Two classes headed to Newton High School Athletic Hall of Fame

Chad Frey
The Kansan

The 2021 Newton High School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony may look a little bigger than normal — but that is a byproduct of all of the event cancellations to occur in 2020.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony this fall, secheduled for Sept 17, will see seven members honored. Three of them were selected as the class of 2020, with their induction ceremony cancelled last year. All seven will be honored during the home football game against Maize at Athletic Park and during a ceremony in Willis Gymnasium at Newton High School following the game. 

The 2020 group includes Roger Gillispie, Dan Benninghoff and Richard Mick. 

The 2021 class, who will share their induction ceremony with the 2020 class, will include Karl Younkman, Paige McKinney Pippin, Ted Jantz and Gordon Stineman.

Paige McKinney Pippin

Paige McKinney, who went on to be one of the best NAIA tennis players in the nation after graduating from Newton High School, will be inducted into the NHS hall of fame this year.

Paige McKinney Pippen is the first Newton High School Hall of Fame inductee to be inducted for girls' tennis. 

"Paige McKinney is indisputably not only the finest tennis player to grace the courts at Newton High School, but one of the finest individuals to ever walk the halls of Newton High School," wrote Grant Scott, Newton High School girls tennis coach from 1990 to 2006 in a letter of support of her Hall of Fame nomination. "Her accomplishments in four years at Newton High School and at the collegiate level exceed any other graduate of Newton High School."

Pippen was ranked in the Top 20 of the five-state Missouri Valley Tennis Association rankings all four years of high school, at one point being ranked No. 7. 

She had an impressive run while at Newton High School, finishing with a 125-16 record, finishing as high as second in singles play. Her senior year, the 2005 season, Pippen compiled a 35-1 record — that one loss coming to the top 18-year-old player in the nation who was ranked No. 18 in the International Tennis Federation junior rankings. 

 In addition to being on the tennis courts, Pippen was involved with the Newton High School Student Council and was named a Model Scholar Athlete. She was also president of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica at Newton High School. 

"The resume speaks volumes about the personal qualities that make [Pippen] successful in so many facets of life," Scott wrote. 

After graduating from NHS, Pippen accepted a scholarship to play tennis at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There she played one season, making the team roster at No. 2 doubles. She finished the regular season 7-0 and was named the Summit League Newcomer of tye Year and was elected as a mebter of the All Conference Team. 

Following that season, she chose to end her NCAA Div. I career, transferring to Bethel College. In two seasons at Bethel, she was undefeated in Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference play and two-time player of the year. In her 2007 season at Bethel, she became the first KCAC player in history to achieve a top 20 national ranking. In 2008  she won the NAIA Super Regional and advanced to the ITA National Individual Championships where she finished fourth. 

Her college career ended after three seasons, as she completed her degree and graduated in three years.  

Gordon Stineman was a three sport athlete for Newton High School, graduating in 1962. He will be inducted into the Newton High School Athletic Hall of Fame this year.

Gordon Stineman

Gordon Stineman graduated from Newton High School in 1962 — leaving his mark as a three sport athlete. 

His career culminated his senior year when he was named an AVL All Star in football. As a Railer he also competed in basketball and baseball.

"I was surprised and very much honored," Stineman said. "I am going to be modest. I did not think I was quite the star to be in the Hall of Fame. I was a pretty good athlete, was a league all star in football  and lettered in three sports and all that, but I ddi not feel like I was a hall of fame athlete." 

He played wideout, a position that resembles current tight end — a helper of the offensive line who also split out as a receiver. 

It was a position Stineman said his coach invented. 

"I loved it," Stineman said. 

His senior year, the first play of the season, coaches called a play called "home run pass." Stineman streaked down the sideline, caught a pass and scored a 50-yard touchdown. 

As an member of the basketball team he played on a team that won the first Newton Invitational Tournament, beating the Southeast High School Buffalos in the championship game. 

He said he enjoyed football the most, but enjoyed all his sports. 

While Stineman enters the hall as an athlete, he contributed more than a three-sport career to NHS athletics. 

From 1970 to 1975 he was an assistant baseball coach for Newton High School, contributing to a 1970 state championship team. Entering that 1976 season he appeared destined to be the head baseball coach, but a promotion to a principalship led to him no longer coaching.

"I was thinking, I was going to be the head baseball coach. I was going to go from the English department to phys ed coach, and that was my longtime dream," Stineman. "But I also wanted to get into administration. ... It was a good decision ... It made my career, for sure."

He would go on to become a principal. 

For Stineman, sports was a fun activity — something to keep him busy during his high school years. 

"Sports was it for me," Stineman said. "All through high school I was having fun playing."

That love of sport continued into adulthood. After his coaching career came to an end, he took up officiating — becoming a football official and baseball umpire for about 20 years. 

Karl Younkman  scored the last field goal in the old Lindely Hall in Feb. 1974 and first field goal in Ravenscroft Gymnasium at Newton High School the following November.

Karl Younkman

Karl Younkman was a multi-sport athlete who as a basketball player for Newton High School has a very interesting footnote attached to his career. 

Younkman is credited with the last varsity  boys field goal scored in Lindley Hall, and the first varsity boys field goal in Ravenscroft Gymnasium. 

 Younkman was a three-time letter winner in basketball — collecting letters in 1972, 1973 and 1974. His junior season he led the Ark Valley League in scoring with 17 points per game, and finished second in scoring as a senior averaging about 20 points per game. Both seasons he was named to the first-team All Ark Valley team.

"He was a star," wrote Kevin Whiting, one of Younkman's four-year teammates at Newton High School in support of Younkman's nomination. "That reputation was earned as he consistently delivered night after night, every game, every year. We were blessed to have some other good players at guard, center and strong forward positions, but Karl was always the go to guy; an the go to guy in the clutch."

His senior campaign he earned a spot on the Class 4A All State team. He was named a started for the second annual Kansas Jaycees All-Star Basketball Game in Wichtia. In addition to his offensive abilities, Younkman often drew the most challenging defensive assignments. 

"Karl was an all around player with not only great shooting skills but good passing and defensive skills," wrote Ken Franz, Younkman's coach in support of the nomination. 

He was also successful on the gridiron and diamond as well. Younkman earned all-league honors as a wide receiver for the football team. He lettered in baseball as well. 

After his career at Newton High School, Younkman played basketball at Hutchinson Community College under coach Gene Keady — who would go on to a coaching career at Purdue Univeristy. 

At Hutchinson Younkman would come off the bench his freshman year, supporting a team that ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation. His sophomore season he averaged 15 points per game.  

Ted Jantz coached Newton High School football to its first playoff win. He will be inducted into the hall of fame this year.

Ted Jantz

Ted Jantz was a multi-sport athlete at Newton High School — competing in football, basketball and baseball. But it is his career and impact as a coach that has him entering the Newton High School Hall of Fame this fall. 

Jantz returned to NHS as a coach in 1985, and he began to make an impact quickly. 

"Ted was an exceptional motivator who built a strong connection with the kids," wrote Steve Bacon, who played for Jantz in 1985. "He was very honest with  kids and held them to a high standard, first as a person, then in the classroom and finally the athletic field. Ted had a way of getting the ver best out of kids with a mix of intensity and humor."

Jantz was named the Ark Valley League Coach of the Year in 1989. That same fall he was named the Hutchinson News Coach of the year. 

In 1991, Jantz coached the Railers to their first state football berth in school history, winning District 7 and a regional championship. The 1991 campaign finished with as a sub-state runner up. In 1992 Jantz again coached the team to a district and regional championship. 

"His two best years came in the early 1990s, when two of his teams advanced to the state semi-finals. Along the way he had numerous players go on to play collegiately and excel at the next level," Bacon wrote.

One player went on to play in the NFL — Muadianvita Kazadi,  who was drafted by the NFL’s St. Louis Rams in 1997 after an All-American senior season which saw him earn a Fitness All-American Award. He is now ssistant A.D. for Human Performance at SMU. 

Jantz was named to the 1993 Kansas Shrine Bowl coaching staff. 

"To this day I still say that there are two coaches that have had the biggest impact on life, both from Newton High School. Ted Jantz and Rick Whitfield (currently in the NHS Hall of Fame)," Bacon wrote. "Ted has had a big impact on my life in many ways."

The 2020 Class

The 2020 class was not able to be inducted, as ceremonies were cancelled due to COVID-19. The 2020 class included Roger Gillispie, Dan Benninghoff and Richard Mick. 

Roger Gillispie, left, saw a baseball field named in his honor in 2014. This year he enters the Newton High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He died of cancer in April.

Roger Gillispie

Roger Gillispie, longtime owner of Gillispie Meats and organizer of youth baseball teams in Newton, died April 8 of cancer.

His longtime practice of hiring Newton High School athletes to work in his meat store, and support of summer baseball programs, landed him in the Newton High School Hall of fame.

“(For) 25 years (he) ran American Legion Baseball to develop high school players,” wrote Brent Coffman, himself a member of the NHS Hall of Fame, on Gillispie’s nomination. “(For) 15 years (he) ran Babe Ruth Baseball to develop baseball players. His meat shop hired baseball players to give them summer jobs.”

Roger Gillispie founded his business on East Broadway in 1997. He became known for homemade ham loaf and bierocks — and for hiring high school students while mentoring them at the shop.

Gillispie was also known for baseball, something for which he had a passion. He served as the business manager for the Newton Knights, both the junior and senior division teams of American Legion Baseball, for more than 25 years. He also spent about six years helping with Babe Ruth baseball in Newton.

In 2014, one of the baseball diamonds at Centennial Park was named in his honor.

“Surprised and unexpected,” Roger Gillispie said in 2014. “It’s not something I at all strived for. I am humbled and I almost feel embarrassed.”

Gillispie had a short baseball career, playing in youth leagues.

“I never played high school baseball,” he said in 2014. “I had a job when I was in school. I started playing slow pitch. I learned more about baseball from guys playing slow pitch. I played for more than five decades — ’60s through 2000s.”

Gillispie Field became the fifth named field in the city, joining Curtis Fischer Field (the football-soccer stadium), Klein-Scott Field (the main baseball field in Newton), Kenny Williams Field (the former Centennial diamond 1) and Dwayne Kelsch Field (the softball diamond at Athletic Park).

Gillispie was a 1970 graduate of Newton High School and attended Wichita State University. From 1973 to 1976 he worked as a USDA meat inspector, purchasing Farrell’s Market on W. First Street in Newton in 1976. The community grocery store remained open until 1989. He later served as the manager of YB Meats in Wichita from 1991 to 1997, before opening Gillispie Meats on E. Broadway in Newton.

Gillispie was an active member of the Knights of Columbus for more than 40 years, where he served as secretary and treasurer as well as in other positions.

Following a multi-sport career at Newton High School, Dan Benninghoff went on to play baseball for The University of Kansas.

Dan Benninghoff

Dan Benninghoff graudated from Newton High School in the class of 1985, a multi-sport athlete who went on to play NCAA Division I sports.

“If anything else, I think is letter jacket should be in the hall of fame, all-AVL and all-state patches on the front, back and sleeves,” wrote Gil Solis Jr. on Benninghoff’s hall of fame nomination form.

Benninghoff earned all-state or all-league honors in multiple years for two sports — baseball and football.

“Besides a great athlete, he was a great student,” Solis wrote.

Benninghoff graduated as a member of the National Honor Society with a 3.85 grade point average.

Benninghoff was nominated to play in the Kansas Shrine Bowl after his senior football season — he was named to the Ark Valley League all league football team first team three consecutive years as a tight end, and two consecutive years as a linebacker. He also earned all state honors for his gridiron exploits.

His junior year the Railers collected a league championship.

Benninghoff also saw success on the baseball diamond — earning all-league first team honors as a first baseman three consecutive years. In 1983 he helped Newton finish third overall in the state playoffs.

During his time in a Railer baseball uniform, the team won three league titles. His senior year he was invited to play in a high school all-star game at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita.

As if those accomplishments were not enough while wearing the black and gold, he was also a member of the basketball team for two years and helped Newton to a state tournament berth in 1984.

It was baseball, however, that beckoned after high school. He started his post high school career at Allen County Community college and played two seasons of NBC Baseball — one season for Emporia before joining the NBC World Series bound Liberal Bee-Jays, and a second season for the world series qualifying Clarinda, Iowa, A’s.

An outfielder, he joined the University of Kansas baseball team for his last two years in college — leading the team in home runs in 1988.

Now a coach at Nweton High School, Richard Mick was a multi-sport athlete at NHS before graduating in 1989.

Richard Mick

Richard Mick enters the hall this fall as an athlete, not a coach.

“Richard moved to Newton following sophomore year at Downs High School. He was a two-year letterman in cross country, basketball at track. He was a dominate cross country (runner) and the distance runs in track,” wrote Brad Anderson when nominating Mick for the Hall of Fame.

A member of the Newton High School class of 1989, Mick was a multi-sport star. He was named to the Ark Valley League all League basketball team his senior year, invited to play in the Mid Kansas All Star Basketball Classic, South Central Kansas vs. Wichita City League All Star Game and the McPherson College All Star Game that year.

He was also a league champion in cross country his senior year. He set the school record in the 3200-meter run with a time of 9 minutes, 44 seconds. That record stood until 2006. He also set the school record for the 5,000 meters at 15:54 his junior year at Great Bend, a record that still stands. In his senior year, he won six individual championships at cross country meets.

Mick collected seven state medals in track and cross country. He finished in the top 10 at the state cross country meet every year of high school.

“I have always been a very competitive person,” Mick said. ”That is what drove me more than anything in running and basketball. I had some natural ability too, but being a competitive person in whatever I did. I wanted to do it well and be successful.“

Despite the success he had running, his passion was basketball.

After Newton High School he pursued that passion at Emporia State, playing on the Hornets team for two years despite being offered a cross country scholarship. In his sophomore year, he walked onto the cross country team.

A scholarship offer again followed, but Mick chose to transfer to Kansas State University.

He tried out for the K-State cross country team and ran in the Big Eight cross country meet at Boulder, Colo.

“After that I got busy with classes and work, and that was the end of my post high school career,“ Mick said.

After college he took a teaching position at in Westmoreland, teaching two years before a position at Newton came open. In 1997 he took the position of track coach at Newton High School, and cross country the following year.