WHEATFIELD — The Athletic Department at Kankakee Valley High School inducted its second class into the KVHS Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 6. At the high school.
The inductees and their families were invited to a catered dinner in the school cafeteria before the actual ceremony took place in the school’s auditorium. Some inductees still lived local but several made a trip to receive the honor.
Inducted were people who have made major contributions to Kougar athletics. These inductees were broken into five categories: Student Athletes; Coaches and Administrators; Teams; Service; and Family Contributors.
The athletes honored ranged from graduates of the first era when local high schools were consolidated into Kankakee Valley High School up to more recent contributors.
Athletes honored individually included Rusty Beedle, Karen Zylstra Sterk Anthony, James Broyles, Darlene Recker, Jackie Kingma, Brian Schoonveld, the late Brian Conley, Kim Watt Donoho and John VanSoest.
Honored as a team was the 1981 boys’ basketball team with starters Mitch VanKley, Matt Chapman, Mark Chapman, Mike Sytsma and Jim Terborg.
Doug Greenlee was honored as a Distinguished Administrator and Coach and Greg Oliver was honored for Distinguished Service to KV Athletics. The Sytsma Brothers were named for their many contributions.
After an introduction and welcome by current athletic director John Gray, emcee John Tillema took turns introducing the honorees and others to speak of their accomplishments.
Rusty Beedle, class of 1975, was honored for his contributions to KV football, wrestling and baseball, which included conference champion and sectional champion for three years running as well as holding the fastest pin record for the school at just 11 seconds. He was also an all-conference offensive guard and linebacker.
Karen Zylstra Sterk Anthony was a 1983 graduate who starred in cross country, basketball and track. She was the only girl to run for KV at that time and finished 10th at the state cross country meet in 1980 and was regional qualifier in 1982. She was all-conference in basketball and a member of the conference-winning team. In track she set several school records in the 800 and 1,600 runs, qualifying for several sectional and regional races.
James Broyles, most recently known as the KV football coach, was a 1996 grad and is the only Kougar to reach the National Football League. He was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, St. Louis Rams, Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers while in the NFL and he also played for NFL Europe. In high school, Broyles was the Army Male Athlete of the Year and a North All-Star in football. He contributed to the basketball, baseball and track teams as well as football at KV. He set the school shot-put record and was the sectional champion in that event in 1996.
Darlene Recker, class of 1993, was a standout in volleyball and track. She was a member of conference and sectional winning teams for three years and briefly held the kills record at KV. In track, Recker was the high jump sectional and regional champion and was a state qualifier on four occasions. She left KVHS as its high jump record holder.
Jackie Kingma, class of 1977, was a top athlete in volleyball, track and basketball. She started her track career in middle school on the boys’ track team since there was no girls’ team at that time. In high school, she was the long jump sectional champ and held the school record for that event. In basketball, she was named the MVP of the team and was on sectional winning teams for two years and named all-conference. In volleyball, Kingma was on sectional champion teams all four years, also winning the conference-title twice and named to the all-conference team twice.
Brian Schoonveld, who graduated in 1993, was a standout for the football, wrestling and track teams, named an all-state offensive end and to the all-conference teams in both football and wrestling for three years. He qualified for the state wrestling tournament in the 1992-93 season. Schoonveld is probably best known for winning the America Strongest Man competition twice and competing three times in the World’s Strongest Man competition, which was broadcast on television.
The late Brian Conley, class of 1986, was inducted for his contributions to football, basketball, baseball and track. In football, he was selected for the North Team All-Stars and at one time held five KVHS football records. He had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He was also on three conference champion basketball teams and one sectional-winning team, as well as one conference-winning baseball team.
Kim Watt Donoho, who graduated in 1978, was a track and field, volleyball and basketball standout all four years of high school and was on sectional-winning volleyball teams each year and sectional champ basketball teams for two years. She was named all-conference five times between the two sports.
John Van Soest, class of 1987 was inducted as part of a team in the first Hall of Fame class, but went in this year as an individual for his cross country and track accomplishments. In cross country, Van Soest competed in three state finals after being conference, sectional, regional and semi-state champion. On the track, he was the 400, 800 and 1,600 conference champion and won the state meet in the 1,600 and finished third in the 3,200 his senior year. He has held three school records in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 runs.
Former KV athletic director Doug Greenlee was inducted in the Administrators and Coaches category. Currently an AD in Putnam County, he held that position at KV for 11 years. He is the most successful baseball coach with a record of 482-284 over 25 years, which also included three sectional, seven conference and two regional titles. He has over 500 wins in all. He also coached boys’ basketball, football and girls’ golf. He was District Coach of the Year twice, conference Coach of the Year seven times, North All-Star coach in 2013 and was nominate to the Indiana High School Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017.
Greg Oliver, who spent 42 years as a Special Education teacher at Kankakee Valley, has volunteered and made contributions to Kougar Athletics since 1976, ranging from driving athletic buses to coaching. He has been the main scoreboard operator for football, girls’ basketball, boys’ basketball, baseball and volleyball. He has coached various Special Olympics teams and in 1987 was the Indiana Head Coach for the Special Olympics International Games.
The 1981 boys’ basketball team reached the semi-state level of play, averaging 81 points per game in an era that did not have the 3-point line. They hit 57-percent of their shots from the field. Inducted were Mitch VanKley, Matt Chapman, Mark Chapman, Mike Sytsma, Jim Terborg, Brian Jonkman, Rich Hanley, Mark Vam Soest, Greg Jones, Dave Heerema, Scott Ganzeveld, Aaron Helms and manager Steve Kennedy. They were coached by Gene Miller and assistant Bob Gross.
The Sytsma brothers — Steve (Class of 1973), Rick (1977), Mike (1982), Brian (1985) and Dan (1989) — were honored for their many contributions to the Kougar basketball and baseball teams, which included numerous conference titles, 10 sectional championships and a regional title. They contributed 4,323 points in their combined careers. All five wore basketball jersey number 24 which was retired by the high school in 1989.