Steve Spurrier, a three-sport standout at Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tennessee, before his highly successful collegiate career as a player and coach, and Marlin Briscoe, an outstanding football and basketball player at Omaha (Nebraska) South High School prior to becoming the first African-American starting quarterback in the National Football League, are among 12 individuals selected for the 2016 class of the National High School Hall of Fame administered by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Other athletes who were chosen for this year’s class are Joni Huntley, a three-sport athlete at Sheridan (Oregon) High School in the early 1970s who later competed in the high jump at two Olympics; Tom Southall, who overcame a physical disability to become one of the best athletes in Colorado history at Steamboat Springs High School (1979-81), and the late Ken Beardslee,one of the top pitchers in high school baseball history during his three years (1947-49) at Vermontville (Michigan) High School.
Marlin Briscoe (PHOTO BY KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD)
Chuck Kyle, who has won 321 games and 11 state championships in 33 years as football coach at Cleveland (Ohio) St. Ignatius High School, is one of four coaches selected for the 2016 class. Other coaches who will be honored this year are Peg Kopec, who retired last year after winning 12 state championships in 42 years as girls volleyball coach at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Illinois; Pete Boudreaux, who has won an amazing 43 state championships in cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field at Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Catholic High School; and Jack Holloway, who led his wrestling teams at New Castle (Delaware) William Penn High School to seven state championships and 13 undefeated seasons during his 25-year career.
Two administrators are part of the 2016 class – Tim Flannery, who served on the NFHS staff for 16 years and was responsible for starting the highly successful NFHS Coach Education Program; and Ennis Proctor, who retired in 2011 after 20 years as executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association. Rounding out the 2016 class is the late Eugene “Lefty” Wright, a cross country and track and field contest official in Minnesota for almost 50 years.
These five athletes, four coaches, two administrators and one contest official will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 2 at the Peppermill Resort in Reno, Nevada. The 34th Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 97th 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 447.
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.
Following is biographical information on the 12 individuals in the 2016 class of the National High School Hall of Fame.
The late Ken Beardslee has been proclaimed as “prep baseball’s first ace” in the NFHS National High School Sports Record Book for his incredible feats at Vermontville High School in Michigan in the late 1940s. In his three years on the mound for Vermontville, Beardslee won 24 of his 25 starts (the team was 31-1 during that time), but it was the dominance he displayed that was even more amazing. Beardslee’s 24 victories included eight no-hitters, including two perfect games, and seven one-hitters and a 0.32 career earned-run average. He set seven national records, and two of those marks still stand after 66 years. His per-game season strikeout mark of 19.0 and his per-game career strikeout mark of 18.1 remain the national records today. Beardslee was drafted by the New York Yankees immediately after graduating from high school and pitched in the minors from 1949 to 1956. An injury ended his playing career in 1956, and Beardslee then served as a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates for 21 years.
Marlin Briscoe was an All-City running back in football as a junior and senior at Omaha (Nebraska) South High School in 1962 and 1963. Briscoe also played quarterback at times and led South High School to the Intercity Football Championship during his senior season, and then directed the South team to a victory in the Football Shrine game. Two weeks later, he was named MVP of Omaha’s All-City Basketball Classic. Briscoe was a standout quarterback at Omaha University (now the University of Nebraska-Omaha), where he set 22 school records and passed for 5,114 yards and 53 touchdowns, and earned NAIA first-team All-American honors. Nicknamed “The Magician,” Briscoe became the first African-American starting quarterback in modern NFL history in 1968 for the Denver Broncos. He was an all-pro wide receiver with the Buffalo Bills and earned two Super Bowl rings with the Miami Dolphins, including the undefeated 1972 team. After directing the Boys and Girls Club in southern California for many years, he continues to serve the organization today as a volunteer.
Joni Huntley participated in three sports at Sheridan (Oregon) High School, but track and field was her claim to fame. Huntley was a three-time state high jump champion and became the first American woman to clear 6 feet in the event as a high school senior in 1974. Huntley set national records in the high jump and 100-yard hurdles on the same day at a 1974 meet, and won state titles in the high jump, hurdles and 100-yard dash. She also competed in basketball and helped the school’s volleyball team to a state title in 1973. Huntley was the first female to receive an athletic scholarship to Oregon State University, where she participated in track and field and volleyball. Huntley placed fifth in the high jump at the 1976 Olympics and won the bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She was ranked No. 1 in the United States in the high jump five times and was in the top 10 for 13 consecutive years. Huntley is a retired kindergarten teacher and currently works in the Portland Public Schools.
Tom Southall excelled in football, basketball, track and music at Steamboat Springs (Colorado) High School. Born without his right hand and wrist, Southall was two-time football player of the year in Colorado and led his team to the 1979 Class 2A state championship. He set the state’s single-game rushing record in 1979 with 412 yards. In track and field, he set the state’s 2A long jump record in 1981 with a 23-4½ effort and helped Steamboat Springs to three consecutive Class 2A state titles. On the performing arts side, Southall was a member of the jazz band and concert band and was all-state in music on the trumpet. He received the Fred Steinmark Award as Colorado Male Student-Athlete of the Year in 1981. Southall’s success continued at Colorado College, where he led the nation in punt return yardage and set an NCAA Division III career mark for kickoff return yards. He was track MVP all four years at Colorado College and set school records in the long jump, 200-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay. Southall currently is a teacher and coach at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, Colorado.
Steve Spurrier was one of the best multi-sport athletes in Tennessee history during his playing days at Science Hill High School in Johnson City from 1960 to 1963. He passed for 16 touchdowns in football, averaged 22 points per game in basketball and was 7-0 as a pitcher in helping Science Hill to the state baseball championship – and was named all-state in all three sports and all-American in football. While football would be his sport of choice in college, his high school baseball accomplishments topped the list. He recorded a perfect 25-0 record as a pitcher and was a part of two state championship teams. Spurrier went on to win the Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida. As a three-year starter at quarterback, he passed for 4,848 yards and 37 touchdowns. Spurrier played nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers before playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his final season in 1976. He then was one of the most successful college football coaches, compiling a 228-89-2 record in 25 seasons at Duke, Florida and South Carolina, which included a national championship at Florida. Spurrier also coached the Washington Redskins for two years.
Pete Boudreaux has been coaching cross country and track and field at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for 48 years and is still going strong at the age of 74. He has led his teams to 16 state cross country championships, 12 state indoor track titles and 15 state outdoor track championships – an amazing grand total of 43. In addition, his teams have finished second 21 times in the three combined sports. Boudreaux has coached 13 individual state champions in cross country and his 1975 team compiled the only perfect score (15) ever recorded in state history. In track, 23 Catholic High School athletes have set state records under Boudreaux’s guidance. A graduate of Catholic High School, Boudreaux also served as the school’s athletic director for 30 years and currently is a guidance counselor and physical education teacher in addition to his coaching responsibilities.
Jack Holloway was one of the top high school wrestling coaches in the country during his 25-year stint at William Penn High School in New Castle, Delaware (1978-2002). Holloway’s coaching mark was 297-35 (.894 percentage), which included 13 undefeated seasons, and he led his teams to seven state championships. He coached 39 individual state champions and was named National High School Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2000. During his final 14 years at William Penn, Holloway also served as the school’s athletic director. A former all-American as a football player at Salesianum High School in Wilmington, Holloway was named executive director of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association in 2002 and served in that role for three years. During this time, Holloway was instrumental in making Delaware one of the first states to adopt new NFHS weight management protocols. Since 2005, Holloway has been director of athletics at Tower Hill High School in Wilmington.
Peg Kopec concluded her outstanding career as volleyball coach at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Illinois, this past November with yet another Illinois High School Association (IHSA) state championship. During her 42 years as St. Francis coach, Kopec led her teams to 12 IHSA state titles, including four in a row to conclude her career – the first in state history to accomplish that feat. Kopec registered 30 or more victories in 30 seasons and eclipsed 40 wins on three occasions and finished with an overall record of 1,248-260-2 (.827 winning percentage) – good for fifth on the all-time list in the NFHS National High School Sports Record Book. In addition to her 12 state titles, Kopec’s teams clamed 25 sectional titles and 31 regional titles and compiled a 43-9 record in state finals competition.
Chuck Kyle has led his alma mater – St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio – to 11 Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) state football championships – all in the state’s largest division. After serving as an assistant coach for 10 years, Kyle assumed head coaching duties in 1983 and has registered a 321-83-1 record (.794 winning percentage) in 33 years. He ranks No. 1 in state football titles and set a state record by qualifying for the playoffs in 22 consecutive years (1988-2009). Kyle’s teams were undefeated on five occasions and received recognition by media outlets as the nation’s top team three times (1989, 1993, 1995). On four separate occasions, his teams registered winning streaks of 25 or more games, with a best of 39 straight victories. In addition to football, Kyle has coached track and field at St. Ignatius for 43 years and his team claimed the 2001 OHSAA large-division state championship.
The late Eugene “Lefty” Wright had a profound impact on track and field and cross country – as a coach and official and at the state and national levels – for more than 50 years before his death last year at the age of 79. Wright was meet director of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) cross country championship for 46 years and was the lead official at the MSHSL state track and field meet for 22 years. He was the MSHSL rules clinician for both sports for 46 years and developed a procedure to minimize disqualifications by creating a form that was adopted in official NFHS rules. Wright coached track and field and cross country at St. Louis Park High School in suburban Minneapolis from 1958 to 1969 and won four state track titles and one state cross country championship.
Tim Flannery saved the best for last during his remarkable 46-year career in education. After concluding his 30-year career in Ohio with 15 years as director of athletics of the North Olmsted City Schools, Flannery joined the NFHS staff in 1998. During his first nine years on the staff, Flannery directed the NFHS Coaches Association, was editor of the Soccer Rules Book and Swimming and Diving Rules Book, and was in charge of the NFHS Officials Association for two years. In 2007, he started the NFHS Coach Education Program and by the time he retired in 2014 had built one of the most successful programs in the organization’s history. Today, the program features 41 online education courses, and more than four million courses have been delivered to coaches, administrators, parents and students. Flannery also was heavily involved in the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) for 30 years, including a term as president in 1995 during which time the Leadership Training Program was initiated.
Ennis Proctor concluded his 20 years as executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) – and 47 years overall in education – in 2011 after transforming the organization that was in dire financial straits when he started in 1991. During his tenure, the MHSAA added 15 sports, including many new opportunities for female athletes, and enacted reforms that judged individuals on their own without regard to race or gender. Proctor left the MSHAA in 2011 with a $2 million reserve after inheriting an organization with just $100,000. Prior to joining the MSHAA, Proctor was a football and baseball coach and then spent 13 years as an assistant principal and principal before joining the MHSAA staff. Nationally, Proctor served on the NFHS Board of Directors and was president in 2009-10. During his tenure, Proctor guided the organization’s selection of a new executive director.