Saluting the 2020 Class of Irish Hall of Famers
Father Ryan High School is pleased to announce the second class of the Athletic Hall of Fame: 18 athletes, two coaches, five teams and two contributors, whose accomplishments showcase the legacy of this historic school’s successful athletic programs in Nashville and the State of Tennessee.
 
These exceptional athletes and leaders, who represent classes from 1927 to 1999. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, there will be an induction ceremony for this group later this year. 

Go Irish!

Athletes

These individuals have been selected for the 2020 class of the Father Ryan Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition of their performance while at Father Ryan, as well as their service to the community ever since. Athletes selected have been graduated from Father Ryan for 10 or more years. Click on each person's name to learn more about their accomplishments.

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  • Kay Batey '74

    Basketball

    Kat Batey '74 was a standout on the Irish Girls Basketball Team during all four years that she was at Father Ryan. A member of the first class of freshman girls at Father Ryan in 1970, Kay became a starter on the basketball team during his sophomore season. By her senior year, she and her teammates were raising the trophy as Region Champions, beginning a legacy of prowess on the court that continues today.

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  • Elaine (Derrick) Bryan '92

    Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball. 

    A true multi-sport athlete, Elaine (Derrick) Bryan '92 contributed to athletics at Father Ryan year round. An All-Region selectee in Cross Country and Girls Basketball, Elaine led the storied 1992 Girls Basketball Team which went 25-4, and was the first Father Ryan Girls Basketball Team to go undefeated during the regular season. 

    After high school, Elaine competed collegiately for Spring Hill College in basketball and cross country. To this day, she holds the record for most points scored in a Girls Basketball game for Spring Hill with 46.

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  • John L. Burns '44

    Basketball, Football.

    An accomplished athlete on both the football field and the basketball court, John L. Burns '44 took the stance on the line and anchored the Irish football teams of Hall of Fame coach Leo Long. Come winter, he shed the pads and put on the jersey to lead the Irish basketball team against the best in the area.

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  • Carl Crain '75

    Basketball. 

    Standing at 6'11", Carl Crain '75 was a standout on the Father Ryan Boys Basketball Team. The center, who along with John Sneed '74 formed an imposing frontcourt, started two years for Father Ryan and led both teams deep into the playoffs. 

    Carl attended Vanderbilt University after high school, where he played on the Commodores Basketball Team and distinguished himself as a student and friend to all. 

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  • Pete Curley '32

    Basketball, Football. 

    An accomplished athlete every fall on the football field, Pete Curley '32 was a star on the 1930 state championship football team. But it was on the courts where his star really shined.

    In 1931 and 1932 he traveled to Chicago to play in the national Catholic high school tournament, hosted by Loyola of Chicago, and helped the team to a 3rd place finish against the best in the nation.

    He went on to serve the nation in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army.

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  • Tommy Curley '61

    Basketball, Football, Track & Field. 

    A multi-sport athlete, Tommy Curley '61 was a true leader during his time at Father Ryan. Serving as Captain for both the Football and Boys Basketball Team, Tommy also won the 100-yard dash in Track & Field. 

    An excellent student and natural-born leader, Tommy won Most Athletic during his senior year and served on Student Council.

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  • Jim Derrick '62

    Baseball, Basketball, Football. 

    For three years, across three seasons and three sports, Jim Derrick '62 made himself heard. As a sophomore he was part of the 1959 Clinic Bowl-winning Irish; in  his senior year he quarterbacked the team back to that big game, and in the process earned the title of N.I.L. Most Valuable Player  for the 1961 season.

    He was a multi-year starter on the basketball team and a starter on the diamond for the Irish baseball team. It’s no surprise that he was voted the Most Athletic of the Class of 1962.

    Jim returned to school to teach and coach the Irish, serving as Offensive Line Coach for the 1997 State Championship Team and heading the Track and Field program for many years.

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  • Angela (Rohling) Gregory '98

    Basketball, Track & Field, Volleyball. 

    Angela (Rohling) Gregory '98 was busy each season while at Father Ryan, starring for the Volleyball Team in the fall, Girls Basketball in the winter, and Track & Field during the spring.

    During her senior season in Volleyball, Angela was not only the MVP of the team for Father Ryan, she was also the Division II Player of the Year and State Tournament MVP. She also accumulated numerous awards and accolades in Girls Basketball and Track & Field.

    She continued her volleyball in career in college, playing Division I for Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH and leading the Musketeers to the Atlantic 10 Championship in 2001. An athlete for life, she continues to run marathons across the country. She has finished in the top-100 in the Boston and New York City Marathons in her Division and finished 1st in her Division in Nashville's Country Music Marathon.

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  • Frank Halliburton '59

    Basketball, Football, Track & Field. 

    Frank Haliburton '59 embodied what it meant to be an All-American during his Irish years. A fabulous athlete and a true leader, Frank captained the Football and Track & Field Teams in addition to excelling on the Basketball court. In 1958, he finished third in the 880-yard run and the State Decathlon, and was selected to the All-City Football Team. At one time, he held seven of the twelve Father Ryan track records. 

    Frank went on to MTSU and competed in football and track for the Blue Raiders.

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  • J.B. Hatley '37

    Baseball, Basketball, Football. 

    In the 1930s, Father Ryan was known across the national Catholic sports world as the result of its success in the Loyola of Chicago Catholic high school basketball tournament every year. And you can find the name of J.B. Hatley of the Class of 1937 on that tournament’s 1937 trophy. He’s the captain, and he led the Irish to a top-three finish, overcoming the biggest deficit in any game in the tournament.  It’s that kind of performance, that kind of resilience that earned him All-American status.  It also marked J.B. in every sport he played, as he was named All-City in football and was a starter on the Irish baseball team. It was a tough time, but it produced strong people, and J.B. manifested the best of the Irish tradition while at Father Ryan and while serving in the Navy during World War II. 

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  • Billy Hudson '58

    Baseball, Basketball, Football. 

    There was little that Billy Hudson '58 didn't accomplishment during his Father Ryan years. He scored over 1,000 points during his basketball career, Captained the Baseball Team, won the History Medal, and was voted Most Handsome in the 1958 yearbook. 

    An All-District selectee in basketball, Billy also stood out as a receiver in football, and he led the 7-3 Irish to a victory in the JayCee Bowl during his senior year. 

    He was recruited by multiple colleges, and ultimately stayed in state to attend UT-Knoxville. Following college, he enjoyed a long career in the Secret Service. 

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  • Jim Miller '82

    Football. 

    During his freshman year at Father Ryan, Jim Miller '82 won the city wrestling tournament and was voted “Outstanding Wrestler”. In his junior and senior years, he was the starting tailback on the football team and was selected All State Honors both years. During his senior year, he was voted NIL Offensive Player of the Year and broke school records for rushing yards and touchdowns.

    Jim signed a full SEC four year scholarship to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He was a four year letterman starting at fullback his last three years.

    Following college, Jim dedicated his career to teaching and coaching youth sports. After stints with Mount Juliet High School and Hendersonville High School, Jim returned to Father Ryan from 2002-2008 as an Assistant Football Coach, Assistant Wrestling Coach, and Head Freshman Wrestling Coach.

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  • Joe Miller '62

    Football, Track & Field. 

    An athlete, scholar, and leader, Joe Miller '62 played football and track his four years at Father Ryan, co-captaining the football team his senior year and serving as a starter his three varsity years at guard and linebacker.

    His senior year the team won the NIL 3A city championship in the last minute over rival Issac Litton High School, and played state champion, Battle Ground Academy, in the Clinic Bowl. As a sophomore, Joe also played in the Clinic Bowl against Lawrenceburg. He was named to the Banner and Tennessean's All Nashville teams as well.

    In addition, Joe graduated Valedictorian of his Class of 1962, and was elected president of his class all four years.

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  • Tom Morales '72

    Football, Wrestling, Tennis

    Well-known now as an accomplished restaurateur in Nashville, Tom Morales '72 was a member of the outstanding 1971 Football Team that faced off against MBA in a season finale match-up of unbeatens.

    Game after game, quarterbacks from throughout the N.I.L. challenged him in the defensive backfield and 14 different times he took away their best passes, setting a single-season record that stood for more than a dozen years.  

    Tom took to the mat during the winter for the Wrestling Team, and Captained the Tennis Team in the spring. 

    Today, Tom continues to feed Nashville in many ways, and he continues his support of Father Ryan High School by donating food and gift cards from his delicious restaurants.

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  • Kelly (Cockerham) Reilly '93

    Basketball, Volleyball. 

    With the last name of Cockerham, it surprised no one that Kelly (Cockerham) Reilly '93 was a star in the sport of volleyball. After all, her mother Jinx Cockerham, an inductee in last year's Inaugural Father Ryan Athletics Hall of Fame Class, founded and coached the Father Ryan Volleyball Team. 

    In 1992, mother and daughter made history, leading Father Ryan to a State Championship and cementing the Cockerham volleyball legacy. 

    In that memorable 1992 volleyball season – when the Irish played UP into the Triple AAA to prove themselves against the best - Kelly showed she was the best. She was named to the All-State team, earned the MVP title and won numerous all-tournament awards as she capped a four-year career of outstanding play.

    The volleyball captain continued that leadership each winter as she switched jerseys to captain the Lady Irish basketball team, earning All-Region honors as well. That leadership continued as she went on to coach middle school volleyball.

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  • Chris (Dacri) Wantz '88

    Golf. 

    Golfer Chris (Dacri) Wantz '88 has the distinct and deserved honor of being not only part of the first girls team to win a State Championship at Father Ryan, but of also being the first female State Champion at Father Ryan as an individual. 

    In 1987, as a junior, Chris, along with her teammate Stephanie Gentry '87, led the Irish to a State Championship, crushing the competition by an astonishing 27 strokes as a duo 

    In 1988, as a senior, Chris cemented her legacy by winning the individual State Title, rallying from two strokes back on the Tournament's final day to hoist the trophy. 

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  • Tim Wilson '72

    Football, Wrestling. 

    A true champion and leader, Tim was a four-year Student Council member during his Irish years, and the President of his Class of 1972 during his senior year. 

    Along with his teammate and fellow 2020 Father Ryan Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Eric Wood '72, Tim was a key part of the 1971 Clinic Bowl team and led the Irish onto the field for the memorable season-ending match with MBA in front of 24,000 fans at Vanderbilt.

    In his first varsity wrestling match as a sophomore, he faced off against Cumberland High’s dominant senior Leo Pascual and almost won, causing Leo to acknowledge that his own reign at the top was over. Tim won the State Wrestling crown as a junior and joined Eric on the Championship podium then and as a senior, both becoming two-time State Champions.

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  • Eric Kevin Wood '72

    Football, Wrestling. 

    During his junior year, Eric Kevin Wood '72 was the 1970-71 State Wrestling Champ at 155 pounds and helped the Irish claim the 1971 State Championship.  

    But when he came off the football field the next year after the 1971 Clinic Bowl, which capped a sterling 9-1-1 season for the Irish, he was at his imposing playing weight of 240 pounds. 

    During his senior year, Eric decided to wrestle in the 188-pound weight class, and despite going up 33 lbs. from the previous season, Eric still dominated. Showing his heart and his talent, he won his 1972 finals match 9-0, joining teammate Tim Wilson '72 as the first two-time individual State Wrestling champions in Father Ryan history.

    Eric went on to have a successful dental practice in Goodlettsville, TN.

Coaches

These individuals have been selected for the 2020 class of the Father Ryan Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition of their leadership and dedication as coaches. These individuals have molded and influenced hundreds of Father Ryan student-athletes through the years, leading them to greatness on and off the field. Click on each person's name to learn more about their accomplishments.

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  • Bob Garmon '65

    Wrestling Coach

    During his years as a student at Father Ryan, Bob Garmon '65 was a fixture on both the Wrestling and Football Teams, ultimately falling in love with the former. When he returned to Father Ryan as a teacher in 1970, it was a no-brainer that he would join Coach Joe Drennan '57 as an Assistant Coach on the Wrestling Team. 

    When Coach Drennan stepped down in 1973, finding his successor was not difficult. 

    With Coach Garmon at the helm and the wrestling lessons well-learned, the 1973-1974 Irish hoisted the State Championship trophy.
    Coach Garmon got to raise it a second time, this one with the 1976-77 team, further cementing Father Ryan’s leadership in the sport across Tennessee and the region.

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  • John Gorham '54

    Girls Basketball, Cross Country, and Wrestling Coach

    For more than 35 years, John Gorham '54 wore the title of coach for six different sports at Father Ryan, and he excelled at all of them.

    He began by taking over the Girls Basketball program in 1971, and within three years they were District Champs and by 1976 they were N.I.L. champs.

    Cross Country needed a coach, so John took over the Girls program in 1976 and the Boys in 1978 and earned Coach of the Year honors.

    He coached Freshmen Wrestling in the early 1980s and helped with freshmen football as well.

    Since it was clear that he was wearing many a coach’s hat, and figuring that he had some time, and deciding that it might be easier to manage himself, he naturally became Athletic Director in 1981, holding the position for four years and seeing the Irish program win the All-Sports Trophy from the Tennessean several times during this tenure.

Contributors

These individuals have given to Father Ryan Athletics off the field in a variety of facets, and they have made immeasurable contributions which forever shaped the program. Click on each person's name to learn more about their accomplishments.

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  • Murray Lynch '55

    Coach and Administrator.

    From the time he stepped on to the Father Ryan campus in 1951 as a student, Murray Lynch '55 knew he found his home. As a starter, he was a three-year starter on the football, basketball, and baseball teams.

    After graduating college he returned to his favorite place, Father Ryan, and began a more than 40-year career with the Irish.

    He was a teacher and coach at an historic time in the school’s and nation’s history. Part of the first integrated class at Father Ryan himself, he sat alongside Hall of Famer Bill Derrick '48 as the school led the way in integrating sports. He coached football and basketball, taking over the head basketball coaching reins in 1969 and leading the Irish to multiple district and region titles, as well as a State Final Four, in 1974.

    He ultimately became Dean of Students and served as a mentor and a guide to fellow teachers and students for decades to come. 

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  • John Spore '64

    Teacher and Counselor.

    From his earliest days as a student at Father Ryan, John Spore '64 was nicknamed “Doc.”

    Name the sport and Doc Spore was part of it in important ways, not as an athlete, but as a manager, toting the tape and the towels, keeping up with the scorebook, unpacking the uniforms for every Irish team that competed, even managing concessions.

    He was on the field at Vanderbilt for the 1963 Clinic Bowl and in the old gym with Willie Brown and Jesse Porter a week later for the historic first integrated game in the state.

    His purple pride was always on display, so it was destined that he would be part of the Irish landscape always.  He returned to teach and became a guidance counselor, and he stayed close to sports, still a resource for every coach and administrator, still the manager of concessions for every game, and still taking tickets and cheering the Irish season after season and game after game.

    For more than 50 years, Coach Spore has been part of the fabric of Irish life, and his contributions of time, resources, and love have had a lasting impact.

Teams

The following teams have been inducted into the Father Ryan Hall of Fame for their trailblazing and record-setting accomplishments. They are the embodiment of teamwork, sportsmanship, and the Irish spirit. Click on each team name to learn more about their accomplishments. 

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  • 1927 State Champion Basketball Team

    Let’s step into a time machine and listen to a 93-year-old telling of Father Ryan’s first state title, courtesy of The Emerald

    “With nothing but the thought of victory in their minds, five fighting Irishmen and 500 loyal supporters of Nashville Catholic High took their positions in the YMCA gym on Saturday evening, March 20.  They were all there to beat Alpine and take home the laurels of a State Championship. Well, they did.”

    It was Father Ryan’s first state championship team, the 1927 Basketball team, coached by Hall of Famer Leo Long, and starring:

    • Captain Johnnie Lynch
    • Thomas “Tricky” Beehan
    • Walter Gibbons
    • James Guthrie
    • James Kelley
    • Frank J. Sullivan
    • Jimmie O’Connell
    • Charles “Pug” Johnson
    • Thomas Burke
    • McDonald Clunan

    They are all deceased, and many of their accomplishments and good works are not known to the current generations.

    But these teammates, Coach Leo Long, and so much of the Catholic community appreciated the friendships that were forged during these years.

    These families lifted each other up during the Great Depression and World War II  as they watched their own families and our community grow. Their lives were Hall of Fame quality even without their basketball achievements. 

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  • 1974 State Champion Wrestling Team

    By the winter of 1973-74, the Wrestling Room at Father Ryan had a different sound and a different feel.

    After launching the program to state-wide success and claiming two state titles, Coach Joe Drennan '57 stepped aside, but the Irish didn’t have to look far to find his successor, Coach Bob Garmon '65. Nor did the program have to wait long to hoist another trophy.  

    Coach Garmon quickly demonstrated his leadership and his coaching skills and the Irish didn’t miss a beat. Following a dominant march through the regular season, the Irish stormed the State Championship – contested against all comers – and sent nine wrestlers to the State.

    That regular season dominance continued as all nine wrestlers placed, with six making the Finals, earning for them Father Ryan’s third state crown.

    Among those supremely talented wrestlers was one who would develop a special connection to the sport and to the school: Pat Simpson '74, our current Wrestling Head Coach, for whom the Wrestling Room is now named. 

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  • 1997 State Champion Football Team

    The goal was clear. In the first year of the new Division II competition, Father Ryan’s football players were committed to becoming the first State Champion of this new divisional era.

    Twenty-three years had passed since the last football state crown, won by the Hall of Fame 1974 team, and despite coming close and fielding some outstanding teams, the Irish were still looking for that next title. Whether it was that commitment or the experience of the athletes or the coaching and presence of Father Ryan Hall of Famer Kurt Page '81, the Irish went undefeated, crushed Springfield to start the season, beat MBA by one in their regular season game, and topped Baylor in the semis to make the title game.  

    MBA awaited in the match for the Clinic Bowl trophy and the State Championship. Under the lights at Vanderbilt’s Dudley Field on that crisp November night, the Irish took down the Big Red by the score of 10-7 and completed a 12-0 State Championship season.

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  • 1998 State Champion Boys Soccer Team

    There was truly something special about that 1997-1998 athletics year for Father Ryan.

    After the championship season of the football team, Father Ryan Boys Soccer went on a spring rampage that carried them to the title game.  

    Head coach Robin Dieterich '74 and his four returning seniors set the course early and the team responded. Going up against all comers from across the state and led by senior captains Philip Stack and Chad Dixon, the Irish went 17-2-2, with one of the losses coming against a nationally ranked team from out of state.  

    Come playoff time, the team was ready and they topped Notre Dame in the semis and Baylor in the finals to claim the state championship, the third for the program and the first for the Irish Boys Soccer team since 1973.

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  • 1999 State Champion Volleyball Team

    The 1999 Irish Volleyball team’s strength was contagious, and Irish fans cheered them as they excelled at several top level volleyball tournaments and registered the only victory by a Tennessee team over powerhouse Brentwood High.  

    Led by seven dedicated seniors – Lindsay Spence, Alison Zepezaueer, Amanda Murphy, Christina Whitley, Kristen Tessar, Katie Rowan, and Grace Wallace – the girls were clearly ready to claim that second state title.  

    Hall of Fame Coach Jinx Cockerham had them prepped and the year-long push to the top level of the sport had earned them their chance.  In the final four of the state the team topped GPS in two tight games to reach the finals. 

    The match with Briarcrest went the Irish’s way in convincing fashion and Father Ryan had its second State Championship trophy in volleyball. 

The Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Athletes

These individuals have been inducted into the inaugural class of the Father Ryan Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of their performance while at Father Ryan, as well as their service to the community ever since. Athletes inducted have been graduated from Father Ryan for 10 or more years. Click on each person's name to learn more about their accomplishments.

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  • Tommy Bateman '75

    Football, Wrestling
    Inducted: 2019


    Tommy Bateman '75 was a State Champion in Wrestling during his senior season at Father Ryan and the team captain of the 1974 State Championship Football Team. As part of that team, he has also been inducted into the inaugural class of the Father Ryan Athletics Hall of Fame.

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  • Joe "Flip" Bates '56

    Football
    Inducted: 2019


    One of Tennessee's greatest high school football players in the 1950s, the NIL MVP in both 1954 and 1955, Joe "Flip" Bates '56 was also an All-American in 1955. His jersey has been fittingly retired at Father Ryan, and hangs in the rafters in the Catignani-Drennan Fieldhouse.

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  • Thomas "Tricky" Beehan '29

    Basketball
    Inducted: 2019


    One of Father Ryan's first athletic all stars, Thomas "Tricky" Beehan '29 and his teammates won both the city and the state championship in basketball in 1927, and they followed that up in 1928 by winning the city championship. As captain in 1929, Tricky led his team to another city championship.

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  • Willie Brown '65

    Basketball
    Inducted: 2019


    Willie Brown '65 broke the color barrier at Father Ryan in 1963, when he and Jesse Porter joined the basketball team. In 1965, Brown led the squad to a State Championship and went on to become the first African American to sign a grant with the Ohio Valley Conference.

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  • Tony Carletello '89

    Football, Wrestling
    Inducted: 2019


    Tony Carletello '89 was a State Champion during his senior year season, both as an individual and as a member of the 1989 Wrestling Team. On the football field, Tony was a ferocious running back, known for his relentless energy and ability to evade tacklers. At the time of his graduation, he was the leading rusher in school history.

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  • Katie Lee Carter '99

    Basketball, Volleyball
    Inducted: 2019


    A four-year star in both Volleyball and Basketball during the late 1990s, Katie Carter '99 was named the DII Player of the Year and a Miss Basketball Finalist in her senior season, a year in which she led her team to the DII State Final Four.

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  • John "Itch" Curley, Jr. '40

    Basketball, Football, Wrestling
    Inducted: 2019


    A star of the 1940s at Father Ryan and across Nashville, John "Itch" Curley '40 shined on the football field, the basketball court, and the wrestling mat. A true three-sport star, Itch will always be remembered for his relentless work ethic and infectious personality.

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  • Boots Donnelly '61

    Football
    Inducted: 2019


    Few folks have defined Father Ryan Athletics in the school's history more than Boots Donnelly. A true living legend, Boots began his career as an athlete, where in 1960 he was named All-City Quarterback by both The Tennessean and The Nashville Banner. That same year, he was the NIL's Player of the Year.

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  • Bubba Donnelly '69

    Football, Wrestling
    Inducted: 2019


    John "Bubba" Donnelly '69 was a multi-sport athlete during his years at Father Ryan. He starred as a lineman on the football team and was one of the most respected wrestlers in Tennessee, finishing the 1969 season as the number-one ranked wrestler in the state with an undefeated 26-0 record. His performance on the mat helped the 1969 team win the first State Championship in wrestling for Father Ryan.

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  • Peter Ferreira '83

    Swimming
    Inducted: 2019


    The only swimmer in the inaugural Hall of Fame class, Peter Ferreira '83 truly defined the sport during his time at Father Ryan and was the school's first aquatic star. A four-year varsity letterman, Peter was undefeated in Middle Tennessee Region TSSAA Duel Meets from his sophomore year on. A four-time Emory Invitational Champion, Peter received a full scholarship to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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  • Bob Forster '75

    Football
    Inducted: 2019

    A true man of the trenches, Bob Forster '75 was the anchor of an offensive line unit which was the backbone of the 1974 State Championship Football Team. An Eagle Scout and a stellar student, Bob matriculated to Brown University, where he continued to play football. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions of the NFL, and is a member of the Brown University Athletics Hall of Fame.

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  • Willie Geny '32

    Football, Basketball
    Inducted: 2019

    A star for Father Ryan during the tough economic years of the Great Depression, Willie Geny '32 brought joy to a community that, like much of the country at the time, was struggling to make ends meet. Geny entered Vanderbilt in the fall of 1932, where he truly came of age as a gridiron star. He lettered in football for three years from 1933 to 1935 and was captain of the Commodore squad his final year. In 1985, he was inducted in the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.

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  • Lou Graham '56

    Basketball, Golf
    Inducted: 2019


    While Lou Graham '56 needs little introduction in many circles, before he was a professional golfer and won the 1975 U.S. Open, Lou was a dual-sport star at Father Ryan. An excellent golfer for the Irish, it was on the hardwood where young Lou really shined in high school. He holds the distinction of being Father Ryan's first 1,000-point scorer.

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  • Jim Hagey '46

    Baseball, Basketball, Football, Tennis
    Inducted: 2019


    A multi-skilled athlete who competed in football, basketball, tennis and baseball, Jim Hagey '46 was the first T formation quarterback in the state of Tennessee, an innovative position that was still being developed at the time. An all-star third baseman, the city's high scorer in basketball in 1945, and a great tennis player, there was really nothing Jim couldn't do.

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  • Donna Harris '89

    Basketball, Soccer
    Inducted: 2019

    Donna Harris '89 graduated as Father Ryan's all-time leader in points scored in Girls Basketball with 1,810, and this record still holds up today. During her senior season, she was named The Tennessean Player of the Year in basketball and went on to play in college, where she was named the SEC Freshmen of the Year for Vanderbilt.

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  • Kim Caughron Hulse '90

    Basketball, Softball, Volleyball
    Inducted: 2019


    A three-sport star, Kim Caughron Hulse '90 was a four-year varsity player on the Softball Team who was named Player of the Year in 1990, the MVP of the SCA Volleyball Tournament in 1990, and a three-year varsity player in Girls Basketball.

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  • Paula Holloran Kennedy '75

    Basketball, Track
    Inducted: 2019

    A two-sport athlete known for her speed, Paula Holloran Kennedy '75's banner year came in 1973, when she won the Most Outstanding Track Award and was part of the Girls Basketball Team that was 3rd Team All-City and Co-NIL Champions. Named most athletic female in the 1975 annual, it was certainly a fitting superlative. 


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  • Eva Lemeh '79

    Basketball, Softball, Track & Field, and Volleyball
    Inducted: 2019


    As fellow Hall of Fame inductee Coach Jinx Cockerham puts it, Eva Lemeh '79 "may be the best overall female athlete that has come through Father Ryan." A four-sport star, there truly was not a sport that Eva could not play. As a basketball player, she was named to the All NIL team in 1978-79, and that same season, she was named to the All-District and All-Region Volleyball Teams.

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  • Billy Lynch '64

    Baseball, Basketball, Football
    Inducted: 2019


    A three-sport athlete for all four years at Father Ryan, Billy Lynch '64 was a leader on the 1963-64 Boys Basketball Team that was the first integrated squad in Father Ryan history. All-City in baseball, basketball and football, Billy was fittingly named Most Athletic in the 1964 yearbook.

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  • Lindsey Lynch Magness '95

    Basketball, Softball, Volleyball
    Inducted: 2019


    Lindsey Lynch Magness '95 was a three sport star at Father Ryan who won the 1993 State Championship in Volleyball with her teammates. That year, she was named both District and Region MVP. As 1st Team All Metro in softball and District All Team in basketball, Lindsey stayed busy year-round and left a lasting impact at Father Ryan. Her classmates bestowed the superlative of Most Athletic.

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  • Kate Maffei McGuinness '94

    Basketball, Volleyball
    Inducted: 2019


    A four-year star in Girls Basketball and Volleyball, Kate Maffei McGuinness '94 was one of Father Ryan's most well-known student-athletes of the 1990s. A captain in both sports her senior year, she and her teammates, under the guidance of Head Coach Jinx Cockerham, won the State Title in Volleyball in 1992 and were runners-up in 1991 and 1993. Kate was the leader of one of Nashville's true volleyball dynasties.

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  • Jim Mondelli '64

    Baseball, Basketball, Football
    Inducted: 2019


    Alongside his twin brother and fellow 2019 Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Mike Mondelli '64, Jim was a three-sport star who played football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring. As a quarterback, Jim was the leader of the 1963 Football Team which won the Clinic Bowl.  

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  • Mike Mondelli '64

    Baseball, Basketball, Football
    Inducted: 2019


    Alongside his twin brother and fellow 2019 Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Jim Mondelli '64, Mike was a three-sport star who played football in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. A running back on the football team, Mike took many hand-offs from his brother, Jim, who quarterbacked the squad, en route to a Clinic Bowl Championship in 1963. For his play on the football field, Mike was named All-NIL Football. 

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  • Kurt Page '81

    Baseball, Basketball, Football
    Inducted: 2019


    A three-sport star, Kurt Page '81 stayed busy all year long at Father Ryan. It's tough to define his strongest sport, as Kurt shined in all three and was the ultimate team player. A quarterback on the 1980 Football Team which played in a bowl game, Kurt is remembered for how he made his fellow teammates better through smart play and thoughtful motivation.  

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  • Bobby Reese '42

    Basketball, Tennis
    Inducted: 2019


    An early star in Father Ryan's illustrious history, the late Bobby Reese '42 was a two-sport star who graduated Father Ryan as the scoring leader in basketball. He went on to play both basketball and tennis at Vanderbilt, yet his most heroic achievements came away from athletics, when Bobby served our country in World War II. Coaching legend Leo Long said to The Moina that there was no better athlete to coach than Bobby Reese.  

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  • Bernie Rohling '40

    Football
    Inducted: 2019


    A football star who shined at Father Ryan during the Great Depression, the late Bernie Rohling '40 was an All-City fullback and the NIL MVP during his high school glory days. Like many of his classmates, Bernie went on to heroically serve our nation in World War II in the early 1940s. 

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  • Karen Harris Russell '74

    Basketball
    Inducted: 2019


    A defining Girls Basketball star of the 1970s, Karen Harris Russell '74 came to Father Ryan not long after the school became co-ed and cemented her name in the record books. An All-City star, Karen was Father Ryan's first female 1,000-point scorer.  

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  • Brooke Siebel '97

    Softball
    Inducted: 2019


    A four-year starter on the softball diamond, Brooke Siebel '97 was one of the best players in Tennessee during her four years at Father Ryan. Named All-State and All-American, Brooke was voted the top player in the State of Tennessee by the TSWA and was named MVP of the team all four years she played. A pitcher, Brooke graduated Father Ryan with 1,606 career strikeouts. 

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  • Joe Stamps '78

    Baseball, Basketball, Football
    Inducted: 2019


    A four-year letterman in baseball, basketball and football, Joe Stamps '78 was recognized and honored in each sport. Both a fullback and a quarterback in football, Joe was named All-NIL, All-Region and The Tennessean Player of the Year in 1977. In basketball, he was named 3rd-Team All-NIL, and in baseball, he was named All-NIL. He matriculated to Vanderbilt University, where he continued playing baseball at the collegiate level.  

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  • Joe Sullivan '50

    Basketball, Football
    Inducted: 2019


    While some undoubtedly remember Joe Sullivan '50 as a great two-sport athlete and an All-American football player who received a scholarship to Notre Dame, many more remember him as a great man and a pillar of Nashville's Catholic community. After his illustrious athletic career, Joe went on to coach football for 13 years at Holy Rosary, in addition to being a member of multiple boards, parish councils and the Knights of Columbus. 

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  • David Thoni '83

    Wrestling
    Inducted: 2019


    Wrestling remains Father Ryan's most storied sport in history, and David Thoni '83 is a big reason why. During his four years at Father Ryan, David absolutely dominated on the mat. He was the first four-time medalist in the State Tournament in Father Ryan history, and in 1983 he became State Champion, the first under Coach Pat Simpson '74. He went on to wrestle at the University of Tennessee, where he was awarded a scholarship. 

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  • Yogi Walsh '67

    Wrestling
    Inducted: 2019


    The legacy of wrestling at Father Ryan begins with Thomas "Yogi" Walsh '67, who made history in 1967 when he became the first Father Ryan TSSAA Individual Wrestling Champion. A four-year star on the mat, Yogi was the MVP of the Father Ryan Wrestling Team his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. Dozens of Irish wrestlers have followed in his footsteps, cementing Father Ryan as one of the nation's best wrestling programs. 

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  • Chris Wilson '78

    Football, Track & Field, Wrestling
    Inducted: 2019


    A phenomenal all-around athlete, Chris Wilson '78 probably could have starred in every sport that Father Ryan offered if given the time. A three-year starter on the Football and Wrestling teams and a captain his senior year, Chris was a two-time State Wrestling Champion and enjoyed undefeated seasons during his freshman and senior campaigns. His senior year, he was named Wrestler of the Year by The Tennessean. In addition, Chris was a tremendous shot put and discus thrower for the Track & Field Team during his four years at Father Ryan. 

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  • Mike Wright '75

    Baseball, Basketball, Football
    Inducted: 2019


    A three-sport star of the 1970s, Mike Wright '75 is cemented in Father Ryan's history books as the quarterback of the 1974 Football Team, which was Father Ryan's 1st TSSAA State Title. All-State in football and basketball, Mike was truly a multi-sport phenom who would continue his athletic career well beyond high school. He attended Vanderbilt University, where he played both football and baseball for the Commodores, and following college, he played briefly for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL.  

Coaches

These individuals have been inducted into the inaugural class of the Father Ryan Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition of their leadership and dedication as coaches. These individuals have molded and influenced hundreds of Father Ryan student-athletes through the years, leading them to greatness on and off the field. Click on each person's name to learn more about their accomplishments.

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  • Louis Catignani '44

    Football (1955-1973)
    Inducted: 2019

    Louis Catignani '44 was well-known as a multi-sport coach at Father Ryan during a tenure that spanned three decades. While most remembered for his time coaching football from 1955-1979, Coach Catignani also headed up Track and Field from 1955-1963 and Boys Basketball from 1956-1959.

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  • Jinx Cockerham

    Volleyball (1976-2015)
    Girls Basketball (1981-2004)
    Inducted: 2019

    Jinx Cockerham was the Head Volleyball Coach for 36 years and won five State Volleyball Titles at Father Ryan. She established the Irish as a Volleyball powerhouse, a legacy which exists to this day.

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  • Bill Derrick '48

    Baseball, Basketball, Football (1955-1983)
    Inducted: 2019

    Over a 27 year career – from 1955 to 1983 – Bill Derrick '48, blew the whistle, instructing athletes as head baseball coach, head football coach and head basketball coach over nearly three decades. A teacher on the court and in the classroom, he took advantage of the cozy confines of the old gym to spring his full court press to stifle virtually every team that traveled to Elliston Place. But his most valuable teaching moment came in 1963 when he announced “Open Tryouts” and selected Jesse Porter '64 and Willie Brown '65 for the team…the first two African-Americans to integrate sports in Nashville and this region. His courage as well as his coaching during this pivotal period changed our city and all its citizens.

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  • Boots Donnelly '61

    Baseball (1966-1973)
    Football (1974-1975)

    Inducted: 2019

    Inducted also as an athlete, Coach Boots Donnelly '61's legacy at Father Ryan is equally cemented as a coach. The longtime baseball coach inherited the whistle for the football team from Coach Catignani and proceeded to post a two-year record of 22-2. The highlight of this envious record? Claiming the State Class Triple A title in 1974 with his 13-0 team, one celebrated as one of the best ever in Tennessee.

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  • Joe Drennan '57

    Wrestling (1964-1972)
    Inducted: 2019

    Taking over the Father Ryan Wrestling program at only 25 years old, Coach Joe Drennan '57 quickly went from learning the sport to leading a team that would dominate it. He  established wrestling at Father Ryan and had his first State Champion in 1967, his second in 1968 and his first State Team Championship in 1969…the unbeaten team that showed the wrestling world that Nashville knew the sport.

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  • Leo Long

    Baseball (1926-1952)
    Basketball (1925-1952)
    Football (1925-1951)
    Inducted: 2019

    When Nashville Catholic School for Boys opened in 1925 it had three sports, football, basketball and baseball and one coach. From season to season, from field to court to diamond, Coach Leo Long led the Irish and the Panthers against the best in the region, and the Irish proved their mettle. He led the Irish to State Titles in basketball in 1927 and 1931 and a football State Championship in 1930. When golf was added as a sport, that became one of Coach Long’s teams too.  For the first quarter century of this school’s existence, Coach Leo Long was the constant at Father Ryan…in the chapel for daily Mass and on the field for daily athletic practice. There are a few names still spoken with deep respect in Tennessee athletic history. Coach Long is one of them.

Contributors

These individuals have given to Father Ryan Athletics off the field in a variety of facets, and they have made immeasurable contributions which forever shaped the program. Click on each person's name to learn more about their accomplishments.

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  • Jim Carell '54

    Inducted: 2019

    In the latter stages of a successful business career, Mr. Jim Carell '54 visited Father Ryan's Norwood campus for the first time. Touring campus, he was struck by the warmth, attention and politeness of the students…none of whom knew him. They opened doors, spoke respectfully to him and demonstrated the Father Ryan promise that you are known and loved.  Inspired by this response, he returned to campus with a commitment to make a gift to seed the construction of Father Ryan’s first on-campus athletic complex. This spurred the needed response, and in 2009 the Jim Carell Alumni Athletic Complex was dedicated. The Jim Carell Fitness Center followed in 2012, and today they both serve as beacons for Ryan Nation and the entire Nashville community.  

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  • Father Charley Giacosa

    Inducted: 2019

    While not a graduate of Father Ryan, Father Charley Giacosa loved this place. An alumnus of Christian Brothers High School, Father Giacosa taught here in the 1960s and early 1970s and left an impression on so many students. Later as the founder of Cursillo in the diocese, he introduced a program that continues to have an impact on couples throughout the area.  And as an associate pastor of St. Henry Church, he promoted our faith and the power of Catholic education to change lives. So when Mr. Carell announced his gift for the Athletic Complex, it was Father Giacosa who answered with generosity, making Giacosa Stadium a reality.

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  • Msgr. James Hitchcock '39

    Inducted: 2019

    Named to the post in 1957 to succeed the memorable Father Francis Shea, Father James R. Hitchcock (later Monsignor) led a school whose students had distinguished themselves academically, had answered the call to serve in World War II in record numbers, and had led the path of social justice when in 1954 Father Ryan – along with Cathedral, its first home – integrated its classrooms, the first in the South to do so. But in the early 1960s, these Father Ryan students weren’t fully integrated into the school, a situation that gnawed at this intellectual, French-speaking, and caring priest. Working with Coach Bill Derrick, he led the call for integrating athletics in Tennessee, and made this monumental change happen. For his leadership in athletics and more importantly for his leadership in civil rights, we are proud to induct Monsignor James R. Hitchcock into the Athletics Hall of Fame.

Teams

The following teams have been inducted into the Father Ryan Hall of Fame for their trailblazing and record-setting accomplishments. They are the embodiment of teamwork, sportsmanship, and the Irish spirit. Click on each team name to learn more about their accomplishments. 

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  • 1963-1964 Boys Basketball

    Head Coach: Bill Derrick '48

    With the sweet touch of Willie Brown, the playmaking and scoring of the Mondelli twins, the inside play and rebounding of Billy Lynch, the shooting talent and presence of Jesse Porter, and the tenacity of a smothering press, this team shined. A winner in the Christmas March of Dimes tournament at Vanderbilt, a District champ, they were a basket or two away from beating eventual state champ Donelson in the Regions. Yes, an outstanding team on the court…but a better looking team in the team picture…because that team picture included Willie and Jesse, the players who integrated sports in Nashville. The talent and the togetherness of these players and coaches changed the minds of so many in our community and etched their record in our history forever.

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  • 1969 Wrestling

    Head Coach: Joe Drennan '57

    This is the squad that truly started it all. Coached by young Joe Drennan '57, the 1969 Wrestling Team established Father Ryan as a powerhouse in the sport. In the state tournament, the depth of the Irish team – 11 of 12 qualified –ensured a championship that was settled before the finals even began, one that saw Bubba Donnelly and Scott Brunette claim individual crowns. They claimed the State Title, and now 50 years later, Father Ryan has 25 State Titles to their name in Wrestling. 

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  • 1974 Football

    Head Coach: Boots Donnelly '61

    Winners of the 1974 State Title, the 1974 Football Team entered the Class Triple A playoffs unbeaten and facing equally powerful Maplewood in a game at Vanderbilt. It took overtime and the daring and determined run of Mike Wright on a 2-point conversion to claim the memorable 28-26 win. A 21-0 victory over Dyersburg set up the championship game, where the Irish topped Knoxville Fulton 29-28 with the Irish secondary delivering the key tackle on the possible game-winning 2-point try. Each of the boys who raised that trophy, and of course Coach Donnelly, were stars. 

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  • 1988 Wrestling

    Head Coach: Pat Simpson '74

    Wrestling introduced a new idea in the late 1980s. In addition to a competition to determine the best wrestlers in each weight class, the TSSAA unveiled a Duals championship, pitting team against team in a traditional match format, to showcase the best wrestling top to bottom in the state. And no surprise, the first Duals championship was claimed by the school that had made its mark on Tennessee wrestling for the previous 25 years - Father Ryan. 

    That 1988 group, coached by National Wrestling Hall of Fame coach Pat Simpson of the Class of 1974, was led by newly inducted Hall of Famer Tony Carletello and John Michael Garrett and a roster of talented wrestlers who topped Cleveland High in the semifinals and then edged out McCallie for the State Title. 

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  • 1992 Volleyball

    Head Coach: Jinx Cockerham

    The sport of volleyball was in its 17th season at Father Ryan, one of the inaugural volleyball schools in Tennessee when the sport was added to the TSSAA in 1976. The Lady Irish had been knocking on the door for many a season, without yet raising that
    trophy. But the fall of 1992 was different. Coach Cockerham and Assistant Coach Kathy Reece had the team focused, and six seniors provided the leadership that carried the Irish into the State as the favorite. The girls did not disappoint. After an opening round that saw them drop just one game against three opponents, they ensured that Halloween 1992 would be nothing but treats for the Irish faithful, as they beat Germantown and Brentwood in straight games to raise the first of five championship banners.

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  • 1995 Softball

    Head Coach: Pat Simpson '74

    The 1995 Softball Team claimed the first State Title in the sport for Father Ryan. 
    Led by Coach Pat Simpson – who showed that his coaching style translated well to girls sports – a powerful line-up of hitters, and the pitching arm of All-State hurler Brooke Siebel the Irish went 4 and 0 in the tournament. Brooke was dominating on the mound and the Irish bats feasted as the team topped Collierville 9-2 and then Knoxville Halls, William Blount and Ooltewah by the scores of 4-0, 5-0 and 5-0 to claim the crown.

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  • 1998 Girls Soccer

    Head Coach: Robin Dieterich '73

    Soccer has become one of the showcase sports at Father Ryan, and thanks to the achievements of our teams since the first championship in 1972, Father Ryan holds a special place in the state’s soccer world. That place was solidified in 1998 when the girls team decided that it was time for them to raise a State Championship Soccer banner and show the state the beauty of the girls game.

    A superb regular season led to a Final Four appearance in the state. The 2-1 semifinal win over St. Mary’s out of Memphis set the Lady Irish up for a match with GPS, and 80 minutes later they held the trophy after topping the Chattanoogans by a 1-0 score.

    Coach Robin Dieterich of the Class of 1973 drew on the leadership of five seniors and the talent and depth of his team to see a girls state champion, the first of what is now four state titles.

There are more Hall of Famers to be Honored. Nominate someone for the 2021 Class Today!

Nomination Criteria

Nominations are being accepted on a rolling basis for consideration in future Hall of Fame classes.  If you have already nominated someone who has not been selected yet, that nomination will remain active.  You do not need to resubmit a new nomination

You may nominate someone for induction into the Father Ryan Athletics Hall of Fame using the form below.  Nominees can be alumni, teams, coaches or contributors who have been involved with Father Ryan Athletics. Each nominee must meet the following criteria and eligibility requirements:

  • The nominee's contribution and dedication to Father Ryan can be clearly defined.
  • The nominee is an upstanding member of their community. (Service/charity/professional accomplishments will be weighed, but are not mandated for induction.)
  • A former student-athlete or team is eligible 10 years after their Father Ryan graduation.
  • A coach is eligible two years after he/she retires or leaves Father Ryan.
  • A contributor, defined as any individual who does not fit into one of the aforementioned categories but has made outstanding contributions to Father Ryan Athletics and has helped bring excellence and distinction to the Father Ryan Athletic Department.
The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will review and weigh the merits of each nomination and begin the process of selecting our newest class, to be inducted August of 2020.

Athletic Hall of Fame Nomination Form

Nominations are being received now for consideration in the Class of 2020 and beyond. We invite everyone in
Ryan Nation to submit your nominees.
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(e.g. 1979-1989)
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