VHS to honor past sports legends

Nick Baltz
Vern “Spec” Tomlinson
Barbara Young








The rich sports history of Valmeyer High School will be celebrated once again with the third annual VHS Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony prior to Saturday’s home basketball game against Gibault.

This year’s class of inductees includes the 1967-68 baseball team, former minor league pitcher Nick Baltz, and legendary coaches Vern “Spec” Tomlinson and Barbara Young.

A reception honoring this new crop of inductees will take place at St. Mary’s Parish Center following the game. The public is invited to attend.

Last year’s state runner-up Pirates baseball team made some history of its own, but the 1967-68 baseball squad helped establish a reputation of success in the sport. 

Bolstered by four players who went on to play college ball, the 1967-68 Pirates went 5-2 in the fall season to win the Chartres Conference and followed that up with a 10-4 showing in the spring to win the Kaskaskia Conference.

Despite playing in a one-class IHSA system, the small school Pirates defeated Waterloo for the district title and topped Mater Dei for the regional crown to advance to the Sweet 16 sectionals.

Team members under head coach Glenn Dothage were John Asselmeier, Nick Baltz, Willis Bundy, Eddie Carroll, Glenn Coats, Floyd Floarke, George Hoerr, John Koch, Don Kohnz, Ron Kuergeleis, Ron Rohlfing, Bill Schaefer, Mike and Steve Schellhardt, John Stumpf, Rodney Washausen and Dale Werling.

Many team members went on to enjoy success in the Mon-Clair League following their high school days.

Baltz, who was a freshman on that 1967-68 team, will be inducted Saturday as an individual. 

He earned all-conference honors in baseball from 1968-1971, and was a key member of the 1971 squad that also advanced to the Sweet 16.

He posted a 12-3 record on the mound with a microscopic 0.73 ERA that season and also led the team with a .388 batting average and six home runs. 

Baltz also earned all-conference honors in basketball for the Pirates in 1970 and 1971, leading the hoops team in scoring at 18.5 points per game.

Baltz went on to star on the mound at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, finishing with a career record of 18-6 and a 2.00 ERA from 1972-75.

He was named an All-American in 1975.

Baltz, who was inducted into the SIUE Hall of Fame as a member of their 1972 baseball team and as an individual, played minor league ball from 1975-80 and was a 1980 Carolina League All-Star in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system.

Another deserving VHS Athletic Hall of Fame inductee is Coach Tomlinson. 

He taught and coached baseball and basketball at VHS from 1941-68, leading two of the school’s most successful sports teams.

He was head coach of the legendary 1952-53 basketball team that went 29-3 and defeated Waterloo for the district title and East St. Louis for the regional title before falling to Collinsville, 66-63, in the sectional. 

Tomlinson was also head coach of the 1959-60 baseball team that went 15-6 and won a district title over Waterloo and a regional title over O’Fallon before losing to Litchfield in the Sweet 16 sectional. 

Tomlinson was considered by many to be the finest hitting coach in Southern Illinois during his time. 

VHS sports legends who played under Tomlinson include recent Hall of Famers Ray “Bud” Rippelmeyer, Norbert Vogel and Ken Meyer.

The final inductee to be honored Saturday is Coach Young. 

Young attended VHS from 1951-55 when there were no competitive high school sports programs offered for young women. 

Young proceeded to make her mark in women’s sports as a coach as Title IX ushered in a new era of athletics for her gender.

Young played for the Tunze’s community softball team while in Valmeyer, and went on to star in softball, basketball and field hockey at Southern Illinois University from 1955-59.

She served as treasurer for SIU’s Women’s Athletic Association.

Young initiated girls sports programs at Lindbergh High School in St. Louis, serving as a teacher and coach there from 1966-77.

The Lindbergh girls basketball team went 24-1 in 1975-76 and went 25-1 in 1976-77 with Young at the helm. The 1976-77 team placed third in the state.

She was named Missouri Class 3A Coach of the Year in 1977.

Young was inducted into the Lindbergh High School Hall of Fame in 1993.

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