Kavanagh, Warford, Grimm, Toninato, Motzko to be inducted into Athletic Hall of Fame May 17
Five new members will be honored May 17 by induction into the Bemidji High School's Athletic Hall of Fame.
It will highlight the 10th annual Hall of Fame banquet which will take place at the Commons starting at 6 p.m. A social hour will precede the banquet at 5:30.
Entering the Hall are Coach Ray Kavanagh and athletes John Warford, Jim Grimm, Jim Toninato and Joe Motzko,
Their addition raises the number of Hall members to 65 with more than three dozen others remaining on the waiting list.
Bemidji, which got a late start into the Hall of Fame program, is well behind many area schools in their Hall members.
The Hall was created by Troy Hendricks in 2001 during his first term as Activities Director. He returned this fall for his second, succeeding Harvey Crable.
After three years inducting 10 members, the Hall has been limited to five in subsequent years.
Other highlights of the affair will be the naming of the Male and Female Athletes of the Year, the awarding of the annual athletic scholarships and the presentation of the Lumberjack Award going to a longtime person or persons who have given long-time support to high school sports.
Senior letter winners, team Captains and Most Valuable Players will be recognized as well.
Kavanagh came to Bemidji in 1969 from Roseau where he was a widely respected coach for the Rams football and baseball teams
He succeeded the legendary Red Wilson in 1972 and guided the Jacks for 14 years posting a 94-41 record, all but two winning seasons.
Six of his teams entered post season play going 6-7 with his 1978 team ending 2-1 bowing to Fridley Grace in the famous Snow Bowl at BSU where Bemidji's quick moving offense was stymied by a six-inch snowfall the preceding night.
He was an Appleton High School and Moorhead State graduate where he played both football and baseball.
Kavanagh was District 29 Coach of the Year in 1975 and coached in the North-South All-Star game in 1976.
In his later years he served as assistant baseball coach under Des Sagedahl before succeeding Bun Fortier as Activities Director, a post he held from 1987-92 before retiring.
He remained a Bemidji resident until his death this year after a long bout with cancer.
He was previously inducted into the Moorhead University Hall off Fame as a football and baseball player.
Warford was a three-sport athlete, excelling in cross country, basketball and track, earning All State and All American honors in basketball in 1964.
He went on to track fame at Minnesota where he was a four-year letterman, holding all the hurdles records for the Gophers from 1964-68.
He was co-holder of the Big Ten 70-yard low hurdles world record in 1976, a member of the 1968 Big Ten championship team, and still holds the fastest 120-yard hurdles and second fastest 110-meter hurdles times at Minnesota.
The Jacks reached the state basketball tournament in both his junior and senior years.
He founded Warford Orthodontics in 1973, the JW Cattle Company in 1976 and was President of the North Dakota Dental Association in 1992. He was CEO of the American Dental Political Action Committee from 1994- 1996, the recipient of the ADA Presidential Citation for outstanding leadership in 2002 and won the U of M distinguished dental alumnus award in 2006.
A Bemidji product, Grimm played his high school and college ball in the community and remained to coach at several levels since.
He graduated from Bemidji High in 1976 as a three-sport athlete, excelling in both football and baseball.
His senior year grid team went unbeaten. He was twice selected to the WCCO Football All-State Team of the Week.
In baseball, his 1974 American Legion team reached the state final under Jerry Ginter before being defeated by Paul Molitor's St. Paul team for the title.
He received the coveted Horace May Award in 1976.
He attended BSU from 1976-81, lettering in both football and baseball and was a member of the 1982 NAIA World Series team.
He was also a member of the Bemidji Chiefs State Amateur championship team.
He coached the Legion from 1992-94 before taking over the BSU coaching post which he held for seven years, winning conference titles in 1997 and 2002.
He twice won NSIC Coach of the Year honors.
The 1998 graduate was an outstanding hockey and golf star, winning four letters in golf where the Jacks placed third in the 1996 state meet, won the 1997 title and placed second in 1998. He took third individually that year.
In hockey, he was a three-year letter winner and received the MVP, Mariucci All-Conference and Mr. Hockey semifinal honors his senior year.
He pursued his hockey career in the USHL at Omaha and later at St. Cloud State where his teams advanced to the WCHA final five and NCAA tournament all four years.
He remains fifth on the all-time scoring list for the Huskies and was named MVP his senior year.
He signed a pro contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets and went on to play with the Washington, Anaheim and Atlanta organizations at the AHL and NHL levels. His career highlights included winning the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007 and the Calder Cup with the Chicago Wolves in 2008. He spent this winter playing in Germany.
Toninato graduated in 1982 and was a four-year letter winner hockey and three-year starter in baseball. During his junior and senior years, he was named to the All-Section 8 Hockey Team and was second on the all-time scoring list for many years in the sport.
He played center field for the diamond nine that took third place at the state tournament.
Following his successful high school career, he was a scholarship athlete at Minnesota-Duluth in hockey. His Bulldog teams played in three consecutive NCAA hockey tournaments and twice appeared in the Frozen Four.
He graduated from, UMD with a degree in physical education and adult fitness and continues to make Duluth his home.