NIAA Hall of Fame inductees named
Several honorees with Carson Country ties will be among the 11 Northern Nevadans who will be inducted into the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Hall of Fame this year.
Among those to be inducted will be Jim Coverley, Clark Reid, Keith Roman, Jo Jo Townsell and Jackie Giorgi. Others to be inducted are Jim Billingsley, John “Slug” Flynn, Fred Gladding, Dick Hensen, Keith Neville and George Winters.
The induction luncheon will be held at noon Thursday, Feb. 26 in the Silver and Blue room at Lawlor Events Center. Tickets are available for $18 from the NIAA office. The The inductees will be honored again at halftime of a 4A state semifinal game that night.
The 2004 induction class features five athletes, five coaches and one administrator/contributor. All of the honorees are being inducted for their successes in more than one category. Here’s a look at all the honorees:
Jo Jo Townsell – One of the most gifted, talented and dedicated student-athletes to have ever graced the gridirons of Nevada. His high school, college and professional single game and career football numbers are second to none. He earned numerous all-Zone and all-State team accolades while at Hug High School in Reno. Townsell blossomed while at UCLA and had a highly successful career in the professional ranks, playing for the USFL’s Los Angeles Express and the New York Jets. He now heads the MeFiYi Foundation in Minden, a non-profit organization geared to helping Nevada youth programs.
Jim Coverley – Is considered to be a founding father of Northern Nevada high school wrestling. His 26-year coaching resume (20 years at Sparks, six at Galena) features five zone titles, 12 individual state champions and more than 200 career dual match vitories, not to mention countless awards. Coverly directed dozens of zone, region and state tournaments and he is a founding head of the Nevada Weight Management Program, one of the most prominent sports health and safety programs in the country. Coverley retired as Galena’s athletic director in 2002.
Jackie Giorgi – Giorgi passed away last year but she will never be forgotten at Coleville High or in Northern Nevada small school circles. She spent 33 years at Coleville acting in every coaching, teaching, administrative and student advisory capacity imaginable. Giorgi organized and started the girls athletics department/program at Coleville and saw it through several outstanding years. The school dedicated the 1988-89 yearbook in her honor.
Clark Reid – Is one of the winningest high school coaches in Nevada basketball history. His Douglas, Yerington, Truckee and Coleville varsity teams won 423 games, four state titles and three state runner-up trophies. Reid also won 136 games as a junior varsity coach. He was named a state coach of the year seven times. Reid led both Douglas and Yerington to their first state basketball championships in school history. He also worked with the football, girls golf, baseball and boys golf teams at the various schools.
Keith Roman – He did a lot of running around during his days at Douglas High. It can be said that Roman was the consummate assistant or sub-varsity coach. He coached the junior varsity boys basketball team at Douglas from 1967-1989. He also served as JV football and baseball coach and served as an assistant coach in varsity football. He also served as the school’s athletic directo for three years. The Douglas football field is named in his honor.
Jim Billingsley – Is considered Mr. Wrestling when it comes to Nevada grappling cirlces. He was a three-time gold medalist as an athlete and an eight-time state champ as a coach, all at Lowry High School in Winnemucca. He also played football and baseball in high school, and he also won four state titles as boys and girls cross country, three state crowns as girls golf coach and one state title as softball coach at Lowry.
Slug Flynn – The McQueen gym in Reno is named in Flynn’s honor. He earned 83 wins as the boys basketball coach at Sparks from 1968-1973, winning three zone titles. He picked up 21 wins in what was considered the miraculous 1996 season at McQueen, getting to the zone title game. He also coached gymnastics at Wooster and baseball at both Wooster and Sparks where he won one zone crown. He was the first principal at McQueen and retired in 1990. A Sparks High grad where he played football and basketball and former “Educator of the Year”, Flynn now announces football games at McQueen.
Fred Gladding – Is one of the legendary boys basketball coaches in Virginia City High School’s rich athletic history, he has accomplished things both in the classroom and on the court that most educators only dream about. Gladding was a multi-time district teacher of the year and multi-time state basketball coach of the year. His Virginia City teams posted a 117-12 record from 1981-1987, including a 93-game winning streak and five consecutive state titles.
Richard Hensen – Was the consummate rural Nevada coach and educator. He was a five-time coach of the year at three different schools. Hensen took 10 basketball teams from four different schools (Eureka, Fernley, Owyhee and Wells), to the state tournament, winning seven league championships in 15 seasons and finishing as the state runner-up four times. He resurrected the football program at Eureka (1975) after a 20-year hiatus and also started the rodeo clubs at four Eastern Nevada schools.
Keith Neville – He took Mineral County High School’s baseball program in Hawthorne to never before experienced levels of success. His teams won 350 games, 11 league championships, three state titles and five state-runner up finishes over his 23-year reign. He also coached football, boys and girls JV basketball and wrestling. Neville, who started at Hawthorne in 1970, finished his career in the same place after 31 years and as the school’s athletic director the last five years.
George Winters – He taught and coached in Nevada for 31 years. His boys basketball teams won 259 games over 20 years while his girls basketball teams won 80 games over 12 years at Hawthorne. Winters also coached girls golf, boys golf and softball over his 29 years in Hawthorne; He started for two years at Gabbs coaching football, basketball and track. He assisted with the girls basketball team for nine seasons, winning five stat titles, and the baseball team for five seasons, winning one state crown.
Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased in advance by sending a check (made payable to the NIAA) to the NIAA office. For more information about the luncheon or to inquire about the nomination and selection process, call the NIAA office (775) 688-6464.