Gale’s stories weren’t of Celek’s accomplishments on the wrestling mat or the football field. Rather, Gale talked about Celek’s ministry in California, and how the 1977 graduate is now doing the Lord’s work. “Tim Celek is truly one of the most amazing people we’ve put into our hall of fame,” Gale said, and his words had an effect on Celek, now a minister and motivational speaker in Southern California. “If I wasn’t nervous before, I’m nervous now,” Celek said.
The Port Clinton Hall of Fame inducted Celek and Ken Gipe as their 14th annual class Saturday at the Elks Hall. Celek, who won 11 letters in football, wrestling, baseball and tennis, was still surprised that he will join his brother Brian, inducted last year, in the hall of fame. “When I think of the hall of fame, I think of somebody super,” Celek said. “I think of somebody stellar. “I’ve never considered myself stellar or super.”
Celek thanked a litany of coaches, teachers and family members for helping him achieve despite what he saw as limited talent. “They helped me be what I could not be on my own,” he said. One of the people Celek thanked was fellow inductee Gipe, who would open the swimming pool for Celek in the morning so he could run and jump rope, generally sweating to try to make weight. But Celek reserved special thanks for Ken Bowersox, the man who introduced him to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and led him to Jesus. After graduating from Marquette University — a college Celek attended on a wrestling scholarship — Celek got his master’s degree in divinity and founded The Crossings church in Costa Mesa, Cal., with more than 2,500 members.
Gipe, meanwhile, grew up in Oregon. In his induction speech, he thanked the Clay basketball coach that cut him every year — leading Gipe to swimming in the winter. Gipe has served as junior high football and volleyball coach, varsity volleyball coach and a football assistant coach, but he has made his mark in Port Clinton as a swimming and diving coach, and an assistant. All told, he has had 71 different coaching contracts in the Port Clinton City Schools. In 1970, Gipe graduated from the University of Toledo, and had three job offers, from Genoa, Eastwood and Port Clinton. “It was a pretty easy choice,” Gipe said. “Port Clinton was the only one with a pool.”
Gipe had 24 winning seasons as swim coach, and has served as National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association president, officiated high school and college meets and recieved honors from the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the state swim coaches association. “I’ve had opportunities to coach other places,” Gipe said. “I just can’t do it.”