5 always-Slicers enter Hubner Hall of Fame

 

New Hubner HOF’ers hold their plaques at Kiwanis Field Friday evening. From left: Terry Miller, Steve Lowe, Steve Drabyn, Tom Dermody and Jim Dermody.

Former LPHS basketball coach and Hubner Hall of Famer Joe Otis and new inductee Tom Dermody.

The inductees congratulate one another on the field Friday.

LPHS Athletic Director Ed Gilliland (left) congratulates inductee Steve Lowe.

Family and friends of the 2021 Hall of Fame class gather for refreshments in the LPHS cafeteria.

Inductee Terry Miller chats with Lois Krider, whose late husband, sportswriter Dave Krider, was also an inductee.

Photos by WNLP’s Mike Kellems (click to enlarge)

That now-familiar saying “once a Slicer, always a Slicer” is particularly appropriate when LPHS sports stars are inducted into the Hubner Hall of Fame. On Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, before the La Porte-New Prairie football game, 5 Slicers got their HOF plaques: brothers Jim and Tom Dermody, Steve Drabyn, Steve Lowe and Terry Miller.

The Hubner Hall of Fame is named for the late Norman Hubner, standout LPHS coach and athletic director.

Here are biographies of the latest inductees:

Jim Dermody starred as a three-sport athlete at LPHS, lettering twice in football, twice in basketball, and three times in baseball. He was team MVP his senior season of basketball, and he received the Dr. Gardner Slicer Award and earned the “Best Blocker” Award his senior season of football. He was also the team MVP and captain for the 1969-70 baseball team. Moving on to Valparaiso University, he lettered 3 times each in baseball and football. He was a three-year starter in each sport while at VU. Jim feels privileged to have played for some excellent coaches while at La Porte, noting three in particular who were especially impactful: Ken Schreiber, Stan Klimczak and John Kunze. He says each was demanding but fair and in doing so, laid out clear expectations that each athlete was expected to meet. These coaches also, in Jim’s view, built confidence in their athletes to do difficult things and were fun to be around. Jim is a member Of both the La Porte Slicer Football and Baseball Halls of Fame. After college, Jim proudly spent 42 years in public education. He was a head varsity baseball coach for 23 years and an assistant football coach for 10 years. His 1988 Warsaw baseball team made it to the finals of the single-class state tournament. Jim spent time as both a building administrator and central office administrator for the La Porte Community School Corporation and as a building administrator and superintendent of the New Prairie United School Corporation. After retiring from New Prairie, he served as interim superintendent of Knox and Oregon Davis corporations. Jim and his wife, Judie, a retired 45-year educator for La Porte Community Schools, live in La Porte and have three children, Matt, Todd, and Sarah. They also have two grandchildren.

Steve Drabyn was a varsity basketball player of great renown for La Porte High School and Belmont University. He is currently a coach headed for the same notoriety. After graduating from LPHS, he made many all-time lists. He was first in 3-point shots made in a season with 93, and for his career, made 226. He also was first with 11 3-pointers made in one game. Additionally, he netted 51 points in one game, a record at that time. He was third in scoring with 1,417 points. His teams won four sectional titles. His high school career concluded with his being chosen for the 2000 Indiana All-Star team. This and the fact that while at Belmont his senior year, the team had a 21-9 record and a 78 RPI, are two of his memorable athletic experiences. In his senior season at Belmont, the team beat two teams ranked in the top 25. Steve was a member of the National Honor Society while at LPHS and earned Academic All-Conference for three seasons at Belmont. He received the WC Griffith Outstanding Physical Education Award while at Belmont. Steve has a rather long timeline of career coaching stops as an assistant, which included a stint at Lipscomb, where the team garnered a conference championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance. He is currently the head men’s basketball coach at Bethel University in Mishawaka. His 2021 team earned a spot in the NAIA Elite 8 and a national ranking of 21st. Steve has several influences on his athletic and coaching careers. This starts with his father, Steve Sr., who taught him much about the game by watching and working with him. These times were filled with analyzing games and practices. He also appreciates the support he received from his mom. College coaches Rick Byrd and Casey Alexander were also impactful by doing things the right way and coaching him in a way that allowed him to use his strengths. Steve also gives credit to a former teammate and now rival coach, Greg Tonagel, for helping him develop as a player at LPHS and now as a coach. La Porte is a special place for Steve, as there are many great coaches, friends, and role models here. Athletic Director Ed Gilliland and his wife, Marie, were neighbors of Steve’s while he was growing up, and Steve feels they helped shape him as a young man. Steve and his wife, Brittany, have four children: Grayson, Ava, Chloe and Lily. They live in Granger, Ind.

Steve Lowe is one of the most renowned golfers in La Porte High School history. He was a four-year letter winner in golf and achieved many individual honors as well as helping his team excel. He was the team MVP for three of the four seasons he lettered. He was all-Duneland Athletic Conference player for multiple seasons. He was co-medalist his senior season in the conference tournament. His greatest accomplishment, and what he considers his greatest memory, was winning as an individual the state tournament in 2001. He is quick to also point out that the team qualified as well for the state finals that year and finished 8th. He said the team was made up of not only good players, but great people who were all good friends. The team that year finished 26-1 in the regular season. Steve often dreamed as a youngster of being that state champion, and he would practice as if he were competing in the state tournament. He much appreciates his high school coach, Mike Hoke, for letting him be himself on the course. Hoke retired after that season and told the team that his biggest coaching thrill was Steve being the individual medalist at that state tournament. Other influences on Steve’s career and life: He credits Matt Blair for coaching him throughout much of his playing career. He considers Matt a friend and a brother who was dedicated to helping Steve develop as a golfer. Bill Murray had a golf camp that Steve began attending at the age of 9. This experience taught Steve the love for the game. Steve also worked for Bill at Beechwood Golf Course and taught him much about how to be successful in the working world. Finally, Steve gives credit to his dad for always being there in good times and bad, and teaching him to never sell himself short when things went awry. Steve lives in Sarasota, Fla., with his wife, Sabrina, and daughter, London. He is a regional account executive for ServiceChannel.

— Some great coaches once garnered great accolades for their own athletic achievements. Some great coaches did not. Terry Miller did not achieve greatness as an athlete, but let there be no doubt of his greatness as a coach, whose positive impact was/is undeniable on many athletes he coached during his 34 years teaching/coaching in La Porte Community Schools. For all of his 34-year teaching career, he coached wrestling at some level, either as a paid coach or as a volunteer. In addition, while a teacher at LPHS, he was a varsity girls track assistant and boys cross country coach. He also coached numerous sports at the junior high/middle school level. He was the head varsity wrestling coach at LPHS for 6 years, but spent many more years as a high school assistant and as a coach at lower levels. During those 6 years as head coach, his teams had a 70-31 record and won 6 sectional titles and one regional title. He believes today that an assistant coach can be just as impactful on an athlete as a head coach. This would explain why even after being head coach, he went back to the assistant level and even back to coaching at lower levels. All total, he assisted in the coaching of 7 state wrestling champions. While head coach, he had at least one wrestler advance to the state tournament in each of his 6 years. In addition to all of his coaching assignments, he ran the scoreboard for home football games at LPHS and served as the tournament director for conference, sectional and regional wrestling tournaments held at LPHS. After 34 years in La Porte, he and his wife, Phoebe, moved to Washburn, Wis., where he taught and coached wrestling for another 4.5 years. He was awarded the District 1 Distingiuished Service Award chosen by the Wisconsin Athletic Directors Association in 2020. Terry lists many coaching influences, including Larry McKeever and Joe Solmos, who introduced him to wrestling when he was still a student at LPHS. He also mentions Chuck Ford and Tom Cota, who mentored him as a beginning coach. Terry considers himself blessed to have had so many who have guided him during his coaching career. Terry and Phoebe have four sons: Matt, Paul, Rob and Kevin, along with two grandsons.

Tom Dermody was an eight-time letter winner for La Porte High School in the early 1980s. He lettered three times each in football and basketball and twice in baseball. In the Duneland Athletic Conference, he was chosen all conference in baseball and football for the 1983-84 athletic season. He was the co-MVP his senior season in basketball as well. He was chosen the Kiwanis Club Male Athlete of the Year his senior year. While playing his two seasons of varsity baseball, his teams went 60-9-1. The 1983 team, of which Tom is especially proud, had a 25-game winning streak. His personal pitching stats for his two years on varsity were a 19-3 record along with a 1.44 ERA. He also led the team in RBIs his senior season. After high school he received a scholarship to Purdue and was a team member from 1985-87. Tom feels fortunate to have played for three quality coaches at the high school varsity level: Bob Strieter, Joe Otis and Ken Schreiber. Tom appreciates Coach Schreiber’s high standards for the baseball program, which required players to give 110% to everything they did. Tom also values Coach Greg Fruth, who coached Tom in football from 8th grade through his senior year. Coach Fruth had high expectations both on the field and in the classroom. Tom lives in La Porte with his wife, Jackie. They have two children, Katie and Ben. He was a business owner and is a former state representative and a former La Porte School Board member. he currently serves as mayor of La Porte.

8 Responses to “5 always-Slicers enter Hubner Hall of Fame”

  1. Hugh Tonagel

    Aug 05. 2021

    These are great Slicers and very deserving men to being inducted in the Hall! Congratulations!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Do Better

    Aug 05. 2021

    These are all wonderful people who have achieved so much, but really, not ONE woman or person of color chosen? Who is the judge/group that selects these accolades? Lemme guess – a bunch of other white guys. Seriously, Slicer Hubner Hall of Fame – do better.

    Reply to this comment
    • Staff

      Aug 05. 2021

      While none are being inducted this year, there are women and people of color already in the Hubner Hall of Fame.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Debra Spencer

    Aug 21. 2021

    Congratulations to all you guys!! I wish you would’ve told us on the dock Thursday evening that that’s why you were here, Mr. Miller. My daughter knew you looked familiar, and thought you were a teacher. That’s a big honor, and we would’ve liked to congratulate you in person!! So I’ll do it here!! Congratulations, Mr. Miller, on being inducted into the Slicer Hubner Hall of Fame!!! And on your award in Wisconsin, as well!!! It was very nice chatting with you, by the way.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Former Student

    Aug 21. 2021

    I am a former student of Coach Miller. I was one of those girls that wasn’t athletic at all and Coach Miller was always super encouraging. He didn’t care if you weren’t an athlete he simply said try.

    Coach Miller, thank you! You made gym class fun.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Kathy Tulacz

    Aug 22. 2021

    Congratulations to the latest inductees into the Hubner Hall of Fame. This honor belongs to you enjoy!
    “Do Better” Really, the race card? Can’t you leave politics out of an event that recognizes hard work and dedication of former LaPorte High School athletes.?
    I signed my name to my comment.
    Kathy Tulacz.

    Reply to this comment
  6. chris thomas

    Aug 22. 2021

    Congrats to all of the Slicers who made it to the “Hubner” level! What a great group that really shows what it means to be a Slicer!

    Reply to this comment
  7. Brian Graham

    Aug 23. 2021

    The Dermody’s were Green Wave just before they became “Once a Slicer, Always a Slicer”. Outstanding!

    Reply to this comment

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