Staff Report



LEXINGTON – The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame Class of 2016 was announced Sunday in a press conference at the KHSAA Offices. The 12 members in this year’s class will be the 29th inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame, and consists of former high school coaches, athletes, officials, administrators and contributors. The Class of 2016 will be inducted in ceremonies scheduled for Saturday, March 19, 2016, at the Lexington Convention Center. The Class of 2016 will also be recognized during the semifinals of the 2016 Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16. The induction of the 12-member Class of 2016 will bring the total number of honorees in the Hall of Fame to 445.

Sam Ball (Henderson County HS) – A product of Henderson County High School, Ball would later become an All-American at the University of Kentucky before an NFL career which featured two Super Bowl appearances. An All-State selection for Henderson County, Ball was named the Lineman of the Year by the Evansville Courier & Press in 1961. He was a consensus All-Big 8 Conference selection and helped the Colonels to a 32-2-2 record during his four-year career, including a conference championship in 1961. A co-captain for UK, Ball earned All-SEC and All-America honors as a Wildcat, while playing in the North-South Game, the Senior Bowl, the College All-Star Game and the Coach’s All-America Game. He was selected with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 1966 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts. The 6-4 Ball was the starting right tackle for Baltimore in Super Bowl III, a game the Colts lost 16-7 to the Jets. He earned a Super Bowl ring two years later as Baltimore defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, in Super Bowl V. Ball retired from the NFL following Super Bowl V, having helped the Colts to a 43-9-4 record over five seasons (1966-70). Ball was honored as an SEC Legend in 2001 and was inducted into the Kentucky Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. In 1991, his number 73 jersey was retired by the University of Kentucky as part of its 100 years of football celebration.

Freddy Ballou (Model/Madison HS) – In three years at Model/Madison High School, Ballou rushed for over 5,000 yards and scored 50 touchdowns to lead the Royal Purples to a 34-4 record, which included 27-consecutive wins and 10-straight shutouts. A team captain and All-Conference selection in 1960 and 1961, Ballou helped Madison to conference titles both years, culminating with a runner-up finish in the 2A state playoffs when coach Roy Kidd’s Royal Purples fell to Highlands, 12-0, in the state title game at Stoll Field in Lexington – one of three games he missed that year after suffering a back injury in November. Ballou, who was named All-State AA Honorable Mention as a junior, garnered AA All-State honors as a senior, in addition to All-America accolades and a spot in the East-West All-Star Game. He scored 310 points in just two and a half seasons for the Royal Purples, which included eight punt returns, one kickoff return, and 10 extra points. His 26 touchdown runs went for a combined 735 yards, an average of 28.3 yards per score.

James (Pete) Bowles, M.D. (Contributor) – Dr. Bowles spent 33 years as a primary care physician with the Trover Clinic in Madisonville, during which time he served as the team physician for Madisonville-North Hopkins and established himself as a leader in western Kentucky in the field of sports medicine. Beginning in the 1970’s, Dr. Bowles was a visionary in bringing comprehensive sports medicine services to rural high school athletics, volunteering countless hours to more than 20 schools districts in the western region. His initiatives to place certified athletic trainers and family practice residents at sporting events helped create a presence of prevention, care, and safety for student-athletes. He joined the Kentucky Medical Association’s Sports Medicine Committee in 1984, serving as the group’s chairman for 12 years (2000-12). In 2013, Bowles was the recipient of the NFHS Outstanding Service Award, given in grateful recognition of services and contributions in sports medicine initiatives for all Kentucky students.

Brigette Combs (Whitesburg HS) – Combs led Whitesburg to three-consecutive appearances in the KHSAA Girls’ Sweet 16® during a standout four-year career in which she totaled 2,672 points, 1,920 rebounds, and 585 steals as the Lady Yellowjackets captured three-straight Region 14 titles and compiled a 99-8 record. As a sophomore, Combs averaged 16 points and 16.5 rebounds per game to lead Whitesburg to a 39-1 record, with the lone loss coming against Warren Central in the championship game of the 1983 Girls’ Sweet 16. A two-time, First Team All-State selection, Combs was named Kentucky’s Miss Basketball as a senior in 1985 after averaging 27 points and 14 rebounds per game, while shooting 54 percent from the field, to guide the Yellowjackets to a 29-3 record and a third-straight trip to the state tournament. Her efforts as a senior garnered All-America accolades from KODAK, the National High School Coaches Association, and Milky Way. Combs was named one of the Top 25 high school girls’ basketball players on the Kentucky All-Century Team, is a member of the Kentucky All-Star Hall of Fame and has been honored as a “Sweet 16 Legend” by the KABC during the girls’ state basketball tournament.

Joseph Federspiel (DeSales HS) – A two-way football player at DeSales High School, Federspiel starred as an offensive guard and linebacker for the Colts before moving on to the University of Kentucky and later the National Football League. His play at linebacker led to him becoming the first player from DeSales to garner First Team All-State honors. He earned a spot in the East-West All-Star game and was named most valuable player after leading the West team to a victory. Federspiel was a two-time All-SEC selection at Kentucky (1969-71), including First Team All-SEC honors and Second Team All-America accolades from the Associated Press as a senior, before being selected in the fourth round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. After a 10-year stint in the NFL, Federspiel made the transition to officiating, spending five years at the high school level before eventually becoming an SEC official. He also shared his football expertise as a volunteer coach at various levels over the years, including four years at Henry Clay HS.

Dominic Fucci (Tates Creek HS) – A standout baseball and basketball player at Tates Creek High School, Fucci excelled in both sports for the Commodores, earning Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball award in 1975 before embarking on a professional baseball career. Fucci, who averaged 19.6 points and 11.2 rebounds per game as a senior at Tates Creek, played basketball for one season at Auburn University before focusing solely on baseball. As a junior at Auburn, Fucci led the SEC in hitting with a .401 batting average to earn Third Team All-America accolades from The Sporting News. He helped the Tigers to a pair of Southeastern Conference titles during his collegiate career, as well as a trip to the NCAA College World Series. He was selected in the 5th Round of the 1979 Major League Baseball Draft by the Chicago White Sox and played professionally in the Detroit Tigers organization before finishing up his playing career in Yucatan, Mexico. With his playing days behind him, Fucci turned to coaching and spent six years as a basketball coach at Owen County before moving on to Lexington Catholic, where he was the head baseball coach and assistant basketball coach for three years. He led the Knights to the semifinals of the KHSAA State Baseball Tournament in 1994 and 1995 and had a three-year record of 78-40. In 1996, Fucci took over at Tates Creek and guided the Commodores to a pair of 11th Region Championships in 20 seasons as head baseball coach before retiring after the 2014 season with a career record of 542-260-1.

Clarence Gaines (Paducah Lincoln HS) – Born in Paducah, “Big House” Gaines went from being a three-sport athlete and class salutatorian at Lincoln High school to becoming a national champion basketball coach and a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. A basketball, football and track standout, Gaines went to play football at Morgan State University, where he gained his famous nickname and graduated in 1945 with a chemistry degree. He accepted an assistant basketball coaching job at Winston-Salem Teachers College after graduating, and by 1947 was a teacher, football coach, basketball coach, ticket manager, trainer and athletic director. In 1949, Gaines transitioned to basketball full time, despite being named the CIAA Football Coach of the Year in 1948. Between 1959 and 1964, Winston-Salem State posted a combined record of 114-26. In 1967, he guided a Winston-Salem State College squad featuring Earl “The Pearl” Monroe to a 31-1 record and the NCAA Division II National Championship, the first national title won by a historically Black college. A five-time winner of the CIAA Coach of the Year award, Gaines became the first African-American coach inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. He retired in following the 1993 season with a career record of 828-447, which marked the most victories ever by an NCAA Division II coach and trailed only Adolph Rupp across all levels. In 2006, he was inducted as an inaugural member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Bert Greene (Olive Hill HS) – Greene enjoyed a stellar career at Olive Hill High School (1954-59), totaling 3,172 points over five seasons to lead the Comets to three appearances in the Boys’ Sweet 16®. His career scoring total, which included 67 points as an eighth grader, stood as a 16th Region record for 50 years until it was finally eclipsed in 2009 by Elliott County’s Jonathan Ferguson. Greene was named First Team All-State and 16th Region Player of the Year by the Louisville Courier-Journal as a senior and was twice voted the Player of the Year in the Eastern Kentucky Conference. The Comets captured three Region 16 championships behind Greene’s prolific scoring, advancing to the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 in 1955, 1956 and 1959. The 1959 Olive Hill squad advanced all the way to the semifinals before falling to North Marshall, 67-65, despite a 20-point effort by Greene. He scored in double figures in 151 consecutive games to help the Comets to a 157-30 overall record, while grabbing 1,214 rebounds and dishing out 266 assists with a .476 shooting percentage and an 82.7 percent clip from the foul line. Greene went on to play at Morehead State before returning to Olive Hill as head coach of the Comets. He retired from coaching in 1979 but soon returned to the game as a basketball official, a role he kept for 10 years.

Charles Hunter (Ralph Bunche HS) – In his final two seasons at Ralph Bunche High School, “Big Game” Hunter established himself as one of the area’s most prolific scorers by leading the 5th region in scoring in back-to-back years. The 6-5 forward averaged a double-double each of his last two seasons for Ralph Bunche, averaging over 26 points per game each year, while leading the Blue Hawks to the school’s only appearance in the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16 in 1961, where they fell to Beaver Dam in the first round, 79-61. Hunter, who scored a career-high 55 points in a win over Austin-Tracy, earned All-District, All-Region and Second Team All-State honors from the Louisville Courier-Journal as a senior in 1962. Following his senior year, Hunter played in both the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Game and the East/West All-Star Game. Though he was the first African-American offered a basketball scholarship to the University of Louisville, Hunter opted to go to Oklahoma City University, where he scored 1,319 career points and grabbed 584 rebounds to help lead the Chiefs to four-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1966, Hunter was selected in the 6th Round of the NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.

Tenesha Blakey (Marshall) (Valley HS) – Blakey Marshall won 10 state track and field titles during a standout career at Valley High School, which culminated with her being named Kentucky’s Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year and the state’s Outstanding High School Female Athlete by the Kentucky Department of Education as a senior in 1994. As a sophomore, Blakey Marshall won the first of her six individual state titles, winning the 300-meter hurdles in 45.31 to help Valley capture the Class 3A Team Championship. She claimed the state title in the 100 hurdles the following year with a time of 14.82, but a sprained ankle prevented her from adding any more state titles. That summer, she bounced back to win the national title in the 400-meter hurdles at the AAU Junior Olympics, running a time of 1:02.04. Blakey dominated the state meet as a senior, totaling 40 points and becoming the first female to win four individual races as Valley picked up its second Class 3A Team Championship. Blakey Marshall’s performance at the state meet included victories in the 100-meter hurdles (14.75), 100-meter dash (12.44), 300-meter hurdles (43.96) and the 200-meter dash (25.26). She ended the year ranked fourth in the nation in the 300-meter hurdles. A four-year All-State honoree in track, Blakey Marshall also excelled on the basketball court, where she led the team in scoring two-straight years and was an all-district and all-region selection in 1994.

Marshall Patterson (Fort Campbell HS) – Patterson built a powerhouse from the ground up at Fort Campbell High School, transforming the Falcons from a fledgling program when the school began football in 1962 into a three-time state champion. Patterson guided Fort Campbell to its first state championship in 1976, as the Falcons knocked off Bellevue, 22-0, at Commonwealth Stadium to claim the 1A state title. The 1978 season would mark the first of three-straight trips to the state football finals for Fort Campbell, with the Falcons defeating Paintsville, 15-13, for the program’s second 1A state championship. Fort Campbell moved up to 2A the following year, but that hardly slowed the Falcons, who knocked off Pikeville, 26-0, in the 2A state championship game. Fort Campbell made its fourth appearance in the state finals under Patterson the following year, but fell to Corbin, 16-7, in the 2A title game. Patterson, who also led Fort Campbell to a state wrestling championship in 1971, retired in 1993 after 32 years at the helm. He ended his career with 227 wins as head coach of the football Falcons, good enough to place him in the top-10 on the state’s all-time list for coaching victories at the time of his retirement.

G.J. Smith (Hazel Green, Laurel County, South Laurel HS) – Smith established himself as one of the 12th Region’s greatest basketball players as a star at Hazel Green and Laurel County High School, before giving back to the area as a longtime, dedicated coach, teacher, and administrator. Dubbed the “Kentucky Long Rifle”, the 6-6 Smith led Hazel Green to the 12th Region Championship and a berth in the 1970 KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16. He totaled 30 points and 16 rebounds in the Bullfrogs’ opening round 57-46 win over Paris, and followed that up with a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double in a 55-52 loss to Pleasure Ridge Park en route to earning a spot on the All-Tournament team. He returned to the boys’ state tournament as a senior in 1971, averaging 22 points per game on the way to a second 12th Region title. Smith was named to the All-Tournament Team for the second time after the Cardinals defeated Bardstown, 64-57, in the first round before falling to Male, 83-65, in the quarterfinals. Smith, who played in the 1971 East-West All-Star Game, averaged 19.8 points and eight rebounds per game for his career while shooting over 50 percent from the field all four years. Smith went on to play at the University of Kentucky (1972-75) as part of Adolph Rupp’s final recruiting class and was a member of the NCAA National runner-up 1974-75 Wildcats. Smith enjoyed a second chapter of athletic success as a baseball coach for Laurel County (1977-92) and South Laurel (1993-2002), compiling a career record of 662 victories (.767 winning percentage) with 15 district titles, six regional championships and four appearances in the state tournament semifinals.

Staff Report

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