2017 • Bill Bussing – Bill Bussing has always loved baseball. He’s a lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan. “I was a terrible athlete,” he says. “I was always slow and uncoordinated, and that isn’t good if you want to become a ballplayer.” So instead, after graduating from Memorial High School and Notre Dame University, he became an attorney. He has spent more than three decades as a lawyer specializing in estate planning. He is a University of Evansville trustee, he is involved in numerous community actvities, and he recently was inducted into the Evansville Regional Business Hall of Fame. But baseball is a big part of his life, too. Since 2001, Bill and his family have owned the Evansville Otters and built them into one of the strongest franchises in the independent Frontier League. The Otters have won two league championships and, as Bill likes to say, “worked hard to give our fans an entertaining night at the ballpark.” It’s safe to say that, without the Bussing family, there probably would be no Evansville Otters. And it isn’t much of a stretch to say that, without the Otters, there might not be a Bosse Field.
2016 • Joe Unfried & Bill McKeon – Joe and Bill founded the Tri-State Hot Stove Baseball League in 1993. They were teammates on the 1956 Evansville Braves, married local girls (sisters, in fact) and eventually settled in Evansville. Joe was a standout athlete at Memorial High School and Evansville College and later was a coach and administrator at Bosse High School. He passed away in 2000. Bill, a native of New Jersey, has spent most of his life in baseball. He was a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City A’s, Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres. He also is a former college baseball coach and has served the Evansville Otters as a coach, interim manager and radio commentator.
2015 • Paul Gries – When Paul Gries was named Central High School’s baseball coach in 1981, he dedicated himself to the job. During the 20 years he coached, Paul recorded 408 wins and 196 losses, which included seven IHSAA Sectionals, two Regional, and one Semi-State championship. The Bears were State runners-up in 1987. In addition, there were seven SIAC titles. Coaching honors include SIAC Coach of the Year in ’81, ’87 and ’98; North-South All-Star coach in 1987; and National Regional Coach of the Year in 2000. He was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2016, a committee was formed to raise money for current and future improvements and to name the Central High field “Paul Gries Field.” His name will always be connected with Central High School and the Tri-State Hot Stove League and to the sport he loved and devoted so much time.
2014 • Don Mattingly – A graduate of Memorial High School in Evansville, Don led the Tigers to a state record 59 straight victories through the 1978-79 season. In 1978 the Tigers were crowned State Champions and were State Runners-up in 1979. Drafted out of high school, Don played his entire 14-year baseball career for the New York Yankees. After his playing career, he served as a hitting coach for the Yankees and Dodgers prior to taking on his current position as manager of the Dodgers.
2013 • Bob Griese – Drafted in 1967 by the Miami Dolphins, Griese led them to three consecutive Super Bowl appearances, including two Super Bowl victories. He is the only Dolphins Quarterback to win a Super Bowl. The former Evansville Rex Mundi High School & Purdue University star, Griese was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
2012 • “Singing Ed” Nottle – Ed has called Evansville home since he met his wife Pat while pitching for the Evansville E-Sox in 1966. He is a baseball lifer, having coached and managed at every level — Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, Bullpen coach for Billy Martin’s Oakland A’s and serving the longest as Sioux City Explorers manager. At every step he has reached out to the community through song: hosting events at local restaurants.
2011 • Jim Byers – Former Evansville Reitz High School multi-sport athlete. Played football at the University of Michigan and was later Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at the University of Evansville.
2010 • Mike Blake – Most recognized media personality in the Tri-State. Over 40 years of sports coverage in Evansville.
2009 • Louise Owen – Legendary Evansville tennis star. Winner of local, national & international tournaments.