Joe Mishler / Induction in 2011


Joe Mishler


An instrument of blunt force in the trenches and peerless shooting on the wing, he was as respected for his off-court demeanor as he was for his on-court mastery. As a senior, he dominated opponents en route to an All State campaign on the gridiron while his hardwood heroics would spur the Beavers' return to basketball preeminence.


All Conference (Honorable Mention) (Junior season)
All Conference (First team) (Senior season)
All Midland Area (Senior season)
All Saginaw Area (2nd team) (Senior season)
2nd Team All State (only player to receive all-state in Midland area) (Senior season)


Scored 166 points (9ppg) (Team scored 979 points, 166: 17%) (Junior season)
11-7 record (best record since 1955 season) (Senior season)
Averaged 16 point, (5th in Area scoring) (292 points scored, team scored 1086: 26%) (Senior season)
2nd Team All-Conference (Senior season)

It's hard not to love a man whose chief requirement for maximum athletic enjoyment was beating Gladwin. From breaking in the new/old BHS gym to dominating on the gridiron, this Hall of Famer was anything but your Average Joe. He sat down with HOF Q & A to share some BHS Sports insights.

Like many players in your day, you played multiple sports. Which was your favorite, and why?

I probably got more recognition playing football. But basketball was my favorite because it was easier to play year-round or with a couple friends. In fact, I played men's basketball up until I was about 58 years old.

You enjoyed quite a bit of success in your playing days. Which teammates helped bring out the best in you and how did they do that?

In football we had a very good team, and I remember guys like Brian Miller who actually did not play very often in games, but was better than most of the competition we played from other schools. Also, Tom Mckimmy, Rollie Newman and I worked well together as Tom played guard and Rollie played linebacker.

In basketball we had a lot of fun but played well together as well. When I was a junior, Dick Govitz was the only senior starter, as he was all four years of his career. The other starters were myself, Al Bullock, Phil Maxwell and Duane Govitz. I remember Al Bullock getting 30 rebounds in a game, which may still be a record. My senior year, all four of us were back and Ron Munger filled Dick's spot when he graduated. I remember that team being the first to play in what what we now call the old high school gym.

Who were the players from other schools that gave you the most headaches? How did you handle them?

As a junior, I remember a guy named John Vick from Houghton Lake. He was a 200-pound All-State  tackle, and I was only 170 pounds. Tom McKimmy and I had to double-team him most of the time.

When I was a senior, Brad Leasche from Gladwin was really tough. It was usually a stalemate between he and I.

In basketball, Mark Stansfield was probably the best I ever played against. He started out his career as a guard but kept growing and ended as a center who could handle the ball. His team was the only one to beat us in our gym.

Also, Scott Maxwell from Meridian. I scored most of my points from outside but Scott could do it from inside and out. He ended up winning the scoring title for the Midland area, and I finished fifth.

What are some of the best and worst things that have changed with the game? And what would you change if you could?

Probably the worst thing that has happened is the changing of the girls and boys seasons. Not much good has come from the change and I think it hurt the officiating because the good ones get burned out. Also, I think the girls teams are going to suffer more because they now have to compete with boys teams for exposure.

Good things that have happened have been following my brother, nieces and nephews through the years. My niece Sally (Grant) Hitsman made a game-winning shot in the regional finals. My nephew Brent Mishler when his football team made the playoffs for the first time in school history. Roy's teams when Brent and Adam Mickler went to the quarterfinals two years in a row. And recently, my brother John's baseball teams went to state and semi-finals. All of these were fun to watch.

Who was the coach that influenced you the most, and what did he or she teach you?

Sam Bagnieski was our line coach who was tough and made us work hard. But Coach Van probably had the biggest influence on me. He was a good coach, but he was a better mentor. We looked up to him because of the way he carried himself. Everyone respected him.

What are your 3 favorite memories as a Beaver?

At Gladwin as a senior in basketball, we were down double digits in the first half and came back to beat them. Another time at Gladwin was during the famous 0-0 tie of 1967. I remember Gladwin having the ball inside the five-yard line with time running out and Dick Brushaber made the stop to end the game. Most of my best memories came any time we played Gladwin at anything.

Who are your all-time top five Beaverton basketball players?

Doyle Durkee, Mike Garvin, Dick Govitz Sr., Adam Mickler and Brent Mishler.

How about your all-time top five Beaverton football players?

Dan Grant, Mike Loar, Ken Uhl, Larry Gerow and Jim Newman.

Your proudest moment as a BHS alumni?

My niece Sally making the game winning shot in the regional finals.

What are your thoughts on the other inductees of this class?

Theresa Gunningham is much younger than me so I didn't get to see her play much, although I remember her being a tall, dominant player during her time. Jim Newman was senior when I was in eighth grade. I remember him being a tall, lanky QB who I looked up to at the time because they were the heroes. I also remember Jim running a long touchdown back playing against Gladwin. He made a lot of guys miss during that run.

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Joe Mishler Brag Board

“Joe was a really nice guy – a real good guy. He did a lot of great blocking for me. It was nice to follow him with the ball. He was an All Area, All State, but more importantly, Joe always had good grades in school. He and his family are all really good people.”

– Ron Munger

“I am so honored to be Joe’s daughter and am so happy that he is receiving this award. Growing up, I never had any idea that my father achieved the fame that he did while he played sports at Beaverton. It wasn’t until I was in college that I found out how “outstanding” he really was. He is the most modest person I know! My dad was so supportive of my brothers and I while we ere playing sports, whether it was as our coach or rooting for us in the stands. He and my mom never missed a game unless I was in one place and one of my brothers was in another. More than just being an athlete, my father is the best role model you could have asked for. He demanded that academics came first and foremost even before sports. I am proud of my dad and know that he will continue to support athletics for years to come while he watches his grandikids play. Of course, he is going to have to become a “Flying G” fan when he goes to watch my kids play someday. This may present a challenge for this diehard Beaverton Beaver, but I am sure he is up to it!”

– Mindy (Mishler) Mercer

“I coached Joe during the ’65-’66 and ’66-’67 seasons. Joe trained hard and was tough under the boards. We had a play and he would come off the screen and shoot the ball, and most of the time, the ball went in; it was probably close to today’s three point shot. Joe was a good shooter. He was surrounded by Phil Maxwell, Al Bullock, Duane Govitz and Ron Munger, etc. We went 7-10 and then had 13 wins the following season for the first winning season in 13 years. We could have won 15 to 18 games that year; we just didn’t have the experience other teams had.”

– Larry Sroufe

“I played a lot of ball with Joe in the city league. He was a tough competitor, good shooter and passer and just a good solid ball player. I remember him as a solid football player, too. He played smart, and that’s half the battle.”

– Ken Govitz

“We would like to congratulate our uncle, Joe Mishler, on his Hall of Fame induction. When we think of Uncle Joe, we think of a guy who loves jokes, is a master of puns and does a great Three Stooges impersonation. We also know him as a guy who loves sports, whether it’s watching them on TV, going to games, supporting and coaching his kids’ teams, or watching his nieces and nephews play. What we really didnt know about him until a couple of years ago was that he had so many accomplishments as an athlete. It’s great that he is being recognized by the Hall of Fame, and he is very deserving of this honor. So here’s to a humble guy, great athlete, and all around good person. We are very proud of you, Uncle Joe!”

– Jeni, Sally, Laura and Missy

“He was just one of those boys who just led by his actions, by example. Joe was strong – he was powerful on both sides of the ball. He had tremendous blocking technique and he was a devastating tackler. Joe was so coachable and he could really play basketball as well. He was another one of those very tough farm boys who were first-rate citizens and great ball players.”

– Dick Van Wieren

“When I think of my brother, Joe, two words come to mind – “class act.” As the oldest of seven children, Joe had responsibilities that most school kids didn’t have. Growing up on a dairy farm meant your chores and homework came first, and then you could participate in sports and other extracurricular activities, if you could manage it. I’m not sure how he “managed” it between milking cows, school, practice, homework and more chores, but he did. He excelled in sports, graduated in the top percentage of his class and became a role model that we younger kids looked up to, and still do today. He did it all with a sense of humor that he carried through the years, and we all laugh at his silly jokes and puns whenever we get together.

Joe and Sue have raised three wonderful kids that have given them seven beautiful grandchildren. I’m sure that Joe would say that this was his greatest accomplishment, and he would be right. I have always been very proud of my handsome, older brother, and this award only adds to it. Dan and I both send our sincere congratulations. It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.”

– Dan & Patty Grant

“Mishler was an excellent tackle both ways. He was an awesome all-around athlete. He was good at baseball growing up, but he couldn’t play in high school because of obligations to the farm. Joe was kind of a utility type of guy – he could do anything. He’s a heck of a great man, a wonderful person.”

– Tom McKimmy

“Many congratulations to Joe Mishler on being selected to the Beaverton Hall of Fame. I do not remember all the wonderful plays that Joe made during his high school days, but I do remember the start of football season, with all the exercises that caused him some aches and pains. I felt very proud of my older brother during his school days for reasons beyond sports. He was quick to mention that another player had done well and slow to criticize. Academics were important, as was home and family. He has continued with that wonderful work ethic as well as a love for sports. The many hours of dedication to Sports Boosters, kids sports teams, and following of many nieces and nephews sports is proof of that caring for others. School sports matter to the community by contributing to the growth of many individuals into lifelong team players. Thanks to you, Joe, for being such a good role model to your siblings as well as your community.”

– Susan Mishler Wiersma

“Congratulations on your induction, brother. I’m very proud of you. As one of Joe’s younger brothers, I can’t tell you a whole lot of stories about his high school playing days, as I was only 8 years old his senior season. The fact is, I had no idea that my oldest brother had been chosen for all state honors in football, until well into my adult life. I think this is just one example of the kind of quiet confidence that he displays. Some guys will let you know of all the achievements they have earned right up front, but that is just not Joe’s style.

He was also someone that I could look up to as I was growing up. I had the pleasure of playing on Joe’s Beaverton men’s league basketball team. I was fresh out of high school and figured that men’s league would be no sweat, but most of those “older guys” could still really play!

Later, when my own boys, Brent and Justin, played in the Midland youth football leagure, Joe coached them on the Sanford team. In fact, he has spent many years in the Sanford area where he lives, involved in many aspects of the sports programs there. This includes coaching his own kids, and many of the area athletes in baseball and football. He and his wife Sue have enjoyed giving time and support to the Meridian sports programs.

The Beaverton Hall of Fame committee has made a great choice for a very deserving person.”

– Steve Mishler