Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Highlands High School Athletic Hall of Fame 2015 Inaugural Class Inductees

FTM file. 

Last week FTM broke the story of the inaugural Highlands Hall of Fame class and then on our podcast. 

Short bios of the 10 inductees and team of distinction are available and written by Fort Thomas Schools. FTM will cover the induction ceremony and events leading up to in-depth. 

The 2015 Inaugural Class members will be recognized on October 9, 2015, at the homecoming football game versus Dixie Heights High School, and will be honored at a Hall of Fame banquet on October 11, 2015, at the Highland Country Club.

Here is the list:

John Burt
John Burt graduated from Highlands High School in 1961 where he lettered in baseball five years and in football four years.  He was a captain of both sports his senior year.  His football jersey, #40, was the first retired jersey in Highlands’ history.  John was also a football NKAC All-Star for three years, first team all-state his senior year, and he won the National Football Foundation’s Cincinnati Chapter Scholar-Athlete Award for the scholastic player who was voted outstanding in football performance, academic achievement and school leadership.

John played football at Western Kentucky University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree.  He also received an MBA at Xavier University and Doctorate of Education at Vanderbilt University. John has been married to his wife, Catherine, for 48 years and has 3 children - John, Jerry and Andrew - and 9 grandchildren.

Gary Herfel 

Gary Herfel graduated from Highlands in 1960 where he played golf, football and track.  Gary is considered one of the best golfers in Highlands’ history and has been inducted into the Northern Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame.  Gary was an outstanding offensive and defensive lineman and was captain and a member of the all-state team his senior year.  Gary was also outstanding in track, throwing the shot and discus, and held Highlands’ records in both for over 25 years. He also led his team to the state championship his junior year.

Gary graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture, a JD from the University of Kentucky Law School, and an LLM from Harvard Law School.

Gary was married for 46 years to his now deceased wife, Nancy, who was a Highlands’ majorette and graduated with Gary in 1960. He has three sons - Lee, Rob and Chuck - each of whom graduated from Highlands and now practices medicine in the greater Cincinnati area.  Gary also has eight grandchildren.

Chuck Kyle
Chuck Kyle graduated from Highlands in 1965 where he played football, swimming and track.  Chuck is considered by many to be the best football player ever to play at Highlands, earning All-American honors.  Chuck was also an All-American in swimming in which he was the state champion diver his senior year and All-State in track for the high jump and shot.

Chuck pursued his football career at Purdue University earning the Big Ten Scholar Athlete of Year award.  In Chuck’s sophomore year at Purdue, he played in the 1966 Rose Bowl earning All-Big Ten honors and Sports Illustrated’s All-Bowl Team.  Chuck was All-Big Ten at Purdue for three years and All-American for two years.  He graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Marketing with a minor in Accounting.

Chuck has been a consultant for over 30 years in a sales, marketing, management and leadership perspective.  He lives outside Laurel, Montana.

Dennis McAtee 
Dennis R. McAtee graduated from Highlands in 1958 where he played basketball, football, golf and swimming.  As a four-sport letterman, Denny was an incredible and versatile athlete.  He was also a strong leader in athletics earning the distinction of being captain of the football, golf and swimming teams.  Denny won the Most Outstanding Athlete Award his senior year and was also on the Honor Roll.

Denny went to Western Kentucky University, playing football and golf all four years. He earned the Football Sportsmanship Award and the Athlete with the Highest Grade Average Award.  Denny graduated from WKU in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science in Business.

Denny, who was married to his wife Gayle for 40 years, is now deceased. They have two children, Brad and Denise, and four grandchildren.

Loyce Meadows
Loyce Meadows was a true pioneer for the advancement of girls’ sports at Highlands.  During her 32-year teaching career at Highlands that started in 1955, Loyce was instrumental in getting girls involved in sports. She strengthened the Girl’s Athletic Association, which was an intramural afterschool program.  The program included sports such as bowling, volleyball and basketball. Some years the membership was over 200 girls. From this group, Loyce would select girls to play on club teams and (unofficially) compete against other Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati teams. In the early 1960’s, Highlands was the only Kentucky school to be invited to the University of Cincinnati’s “Play Days” that were used to train officials.  Highlands was invited because of Loyce’s commitment to promote her program and her motto to “play anyone, anytime.”  One of her goals was to promote college scholarships to young women who might not have been able to obtain a college degree.

Loyce was one of the founding members of the NKY High School Coaches Association. She served on KHSAA committees during the developmental years of adding girls’ basketball as a state recognized sport. Additionally, she was the coach for cheerleading and tennis. Loyce was the first woman to be inducted into the NKY Athletic Directors Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame as well. She was also nominated for a Golden Apple Award for outstanding teaching.

Loyce graduated from Kentucky Wesleyan in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts and from Xavier University with a M.Ed. in 1959.

Tim Racke
Tim Racke is known as one of Highlands’ greatest football players in which he excelled as quarterback, running back and defensive back and lead his 1968 team to an undefeated state championship. Tim was a member of the state record setting medley relay at the Kentucky State swimming meet in 1969. Tim is the youngest inductee into the Highlands Hall of Fame. He graduated from Highlands in 1969 and was the team captain in three sports:  football, swimming and track. While playing three sports his senior year, Tim was also an incredible student earning the distinction of being the class Salutatorian. Other honors included Senior Student Council, Boys State and It’s Academic.

After graduating from Highlands, Tim attended Purdue University, playing football all four years and starting in 22 games. Tim’s accomplishments while playing football at Purdue included Most Valuable Freshman in 1969, All-Big Ten Academic Team in 1972 and All-Big Ten Second Team in 1973. In his junior year, he intercepted three passes against rival Indiana which is second all-time in Purdue history. He also blocked two punts in a single game against Iowa. In 1973 he played in the Shrine North-South All-Star Game. While at Purdue he served as president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Tim signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears in 1974.

Tim has lived and worked in suburban Chicago for the last 35 years where he met his wife, Anne, and raised their family: son Will, and daughter Carolyn. His professional career has spanned sporting goods to technical products and services while holding positions as Distribution Manager at Wilson Sporting Goods, President of Holland Applied Technologies and his current role as Chief Operating Officer at Air Cycle Corporation.

Homer Rice
Homer Rice owns one of the most remarkable careers in the history of American sports. Homer graduated from Highlands in 1945 and during his time at Highlands played basketball, football and ran track.  Homer was an All-State Quarterback, All-Conference Point Guard and a Sprint Champion.

Homer served in the United States Navy during WW II before going to Centre College where he played football and was named Colliers All-American Quarterback. While attending Centre College, Homer played football in the fall and baseball in the spring with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization.

Homer began his football coaching career in the 1950’s eventually leading him back to coach for his alma mater. He developed the Triple Option play in 1951 and in 1961 was bestowed the “Winningest Football Coach in America” with a career record of 102-9-7.  Homer moved up to coach college football where he coached at the University of Kentucky, University of Oklahoma, Head Coach at the University of Cincinnati, and Rice University.  He was also the Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

After coaching, Homer became the Director of Athletics at the University of North Carolina. He then served as the AD at Georgia Tech University from 1980-1997.  He is known as the mastermind of the nation’s biggest turn around in the history of the NCAA, taking Georgia Tech from last place in every sport to a National Football Championship, the first Final Four in basketball, followed by a number one ranking in baseball and golf.  Homer also built the first varsity women’s program.

In 1996 Homer served as the senior administrator for the Olympic Village during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

Nationally, Homer is a member of 14 Halls of Fame and each year the NCAA Division Director of Athletics Association names its highest award in his honor.

Homer was married 64 years to his now deceased wife, Phyllis Callison Wardrup, and recently remarried his current wife Karen. He has three daughters - Nancy Hetherington, Phyllis Ingle and Angela Miller - seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Panny Sarakatsannis
Panny Sarakatsannis graduated from Highlands in 1957, where he lettered 13 times in 4 sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. Panny was on the All-Conference Team in basketball for three years, Honorable Mention All-State Team in 1956 and 1957, and all-time leading scorer for basketball in 1957.  In addition to sports, Panny was also selected to sing in the Boys Quartet and served as class president for three years.

After graduating from Highlands, Panny earned a full athletic scholarship to Western Kentucky University. While playing basketball for the Hilltoppers, Panny had the honor of playing at Madison Square Gardens against Seton Hall and being selected to Seton Hall’s All-Opponent Team of the year. He also played twice in the Basketball Sugar Bowl.  Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Education, Panny went on to teach before running the family business, Dixie Chili.

Panny is one of six children and his father started Dixie Chili in 1929. Panny was married 45 years to his now deceased wife Judy. He has three children - Gregory, Katina, and Mark - and seven grandchildren.

Howard Schneider 
Howard “Duke” Schneider graduated from Highlands in 1949, where he earned 12 letters in four sports; baseball, basketball, football and track.  Duke earned All-Conference, All Greater Cincinnati and All-State honors. One of Duke’s favorite accomplishments was being named to the Cincinnati Enquirer All-Star Team as the top running back in all of greater Cincinnati.

After high school, Duke went on to establish and operate Schneider Construction, Inc., which built and maintained dozens of buildings in the Northern Kentucky area.  Duke is also a member of the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame.

Duke was married to Betty Schneider for 48 years, until her death in 1997, and has been married to Susan Schneider since 1999. Duke has seven children - Dan Schneider, Vicky Sylvester, Nancy Schneider, Tim Schneider, Todd Schneider, Judy Redden and Stacey Isomura - all of whom are past graduates of Highlands.  He also has 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren, most of whom are either alumni of Highlands or currently enrolled therein. Duke remains involved with Highlands, both as a member of the Foundation Club and a regular attendee at football games.

Ken Shields
Ken Shields came to teach and coach at Highlands in 1975.  Coach Shields turned the basketball program into a regional powerhouse winning its first regional tournament in 70 years in 1979, and becoming the first 9th region team to play in the state tournament at Rupp Arena.  Under Coach Shields, Highlands won regional titles in 1979, 1982, 1983, 1986 and 1987. Coach Shield’s teams also won nine 36th District Championships.  Coach Shields compiled 261 wins over his 13-year career at Highlands and 460 wins in his high school coaching career, making him the winningest coach in 9th Region boys’ history – a record which still stands today.  His overall record at Highlands was 261-144, with a winning percentage of 64.4%.

Coach Shields left Highlands in 1988 to become the third head coach at Northern Kentucky University.  During his coaching career at NKU, the Norse were NCAA Division II Runner Up in 1996 and 1997, and Coach Shields was named Division II National Coach of the Year in 1995.  He was the GLVC Champion in 1996 and the NABC Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 1996.  After coaching 16 seasons with the Norse, Coach Shields won 306 more games, pushing his combined win total (high school and college) to 766 wins.

In 2009, Coach Shields was inducted to the KHSAA Hall of Fame. This is his 11th Hall of Fame.
This summer, Ken will have been married to wife Marie for 50 years. They have 5 children - Dawn, Gina, Sally, Kenney and Joy - and 16 grandchildren.

1957 State Championship Football Team
The 1957 Highlands Football Team was coached by Homer Rice and lead by players Billy Straub, Gary Cochran and Denny McAtee.  The team had an undefeated regular season and went on to beat Danville in the post-season Rotary Bowl to win the mythical state championship. They outscored their opponents 411-44.  Although there had been some outstanding teams in the past, this team is often considered to be the team that brought Highlands Football into the modern era of excellence. 

1 comment:

  1. Congradulations, Highlands High School Athletic Hall of Fame 2015 Inaugural Class Inductees

    Kevin Welsch
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