Four to join elite ranks, enter hall

Sidelines

High schools

September 22, 1999|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

A boys basketball scoring machine, the winningest track coach and two men with huge accomplishments in wrestling represent the ninth Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame class.

Former Andover High and James Madison University basketball star Steve Stielper, Old Mill/Arundel track coach Ron Evans and wrestling's Buddy Hepfer of Arundel and Tyrone Neal of Southern-Harwood/University of Maryland will be inducted Oct. 20 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, bringing the total of those enshrined since 1991 to 44.

Stielper, 6 feet 7, was a scoring machine at the high school, college and professional levels.

"I haven't seen a better all-around offensive player," said veteran coach John Brady of Annapolis, who was an assistant at Andover when Stielper played there.

Stielper, who played for the late Dick Hart ('97 inductee) at Andover High from 1973 to 1976, holds several Anne Arundel County records, including season scoring average (33.04) and total points (892, 27 games) in the 1975-76 season.

Named Anne Arundel County's Player of the Year his senior year, Stielper also led the county in rebounds that season with 481 (17.8 average), making him only the third player in county history to accomplish the double.

His 363 field goals and 645 field-goal attempts in the '75-76 season still stand as county records.

In leading the Archers to the '76 state final at Cole Field House where he set a state tournament record (shared by two others) for most field goals (19) in a game against Walter Johnson, Stielper scored 43 points for the third time in his career.

Stielper's personal best was 47 points against Severna Park, Feb. 24, 1976, and his 1,502 total career points rank fifth on the county's all-time list and is one of many school records he set.

At James Madison (1976-1980), Stielper became the Dukes' all-time leading scorer with 2,126 career points, hitting double digits in 103 of the 105 games he played including a school single-game record 51 points (22-for-25 shooting) against Robert Morris.

A three-time MVP, Stielper was named division I honorable mention All-America 1978-79 and took honors as Madison's Outstanding Athlete.

The Indiana Pacers selected Stielper in the sixth round of the '80 NBA draft, but he did not sign. Instead, he played professionally in Spain for two seasons and one season in Australia, averaging 25 points a game before retiring after the 1981-82 season.

When you say track coach in Anne Arundel County, you say Ron Evans.

Evans' coaching career began at Arundel in 1966 where he spent nine years before starting a track dynasty at Old Mill in 1976.

In his 30 years of coaching track, Evans, who retired after the '96 season, won 20 state titles, more than any coach in any sport in county history.

Coaching both indoor and outdoor track, Evans' teams copped 58 county and 55 region championships.

Evans was also Old Mill's first football coach, guiding the Patriots from 1977 to 1982 and winning two county titles with a 35-23 record.

Hepfer's name is synonymous with high school wrestling in Maryland.

Inducted into the Maryland State Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1996, Hepfer surprisingly retired in June after 32 years as a physical education teacher/coach in Anne Arundel County. He spent the last 29 years as the Arundel coach compiling a career record of 280-90-5 with three state team titles and 11 individual state champions.

The 1996-97 Wildcats wrestling team went 18-0 as the Class 3A-4A state dual meet champion despite having only four seniors and four returning state qualifiers. The superb coaching effort earned Hepfer The Sun's county Coach of the Year honors.

Hepfer won his second (first in 1985) state championship (Class 3A-4A) the following season and finished 14-2 overall. His final team this past winter was a state dual-meet runner-up, 16-2 overall and ranked third in The Sun's final poll.

It was football where Hepfer first made his coaching mark. Serving as an assistant to the late Jerry Mears on Arundel's 1975 state champion team, Hepfer succeeded Mears as head coach in 1977. He coached the Wildcats' football team for 15 seasons (1977-1991), going 94-61 (.606).

Hepfer ranks as Anne Arundel County's only football coach to post back-to-back undefeated 10-0 regular seasons. His unbeaten '78 team lost in the first round of the playoffs while his '79 squad went 11-0 before losing in the Class A (now 3A) state final.

A little-known fact is that the Grampian (Pa.) native who earned a wrestling scholarship to Maryland, also coached Arundel's baseball team for a couple years.

Neal became the county's first state wrestling champion while at Southern-Harwood. He won the 1970 and 1971 state titles in the 142-pound weight class.

At Montgomery-Rockville Junior College, Neal became a two-time National Juco Athletic Association champion and earned a scholarship to the University of Maryland. As a Terrapin, Neal was a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion at 158 pounds.

A four-time national qualifier, Neal coached his alma mater at Southern for six years (during the '90s) and developed four state champs, including his son Tyrone Neal Jr.

1999 Anne Arundel County Hall of Fame class,

Name, Sports, School, Residence

Ron Evans, coach track, football, Old Mill/Arundel, Odenton

Buddy Hepfer, coach wrestling, football, Arundel, Gambrills

Tyrone Neal, wrestler/coach, Southern-Harwood, Harwood

Steve Stielper, basketball, Andover, Linthicum

Induction banquet Oct. 20, 6 p.m. at Michael's Eighth Avenue, Glen Burnie. Tickets: Call Michael's at 410-768-7901.

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