Ted Raven, Cecil Burch among current Pine River Hall of Fame inductees

LEROY — Pine River is seeking nominations for its second sports Hall of Fame class after coming off a year when its first induction group was announced.

Among the first inductees from earlier this year was long-time coach and administrator Ted Raven.

Raven retired in 1997.

“My favorite thing was coaching,” he said. “I really liked working with kids. It was rewarding. As superintendent, we were able to build a middle school. That was pretty exciting.”

Raven went to Tustin High School. The new district which consolidated Tustin LeRoy and Luther, started in the fall of 1965. He started on staff two years later. Raven coached basketball and track at Pine River.

“I thought we were quite competitive,” he said. “We played good competition, too.”

The plaque honoring Raven reads: “He’s not only the winningest coach in Pine River basketball history but is a true Pine River Buck. He devoted his career to making Pine River a better school. Before going on to a successful administrative career, coach Raven led the Bucks to the first ever Pine River area schools’ Highland Conference and district championship.”

Raven coached Pine River basketball for 11 years.

Another inductee was the late Cecil Burch, a former cross country and track coach.

“He worked with the cross country and track programs for years and I was always amazed how dedicated he was to kids,” Raven said. “He was all about helping kids and worked hard at it. He was a great guy.”

The plaque honoring Burch reads: “He began teaching and mentoring young people in January 1972. He continued to do so even after his retirement from teaching in 2001. He continued coaching and played an integral role in developing young athletes and students. He was a role model to thousands of student and staff members and coached girls track for 35 years and cross country for an additional 25.”

Burch’s teams gained state runner-up finishes in girls track (once) and girls cross country (twice). Burch also was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame for cross country.

Another inductee was Jeff Pullen, who graduated from Pine River in 1974 and went on to run track and cross country for Michigan State, where he earned a degree in forestry and worked for the United State Forest Service for 36 years. At Pine River, he was a four-time all-state runner in cross country and two times in track and field. He is still the recordholder in the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.

Rob Feeley, another inductee, graduated from Pine River in 1965 and went on to college at Ferris State Unversity and received a degree from Cooley Law School. He currently owns and manages a national oil based law business with his family.

The plaque honoring him reads: “Rob has used his success and generosity to donate to Pine River area schools, students and staff.” He was a major contributor to the new concession stand.

Also inducted was the 1991 Pine River wrestling team, which won several individual tournaments and took district, regional and quarterfinal victories and was Class C state runners-up. The team also won the MHSAA’s Good Sports Are Winners award for their exemplary sportsmanship during their state tournament run, taking a crystal trophy and $1,000 donation to Pine River athletics.

Ralph Hurley was head coach.