Famous Names and Faces From the Upper Peninsula
Welcome to the website which spotlights influential individuals that were born, raised, or spent some time in the Upper Peninsula and have gone on to become well known, recoginized figures in the nation.  Mostly on this page, we honor current Yoopers that have become major sports coaches and athletes of national teams and organizations.  In time, as we think up of more U.P. celebrities to add to this site, we'd like to include people of other inportant occupations that once lived in or grew up in the Upper Peninsula.  For the time being, enjoy what we have, and check back for future updates to this page.  Enjoy: 
Becky Iverson was born on October 12, 1967 in Escanaba, Michigan.  She is a born and bred Yooper, and currently resides in Gladstone, Michigan.  Started playing golf at the age of eight.  Credits her parents, George Clifton and John Redd as the individuals most influencing her career. Her hobbies include reading, writing and watching television.  Iverson competes in many Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour Events throughout the year.  Before becoming a major force on the LPGA tour, Iverson was the 1986 
Chris Thorpe, a 28 year-old Marquette native who graduated from Marquette Senior High School in 1988, slid on home to a silver medal in the Luge doubles event on February 13, 1998 in the Nagano, Japan Olympics. He and his partner, Gordy Sheer came in with a time of 1:41.127, just 0:00.022 seconds shy of gold.  Another U.S. team, consisting of Mark Grimmette, of Muskegon, and Brian Martin of Palo Alto, Ca. came in third behind Thorpe/Sheer with a time of 1:41.217, taking the bronze.  The two medals were the first for the United States Luge Team
Michigan Junior Amateur champion. The following year she was the 1987 Michigan Women's Amateur champion. She competed for the Michigan State golf team from 1985-88 and was an Academic All-American in 1987 and 1988. She also competed on both the Futures Tour and the Central Florida Challenge mini-tour. She was named the 1993 Central Florida Challenge Player of the Year.  In 1996, her top finish was a tie for 25th at the U.S. Women's Open. She also recorded her first career hole-in-one in 1996, during the opening round of the Star Bank LPGA Classic. In 1997, her best finish of the season was a tie for fifth at the Standard Register PING. In 1998, she recorded five top-20 finishes, including a season-best tie for 12th at the Oldsmobile Classic.  In 1999, she posted four top-10 finishes, including a season-best tie for second at the Firstar LPGA Classic, where she lost to Rosie Jones on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff. Also finished third at the Australian Ladies Masters and tied for third at the Mercury Titleholders Championship. She posted a season-low 64 during the second round of the U.S. Women's Open.  She has two career victories, her first in 1995 at the Friendly's Golf Classic, and the second in 2000, winning the Solheim Cup.  
Tom Izzo is the men's basketball coach at Michigan State University.  Tom is an Iron Mountain, MI native and graduated from Iron Mtn. high school.  He attended and graduated college at Northern Michigan University in Marquette.  Tom just finished his eighth season as head coach of the Spartans men's basketball team, having established MSU as one of the premier programs in the nation. During the 2002-2003 season, he lead his team to the NCAA tournament's Sweet Sixteen for the sixth straight season.  He lead the Spartans to the Final Four for the third season in a row during the 2000-2001 season, but came up to
becoming the 49ers coach, he held a coaching job for one year at the University of California and guided the squad to a 5-0 start and finally a berth in the Aloha Bowl. His offense averaged over 457 yards per game, including a school record 321.5 yards through the air.  As a kid in Iron Mountain, Steve grew up as everybody's favorite son, molded by his family and driven by a rigid sense of mortality.  As a seventh-grader in Iron Mountain, Steve delivered the Iron Mountain Daily News.  He ran through his paper route every morning, through snow and through rain.  In high school, Mariucci and his best friend, Tom Izzo, spent a summer hand painting a "Home of the Mountaineers" sign on the football field at the high school, nourished by pizza and soda brought by their parents.  Izzo and Mariucci are quite a pair. Inseperable as young athletes in Iron Mountain, the two made a competition to see who could be head football or basketball coach at Notre Dame first.  Izzo is now head basketball coach at Michigan State.  Steve's father, Ray Mariucci, couldn't remember raising his voice or spanking Steve as a child.  Mariucci is known as an athletic legend around the Upper Peninsula because of his days as quarterback at Northern Michigan University, a Division II school.  As a freshman, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Mariucci was the quarterback of an 0-10 team.  As a sophmore, he led an explosive offense that went 13-1 and won the NCAA Division II national championship.  That made Mariucci hot stuff at Northern.  Mariucci left Northern Michigan as the state's all-time college leader in total offense and was listed by a Detroit columnist as a Top 10 Heisman Trophey candidate his junior season.  He then began his coaching career in 1978-79 at Northern, serving as the quarterbacks and running backs coach.  He then moved to Cal State-Fullerton as the quarterbacks and special teams coordinator from 1980-82.  In 1983-84, Mariucci was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Louisville.  His first pro position was in 1985 when he coached the receivers for the USFL's Orlando Renegades.  He then joined the Southern California staff in 1986, then moved to the University of California as receivers and special teams coach in 1987.  In 1990-91, he served as the Bears' offensive Coordinator, helping California post a 10-2 record and a number seven national ranking in his first season at Berkeley.  He then became the quarterbacks coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1992-1995, tutoring the likes of three-time MVP Brett Favre, Mark Brunell, and Ty Detmer.  After that, his coaching stint at California began in 1996.  Steve is very active in charity events, as he sponsored many activities in the San Fransisco area, and he plans on continuing that tradition in Detroit.  Steve also co-hosts a charitable golf tournament in Iron Mountain with fellow friend and Iron Mountain-native Tom Izzo.  Steve was born on November 4, 1955.  He is married to wife, Gail, and have four childern - Tyler, Adam, Stephen, and Brielle. 
Steve Mariucci, an Iron Mountain native who graduated from Iron Mountain High School in 1973, became head coach of the Detroit Lions in 2003, after serving as head coach of the San Fransisco 49ers for six years.  He was one of 13 head coaches since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to lead a team to a divisional title in his first season (49ers).  He established an NFL record for consecutive wins by a rookie head coach with an 11-game winning streak.  Before
outstanding, and was even the tallest in his class.  Young Glenn and his family moved out of the U.P. and to California when he was just ten.  But he never forgot his U.P. roots.  During the many speeches he made, Glenn opened his speech by telling he was from Ishpeming, Mi.  After watching the responses, he went on telling them it was next to Negaunee.  In California, the Seaborg family lived in poverty.  Glenn recalled that many of times, his mother struggled to even put a pot of soup on the stove for lunch or dinner.  Glenn had his eyes set on attending college, where he wanted to study liturature and writing.  His only hope for college was to gain acceptance to a state university where he would not have the burden of tuition. For that to happen, he would have to pass a high-school science course. So, in the eleventh grade, he reluctantly signed up for his first science class: chemistry. Then providence intervened.  Glenn's chemistry teacher made science come alive to him, and he enjoyed it thoroughly.  He now knew what he wanted to take up in college.   Seaborg entered UCLA as a freshman and declared chemistry his major because.  While earning his bachelor's degree in chemistry from UCLA, Seaborg had taken all of the physics courses he could find, including one in modern physics where he was introduced to the exciting work taking place on the frontiers of nuclear physics.  1934, upon graduation from UCLA, Seaborg moved north to the University of California, Berkeley, where he was accepted into the docttoral program and granted a teaching assistantship. His Ph.D. was awarded in 1937, and Berkeley remained his home base for the rest of his life. When Glenn Seaborg arrived at Berkeley, the heaviest known chemical element was uranium (atomic number 92).  While working there, late on the night of February 23, 1941, Seaborg's team of scientists made the discovery for which most people remember him: element 94. Following the sequence of "uranium" and "neptunium," Seaborg dubbed the new element "plutonium," after the planet Pluto.  He arrived at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory on his thirtieth birthday. While in Chicago, Seaborg was credited with discovering two additional elements, americium (number 95) and curium (96).  Returning to Berkeley after the war, he continued his tireless research and discovery, eventually gaining credit for discovering or co-discovering more than 100 isotopes and ten elements (atomic numbers 94 through 102 and 106); an eleventh element, number 110, was also created by Seaborg and associates, but formal attribution and naming rights for that element have not yet been determined by the chemistry community. Photographs of Dr.Seaborg often show him standing in front of the Periodic Table of the Elements; recent photos show him pointing to element 106, for which his colleagues proposed the name "seaborgium" in recognition of a lifetime of scientific contributions and discoveries.  He also won the Nobel Prize. Today, Dr. Seaborg's legacy lives on at Northern Michigan University in the Glenn T. Seaborg Center for Teaching and Learning Science and Mathematics and the new Seaborg Science Complex, which was named after him.  During the 1998 ground-breaking for the Seaborg Science Complex on the NMU campus, he considered the naming of the Seaborg Center and the Seaborg Complex to be among the highest honors that he had received, equating them with the naming of element 106, seaborgium, which he regarded as his highest accolade.  Glenn T. Seaborg died on February 25, 1999 at his home in California.  His life and legacy will live on, not only in us Yoopers hearts, but for many scientists and chemists, and people of this nation. 
Glenn T. Seaborg was born in Ishpeming, Michigan on April 19, 1912.  His early memories of being a Yooper were fond ones.  He remembered watching the Ishpeming town football team and even skiing out his bedroom window.  He recalled streetcar rides from Ishpeming to Negaunee, train trips to Marquette, and Sunday outings to visit a family friend who was warden of the Marquette prison.  He was a good student in Elementary school, although not
in wins, pitched a team-high 219.0 innings, won 11 of his last 14 decisions, including seven straight from Aug. 4-Sept. 15. He tied a career-high with 150 strikeouts for White Sox in 1996. Was 13-10 for Sox, despite being hampered by finger injury. Started the 1995 season for Minnesota, traded to Los Angeles on July 31. He was a member of Twins starting rotation, 1990-1994. He set a career-high with 35 starts in 1993.  His best season was 1991 with 16-9, 2.99 record, and just 40 walks in 244 innings. He was 1-1 in two World Series starts against Atlanta. He began 1989 in Mets system, traded to Twins in Frank Viola trade, August 1. He posted 3.12 ERA in 23 Triple-A starts in 1989. Was traded from Oakland to Mets, December 1987. Kevin Ray Tapani was selected by Oakland in the second round in the June 1986 draft. Before his baseball career, he attended Central Michigan University.  Kevin retired from Major League baseball before the start of the 2001 season. 
in 34 years.  It was an 0 for 87 Olympic medals streak for the U.S. Luge team, that was finally broken.  Thorpe, the heaviest of the pair weighing at 190 pounds, sits on top of the sled, doing the steering work of the sled.  Gordy Sheer, 145 pounds, lays on the bottom, doing the minor "fine tuning" on their way down the track.  Unfortunately, Chris broke a bone in his right wrist about a month before the olympics, as they were training for the event.  But Chris said, breaking his hand may have helped.  "I think breaking my hand helped," Chris said. "It distracted us a little bit.  We knew we were definitely at a disadvantage, and we started to go up from there."  The four men are hoping the 18 minute prime-time television showing of Thorpe and Sheer winning the silver, and Grimmette and Martin winning Bronze will be huge for the sport, because of the fact that these medals were the first for Luge in 10 Olympics.  It is still unknown whether or not the two teams will be together for the next Olympics in 2002 at Salt Lake City.  But with only an estimated 200 hard-core Lugers in the U.S., it is likely that you can see the teams making their way down the new Luge Track in Park City, Utah, for the next Olympics.  And maybe next time the teams can make it gold-silver, instead of silver-bronze. 
Kevin Tapani is an Escanaba native, born on February 18, 1964.  He is a starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs of Major League Baseball.  Before the Cubs, he played for the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He is 6'0" and weighs 188 lbs. His career highlights include:  In 2000, Kevin reached the 30-starts mark for the seventh time during his major league career, going 8-12 with 2 complete games and a 5.01 ERA in 30 starts.  In 1998, he became the Cubs' winningest pitcher since 1992, finishing 19-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 35 games (34 starts).  Was the eighth time in nine seasons he reached double digits
When the name Dominic Jacobetti comes up in coversations, many positive images of the man comes to mind.  He was a fighter for the Upper Peninsula; he cared about where he lived, and he wasn't afraid to speak up when the U.P. didn't get what it deserved.  Dominic was a long-time legislator for the Michigan House of Representatives, serving constituents from the 108th district from 1965-1992 and the 109th district from 1992 until his death in 1994.  Dominic was just re-elected to his 21st term to the Michigan House when he suddenly died. Although he only served as a representative for two of Upper Michigan's counties, he often considered the entire Upper Peninsula his district. Dominic was born in Negaunee, MI on July 20, 1920 to Nicholas and Josephine Jacobetti.  He spent his childhood in Negaunee and graduated from St. Paul's High School in 1938.  He went to work for the Athens Mine in 1940, and eventually became president of the UAW Local 4950 division and the United Steel Workers Local 2867.  He married in 1942 to Marie Burnette and had three children.  He became interested in politics and soon was elected to the State House in 1954.  He then began his 40 year career in politics, serving on a variety of committees in the House including Conservation, Educational Institutions and Tuberculosis Hospitals Committees, House Policy and State Affairs Committees, Appropriations Committee, and often served as Chair or Vice-Chair of these committees.  He was a well-respected member of the House, and was named as one of the "Ten Outstanding State Legislators in the United States" in 1978 for promoting adequate staffing levels in governmental offices.  He also was honored with other distinguished awards including the Upper Peninsula Person of the Year, the Distinguished Citizens Award from Lake Superior State Univeristy, an Honorary Doctors of Law degree from Northern Michigan University, and the Good Neighbor of the Year Award.  Not only was he involved in U.P. issues, but also state-wide issues including abortion/right-to-life, insurance reform, seatbelt legislation, tax limitations, and sobriety check lanes.  Some state-wide issues that also had U.P. ties were a nuclear waste dump site, ELF/Seafarer Sanguine, and the effort to make the Upper Peninsula the 51st state in the union, Superior.  Dominic was often regarded as "Puga", "King Lake", or "Godfather of the U.P." by his constituents and colleagues.  He rallied to bring new industries to the Upper Peninsula, fought for improved educational opportunities, and worked to improve the overall economic condition of the state and the Upper Peninsula.  Today, it is impossible for any representative in the house or sentate to serve in legislation for 40 years due to term limits.  That is why you will never see anybody ever match Dominic's successive amount of terms or years served in the Michigan House again.  Dominic is remembered as a stong individual, hard-working, and active on making things right for the state and his constituents back home in the land he loved, the Upper Peninsula. 
Some information used for the creation of this passage comes from the following web site: Dominic Jacobetti Papers.
Arizona for competing in the title game.  In the 2000-2001 season, MSU had compiled a 28-4 record, 13-3 in the Big Ten. This is the first time in school history that Michigan State had posted four-consecutive 20-win seasons.  Of course, we cannot forget what the Spartans accomplished during the season before, winning the NCAA National Championship with the help of All-American and NBA first-round draft picks Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson. Izzo owned a career record of 120-48 after the 1999-2000 season.
Under Izzo's helm, the Spartans have finished off a decade which has seen Michigan State record 114 Big Ten wins, tied with Purdue for second most in the conference and only two behind Indiana. Over the past two seasons, MSU has a 28-4 league record and a winning percentage of 87.5, the highest in back-to-back seasons since the 1975 and '76 Indiana teams (1.000).  Izzo also tabbed college backetball's national coach of the year honor two seasons in a row, the 1997-98, and the 1998-99 season.  In the 1998-99 season, the No. 1 Spartan's won their way through the tournament to the final four, before eventually losing to Duke, but from then on, MSU was a force to be reckoned with.  A season before, the Spartans caught the college basketball world by storm in 1997-98. The Spartans compiled a  a 22-8 record and shared the Big Ten title. The Spartans posted a 13-3 mark in conference, earningIzzo Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year honors.  A native of Iron Mountain, Izzo and current San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci were Iron Mountain High School teammates in football, basketball, baseball and track. As college roommates at Northern Michigan, Izzo walked on to the basketball team, while Mariucci did the same with football. Both would go on to earn Division II All-America honors. Despite their current busy schedules, they remain the closest of friends. Each year, they co-host a golf tournament in Iron Mountain to raise money for the community.  In October, 1990, Izzo was inducted into the Northern Michigan University Hall of Fame and was selected as an inductee into the Upper Peninsula Hall of Fame during the summer of 1998. Coach Izzo currently serves on the John R. Wooden Award Board of Governors. He has also served as honorary chairman of the Memory Walk for the past two seasons with proceeds from that event going to combat Alzheimer's Disease. Izzo was born January 30, 1955. His family includes his wife, Lupe, and daughter, Raquel.
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Last Update: March 25, 2004.