Shuta, Yelich, Bunce and Benjamin to be inducted into Slicer Hubner Hall of Fame

Bill Shuta, Chris Yelich, Jack Bunce and Mike Benjamin will be inducted into the LaPorte High School Hubner Athletic Hall of Fame on Feb. 22, 2019. The ceremony will take place in Slicer Gym between the JV and varsity boys basketball games vs. Munster. (The JV game begins at 5:30 p.m.) The public is invited to come and congratulate these Slicer legends.

Bill Shuta

Bill Shuta

Bill Shuta stands as one of the all-time great pitchers in Slicer baseball history. A 1980 graduate and three-year letter winner for the legendary Coach Ken Schreiber, he posted a career record of 36-8 with a sterling 1.39 ERA. His 36 wins put him in a tie for second on the all-time win list. A versatile player, he also batted .313 with 3 home runs and 6 triples. Bill was All Conference in 1978 and 1979 as well as MVP in 1979. The Slicers won Semistate Championships in 1978 and 1979. In his last game at Schreiber Field in 1980, he led the Slicers to the Regional Championship. He shut out a talented Plymouth team, striking out 12 and going 4-4 at the plate.

Bill went on to play at Big 10 powerhouse Michigan for another legend, Bud Middaugh, and played on Big Ten Championship teams in 1981, 1983 and 1984. He also played in the College World Series each of those years. As a freshman, he was named First Team All Tournament in the 1981 Mideast Regional based on a nine-inning shutout against a Top 10-ranked Eastern Michigan team. Bill struck out 6, walked 1, and threw 89 pitches. No one passed second base in that game. He was 6-1 that year with an outstanding 2.12 ERA. His career record at Michigan was 20-5 with 4 shutouts.

Bill considered playing for Coach Ken Schreiber as a tremendous honor and values the lessons he learned from him on and off the field.

Chris Yelich

Chris Yelich

As a sophomore and junior, Chris Yelich played on Slicer football teams that went 1-19. Then, Dick Deardurff arrived as head coach. Deardurff, who had produced state champions and a national champion in track, wasted no time in making changes. One of the most dramatic changes involved moving Chris Yelich from the defensive line to fullback.

The bruising Yelich, who stands 6’3″ and weighed 235 pounds, revitalized the Slicer offense that season by gaining just shy of 1,000 yards in leading the Slicers to a 6-4 season, their first winning season in several years. At one point, the Slicers reeled off an amazing six straight victories. Those earlier losing seasons became a distant memory with a 34-14 thrashing of the defending state champion Portage Indians. In that signature win, Chris gained 135 yards on 22 carries, including a 58-yard dash to the end zone.

With his size, speed and agility, Chris drew the interest of major college programs from all over the country. He became the most highly recruited Slicer athlete in the last half century with scholarship offers from Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, and UCLA. Chris chose UCLA and started at right or left guard for three years. Chosen as a team captain his senior year, he played on Rose Bowl Championship teams as a junior and senior. His junior year, the Bruins defeated Michigan 24-14 in the Rose Bowl and finished the season ranked #5 based on their 10-1-1 record.

To this day, Chris Yelich remains one of the greatest college athletes LaPorte High School has ever produced in any sport.

Jack Bunce

Jack Bunce

As a senior playing for Head Football Coach John Janzaruk, Jack Bunce played a major role in leading the Slicers to an 8-1-1 season. He was the team’s passing leader with 33 completions in 63 attempts and also caught 8 passes for 158 yards. Among those receptions was a circus catch on 3rd and 11 on a frozen field against arch rival Michigan City in the final game of the season. That clutch play kept the drive alive until Jack made another spectacular catch in the end zone to defeat the Red Devils 13-12. He also handled duties as the Slicers’ punter and was voted the team’s Best Defensive Back.

In the winter Jack starred in basketball, where he played for Coach Norm Hubner and was the team’s third leading scorer with 169 points, and in the spring, Jack played baseball for Earl Dolaway and starred as a pitcher and left fielder. In one memorable game, he threw a one-hitter against Elkhart in a 9-0 victory and contributed two doubles and a single at the plate. He went on to play football as a defensive back at Wabash College. Ken Schreiber, who played for the Red Devils against Jack in all three sports, said Jack was the best all-around athlete he ever played against.

After college, Jack spent 50 years coaching football at every level from the parochial league up to varsity assistant. As the owner of Bennett’s Furniture and Appliance Store, Jack sponsored Coach Schreiber’s summer baseball program, Bennett’s Slicers, for over 20 years.

In the history of Slicer Athletics, no one has contributed more on so many levels and in so many ways as Jack Bunce.

Mike Benjamin

Mike Benjamin

In the 1971-72 season as a sophomore Slicer, Mike Benjamin was a role player for first-year head basketball coach Skip Collins. Through hard work and dedication, Mike blossomed as a junior leading the team in scoring with 353 points. That year he led the Slicers to what many argued was the greatest upset in Slicer history, a 77-74 upset of #3-ranked arch rival, Michigan City Elston. On his way to a team-high 27 points, Mike canned an amazing 13 of 17 shots from all over the court. He also snared 10 rebounds. Elston came in at 12-1 and had defeated the 5-10 Slicers in 16 straight games! When the game ended at the Civic Auditorium, jubilant fans stormed the court. It remains one of the greatest victories in Slicer history. As a senior, Mike led the Slicers in scoring again and shot 80% from the free throw line. He finished his career with 773 points, putting him in the Top 10 on the career scoring list.

Mike’s talents were not limited to the basketball court. A tremendous all-around athlete, he excelled at track. He had the skills of a decathlete, excelling in the high jump, long jump, high and low hurdles, and any distance up to a quarter mile. Mike credits Coach Deardurff with working with him in the weight room after his sophomore year for making him much stronger and faster.

Mike went on to Iowa State on a basketball scholarship, where he played for the legendary Maury John as a freshman. He enjoyed a stellar career with the Cyclones and graduated with a degree in architecture in 1976.

4 Responses to “Shuta, Yelich, Bunce and Benjamin to be inducted into Slicer Hubner Hall of Fame”

  1. Doug Snyder

    Feb 11. 2019

    Wow, what a blast from the past!!!
    Bill,
    What an honor. I haven’t seen you since the late 70’s. I hope you and all the Shuta family are doing great. Are those gray hairs I see? Lol.
    Congrats to you!
    -Doug-

    Reply to this comment
  2. Cary

    Feb 11. 2019

    Yelich’s nephew now plays baseball for the Milwaukee Brewers and is a star.. Success runs in the family.
    Congratulations to all inductees.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Gene M. Jones

    Feb 12. 2019

    Jack: Not only a great athlete but a great guy

    Reply to this comment
  4. Rory Lee Swan

    Feb 12. 2019

    Congratulations to Mike Benjamin!!! I knew Mike in high school along with Dave Ott. Mike was such a great individual along with being an outstanding athlete!! Well deserved!!

    Reply to this comment

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