INDIANAPOLIS – Seven outstanding former high school athletes highlight the 2021 class of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame, including three who went on to earn gold medals in the Olympics and four others who excelled in professional football, basketball and baseball.
Joining the seven former athletes in this year’s class are three highly successful high school coaches, one former state association administrator and one speech and debate coach in the performing arts area.
These 12 individuals were selected in March 2020 and were scheduled to be inducted last year; however, the 2020 in-person NFHS Summer Meeting was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, these 12 honorees will be inducted July 1 at the 38th induction ceremony of the National High School Hall of Fame, which will be held at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Orlando, Fla. The induction ceremony will take place at 6:00 p.m. EST on July 1 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Fla., and will be streamed live on the NFHS Network at: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtfb1ffdd8eb
The four high school athletes who went on to professional stardom are Dave Logan of Colorado, Tim Couch of Kentucky, Matt Holliday of Oklahoma and Alex English of South Carolina. Other athletes in the class are three female stars who landed Olympic gold in the Olympics: Karyn Bye of Wisconsin, Maicel Malone of Indiana and Michele Smith of New Jersey.
Logan was a three-sport standout (football, basketball and baseball) at Wheat Ridge (Colorado) High School in the early 1970s and was drafted by teams in all three professional sports. He was a two-sport star at the University of Colorado and then was a wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns (eight years) and Denver Broncos (one year). In his second career also worthy of Hall of Fame notice, Logan has coached four different Denver-area schools to nine state high school football championships during the past 27 years.
Couch had a record-setting football career as a quarterback at Leslie County High School in Hyden, Ky., in the mid-1990s. Couch set three national career passing records – 872 completions, 12,104 yards and 133 touchdowns. He was named National Player of the Year as a senior. Couch also excelled in basketball, leading the state in scoring as a senior with 37 points per game. He had a stellar career at the University of Kentucky and played five years with the Cleveland Browns.
Holliday was a three-sport player – and two-sport star – at Stillwater (Oklahoma) High School in the late 1990s. As a quarterback in football for three years, Holliday passed for 68 touchdowns. He was a four-year starter in baseball and hit .443 as a senior with 12 home runs. He played with four teams during his 20-year professional baseball career, which ended in 2018 with the Colorado Rockies. Holliday was second in the MVP voting with the Rockies in 2007 and won a World Series in 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
English is perhaps the greatest basketball player in South Carolina history. He was a three-time all-state selection and Player of the Year at Dreher High School in Columbia, and he was the leading scorer in University of South Carolina history. English played 16 years in the National Basketball Association, including 10 years with the Denver Nuggets when he scored 2,000 points in eight consecutive seasons.
Bye was a three-sport star at River Falls (Wisconsin) High School in the late 1980s and was a trailblazer for girls in the sport of ice hockey in the state. She was team captain and three-time all-conference while playing on the River Falls boys hockey team. She also played tennis and softball. She later excelled in ice hockey at the University of New Hampshire and played on the 1998 Olympic women’s ice hockey team that won a gold medal.
Malone was a track and field star at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., from 1984 to 1987. She won 11 of a possible 12 state titles in the three sprints (100, 200, 400) during her four years at North Central. She set state records in all three events and helped North Central to two state championships. She later won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics as a part of the 400-meter relay team.
Smith was a three-sport athlete at Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner, N.J.. She participated in field hockey, basketball and softball, which became her top sport. Smith had a 51-6 record with 11 no-hitters as a pitcher and helped her team to the state title as a junior. She had an outstanding career at Oklahoma State University with an 82-20 record and was the starting pitcher for the U.S. Olympic teams that won gold medals in 1996 and 2000.
Three outstanding high school coaches are a part of this year’s class, including Rickey Baker, who led Hopi High School in Keams Canyon, Ariz., to a national-record 27 consecutive state cross country championships from 1990 to 2017. Another coach in this year’s class is Charles Berry, who retired in 2018 after a 57-year career as a girls and boys basketball coach in Arkansas. With most of his years at Huntsville High School, Berry won 1,377 games as a boys and girls basketball coach. The final coach in the class is Terry Michler, the winningest boys soccer coach in history from Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Michler has won 1,004 games and nine state championships during his 48-year career.
Completing the 2021 class are Bill Farney, who served on the administrative staff of the Texas University Interscholastic League for 32 years, including 14 years as executive director, and Robert Littlefield, one of the top speech and debate educators in North Dakota and nationally for 45 years.
Following is biographical information on the 12 inductees in the 2021 class of the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame.
During his football career at Leslie County High School in Hyden, Ky. in the mid-1990s, Tim Couch set three national career passing records – 872 completions, 12,104 yards and 133 touchdowns. He helped Leslie County to a 13-1 record as a junior while completing an amazing 75 percent of his passes – a national record that stood for 15 years. As a senior, he passed for 42 touchdowns and led his team to an 11-3 mark, and he was named Gatorade and USA Today National Player of the Year while earning Mr. Football honors in Kentucky. ESPN.com selected Couch the sixth-best high school athlete in history. Couch was equally dominant on the basketball court. He scored 3,023 points in his career, leading the state in scoring as a senior at 37 points per game. He was two-time all-state in basketball. Couch’s football prowess continued at the University of Kentucky, where he passed for 8,159 yards and 73 touchdowns in his final two seasons. He led Kentucky to the Outback Bowl after his junior season and was fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Couch was the No. 1 pick in the 1999 NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns and passed for more than 11,000 yards and 64 touchdowns in his five years with the Browns.
Karyn Bye was a three-sport star at River Falls (Wisconsin) High School in the late 1980s and was a trailblazer for girls in the sport of ice hockey in the state. Amazingly, Bye was a three-time all-conference and team captain of the boys ice hockey team at River Falls. With the formation of girls hockey teams still almost 20 years down the road, Bye became one of the state’s top players on the boys team. She also earned four letters in tennis and was a three-time state qualifier, and she was captain of the River Falls softball team and was three-time all-conference and all-state as a senior. She batted over .500 in both her junior and senior seasons. Bye was the leading scorer all four years on the women’s ice hockey team at the University of New Hampshire and was team captain in her final two seasons. Bye was a member of the USA National Ice Hockey Team for many years and was Player of the Year in 1995 and 1998. She was a member of the U.S. Olympic teams that earned a gold medal at the 1998 Games in Japan and a silver medal at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City.
Prior to his stellar college and professional careers, Alex English was one of the top high school basketball players in South Carolina history during his days at Dreher High School in Columbia. English was a first-team all-state selection three consecutive years, Player of the Year in South Carolina in 1971 and 1972, and he was a two-time all-American. He set the all-time scoring records at Dreher, and his No. 22 jersey was later retired. English stayed home for his college career and is still known as the greatest player in the University of South Carolina history. He ranks first in scoring and third in rebounding in Gamecocks’ history and was a two-time all-American, and he had his second No. 22 jersey retired by USC. While he played for four teams during his 16-year professional career, English will always be remembered for his decade of the 1980s with the Denver Nuggets. He was the NBA’s leading scorer in the 1980s with 19,682 points and was the first player in league history to score 2,000 points in eight straight seasons. English set 31 records in 10 seasons with the Nuggets and is the team’s all-time leader in points (21,645) and assists (3,679). English was an eight-time all-star – all with the Nuggets – and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
As a member of the girls track and field team at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., from 1984 to 1987, Maicel Malone was one of the most decorated athletes in Indiana high school track and field history and was, perhaps, the first superstar in any Indiana girls sport. She was an 11-time state champion in the 12 sprint events during her four years of competing in the state track and field meet. She won the 100 and 400 meters all four years and the 200 meters three years (finished second as a sophomore). She is still the Indiana state record holder in the 200 (23.12 in 1986) and the 400 (52.42 in 1986), and her 100-meter state record (11.52 in 1986) stood until 2015. She is the only Indiana female athlete to set three state records (100, 200, 400) in the same meet (1986). Malone (now Maicel Green) helped North Central to two state championships – as a freshman in 1984 and in her senior season in 1987. She was a four-time NCAA champion in the 400 meters (three indoor, one outdoor) at Arizona State University, and she was a member of the 400-meter relay team that won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. She won five other gold medals in international competition and was inducted into the Indiana Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1993.
Matt Holliday would rank high on a list of the top high school athletes in Oklahoma history, thanks to his days as a three-sport player and two-sport star at Stillwater High School in the late 1990s. He was a three-year starter at quarterback in football and led his team to a 30-6 record while passing for 6,211 yards and 68 touchdowns. In baseball, he was a four-year starter at third base and he also was a pitcher. He hit .438 as a junior and .443 as a senior with a combined 18 home runs. In between those sports, he was a three-year starter on the basketball team. Holliday was highly recruited in both football and baseball by a number of top universities, including his hometown choice of Oklahoma State University, but he was drafted in the seventh round of the 1998 Major League Baseball draft and embarked on a 20-year professional baseball career that ended in October 2018. Holliday played for the Colorado Rockies, Oakland A’s, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and returned to the Rockies to close his career. In 15 major league seasons, Holliday hit 316 home runs and finished with a .299 career average. His best season was 2007 when he hit .340 with 36 home runs and 137 runs batted in for the Rockies and finished second in the MVP voting. He was a member of the 2011 Cardinals team that won the World Series.
In a state rich with standout high school athletes, Dave Logan was second to none during his days as a three-sport star at Wheat Ridge (Colorado) High School from 1969 to 1972. And with his eight state championships as a high school football coach the past 26 years, Logan has become the face of high school sports and activities in Colorado. He was two-time all-state in football as a wide receiver and defensive back and received the Gold Helmet Award as a senior as the state’s top senior player, scholar and citizen. He was a three-year starter in basketball and was Colorado Sidelines Player of the Year after averaging 24.1 points per game. In earning three letters in baseball, Logan hit .380 and was 7-2 as a pitcher as a senior and claimed all-state and team MVP honors. And if that wasn’t enough, Logan was a trombone player in the school band. He was one of only three multi-sport players who was drafted by all three major sports organizations. Logan was a two-sport star at the University of Colorado and then played nine years as a wide receiver in the National Football League, including eight years with the Cleveland Browns and his final season with the Denver Broncos. Logan has coached four schools to nine state football titles, including the 2020 championship with Cherry Creek High School in metro Denver. Finally, Logan is the radio voice of the Denver Broncos and hosts a popular midday radio talk show.
Michele Smith was an accomplished three-sport athlete at Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner, N.J., in the early 1980s. As a pitcher in softball, she was 51-6 and recorded 11 no-hitters. She helped her team to the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 3 state softball title as a junior with a 23-1 record, 0.17 earned-run average and 229 strikeouts. She was selected to the all-state softball team three consecutive years. In field hockey, Smith was named first team all-conference as a junior and senior, and in basketball, she scored 1,114 points in her career and was a two-time all-conference selection. At Oklahoma State University, Smith compiled an 82-20 record as a pitcher, and her career batting average was .343 with 15 home runs. She was a three-time All-Big Eight Conference selection and was a two-time Division I All-American. She was a member of the U.S. Olympic softball teams in 1996 and 2000, and she was the starting pitcher for both gold-medal winning teams. She also played on three gold-medal winning World Championships teams and two teams that won gold medals at the Pan American Games. Smith joined ESPN in 1995 and has been the lead college softball analyst since 1998. In 2012, she was the first woman to serve as commentator for a nationally televised Major League Baseball game.
Rickey Baker has become one of the most successful boys cross country coaches in the nation since his arrival at Hopi High School in Keams Canyon, Ariz. in 1987. Three years later, Baker led Hopi to its first state boys cross country championship, and his teams didn’t lose another state title until 2017 – a streak of 27 consecutive team championships. The 27 consecutive state cross country titles is a national record and is third all-time when considering all sports (girls swimming and boys swimming). Baker’s 1999 team scored a perfect 15, which means Hopi runners finished 1-2-3-4-5. Perhaps most amazing about the streak is that Hopi continued to win despite moving into larger classifications. Hopi won 11 straight 2A titles (1990-2000), six consecutive 3A titles (2001-2006) and 10 straight 4A titles (2007-16). Since the streak ended, Hopi has finished runner-up the past three years. Baker started coaching the girls cross country team three years ago and has led his teams to two second-place finishes. He has also coached Hopi’s boys basketball team for 18 years, with a 2A state title in 1997, and the girls and boys track and field teams for the past 10 years. Nine of his track and field athletes have won individual state titles. During his days as a high school athlete, Baker was Arizona’s one-mile champion in 1977 while attending Winslow High School, and he was a member of Winslow’s state cross country team in 1976.
Charles Berry retired in 2018 after an amazing 57-year career as a boys and girls basketball coach in Arkansas. After four years in the Hector School District and two years in Plemerville, Ark., Berry moved to Huntsville in 1967 and remained for 51 years. He resurrected a dormant boys basketball program upon his arrival and coached the boys team for the next 20 years. In 1978, he established the girls basketball team, which he coached until his retirement in 2018. Berry’s overall combined record as a high school boys and girls coach was 1,377-686, with a 1,116-619 record at Huntsville. Along the way, he won two Arkansas Activities Association state girls basketball championships (1997, 2008), and his girls teams finished second two other times (1984, 2013). Berry’s teams made 30 appearances in the state tournament, and they won 16 conference championships and six regional titles. The Huntsville High School gym was renamed Charles H. Berry Gymnasium in 2006, and Berry was inducted into the Arkansas Coaches Hall of Fame in 2016.
Terry Michler is the winningest boys high school soccer coach in history, and in 2019, he eclipsed the 1,000-victory mark in his 48th season at his alma mater, Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Mo.. After graduating from Rockhurst College in Kansas City and playing professional soccer for three years, Michler returned to CBC in 1972 to direct the soccer program. After the 2019 season, Michler’s career coaching mark stands at 1,004-284-117. His CBC teams have claimed 31 district championships and have won nine Missouri State High School Activities Association State Soccer Championships in 15 appearances. Michler’s state titles have been distributed throughout his career, with his first in 1983 and his last in 2018. His teams have been ranked nationally in 13 different seasons, and he has had about 300 former players who played at the college level and more than 30 who played professionally. Michler has written – or helped to write – four books on soccer, and he has been inducted in numerous other halls of fame, including the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame and the CBC Sports Hall of Fame.
Bill Farney retired as executive director of the Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) in 2009 after leading the nation’s largest state association staff for 14 years. Farney joined the UIL in 1977 and served as an assistant director and athletic director for 18 years before assuming the executive director’s position in 1995. During his tenure at the UIL, Farney developed the academic and fine arts programs into the most expansive offerings of any state association. He also helped to expand more opportunities for girls by adding team tennis, soccer, softball and wrestling as sanctioned sports. Farney also developed a waiver process to help disadvantaged students with unavoidable circumstances, and he also implemented the Coaches and Officials Positive Expectations (COPE) course for coaches and players to learn proper sportsmanlike conduct. Farney was a teacher, coach, principal and superintendent at schools in Oklahoma and Texas for 15 years before joining the UIL, including the final seven years as superintendent of schools in Crawford, Texas. Farney earned his bachelor’s degree from Tulsa University and his master’s and doctorate from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He was a member of the NFHS Board of Directors, NFHS Basketball Rules Committee, NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules Committee and the NCAA Football Rules Committee.
Robert Littlefield has been one of the top speech and debate educators in North Dakota and nationally for more than 45 years. After beginning his career as director of forensics and fine arts in the Barnesville (Minnesota) Public Schools in 1974, Littlefield worked at the high school and college levels in North Dakota until 2016, when he moved to the University of Central Florida. In addition to serving as debate coach at Shanley High School in Fargo, N.D., for eight years, Littlefield was the state planner and coordinator for speech clinics for high school teachers and students for more than 20 years. He also coordinated summer speech and debate camps for high school students and was founder and executive director of the Valley Forensic League. During his time at Shanley, Littlefield revitalized the program and had teams regularly place at regional, state and national competition. Littlefield has been involved in national leadership positions with both Pi Kappa Delta National Forensic Honorary and the National Speech and Debate Association. In addition to service on boards and committees with these organizations, Littlefield’s research, development and publication in scholastic journals and instructional workbooks has been extensive. During most of his time in North Dakota, Littlefield was a professor at North Dakota State University and directed the NDSU Speech and Debate Invitational for 25 years.