Mark Simon, who now makes his home in Menominee, is considered to be one of the finest basketball players to have come out of Menominee County. The former Stephenson High School legend led the Eagles to a Michigan Class C basketball championship in 1981, setting a batch of records along the way.
Simon later starred at Northern Michigan University in Marquette under the command of Coach Glenn Brown. The Wildcats were one of the top Division II college teams in the country during Brown’s tenure and Simon was a big part of the successful run.
Now an award-winning salesman for the Koehne Chevrolet Buick GMC dealership in Marinette, Simon’s family moved to the Stephenson area from Shiocton, Wis., and sharpened his skills as an all-around athlete in football, basketball and baseball.
With Paul Miller at the helm of the Stephenson cagers, the team posted a 17-5 record in the 1979-80 season behind the 18-point per game average of Simon. The junior cager won All-Upper Peninsula laurels and all-state honorable mention recognition for his work as a scorer and rebounder.
After playing tight end and patrolling the secondary in a 5-3 football season, Simon exploded on the basketball court, sparking the Eagles to an impressive 25-1 season record and a state championship. He established a gym record with a 42-point single game outburst, hitting 83% of his free throw attempts for the season and bagging post-season honors, compliments of U.P. sportswriters and broadcasters, the Associated Press, Detroit News and Detroit Free Press and United Press International.
The stellar athlete rimmed 1,165 points during a sparkling two-year varsity career at Stephenson. He was the recipient of the coveted Mel Peterson award as the school’s outstanding athlete. The award was named in honor of Stephenson’s most famous Mr. Basketball — Marvelous Mel Peterson — who sparked the Eagles to the 1956 Michigan Class B championship and rewrote the record book for U.P. basketballers. Peterson advanced to Little All-American honors at Wheaton College capped his career with a lengthy tenure on the professional basketball circuit.
Although Simon’s contributions as a three-sport athlete are well known, many people may not realize he served as a lead doping control officer for a Denmark company prior to the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. His job with the anti-doping agency connected him with some of the most versatile athletes in the world. His connection to the anti-doping industry began in Lake Placid, New York, about 10 years earlier. One of the more notable athletes he tested was boxing sensation Floyd Mayweather Jr.
There’s one more accolade that is missing in Mark Simon’s trophy room. He is not a member of the Upper Peninsulas Hall of Fame. Bob Pecotte, former Menominee resident and star athlete at Marinette Catholic Central High School and Northern Michigan University, is a key playmaker in a drive to get Simon inducted in the house of heroes that covers all 15 counties in the U.P.
It’s hard to imagine why Simon, with a barrel of credentials, has been overlooked to date. Perhaps there’s the possibility he unwittingly never was nominated or folks were unacquainted with many of his achievements.
Pecotte and his cast of supporters from the ranks of NMU alumni want to see Simon’s name enriched in the U.P. Hall of Fame. They’ve got plenty of evidence to support their claim.