, disbelief,” she said.
Like the others, she talked about the values of work ethic, dedication and goal setting she learned from sports, which she considered “the other half of my education.”
As important as her success was being part of the teams, she said.
“I formed some crazy wonderful bonds with these people,” she said.
The state champion basketball team was the same way, said Kellie Holmstedt, one of the two representatives who spoke for the group Friday.
“I can’t remember much of the games,” she said. “What I do remember is our team — our grit, the entire team working strong.
“I knew the girl next to me was going to work her booty off, so I’d better, too.”
The Bulldogs beat Cascade, Burns and Marist at the state tournament, led by player of the year Janee Olds.
The title was an entire team effort, said Heidi Davison.
“All the girls on the team — each one had a unique role,” she said. “Without each of them, we never would have made it to where we did.”
The squad was coached by current athletic director Mike Forrester. The players who were part of the squad in Corvallis also included Ashley McCrea, Alysha Moore, Kaila Morris, Carli Bowman, Brittnay Bowden, Ashley Canup, Stephanie McCGarity, Cheyanna Ohlrich, Nina Rudd, Sarah Davison and Danielle Fisher.
They were backed in the championship game by a huge crowd of brown- and gold-clad supporters.
“Our community was such a huge part of our success,” Holmstedt said. “Even though my mind is foggy about the final game, I do remember the police cars and fire trucks escorting us back into town.”
Bryant, who died in 1965, was represented by his grandson, David Dorsey.
His legacy continues with the presentation every year of the Bryant Cup to the top senior male athlete — Bryant himself bought the trophy.
Dorsey said that before his grandfather started coaching the Bulldogs, North Bend had never scored a point in a football game against Marshfield, even though the teams played twice each season.
Bryant’s first two years, North Bend lost the first game and won the second against the rival Pirates. His final year, North Bend shut out the Pirates both meetings, part of a season in which the team only gave up six points, in a 6-0 loss to Myrtle Point, winning every other game by shutout.
Bryant’s basketball and track teams were similarly successful, and Dorsey said his grandfather did a good job teaching each sport and inspiring the athletes to be their best.
“He left North Bend in 1923 — I don’t know why,” Dorsey said, adding that he never replicated that success while going on to teach in five other communities.
This was the 19th class inducted into the hall of fame.