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Published: Wednesday, 12/2/2009

Wauseon High School hall of fame induction set for 7

BLADE STAFF

WAUSEON - For 25 years, Ken Burgei prowled the sidelines of Wauseon High School's gymnasium as head coach of its boys' basketball team.

Now, before Saturday's game against Archbold, he'll be one of the guests of honor.

Mr. Burgei and six former Wauseon High athletes are to be inducted into the high school's Athletic Hall of Fame during a pre-game ceremony.

"It's a great honor. The guys in that hall of fame are unbelievable, and to be in that group will be fun," Mr. Burgei said last week from his office at Elm Street School, where he continues as an elementary guidance counselor

He retired last year as Wauseon's head boys' basketball coach with a 322-242 record.

Among the athlete inductees will be Mr. Burgei's successor as basketball coach, Chad Burt, a 1994 Wauseon graduate who was the team's co-captain for three years, an All-State selection for three years, and the only Northwest Ohio Athletic League basketball player to receive All-League accolades for four seasons.

Wauseon was the state runner-up in its class during his senior year.

"He was an outstanding player for me," Mr. Burgei said.

Other athletes to be inducted during the ceremony are Don Watkins, Class of 1945; Ty Rupp, Class of 1956; Brett Schlosser, Class of 1980; David Rohrs, Class of 1984, and Lori (Creager) Sample, Class of 1986.

Mr. Burgei said that while he misses the relationships he had with players and coaches during his coaching years, he also relishes the freedom that retiring from the sidelines has brought him, especially during the summertime when basketball camps, summer leagues, and off-season conditioning chew up time.

"I just had some other things I would like to try to do," he said, noting that he's still a regular in the stands at Wauseon basketball games, but also got to watch his son coach Cincinnati Princeton High School last winter to the Ohio Division I basketball finals.

Mr. Burgei added that he's "uncomfortable" about being in the spotlight at the upcoming induction ceremony. There are a lot of hard-working people in town who deserve some recognition, too, he said.

After graduating from Wauseon High with eight varsity letters - four each in baseball and basketball - Mr. Burgei's coaching successor played four years of collegiate basketball at Tri-State University and was a two-time Academic All-America.

Mr. Burt still holds the Wauseon High career rebounding record, with 710, and is second in career scoring with 1,333 points. He now teaches mathematics at the high school.

Mr. Watkins earned eight letters in football, basketball, and track, and was on Northwest Ohio Athletic League championship teams in all three sports. As a senior, he was an all-league quarterback and co-captain on the football team, and was the league's second top scorer in basketball.

In the Army at Fort Benning, Ga., he was a defensive halfback on a football team that won the National Service Championship in 1946. He later lettered in football for three years at Denison University under Coach Woody Hayes, including two undefeated and untied teams.

Since 1960, he has been a professor, dean, and administrator at Baruch College in the City University of New York system.

Mr. Rupp was honorable mention All-State and All-America in 1955, his senior year for football, as a quarterback and linebacker, and also lettered in basketball and baseball. He was all-league in basketball and was a catcher for the baseball team.

He lettered three seasons in football and one in baseball at Hope College, where he caught future major-league pitcher Jim Kaat. After college, he became the area's first physical therapist, working at Wauseon's Detwiler Hospital, and he continues to work part-time in Toledo.

Mr. Schlosser lettered in football four seasons and was a leader on Wauseon's league champion teams in 1978 and 1979, taking all-league honors on the offense and defense lines both seasons and making first-team All-State his senior year as an offensive tackle.

He went on to start as a freshman on the Michigan State offensive line, but his collegiate career was cut short by a severe knee injury the following season. Mr. Schlosser now lives in Ada, Mich., where he works for Aiger Distribution.

Mr. Rohrs was best known at Wauseon for his football prowess. A tailback, he rushed for more than 2,500 yards and scored 28 touchdowns during his high-school career, and was All-League, All-District, and All-State his senior year. Along with four in football, he earned three letters in track.

He received a football scholarship to the University of Toledo and won three varsity letters in that sport, participating on a 1984 Rocket team that won the MAC Championship and California Bowl and scoring 13 career collegiate touchdowns despite injuries during his senior year.

After his 1989 graduation with a physical education degree, Mr. Rohrs was a Peace Corps worker in Yemen for two years, then worked with a Los Angeles-based modeling agency for 10 years and was a special-education teacher in Hawaii before returning to Wauseon. He is now employed by Urban Active Fitness Centers.

Mrs. Sample received All-League honors in both volleyball and basketball and set school basketball records for points scored in a game, season, and career, along with the single-game and career rebounding records. During her senior year she competed in volleyball at the International Sports Exchange in Hong Kong. She earned a total of 13 varsity letters: four apiece in basketball and track, three in volleyball, and two in softball.

She graduated with a degree in nursing from the Medical College of Ohio in 1991 and works in sales while living in Whitehouse.



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