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Hart leads Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame inductee list

Golf, basketball, football, journalism all part of Class of 2014

The 2014 class of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame was announced last Wednesday at Driver’s Village in Cicero, with the induction dinner set for Oct. 20 at Drumlins Country Club. Front row, from left: Mike Hart (football), Teresa Cleland (golf), Father Billy Jones (basketball). Back row: Bob Snyder (media), Phil Gordon (basketball), Ger Schwedes (football).

The 2014 class of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame was announced last Wednesday at Driver’s Village in Cicero, with the induction dinner set for Oct. 20 at Drumlins Country Club. Front row, from left: Mike Hart (football), Teresa Cleland (golf), Father Billy Jones (basketball). Back row: Bob Snyder (media), Phil Gordon (basketball), Ger Schwedes (football). Photo by Herm Card.

With accomplishments that span the entire second half of the 20th century and the first years of the 21st century, the six newest inductees to the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame provide a wide variety of compelling stories.

Of them, none is newer than that of Mike Hart, the Onondaga High School and University of Michigan standout running back who, at age 28, is the youngest man ever selected for this honor.

Hart, along with golfer Teresa Cleland, basketball coach Phil Clancy, parochial basketball star Father Billy Jones, Syracuse football legend Ger Schwedes and long-time sportswriter Bob Snyder, make up the Class of 2014 that will be inducted at a dinner Oct. 20 at Drumlins Country Club.

After getting his football start with the Clay Panthers, Mike Hart turned into a local legend at Onondaga High School, where he ran for a state-record 11,045 yards and 204 touchdowns, leading the Tigers to a 46-1 record and three consecutive state championships.

Once at Michigan, Hart set a freshman record for rushing yards (1,455), was fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting as a junior (1,562 yards), and his career total of 5,040 yards for the Wolverines remains a school record. After a brief NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts (where he played in Super Bowl XLIV), Hart went into coaching and is currently the running backs coach at Western Michigan University.

Teresa Cleland did not take up golf until age 26, but when she did, Cleland quickly blossomed into the dominant female amateur golfer in Central New York. Four times, she won the Syracuse Women’s District Golf Association title, most recently in 2012, and she also just earned her fifth Post-Stanard Amateur title, all in the last 12 years.

Spreading her success to the state level, Cleland won back-to-back New York State Golf Association Senior Amateur titles in 2009-10 and three consecutive NYSGA Mid-Amateur titles. A five-time competitor in the USGA Mid-Amateur, Cleland just retired from 30 years of teaching physical education at Corcoran High School.

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