|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Here are the newest members or representatives of the newest members of the Highland High School Hall of Fame.|
Team of Distinction:
Highlands 1959 Boys State Track Championship Team:
This marked the championship during a time when the Kentucky High School Athletic Association had no classes. The Bluebirds edged Louisville Trinity by four points. Highlands did not win another championship in the sport until 2014.
"It was a lot of fun," said Gary Herfel, a member of the first Highlands Hall of Fame class last year and member of that team. "To go to the state meet, you had to win your individual event in the regional. Hopefully, the only way you had a chance to win the state meet would be to have a fair number of people on your team win their events in the regional. You'd see a team that had three points at the state because they only had one person go who won their event in the regional."
Waddell led the Bluebirds football team between 1942 and 1954. Highlands recorded a 91-37 record during that time with five Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference titles and a mythical state title in 1943.
"Not only was he interested in the team, he was interested in winning," said Judge Waddell's son Phil. "He was interested in having Highlands on the map so to speak. But he loved every one of his players. I can remember him coming home from a game or practice and talking about which he players he appreciated having on his team."
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Cochran lettered on the gridiron for four years in addition to track and field for three years before graduating from Highlands in 1958. He helped the 1957 undefeated football team to a mythical state championship and set the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference in the shot put as a senior before playing fullback for the University of Kentucky's football team for four years. His shot put record stood for 30 years.
"We're still a team," Cochran said. "We see each other on the street. Coach (Homer) Rice (a 2015 Highlands HOF inductee) is a genius. He raised his voice one time. He's the kind of guy that when he tells you to do something, you don't say how or what or what angle, you just do it."
Draud graduated from Highlands in 1986 after lettering in basketball and tennis for four years. Draud is the only player to lead the Commonwealth of Kentucky in scoring two years in a row averagin 30.5 points per game as a junior in 1985 and 35.3 as a senior in 1986. Draud is the Highlands and Northern Kentucky all-time leading scorer with 2,865 points on the boys' side. Draud played college basketball at Vanderbilt University earning First-Team All-SEC honors in 1991. He led the Commodores to a National Invitational Tournament crown in 1990 and earned the tournament's Most Valuable Player award.
"To have the experience of playing for (former Highlands Head Coach and 2015 Highlands HOF inductee Ken) Shields was one of the greatest experiences of my life," Draud said. "You kind of had to experience it to get the full impact that he had on kids on programs. I had a lot of great teachers when I was here. It's just a lot of great camaraderie that comes from Fort Thomas Highlands High School. It's a really special place."
Clem Fennell III:
Fennell graduated from Highlands in 1969 lettering in football and track all four years of high school. He served as captain of the 1968 Class 2A state championship team before going to the University of Cincinnati and setting the school's punting record of 75 yards. That punt now ranks second in school history. He passed away two months ago but son Clem Fennell IV spoke on his behalf.
"He was a great husband, great father," said Dale Mueller, former Highlands football head coach and player. "He started the Sideline Club. He was a business owner. His employees loved him because he treated them like family. He's just that high-quality character guy that this hall of fame was designed for."
Hoffman, Highlands Class of 1969, is another senior off the 1968 undefeated state championship team to be inducted into the Highlands Hall of Fame. Hoffman lettered in football and track three seasons and basketball twice. Hoffman then went to Indiana University playing running back, wide receiver or kicker for four seasons before coming back to the area to coach youth football and baseball.
"It was a lot of fun," Hoffman said. "It was much different than it is today. The school has changed dramatically. Football was a really big thing when I went to school. We filled the stands every week for games. We had great teachers and great coaches who were probably better salesmen than coaches because they could convince us to go down to Death Valley with 20 pounds of equipment and not drink water for two hours."
Kuhnhein graduated from Highlands in 1944. He played on the offensive and defensive lines for all four years on the football team. He received All-Southern Team and Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference All-State team honors before receiving induction into the NKYHSAD Hall of Fame in 1991.
"Dad had a lot of teachers he liked," said Jack Kuhnhein, son of Bob Kuhnhein. "He did pretty well in school. He was a pretty good graphic artist. As soon as he got out of the service, he went to (the University of Kentucky) for a year then he got married. In those days, when (World War II) was over, you hurried up your adult life. He stayed active in social organizations his entire life."
Moore graduated from Highlands in 1989 after lettering in football for three seasons. He played at the University of Kentucky before the New England Patriots selected him as the last player in the draft earning the "Mr. Irrelevant" award. Moore played on two Patriot Super Bowl teams in eight seasons. He received induction into the University of Kentucky Hall of Fame last year.
"Fort Thomas is a special place," Moore said. "I don't think you realize that until you leave this area. You go other places and you realize the community and the friends you have while you're here, the friends, the tradition, the school in general. It's something I wish my kids would have had. But my career took me a different path. But it's a place I've definitely talked about. The experience was really special."
Pogue graduated from Highlands in 1967 after serving as a four-year letter winner in football and track. He also served as team captain of both teams as a senior. Pogue and Jim Burt have the honor of greatest tailbacks in Highlands history. He is also a member of the NKY Sports and NKHSAD Halls of Fame.
"He was a great student. He was a great teammate," said John Burt, Highlands Class of 2015 inductee. "He was a leader and he was one of those individuals that you could count on and he has carried these traits all the way through life even today."
Straub graduated from Highlands in 1958 after playing football and basketball. He played on the 1957 mythical state championship team and served as captain as a junior and senior playing quarterback. He went to the University of Kentucky on a football scholarship before coaching at Cincinnati Moeller for 25 years winning seven state championships and five national crowns.
"I was a cheerleader. I knew nothing about football, but Billy taught me a great deal," said Nancy McEntire, Highlands alum. "He would draw plays on the desk (in Chemistry class). I knew he really knew what he was talking about. He was a leader in his own style and he kept guys together. The newspaper clippings talk about what Billy did, but he doesn't talk about what Billy did. It's what we did. He knows every stat to this day. It was really a love."
Walz-Richey made her 14th Hall of Fame the first year she was eligible. She lettered in golf, softball, tennis and volleyball. But Richey is well-known for numerous basketball awards scoring 4,948 career points to go with three 9th Region titles and a state runner-up finish in 1994. That point total stood as a Kentucky state record for both boys and girls basketball until Whitney Creech of Jenkins broke it last year with 5,527 points. Richey wound up playing college basketball at Western Kentucky University guiding the Hilltoppers to three NCAA Tournaments. She has been the girls basketball head coach since 2002.
"My time at Highlands was great," Walz-Richey said. "We had one building at the time. So even though I was playing varsity in the seventh grade, I was seeing my teammates in the hall. Nowadays, we don't have that. That meant the world to me. I couldn't dribble, pass and shoot by myself. I had teammates that were willing to do the little things to help me. They knew I would do anything for them on the court to help us win. My coaches always pushed me. I had three brothers growing up in Scott, Brian and Jeff. My parents, Roger and Jeanine, were always supportive of me. I played AAU. They traveled around the US to come see me play. The community really supported our team."
Graduates have to be out of school for 20 years before becoming eligible for the Highlands Hall of Fame. Members of the Class of 1997 will be eligible next year. That list includes former Highlands running backs Justin Frisk and Stephen Lickert.