Fairfield Athletic Director, Shawn Priest and Tom Purtell Co-Chairmen of the Fairfield Local Athletic Hall of Fame announced today the Class of 2013 inductees to the “Fairfield Local High School Athletic Hall of Fame”. The induction ceremony will be held Saturday, January 26th at 2pm at Fairfield Local Schools in Leesburg. The ceremony is open to the public. The inductees will also be introduced and presented with their Hall of Fame Plaques prior to the varsity game with Hillsboro High School Saturday evening.
The Hall of Fame is organized as a way of maintaining the rich heritage and tradition of the successful athletic programs at Fairfield Local High School (including Leesburg High School, Highland High School, and Samantha High School). This Class of 2013 is the third Hall of Fame Class and has truly made outstanding contributions to the athletic programs at Fairfield.
Paul Dean “Oakie” Waddell graduated in 1947, and is one of the best all round athletes to ever graduate from. He excelled at basketball and baseball. In 1946, the basketball team was 18-6 and finished third in the District Tournament at Waverly. The 1947 basketball team was 15-11 and finished as the District Runner-Up. The baseball team was equally successful finishing as District Runner-Up in 1947.
Waddell would continue his athletic career at Wilmington College playing three sports (basketball, baseball, and football). Waddell developed his skills and knowledge of football under Wilmington College Hall of Fame coach Fred Raizk. Under Raizk, Dean Waddell would develop into an outstanding guard/tackle and without a doubt the best football player to ever graduate from Fairfield. Dean played two years on the basketball team, three years on the baseball team where he was a catcher, and four years of football.
In January of 1951, Fairfield High School basketball and baseball coach Mike Larkin was called to active duty to serve in the Korean War. Fairfield Superintendent Louis A. Pausch, Jr. contacted Dean Waddell to finish the basketball season as the varsity coach and coach the baseball team in the spring of 1951. Dean Waddell volunteered to serve in the Marine Corps in 1951, and served in Japan and Korea until 1954. Dean’s old high school basketball coach Harold Thomas hired him to teach at Good Hope High School where he coached basketball, baseball, and track in 1954-1955. He then taught and coached basketball and baseball at Sabina High School in 1955-1956.
In 1956, Dean Waddell was able to land his “dream” job at Greenfield McClain High School. McClain had a great football coaching staff at the time and Dean wanted to learn from them including head coach Paul Orr, Bob Watts, Sam Borst, Fred Rake, Paul Maple, and Tom Doyle. Waddell served as the line coach, and coached nine (9) Division I scholarship football players including Rodger Grooms who was a lineman for the NFL Baltimore Colts. During his five years at McClain, McClain won three (3) SCOL Football Championships. Waddell also served as a basketball coach all five years at McClain, three years as the junior varsity coach and two years as the varsity coach. He coached McClain to two (2) SCOL Basketball Championships.
By 1961, it was time for Dean Waddell to head his own football program. Wilmington High School would be the place that Waddell would leave his mark. Waddell’s imprint on the Wilmington High School football program remains today. He is the measuring stick by which other coaches are gauged. In his six seasons as the Wilmington High School football coach, he led the Hurricanes to a (44-14-2) record that included three (3) SCOL Championships. Dean Waddell is believed to be the only coach to win a SCOL basketball title and a SCOL football title with different schools. Coach Waddell while at Wilmington High School coached four (4) Division I scholarship players and a NFL lineman, Mike Wilson. Mike played for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills.
Paul Dean Waddell was inducted into the Wilmington College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994, The Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, and Wilmington High School Athletic Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 2008.
Thomas R. “Tom” Starrett was born October 25, 1942 in Cincinnati the son of Raymond R. Starrett and Ruth H. (Goldsberry) Starrett. Ray Starrett was the high school music teacher at Fairfield HS from 1939 to 1960 with time off to serve as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II in the South Pacific where he was awarded a Bronze Star. The Starrett family lived on South Street and later on East Main Streetin Leesburg. Tom no doubt developed his athletic abilities playing with childhood friends on playgrounds and backyards in Leesburg. Tom developed into a fine musician and an outstanding basketball player.
Tom graduated from Fairfield High School in 1960, as the schools All Time Leading Boys’ Basketball Scorer, a distinction he held for a record 37 years until 1997. Described as one of the first true post players at Fairfield, Tom Starrett stood 6’5” and was an inside presence for three seasons on the Lions varsity squad. After a solid sophomore campaign, Tom’s breakout season came as a junior in which he scored a career high 34 points in the season opener, a 76-61 victory over Simon Kenton. He led Fairfield to a 15-10 record during the 1958-1959 season while averaging 16.84 points per game. Those numbers were good enough for the coaches to vote him Second Team All-Highland County.
Tom’s senior year saw continued success on the individual and team levels, as the Lions finished 14-8 during the 1959-1960 season. Three of Fairfield’s losses that season were by 2 points or less while three of the eight defeats were to Marshall, who finished 12-0 in county play. Tom averaged a stellar 19.72 points per game and was voted to the All-Highland County First Team by the coaches.
Upon graduation, Tom was ranked in the top 10 in school history in 13 different offensive categories and held multiple top 10 spots in 4 of those categories. Amazingly, in the 43 years since his graduation, Tom still holds top 10 ranks in nine offensive categories and is currently third on the boys’ all-time scoring list. A fact that makes these numbers even more impressive is that Tom was only 17 when he graduated in 1960.
John Burton was the varsity basketball coach his junior and senior years. “Tom was a happy kid and a natural athlete” recalls Coach Burton. “Things came easy to Tom under the basket on both ends of the floor. He had a very laid back manner about him. He never got too high after a win, or too low after a loss.”
After his graduation from Fairfield High School, he attended the Ohio State University and Franklin University and became an avid golfer. He was the owner/operator of the Wayside Truck Stop on U.S. Route 23 in Delaware County, worked in sales with Union Oil and Byers Auto Group, and was a customer service rep with Huntington Bank in Columbus. Tom Starrett passed away on March 4, 2009 at age 66. Tom is survived by three children: Thomas R. Starrett, Jr., Tammie Wittenaur, and Jeremiah D. Stone.
1978 Fairfield Boys Basketball Team
The 1977-1978 Fairfield Boys basketball season started with a loss and ended with a loss, but, in between were 23 wins-the most in Fairfield High School history. After losing the opener 67-69 to Bishop Flaget, the 1977-1978 Lions recorded 23 wins in the next 24 contests. In the process they won a Southern Hills League title, a first ever Sectional championship at Hillsboro, a first ever District championship at Chillicothe, and one Regional win and a Regional runner-up title at Marietta. After the Lions defeated Ross Southeastern 54-42 in the regional semifinal, only eight teams remained in the Ohio Class A tournament.
The Lions won many close games during the regular season, but things really seemed to come together after defeating 7th ranked Clinton Massie 59-57 on Massie’s home court. After that win, Fairfield defeated Georgetown, East Clinton, Whiteoak, and Fayetteville; then defeated two very formidable foes in the Hillsboro sectional-West Union 72-60 and a come-from-behind win over the always tough Peebles Indians 70-66 to capture Fairfield’s first ever Sectional crown.
The momentum grew after winning 73-70 over the Eastern Brown Warriors on Monday night after the Sectional in a make-up game. That victory sealed the Lions Southern Hills League championship with a 9-1 record.
The confidence gained in those last eight games carried over to the Chillicothe District tournament where Fairfield overwhelmed Racine Southern 71-45 and then dismantled the 21-1 Pike Eastern Eagles 77-59 to capture the school’s first ever district championship.
Sixteen Class A teams remained in Ohio entering regional play with four state-ranked teams in the Marietta regional. The 22nd ranked Lions would face and defeat 8th ranked Ross Southeastern 54-42 while 4th ranked Indian Valley South would defeat 5th ranked Old Washington Buckeye Trail 43-42.
Fairfield and Indian Valley South set the stage for a showdown and, hopefully, the top prize-a trip to St. John Arena for the Class A Final Four. South’s long time coach Charlie Huggins had captured two state championships and two state runners-up titles already. The game started. The Lions seemed up to the task taking a 27-16 lead with 3:25 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Two Rebel baskets cut the lead to 27-20 at the half and Indian Valley South forged to a 40-35 lead after three quarters. They then held on for the 56-49 win.
Coach Paul Pettit’s Fairfield Lions ended their amazing season with a 23-3 record, to this day the most wins in Fairfield history. The Lions created a “buzz” around Leesburg and Highland County unlike anything ever before and this became known as “Lion Mania”.
The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will honor the 1978 Fairfield Lions Boys Basketball team with induction into the Hall of Fame. Team members include: Tim Priest, Bruce Morris, Paul Turner, Barry Turner, Kevin Boyle (deceased), Roger Snyder, Danny Ware, Billy Baldwin, Todd Bobbitt, Tim Brannock, Bob Boike, Tim Cook, Andy Smith, Ron Woods, Coach Paul Pettit. Managers Eric Ware and T.L. Davis. Cheerleaders Gayle Carson Adams, Melanie Harper, Debbie Priest Pandorf, Alice Sowders Watson, Janet Sowders Morris, and Merleen Williams Van Dyke.