Hall of Fame

George McAfee Pro Football Hall of Fame

While doing some research on former Ironton players and coaches, I came across some info I thought you might like to know. There are several Hall of Fames around the country and the State of Ohio and Ironton has their share of members. I thought it would be interesting too see who is enshrined where.

Let’s start with the Ohio Officials Hall of Fame. Harold Rolph was inducted into this hall in 1990. Harold was an official and also carried the title of Principal at Hanging Rock High School. He had a son Tim, who was one of the Fab Five at Ironton St Joseph back in the early 50’s. Next came Jim Mains who was in the class of 1991. Jim was better known as “Bear” to most of his friends. He was a St Joseph Grad and coached the Ironton Tigers in football. He also carried the title of principal at Ironton for some time. Jim Mains was also a member of the Defiance College Sports Hall of Fame.The final member of this hall was Joe Swarts who just passed away recently. Joe was an official for many years. He also served many hours working for the kids at Coal Grove Little League. Joe was induced into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

Next I guess we should look at the Ohio HS Football Coaches Hall of Fame. The first member to get this honor was Dick Gallagher in 1971. Dick was also a graduate of St Joseph and began his coaching career at old Pedro High School. He later became the coach at Ironton and had an outstanding football team in 1935. It was the first undefeated team to play at Ironton. It’s star was the one and only George McAfee who we will get to later. Next on this list was Ironton grad Gene Slaughter. Gene coached at Warren HIgh School and was inducted into the hall in 1994. Gene went on to coach at Capital University. Then came Jim Mains who was put into the hall in 1995. Last but certainly not least was Bob Lutz. We all know the credentials that Coach Lutz carries. Bob was enshined into the hall in 2003. I was sitting in the stands at Ohio State one Saturday afternoon to watch the Buckeyes play and the announcement was put on the Jumbotron about Coach Lutz making the Hall of Fame. Talk about being one proud Ironton fan.

Before I get to the one person who tops them all. I must mention that Mike Burcham is a member of the Rio Grande Sports Hall of Fame.

The only member I could find that belonged to the College Football Hall of Fame was the great George McAfee. Lefty was inducted into the Hall in 1961 after a fantastic career at Duke University.This Ironton grad was also enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1966. This was after playing with the Chicago Bears and Coach George Halas. His former coach Dick Gallagher had the honor of introducing George McAfee at his induction.

The history and tradition at Ironton just keeps growing and growing. You just never know who will be the next person to have his name included in these honors.

Joe Holtzapfel


About Joe Holtzapfel

Born and raised in Ironton. I graduated from St Joseph High School and attended college at University of Kentucky at Ashland and at Ohio University Southern. Have been watching those Ironton Fighting Tigers play football since 1957. Retired form the Dayton Malleable and Sam's Club. I was an administrator on Southeasternohio Preps from its start in 2000 until here recently. I also have done articles for Irontonfootball Dot Com for the last two years. I am also an Ohio State fan and attend the Spring Game every year along with several of the home games.
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One Response to Hall of Fame

  1. Tim Hodges says:

    That is quite a list of good men with great accomplishments. The one thing I am sure that all of them will tell you is they didn’t achieve success on their own but were accompanied by a supporting family, staff and friends along the way. Not to mention, they each probably had a mentor, someone who they admired and many of them were certainly mentors to each other. You are right Joe. Everyone has a history. Ironton is but a small blip on the map of Ohio but we are known for the tradition that has been established over the years with our athletics. We should all be proud of that.

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