The Biloxi Sports Hall of Fame inducted its 17-member class on Sunday at the Biloxi Civic Center.
Participants from baseball, boxing, football and coaching led the heralded group.
For the first time in the history of the Biloxi HOF, participants were inducted as a group: three members of the Biloxi Boxing Club and five members of the Negro League’s Biloxi Dodgers.
“What I like about this year: the mayor wanted to encompass the Biloxi Dodgers team and the Biloxi Boxing Club, which are both integral parts of Biloxi,” Biloxi Parks and Recreation director Cheryl Bell said. “It was important to acknowledge what Biloxi is. This is the first time we actually brought teams in.”
Former Biloxi Boxing Club members Wayne Kopszawa, Richard Frentz and Forrest Rodolfich were recognized individually and as a group. Frank Gill, “Kitty Kat” Peyton, Andrew Wright, Freddie Wright and George Wright were also recognized individually and as a group as Biloxi Dodgers players.
Freddie Steinwinder III excelled as a boxing official. He refereed over 1,000 amateur and professional fights, including 38 world title bouts.
“It’s a great honor to be inducted into the Biloxi Sports HOF,” said Steinwinder. “It’s been a long fun ride, starting with amateur boxing here in Biloxi and moving up to doing all the world title fights. Never would I have dreamed that would have come to.”
John Pugh, who coached Biloxi High to two state basketball titles in 2001 and 2004, agreed. He was also an assistant coach under Jackie Laird when Biloxi won titles in 1989 and 1990.
“There are no words to explain this evening,” Pugh said. “Being recognized by your home and your city is moving, it’s surreal. I never imagined in all my years of coaching in Biloxi that this would happen.”
Other HOF inductees were Mark Graham, Richard Pitalo, Ronald Bond, Walter Blessey, Ronnie Farris, Barbara Ferrill and Gene Ganucheau.