Wabash hosts HOF ceremony

By Bill Barrows

This past Saturday evening was the annual induction ceremony for the Wabash High School Athletic Hall of Fame during the Wabash-Lewis Cass basketball game.

Individuals inducted included 1973 grad Larry O’Conner, 1969 grad Joe Evans,  Assistant Superintendent of Huntington County Schools Chad Daughtery, a late ‘80s, early ‘90s athlete , and a 1950’s star Terry O’Brien.

For the first time, all time teams were included. The charter class of teams inducted are the 1920-21 Wabash HS Football team that was undefeated and unscored upon throughout that season. What is even more amazing is the fact that they played only two home games, an  amazing feat. They were the Indiana mythical state champions that year. That harkens back to a time not long ago when the NCAA did not have a playoff.

The other team is the 1986 Apache Baseball that won the state championship. They won in spite of playing against much bigger schools like Logansport, Marion, LaPorte, Kokomo, Lafayette Jeff and the like. There were no class sports at the time and few small schools got to the semi-state, let alone the state. Wabash was the smallest school to ever win an IHSAA single class state championship.

Left handed pitcher Tom Dempsey set a state record during that postseason. He was the winning pitcher in both state level games. Unless the format is changed in the future, that record will stand for posterity because the current format calls for a single game State Championship.

Keith Shepherd signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Bush Stadium dugout and went on to play professionally for a number of years. Chris Hollingshead won the IHSAA’s L.V. Phillips Award, given annually as the statewide Sportsmanship Award to a worthy senior athlete that played in the championship game.

Other members of that team were Mike Smalley, John Garrett, Jeff Wagner, Todd Adams, Brent Johnson, Matt Lunn, Wayne Hall, Ben Mahan. Also, Jack Holley, the current Wabash head coach, Adam Mann and Rick Brown. Mike Phillips, who traveled home to Wabash from California to be here for Saturday’s induction ceremony, and manager Craig Kirby.

Chris Rood, the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Famer, was the legendary head coach. Members of his family were here representing the late coach. He was assisted by Roger White and Gene King.

Posted on 2018 Feb 13