2004 Inductee Milt Bruckner
Milt Bruckner set a standard of achievement in all sports he participated in, and he has the distinction of being Bellevue’s first-ever state champion in any sport.
A Bellevue Gazette article on July 7, 1949, summed it up this way about Bruckner: “Milt, who is undoubtedly the greatest athlete to be graduated from Bellevue High School, was All-Ohio in track placing first in the half-mile (one-tenth of a second off the state record) at 1:59.6. He was Bellevue’s first individual state champion in track. He was first team All-Ohio in football as an offensive end and All-Ohio third team in basketball.”
Bruckner was awarded 14 letters during his high school career, including three in football, three in basketball and one minor letter in basketball, four in track, and one in baseball in 1947. He also won two all-sports letters which were major letters awarded for two years participation in three sports. Bruckner added three trophies after being named MVP in football, basketball and track.
After being crowned state champion in Columbus, Bruckner joined three other runners and formed a mile relay team and entered the Dayton A.C. Ohio A.A.U. Conference following the state meet in 1949. The team won the event and earned a trophy. The team flipped pennies and Bruckner won ownership of the trophy and the penny since he was the only one coming up with heads on the first flip.
If that wasn’t enough for any athlete to cram into four years of high school, Bruckner added 23 medals from his freshman year to his senior year. This included participation in Bellevue Inter-Class, DeVillbis Relays, Northern Ohio League meets, Miami University Relays, Ashland Relays, and the Mansfield Relays.
The 23 medals won by Bruckner included four gold footballs, gold basketballs, gold baseballs, and track emblems. The baseballs were for his two years of play with the Junior Legion Championship team in 1946 and 1947.
His track honors also included fourth place in the half mile at Dayton, with three college men from Ohio State taking the top three places; first place in the 880 at the OSU track meet; first place in the mile relay in 1947; first place in the mile relay in 1948; first place in the half mile in 1949; and first place in the mile in 1949 at the Mansfield Relays.
Also, he was second in the mile relay in 1948 at the Mansfield event; first in the 1 947 mile relay at Port Clinton and first in the medley relay at the same meet; first in the mile and mile relay at the 1948 Fremont Invite; first in the mile relay and the half-mile in 1949 in Fremont; first in the mile relay in Newark in 1949; first in the DeVillbis mile relay in 1949; and first in the 880 in 1949 at the prestigious Miami University Relays with a time of 1:59.6.
His four basketball medals were for the Redmen being crowned NOL champions in 1947 and 1948, and for being runners-up in the Sandusky District Tournaments in 1948 and 1949.
Kenny Sampson, BHS track coach, had high praise for Bruckner, saying, “Without a doubt, Milt is the greatest competitive athlete to come under my guidance.”