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Former GRCC football coaching legend Fred Julian named to Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame

July 18, 2022, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Fred Julian, who coached the Grand Rapids Community College football team for 18 seasons, was named to the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame.

Julien, who died in 2013, is among six athletes, coaches, and organizers named to the Hall of Fame this month. He was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2003.

The Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame honors prominent West Michigan athletes and those who have contributed to sports on a local, state or national level, and presents annual events in support of local youth organizations and charities. Plaques and video displays commemorate the members at Van Andel Arena.

Julian became head coach of the football team in 1985, succeeding Gordon Hunsberger, who also is a member of the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame and the NJCAA Football Hall of Fame.

Julian led GRCC to the 1988 national championship game and appearances in seven bowl games, including the 1986 Texas Junior College Shrine Bowl, 1987 East Bowl, the 1988 Valley of the Sun Bowl (National Championship Game), the 1990 Mickinnon Travel Midwest Bowl, the 1992 Dixie Rotary Bowl, the 1996 Dixie Rotary Bowl, and the 2002 Graphic Edge/Siglar Printing Bowl.

The Detroit native played for the University of Michigan between 1957 and 1959, and played for the New York Titans of the American Football League -- now the New York Jets -- in the team’s inaugural season.  

Julian later coached at West Catholic High School for 16 years before taking the helm of the Raiders.

Others elected this year are:

  • David Brandt, who played on the offensive line for Jenison High School football, the University of Michigan, the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers.
  • Kim Elders, who has been the head men’s basketball coach for more than 1,000 games and 30 years at Cornerstone University and led the dominant program to three NAIA DII national titles.
  • Laura (Heyboer) Heethuis, who set soccer scoring records, was part of four state championship teams at Unity Christian High School and was a three-time All-American at Michigan State University.
  • Josette (Carter) McCullough, who was a three-sport athlete at Ottawa Hills High School, played basketball on scholarship at the University of Delaware and is a leader in youth and women’s sports.
  • Diane House, a former Grand Rapids Public Schools physical education teacher who founded the local Special Olympics program now known as Area 11 and has served for over 50 years in various roles, including CEO. House will be inducted as the special recipient of the Warren Reynolds Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It’s another incredible class that demonstrates achievement as athletes and coaches at the highest levels, but also recognizes community impact and tremendous leadership,” Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Chairman Mark Kimball said. “The Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame is excited to recognize and honor them.”

The induction is tentatively planned for Tuesday, Oct. 4 at Van Andel Arena. 

Julian joins former Tigers pitcher Dave Rozema, baseball coach Tom Hofmann, basketball coach Gene Paxton, and Hunsberger as Grand Rapids hall inductees connected with the GRCC Athletic Program.

Learn more about the Hall of Fame and its members at


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