DANTONIO, OGONOWSKI, GUBICZA AND DANOWSKI TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE NATIONAL POLISH-AMERICAN SPORTS HALL OF FAME
The National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame announced today that former Michigan State University head football coach Mark Dantonio, pocket billiards champion LoreeJon Ogonowski, former MLB pitcher Mark Gubicza, and Duke University head lacrosse coach John Danowski have been elected into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
Mark Dantonio was named head football coach at Michigan State University in 2007, after three seasons as head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats. During his thirteen seasons in East Lansing (2007-2019), Dantonio compiled an impressive list of accomplishments including three Big Ten Championships, two Big Ten Championship Game wins, victories in the 2014 Rose Bowl and the 2015 Cotton Bowl, and an appearance in the 2015 College Football Playoff. With a career MSU record of 114-57, the two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year is the winningest football coach in MSU history, with more Big Ten Championships (3), bowl game appearances (12) and bowl game victories (6) than any other MSU head football coach.
LoreeJon Ogonowski began playing pool at the age of 4, and became a pro at the age of 11. She won the World 9-Ball Tournament at the age of 15, becoming the youngest player ever – male or female – to win a world title. Known as “Queen of the Hill,” she won 18 tournaments from 1987 to 1993. Her greatest achievements include eight World Championships, three National Championships and three WPBA US Open titles. Ogonowski was named five times as Player of the Year. In 2002, she was inducted into the Billiard Congress Hall of Fame and in 2008, she was inducted into the Women’s Professional Billiard Association Hall of Fame. At the time of her retirement she held over 60 titles.
Mark Gubicza pitched 14 seasons in Major League Baseball (1984-1997); 13 seasons with the Kansas City Royals, and one season with the California Angels. The hard throwing right-hander was a member of the 1985 Royals World Series Championship team, and became the ace of the staff in 1988, winning 20 games that season and finishing third in voting for the Cy Young Award. He was named to the 1988 and 1989 All Star teams, and also led the American League in games started in 1989 and 1995. In 1996, Gubicza became the Royals all-time leader in strikeouts. Enduring arm problems forced Gubicza to retire, posting a career record of 132-136, a 3.96 ERA, and 1,367 strikeouts.
John Danowski is the head men’s lacrosse coach at Duke University, where he has served since 2007, after 21 seasons as the head lacrosse coach at Hofstra University (1996-2006). Danowski coached Duke to three NCAA Championships in 2010, 2013, and 2014, and appearances in the national championship game in 2007 and 2018. He is a three-time NCAA men’s lacrosse coach of the year, earning those honors in 1993, 2010 and 2013. Danowski has won more games than any other Division 1 lacrosse coach and has a career record of 432-204. He is also coach of the United States lacrosse team, and led them to the gold medal at the 2018 World Lacrosse Championship.
The 49th Annual Induction Banquet will be held on Thursday, June 16, 2022, at the American Polish Cultural Center in Troy, Michigan. Broadcasting icon George Blaha, the “Voice of the Detroit Pistons,” will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Tickets for the banquet, which begins at 5:30 p.m., are $140 and can be ordered by calling (586) 764-2484. Information on the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame is available at www.polishsportshof.com.