Six former athletes and coaches received honors at the 35th Annual Alpena Sports Hall of Fame. The Class of 2017 included Tom Atkinson, Jon K. Cook, Earl Cordes, Cindy DeRocher, Jan Kaiser and Dan Skiba.
Tom Atkinson fell in love with coaching from an early age. Atkinson graduated from AHS in 1968 and coached for 24 years. Tom hung up the whistle in 1992 ending his career with 123 wins, 63 losses and 1 tie. Atkinson served as Alpena’s Athletic Director and helped start the Alpena Jets youth football program.
Jon K. Cook played goaltender for the Alpena Flyers and averaged 30 to 40 saves per game. Cook graduated high school in 1958 at Sault Ste Marie. He joins former Flyers teammates Tony Byers, Dick Sobeck and player/coach Bob Kuchnicki in the Alpena Sports Hall of Fame.
Earl Cordes is a man that loves sports. Earl graduated from Harrisville High School and was known for his baseball talents. The only thing Earl loved more than baseball was serving his country during World War II and the Korean War. In 2018, Earl will turn 91 years-old. Still young at heart, if his family allowed, he would try water skiing and more. Cordes spends time at the bowling alley with his friends and helps organize the annual “Earl Cordes Horseshoe Tournament” in Barton City.
Cindy DeRocher loves the game of basketball. She graduated from Alcona High School in 1980 and played on one of the best teams in Northeast Michigan at the time. DeRocher advanced her talents and joined the ACC Lumberjacks where she won 37 games and lost 17 during her two seasons. Cindy would continue her winning ways becoming a head coach in 1988. She coached for 12 years at Tri-State (Trine University) with a record of 238-131. Her biggest coaching accolade was being named the WCBA-NAIA Coach of the Year in 1996.
Jan Kaiser’s athleticism runs in the family. She is the third member of her family to receive the honor. The 1977 Alpena High School graduate was a member of the school’s inaugural softball team and lettered in basketball. Kaiser was known for her softball achievements. During the Wildcats’s first season, the teams won 21 games and lost 6. Kaiser played three years of Varsity softball where she won 65 games and led the team in hitting and home runs.
Dan Skiba was an all-around athlete at Alpena High School. He participated in football, speed skating, hockey, tennis, track and baseball. Skiba passed away in 2013.