Hall of Fame Honorees
Read more below about each of Keller ISD's Athletics Hall of Fame honorees:
2019: Greg Porter
2018: Kearci Jobe Smith
2017: Sylvia Ortiz
2016: Bob Apetz
2015: 2005 Keller HS Softball Team
2014: David Park
2013: 2003 Keller HS Softball Team
2012: Ralph Ferguson
2011: Kathy Patke
2010: John Price
2009: Herbert E. Barritt
2008: 1957 KHS Football Team
2007: Phyllis Scott
2006: Bill Kidd
2005: Orrie Lee Harris
2003: James P. Benson
2001: A.K. Thetford
2000: Paul J. Allen
1999: Charles "Bubba" Thornton
Greg Porter (2019)
Porter was a standout in several sports throughout his time at Keller High School and would go on to have a successful collegiate career in both football and baseball at Texas A&M University, before gaining professional experience in both sports.
Porter was an All-State and All-District wide receiver/tight end for the 1997 KHS football team and represented the school in both the Oil Bowl and Texas High School All-Star Game. He also excelled on the basketball court and the baseball diamond as well. He twice earned All-District recognition on the hardwood, making the All-Area Team his senior year while being named Defensive Player of the Year and being nominated as a McDonald’s All-American. He also collected two All-District honors as shortstop for the Keller High Baseball team, making All-State his senior season. After his senior season in 1998, Porter was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the third round of the Major League Baseball Draft.
In 1998, Porter was named Dallas Morning News Athlete of the Year and earned as NESPY Award as the Northeast Sports Performer of the Year. Choosing to forego an early entry into professional baseball, Porter accepted a football scholarship to Texas A&M University, where he played mostly tight end and wide receiver over three seasons of action from 2000-02. As a team captain his senior year, his 600-plus-yard, four-touchdown season earned him All-Big 12 Conference honors and Team Offensive MVP. While he was there, he received the opportunity to go to the Sugar Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Independence Bowl, and Houston Bowl with the Aggies. He signed a dual-sport contract with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2003, but eventually focused on his baseball career.
Porter played baseball for Texas A&M, competing in the 1999 College World Series for the Aggies, and earning the Wally Moon Award as the team’s most improved player. He was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in 2001, beginning an 11-year professional baseball career. The outfielder spent seven years in the Angels’ farm system, playing his way to Triple-A’s Pacific Coast league. He spent time in AAA with the Yankees and Nationals organizations before finishing his career playing in Puerto Rico and Japan. In his playing career, Porter played in both the Rookie League and AA All-Star games, was named Top Prospect by Bowman & Topps (2007), earned Player of the Year honors in the American Association and Independent League, and was part of three league championship teams.
Kearci Jobe Smith (2018)
A star in both Track and Field and Basketball, Kearci Jobe Smith, was among the first students to walk the halls of Central High School when it opened its doors in 2003. Smith won the 2006 Class 4A State Championship in the 800-meter run, an event in which she represented the Chargers at the State Track and Field Meet three years in a row, earning the silver medal in 2005 and 2007. She also qualified for State in the High Jump in 2005, was a member of the CHS Cross Country team that advanced to the 4A State Championship in 2004, and helped the Chargers Girls Basketball team advance to the postseason in 2005 and 2006. She earned Academic All-District all four years she competed in Keller ISD.
Smith competed in Track and Field for Texas Tech University from 2007-2011, excelling in the 800-meter run. She placed ninth at the Big 12 Indoor and Outdoor Championships, and during the 2010-11 season was a member of the first-place Red Raiders’ Distance Medley Relay at the Texas Relays, where she also took second with Texas Tech’s 4-by-800-meter Relay. She earned Academic All-Big 12 honors all four years she competed in Lubbock while also participating in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and helping to organize the Track and Field team’s weekly Bible study.
After college, Smith began working as an Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab where she helps rehabilitate patients after heart events or dealing with chronic lung disease. In addition to her full-time job, she competed in triathlons on an amateur level, eventually becoming a professional triathlete in 2018.
Sylvia Ortiz (2017)
Former Keller High School Volleyball Head Coach Sylvia Ortiz coached KHS Volleyball from 2000-2015, winning 317 games over her 15 seasons, for an average of over 21 wins a year. She transformed Keller Volleyball into a perennial playoff contender, setting a precedent from the start of her tenure. In her first year at Keller High, Ortiz led the Indians to a District Championship as they went a perfect 14-0 in district play. She was four-time District Coach of the Year – 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2008. In her 38 years of coaching, she won 586 games overall.
Ortiz not only impacted the lives of her athletes in a positive way on the court, but she served as a role model as well, demonstrating that as long as you cared for the athlete and had their best interest at heart, everything else would fall into place.
Prior to coming to Keller, Ortiz was the Head Volleyball Coach at Conroe High School from 1995-2000 where she won 101 games and was District Coach of the Year in 1998. She spent her first 18 years in education at Spring Woods High School where she not only earned Area Coach of the Year Honors in 1987, but was also the Teacher of the Year in 1989. She won 168 games in her time at Spring Woods, with her 1987 team finishing as State Runner-Up. In 2010, Spring Woods High inducted her into its Hall of Honor.
As an athlete herself, Ortiz was a Varsity Letterman at the University of Houston in both volleyball and badminton. There she played on a team that finished in fifth-place at the NAIA National Volleyball Championship in 1976, and in 1977 finished second at the National Badminton Singles Championships and fourth in Doubles.
Bob Apetz (2016)
Robert (Bob) Apetz has lived in the Keller ISD community since 1994, and throughout that time has been involved with the District in many capacities.
Since 2010, Apetz has served on the Keller ISD Athletic Association Board of Directors. He was also on the Keller ISD Board of Trustees from 2000-09, serving as an officer for several years including Board President from 2007-09. In addition to these appointments, Apetz has spent much of his time serving on District committees ranging from strategic planning to human resources to bond oversight.
He was a founding member of the Fossil Ridge High School Booster Club in 1995 and served as president from 1997-1999 where he implemented scholarships for senior athletes and managed concession stands during sporting events.
Apetz’s two children graduated from Fossil Ridge High School.
Prior to moving to Texas, Apetz spent 21 years officiating high school and small college football and basketball in Nebraska. He also volunteered as a coach for a youth football league. As a high school student in Nebraska, Apetz was a three-sport athlete – football, basketball, and track and field – and a member of a state champion 880 relay team.
He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Snowball Express, the largest non-profit charity serving children of military heroes who have died while on active duty since September 11, 2001. Apetz has volunteered with the organization since 2009. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Texas Longhorns Soccer Club in Dallas from 2004-2009.
2005 KHS Softball Team (2015)
The 2005 Keller High School Indians Softball team earned the National Fastpitch Coaches Association/USA Today National Championship after winning the Class 5A University Interscholastic League State Championship and posting a record of 35-2 on the season.
KHS was a perfect 14-0 in District 5-5A and did not lose in the postseason, giving up only a single run. The Indians met Garland in the State Championship Game and defeated the Owls 4-0 after 15 innings.
The 2005 Indians featured nine players that made All-District 5-5A lists including Defensive Player of the Year Aly Presswood, Newcomer of the Year Amber Tramp, and District MVP Kirsten Shortridge. Presswood and Shortridge also made All-State and Shortridge was named the Gatorade Texas Softball Player of the Year.
David Park (2014)
Coach David Park brought tremendous success to Keller High School’s cross country and track and field programs in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and has gone on to become one of the state’s most decorated high school coaches in those respective sports.
Park coached in Keller ISD for 21 years, the last 14 of those spent as Head Coach of the Keller High cross-country and track and field teams. In 2004, he moved to Decatur High School where his cross country teams would collect six regional championships and four state championships over the span of a decade.
In the first 30 years of his coaching career, Park’s teams have amassed 32 district championships – 14 at Keller High School – between cross country and track and field, with 33 cross-country teams qualifying for regionals and 15 of those qualifying for state. In addition to the four team state champions, Park’s teams have finished on the medal stand at the state competition (finishing in the Top 3) on nine occasions and he coached an individual cross-country state champion in 2013.
Park has earned Class 3A Cross-Country Coach of the Year honors in three different seasons (2005, 2008, 2012) from the Cross Country Coaches Association of Texas (CCCAT). In 2008, the Texas Girls Coaches Association (TGCA) named him its Class A, 2A, and 3A Cross Country Coach of the Year, and in 2013, the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) named him Cross Country Coach of the Year for the five-state Southwest Region in addition to naming him the Cross Country Coach of the Year in Texas.
Not only has Park contributed to Keller ISD’s athletics reputation as a coach, but he is also a graduate of the Keller High School class of 1979 and competed in football and track and field all four of his high school years.
2003 KHS Softball Team (2013)
The 2003 KHS Softball team was the first Keller ISD team to win a state championship in a team sport. Compiling a record of 35-5-1 and a perfect 14-0 record in district play, the team defeated Bryan High School 6-1 in the Class 5A State Championship Game. The team ended the season No. 3 in the nation according to the USA Today/NFCA Polls.
Led by 2003 State Tournament MVP, pitcher Christina Gwyn, the Indians defeated their playoff opponents by a combined score of 22-7. Gwyn finished the year with a 32-4 record, throwing four perfect games and eight no-hitters. At the plate, the Indians were led by Chelsi Lake who finished the season with a .452 batting average.
The Indians accomplished all of this under first-year Head Coach Moe Fritz, who would go on to win another state title at Keller High in 2005 and play in another championship game in 2006. Fritz and her coaching staff were named the 2003 National Coaching Staff of the Year for their accomplishments.
Ralph Elmer Ferguson (2012)
As a dedicated teacher and coach, Ralph Ferguson spent his career providing exceptional opportunities to thousands of student athletes. Ralph’s athletic successes began in the late 60s while attending Del Valle High School. He was a decorated multi-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. Later, he attended St. Edwards University where he was a four-year letterman and an All-Conference baseball player.
Coach Ferguson’s head baseball coaching record is an outstanding 464-187. Ralph coached the Keller Indians from 1979-1995, and during that time, his squads made regular appearances in the state playoffs, highlighted by his teams in the late 80s and early 90s. The Indians won three consecutive District Championship, culminating in a berth in the 1991 State Tournament, coupled with a No. 2 national ranking in USA Today.
In 1995, Coach Ferguson accepted a new challenge at LaGrange High School. He was named Head Baseball Coach in 2000 and led them to two State Championships in 2001 and 2004. Ralph was also chosen to coach the 2003 Texas High School All-Star Game and was later named the National Federation of High Schools 2004 Coach of the Year in baseball for the state of Texas. Also during his tenure at LaGrange, he was an assistant football coach during which time their teams were State Semifinalists in 1997, State Runner-Up in 2001, and State Champions in 2000.
Coach Ferguson states that his greatest reward from coaching was “working with young individuals and seeing them grow and mature. I had the pleasure of coaching some awesome kids with supportive parents.”
Ralph and his wife Cathy have been married for 38 years and together, the two enjoy being the “fun” aunt and uncle to their 16 nieces and nephews.
Kathy Patke (2011)
Kathy Patke established the foundation of the Fossil Ridge High School softball program. She was the school’s first softball coach and led the Panthers to some of their greatest athletic achievements. Coach Patke’s Fossil Ridge teams made four playoff appearances, including two district championships. Her 1998 team advanced to the Class 4A State Championship Game, while the 1999 and 2000 teams were both Class 4A Region II Finalists.
Patke coached at FRHS for seven years before taking over at Richland High School where her teams qualified for the playoffs five of her seven seasons there. Coach Patke joined Keller ISD in 1991 as a coach and teacher at Fossil Hill Middle School, and remained there until earning the head coaching job at Fossil Ridge High. Prior to that, she spent 12 years in Fort Worth ISD.
Coach Patke is a native of Bryan, Texas, a 1979 graduate of Texas A&M University, and earned a Master’s Graduate from Texas Women’s University in 1989. She was named District Coach of the Year four times – 1998, 1999, 2003, and 2006 – and was named Star-Telegram Northeast Performers, Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000. Coach Patke’s softball teams had an overall record of 228 wins and 112 losses.
John Price (2010)
John Richard Price was an institution at Keller Middle School for 27 years, splitting his love between teaching Texas History and coordinating the campus’s athletic program. Joining what was then Keller Junior High in the fall of 1974, Price coached the Comanchees’ football, basketball, cross country, and track teams, leaving an impression on nearly every student who passed through the schools’ halls, whether they were an athlete or not.
Coach Price realized that the task of educating and leading students was not his alone, and, as such, was devoted to providing opportunities for his fellow coaches and assistants to be int eh best position to assist student-athletes. Coach Price inspired a long list of future coaches and teachers during his time in Keller and impacted an innumerable amount of Keller Middle students’ lives by his care, consideration, and enthusiasm.
John Price exemplifies the spirit of the Keller ISD Athletic Hall of Fame. His commitment not only to on-the-field success, but to developing complete student-athletes inspired several generations of Keller students.
Never wanting to stray too far from the classroom, Coach Price continued to be a part of the Keller ISD community after he officially retired, attending local sporting events while also making the occasional guest teaching visit to KMS Texas History classrooms.
Herb Barritt (2009)
Herb Barritt graduated from KHS in 1960 and went on to attend Baylor University on a basketball scholarship. He was named Team MVP his sophomore year and received Second-Team All-Southwest Conference Honors in multiple seasons.
While attending KHS, Barritt was a member of the 1957 Indians Football team, which went 11-1. During his time at Keller, the Indians rose to the occasion by winning a district championship in every boys sport – football, basketball, track, baseball, tennis, and golf. During his junior and senior seasons, Barritt was an All-District defensive back, snagging 20 interceptions in his career. He also spent his senior season at quarterback, and both seasons helped the Indians to playoff appearances.
Barritt shined brightest on the hardwood, however, nabbing First-Team All-State honors in both his junior and senior years. After averaging 18 points a game as a sophomore, Barritt averaged 23 points his junior season, and an outstanding 28 points per game as a senior. He also represented Keller in the Texas High School Annual All-Star Game, playing for the North squad in 1960.
After graduating from Baylor in 1964, Barritt returned to Keller where he served as Head Basketball Coach, Head Baseball Coach, and Assistant Football Coach of the then Class 2A Indians. Barritt’s Keller High Baseball teams won District each year he coached there, also advancing to one Regional Championship.
Barritt then coached for two years at Klein High School before going into educational administration for Klein ISD where he stayed for 27 years, culminating in a nine-year stint as Assistant Superintendent.
1957 Keller High Football Team
The 1957 Keller High School Football team exemplified all of the traits sought for Keller ISD Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees – exceptional work ethic, education, purposeful commitment, and exemplary character in the most challenging of circumstances. This group of 54 players, coaches, and managers were known for their tenacious fight and determination. They were not the biggest or the strongest, but they proved that by playing together as a team and believing in one another, any goal could be accomplished.
The team finished the 1957 season with an 11-1 record by defeating Hubbard High School in the Regional Finals, 46-0. The team outscored its opponents by an incredible margin of 373-19 on the season. The heart and courage displayed by this team is indeed the definition of exceptional quality.
Members of the 1957 Keller High Football Team included: Arthur Raines, Donald Morris, Jimmy Reynolds, Bruce Braddock, Donald Blevins, Bill Golliher, Robert Lee, James Marcum, Wilson Pipkin, Freddie McDonald, Wayne Foreman, George Pullilam, Aubrey Anderson, Coach Paul Allen, Melvin Wilshire, Jimmy Reese, Billy Crawford, Pat Simpson, Ronnie White, James McPherson, Bill Bently, Jerry Steward, Charles Willard, Dale Yates, Wallace Beck, Jacie Hudson, Bobby Taylor, Coach A.K. Thetford, Mike Lobb, Phillip Morris, Tim Hightower, Garry White, Donald Furr, Herbert Barritt, Pat Dunnam, Jerry Hickman, Larry Dunlap, Jim Lemaster, Jimmy Kirk, Larry Arnold, Jesse Forgy, John McMillen, Victory Maly, Donald McGowan, Jacie Drake, Tommy Russell, Pete Pipkin, Richard Britton, Paul Harvel, Lewis White, Billy Beavers, Tommy Tidwell, Ronnie Helton, and Jimmy Davis.
Phyllis Scott (2007)
To know Phyllis Scott is to know a true “people person.” As a coach and educator for more than 20 years, she has motivated and inspired countless students, players, coworkers, and family members. Her passion for building relationships is the basis of her success.
Scott’s love is unconditional and she has an ability to motivate the unsure and teach the unteachable. She has always felt it is her moral responsibility to serve students and provide an excellent foundation for their lives. Strong Christian values guide Scott every day where she exemplifies the qualities of a loyal friend, teacher, coach, and now administrator.
Scott served Keller ISD as a teacher and coach for 15 years at both the middle and high school levels. She is probably most well known for her role with the Keller High School Softball team.
As Keller’s first softball coach, she set a standard of excellence that is virtually unmatched in the state. She led the team to the playoffs six of her seven years, including three State Tournament appearances. Recognized as one of the most successful coaches in the area, Scott has been honored with numerous awards over her career.
Born and raised in Memphis, Scott earned a bachelor’s degree from Blue Mountain College and a master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University.
Bill Kidd (2006)
For nearly 50 years, Bill Kidd dedicated his life to educating and encouraging countless young men and women to reach seemingly unattainable heights, all the while serving as a mode for them to follow.
In a career that spanned six decades, Kidd coached in the DFW Metroplex from 1957-70. In 1975, he came to Keller as the high school principal, and stayed to serve in many roles including Assistant Superintendent and Athletic Director, a post he held from 1991-97. During that time, he took great pride in helping develop Keller’s growing athletic programs into some of the best in the state. Under his leadership, decisions regarding athletics were made with the needs of students in mind.
One of the many highlights in his tenure as Athletic Director is the development of the girls softball program. Since its inception, District teams have competed in the state final four a total of eight times, including four State Championships and one National Championship.
A native of the Metroplex, Mr. Kidd attended Dallas Sunset High School and earned degrees from Northwestern State University (La.) and North Texas State University. Mr. Kidd spent a significant part of his life doing great things for others and always giving credit to those efforts of his family and friends. He cited his wife Annette as being the most important influence in his life. Together they had one daughter, three sons, and seven grandchildren.
Orrie Lee Harris (2005)
For 17 years, Coach Orrie Lee Harris was an institution at Keller High School, be it on the hardwood, the links, or the football field.
In 1955, Coach Harris joined the school as its basketball coach and led the Indians for 10 years, winning District twice and advancing to the Regional Tournament once. Memories of many exciting games in the “Old Rock Gym” still ring clear in the minds of many.
His work as golf coach also solidified his place in Keller athletics history. He founded the Indian Golf Team in 1957 and coached it for 15 years. During that time, the Indians dominated district play, even though there wasn’t a golf course within 20 miles of the school. Mr. Harris led the Indians to five second-place finishes in the Regional Tourney, as well as an individual State Championship in 1959.
In 1972, Mr. Harris left Keller ISD to accept a coaching job in Chico. He eventually retired from teaching and coaching in 1983 after a nine-year stint in Bridgeport, ending a 28-year coaching career with more than 200 wins as a basketball coach.
Mr. Harris forged many lasting relationships with students, teachers, and fellow coaches during his career, instilling in others a great work ethic and a desire to help others. These are life lessons gleaned from the wisdom of his grandmother, Alberta Harris, who taught the educator by her example.
Mr. Harris graduated from North Texas State University in 1955, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. He earned his master’s degree from NTSU in 1960.
James P. Benson (2003)
Long-time fans will always remember James P. Benson as the “Voice of the Keller Indians.” Mr. Benson announced all home football games for the Indians from 1948-67, seeing teams through many outstanding seasons.
Mr. Benson served Keller ISD for 37 years, retiring in 1985 as the District’s Director of Instruction. His coaching career began in 1948 as an Assistant Football Coach and B-Team Basketball Coach, while he also taught Biology, General Science, English, History, and Math. He later coached girls basketball and tennis. His stories decades later at school reunions of players and their individual athletic successes exemplify his love of sports and his genuine interest in his students.
Mr. Benson may be most remembered as Keller High School’s Principal from 1954-69. During that period, he introduced Chemistry, Physics, Trigonometry, Solid Geometry, and Analytical Geometry to the school as the subjects’ first teacher. Mr. Benson earned his bachelor’s degree from Newberry College (S.C.) and he has a master’s degree in Education from Texas Christian University.
A.K. Thetford (2001)
A.K. Thetford shaped the lives of young people of Keller ISD for 31 years. He retired from the District in 1988. He was an elementary school principal, math department chairman, and coached football, baseball, and tennis.
Coach Thetford may be best remembered for his 1956-57 Indians defense, which allowed no touchdowns in 19 of its 25 games. Following his enlistment in the U.S. Air Force, Coach Thetford attended North Texas State College where he earned a degree in Secondary Administrative Education, minoring in History and English.
His teaching and coaching career began in 1951 in Breckenridge, Texas. He moved to Oklaunion, Texas, in 1953 where he simultaneously served as principal, coach, Math teacher, and bus driver. His 1954 football team, going 10-2, was the Bi-District Champion, and he was named Coach of the North All-Star Six-Man Team.
Paul Allen (2000)
Paul J. Allen came to Keller in 1953 as a football, basketball, and track coach. Coach Allen took over a football program that had suffered through four losing seasons, and he turned the program around with a winning record in his first year.
During his 12 years at Keller, he never had a losing season and produced eight District, three Bi-District, and two Regional Championships. His combined record was an enviable 95-31-4.
Coach Allen also coached girls basketball and boys track. He coached numerous individuals to state track championships as well as the cross country team to two State Titles. In addition to his coaching duties, Coach Allen taught a full schedule of Science and Biology.
Coach Allen is remembered as a man with a unique sense of humor who gave his best on the playing field and in the classroom. He expected – and usually got – the same from his students and athletes.
Charles “Bubba” Thornton (1999)
Charles “Bubba” Thornton graduated from Keller High School in 1965 as an All-District performer in football, basketball, and track. As football team captain at Texas Christian University in 1967, he played wide receiver and defensive back. His 78-yard punt return helped the Horned Frogs to an upset victory over the University of Texas in 1967. He led the Southwest Conference in kickoff returns as a senior. Thornton was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and started as a rookie receiver. He finished third in the American Football League in kickoff returns.
After professional football, he doubled as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach for Keller High School. He returned to TCU as Head Track and Field Coach in 1982. On the national level, Thornton was selected to lead the U.S. Men’s National Track and Field Team at the World Junior Championships in Sydney, Australia in 1996. That year, he was also hired as the Head Coach for the Men’s Track and Field team at the University of Texas at Austin. In his 18 seasons at UT, his athletes collected 26 Individual NCAA Championships, a relay championship, and 94 student-athletes produced 222 All-American honors. He was also named the 2008 Team USA Olympic Head Coach where the team collected 15 medals.