The Michigan City Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 will be introduced at halftime of tonight’s game at Ames Field.
The list includes Brian Balka, Ken Bye, Brian Gibson, Buck and Bruce Hirsch, Adam Harmon, Dr. Mike Johnson, Jack Phillips, Joe Shinn, John Wilcher and Willie Wilson.
Balka, a 1992 Rogers grad, played multiple positions on both sides of the ball as a three-year starter. An all-conference linebacker, he went on to Tri-State (now Trine), where started for four years at defensive end. He is also a member of the school’s football hall of fame.
Bye, the former head coach at Elston and Rogers, is part of the current City staff. He also coached and was Athletics Director at Highland.
Gibson was a two-year all-conference linebacker at Rogers. He went on to start for three years at Shepherd University and enjoyed a successful career in professional roller hockey.
Buck Hirsch was instrumental in starting little league football in M.C. and was part of its first board of directors. His son Bruce played at Rogers and later coached at Rogers and City. Both have given numerous years to the promotion of the sport in the city at all levels.
Harmon, a 2009 Rogers grad, was an all-conference running back and area offensive player of the year as a senior, rushing for 1,269 yadrs and 16 touchdowns. He is currently part of Merrillville’s coaching staff.
Johnson, a 1981 Elston grad, racked up 124 tackles as a senior. The defensive captain and MVP was the area player of the year for defense that season.
Phillips, a 1982 Elston grad, was a three-year starter at defensive end, earning all-area and all-conference honors as a senior. He went to play at Illinois State and coached as well. He owns Security Consulting Company.
Shinn, a 1980 Elston grad, played multiple positions, including receiver, safety and punter, garnering all-area and all-conference recognition in the process. He went on to have a successful baseball career at Purdue North Central.
A 1989 Rogers grad, Wilcher was a three-year letterman, playing offense and defense, before going on to play for the U.S. Marine Corps Camp Lejeune team. Also active in football in the community, the Desert Storm veteran coached 22 years from Pop Warner up to high school.
A Rogers grad, Wilson was an all-conference running back and defensive back. He, too, has coached football at various levels for many years.