Five outstanding former high school athletes highlight the 2019 class of the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame, including Derrick Brooks of Florida, Dusty Baker of California, Damon Bailey of Indiana, Seimone Augustus of Louisiana and Tracey Fuchs of New York.
Brooks was one of the most dominant football players on defense at all levels – from Washington High School in Pensacola, Florida, to Florida State University to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his final two years at Pensacola Washington, Brooks recorded 29 sacks and more than 300 tackles, and he was selected the National Defensive Player of the Year as a senior by USA Today.
Baker was one of California’s top four-sport athletes prior to his outstanding 19-year baseball playing career and 22 years as a manager with four professional teams. He participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field at Del Campo High School in Sacramento in the mid-1960s.
Bailey led Bedford North Lawrence High School to the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) state basketball championship in 1990 before a national-record crowd of 41,046 spectators at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, earning National Player of the Year and Indiana Mr. Basketball honors in the process.
Augustus led Capitol High School in Baton Rouge to a 138-7 record and two Louisiana state titles in four years before her outstanding college career at Louisiana State University and professional career with the Minnesota Lynx.
Fuchs, who was one of field hockey’s top stars at all levels, set national records for goals scored in a season (82) and career (171) at Centereach (New York) High School in the early 1980s before leading the University of Connecticut to a national championship and playing in four World Championships.
Three outstanding coaches were selected for the 2019 class, including D. W. Rutledge, who led Converse (Texas) Judson High School to four Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) Conference 5A state football titles prior to becoming executive director of the Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA); Jerry Boatner, who retired last year after leading Collinsville (Mississippi) West Lauderdale High School to 14 state baseball titles and setting the state record with 1,202 victories; and Joe Gilbert, who has won nearly 4,000 games in softball, baseball, girls basketball, boys basketball and football in 65 years at Barnsdall (Oklahoma) High School and is still active at the age of 86.
The two administrators in the 2019 class are former executive directors of the NFHS – the late Charles W. Whitten of Illinois and Bob Gardner of Indiana. Whitten led the National Federation from 1927 to 1940 prior to the establishment of a full-time office, and Gardner retired last year after 18 years on the NFHS staff, including the final eight years as executive director.
The other two members of the 2019 class are the late Ralph Stout, who was involved with football and basketball officiating with the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) for 65 years; and Ginny Honomichl, a longtime coach, administrator and leader from Baldwin City (Kansas) High School who was the first female to serve as president of the Kansas Coaches Association and the NFHS Coaches Association.
These five athletes, three coaches, one contest official, two administrators and one other contributor will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame June 30 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 37th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be a part of the 100th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, performing arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and performing arts programs. This year’s class increases the number of individuals in the Hall of Fame to 482.
The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.