Archive for Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hilton has Braves digging into history

September 25, 2008

Bonner Springs High School athletics director John Hilton is making an effort to acknowledge all of the high school state champions and their athletes.

I told vice principal Joe Hornbeck that I would check into what statistics and information I had to help Hilton get the much-due recognition for these All-State teams. Bonner Springs High School has nine state championship teams - which included its two-man golf team. In doing what research I could with my limited vision, I came up with something I had forgotten about: a coach of three state championship teams, with two in the same year.

Joe Beck was a former Bonner Springs coach whom I had very much respect for and I thought he was overlooked several times for promotion. Beck will be on a plateau with some great coaches such as Dick Burns, Phil Young, Shirley Vaughn, Carl Taylor and Ken Russell. Beck is the only BSHS coach to ever win back-to-back state titles and the only coach to win two titles in one year. He coached back-to-back state champions in the state indoor track meet in Manhattan. He also served as an assistant in football and basketball.

Beck's main expertise was in baseball, but that was before BSHS had baseball as a sport. Beck was more than qualified, especially in basketball, but was overlooked. The last I heard anything about him, he was coaching varsity baseball at Manhattan High School where I am sure he was a success.

Beck was a natural at working with the youth as all the players highly respected him. Beck was an easy-going person who to the best of my knowledge never complained or was unhappy. We missed the coaching experience of Beck when he resigned, much as we did several other young coaches such as Tom DeGroot, John Rost, Doug Kapeller, Steve May and Joe Leiber. I would be interested hearing from anyone who has any knowledge where Beck is at the present. I am sure he was a successful baseball coach at Manhattan.

On another note, my day was made last week when I received a telephone call from one of my former players at Sacred Heart School, Dr. Michaeleen (Mickey) Burns, inviting me out to lunch with her and two more of my former players, Joanne Bicknick Homolka and Heather Smith Clyne. The invitation really made my day, plus I got a nice meal and the opportunity of talking over old times with three of my greatest players ever.

This trio of young ladies were all members of the 1988 seventh- and eighth-grade girls team at Sacred Heart in Bonner Springs that in their eighth-grade year won championships in volleyball, basketball and track. Joanne was the only Sacred Heart athlete to ever win the CYO pentathlon. Heather set school records at every school she attended, starting at Sacred Heart and Pioneer Junior High, establishing a new school record with a 21-point-per-game average and at BSHS, setting school scoring records that still stand. Mickey still holds rebound records at the high school. Mickey is also a successful triathlon athlete. All three girls were members of the National Honor Society, Mickey and Heather at BSHS and Joanne at Bishop Ward. How much better can it be than eating lunch with three beautiful young ladies?

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