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John Boyajian could chuck a football through a car wash and have it come out dry.

Can you say v-e-l-o-c-i-t-y?

The 1964 Hammond grad and all-Big Ten quarterback at Wisconsin is among seven individuals — three coaches, three players, one official — who'll be inducted May 5 into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame.

Also included are Hobart natives Craig Buford, brothers Mark and Mike Deal; Gerald Irons (Roosevelt), Randy Beisler (Wirt) and Certificate of Merit Winner John Goss Jr. (Lew Wallace).

The Region 1 Indiana Football Coaches Association event will be held at Avalon Manor in Hobart.

Boyajian has a medical practice in Idaho and got the good news from his former high school coach Bernie Krueger, also in the Hall of Fame.

"Coach Krueger called me up three or four years ago and said he'd mention me to the committee but don't hold your breath — and I didn't," Boyajian said, "and then, out of the clear blue, I'm in.

"It's overwhelming, and my 92-year-old mom who lives in south Hammond is thrilled."

Boyajian starred in football, basketball and baseball at Hammond, earning 10 varsity letters. In 1962, he led his Wildcats to the mythical state championship and shared all-state QB honors with Evansville's Bob Griese.

With more than 100 college scholarship offers for football and a baseball offer from Michigan, Boyajian chose Wisconsin because it emphasized the passing game and ran the Green Bay Packers' offense.

Unfortunately, the Badgers struggled for much of his college career, though he was invited to try out for the San Diego Chargers after graduation.

"Playing in the pros at that time was not as attractive as it is now," Boyajian said. "Dick Butkus was one of many stars who had to work jobs in the offseason to make it.

"I found medical school a better and safer choice."

Mark Deal, assistant athletic director at Indiana University, believes having a father (Russ) and two sons inducted into the Indiana Hall of Fame is a first.

Mark coached college ball for 22 years and Mike nearly as long in college and the pros while helping develop 12 NFL players and 10 Division I All-Americans.

"Mike and I are both very humbled. You don't expect this," Mark said. "Football has given our family everything, starting with our dad at Hobart and then branching out from there.

"Mike and I were in the audience at the K of C Hall in East Chicago when Dad was inducted in 1976. I was playing at IU and Mike had just left Crown Point to take the head coaching job at Chesterton."

Other inductees that day included Abe Gibron (who had just been fired by the Bears), Irv Cross of NFL Today, and Fred "The Hammer" Williamson.

Gerald Irons, a 1966 Roosevelt grad, played at Maryland State and had a 10-year career with the Raiders and Browns.

"The motor was always going. I'm so blessed to have played at that level without getting hurt or injured. And of course, it all started at Gary Roosevelt," he said.

"The Hall of Fame and the people chosen are something you always hear about. It's a great honor to be selected."

Randy Beisler, a 1962 Wirt grad, played at Indiana University and then professionally for 11 seasons with Philadelphia, San Francisco and Kansas City.

Craig Buford coached 25 years in the Hobart system and was an integral part of the Brickies' four state titles and seven runner-up finishes. He is a '66 grad.

John Goss, a '67 Wallace alum, has worked 33 high school football sectionals, 27 regionals, 17 semistates, seven state championships and was the 2001 IHSAA Official Of The Year.


Sports reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.