Biloxi Sports HOF adds 17 new members

By James Jones

Boxing referee Freddie Steinwinder III will be inducted into the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame on Aug. 28.
Boxing referee Freddie Steinwinder III will be inducted into the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame on Aug. 28. Sun Herald

Seventeen members will be inducted into the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame later this month.

The Class of 2016 will be enshrined at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Biloxi Civic Center.

The new members are Freddie Steinwinder III, John Pugh, Barbara Ferrill, Wayne Kopszywa, Richard Frentz, Forest Rodolfich, George Wright, Freddie Wright, Andrew Wright, Randolph Peyton, Frank Gill, Mark Graham, Gene Ganucheau, Ronnie Farris, Walter Blessey IV, Ronald Bond and Richard Pitalo.

Amateur boxing champions Kopszywa, Frentz and Rodolfich were selected as a group. Biloxi Dodgers standouts George Wright, Freddie Wright, Andrew Wright, Peyton and Gill were also chosen as a group.

“Once again the selection committee has done an outstanding job of identifying worthy additions to the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame,” Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said in a statement. “And being a former boxer, I’m especially pleased to see some local legends from the ring added to the Hall.”

Here’s a brief bio of each member:

Ronald Bond: A starting end on the Biloxi High football team from 1954-1956, he was named All-Big 8 first team his senior year. Set state records in the 100-yard dash, the 220-yard dash, the 440-, 880- and mile relays, and in the broad jump.

Walter Blessey: A three-year star letterman in track at Biloxi High, was the Big 8 mile champion his senior year, setting a mile record at the South State Meet. Ran track at Ole Miss, helping set a school record in the mile relay.

Ronnie Farris: Corinth native, coached football and basketball for many years at Biloxi High, but best known for his state championship baseball teams in 1965 and 1970.

Barbara Ferrill: A 1950 graduate of Biloxi High, Ferrill had a legendary career as a softball, basketball and swimming coach. The softball fields at Hiller Park were named in her honor in 1996. Joins her husband Tom in the Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame.

Gene Ganucheau: Played on Biloxi High’s 1969 State Championship in football. Played on Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s national Junior College Title team in 1971. He was a two-year starter at Kentucky, MGCCC Hall of Fame.

Mark Graham: A star in football and baseball, Graham is a member of the Delta State Sports Hall of Fame. Led the Statesmen to the 1982 Division II College World Series, where Delta State finished third.

Richard Pitalo: Prep All-American in 1968, led the Biloxi Indians to a 11-0 season with a record-setting 25 touchdowns passing and 7 running. Accepted a scholarship to play at Alabama, but transferred to Tulsa and played baseball.

John Pugh: A 20-year coaching career at Biloxi High was highlighted by state basketball championships in 2001 and 2004. Record as a head coach was 243-73 for a .768 career winning percentage.

Freddie Steinwinder III: A 1974 graduate of Biloxi High, Steinwinder crafted a 30-year career of amateur

and professional boxing officiating, including 38 world title bouts.

Biloxi Boxing Group: Wayne Kopszywa, Richard Frentz and Forrest Rodolfich. A 14-year star of local boxing, Kopszywa was a multi-state and regional Golden Gloves champion. Rodolfich and Frentz each won numerous titles.

Biloxi Dodgers Group: Peyton’sductees. His playing career as a slugging first baseman spanned four decades. George,

Freddie and Andrew Wright, and Gill were all widely respected for their careers with the former Negro League team.