Oakwood AD Hughes receives state honor

It’s a given that high school athletic directors take a lot of heat for a lot of varied reasons. That isn’t written in their contracts, but it sure is understood.

But it’s the next best thing to coaching. A great AD is part ambassador, a tireless worker and a vital go-between with the community. Only the strongest remain in their positions.

Being honored by your peers is as good as it gets. That’s the honor that longtime Oakwood AD Mark Hughes received in a ceremony last weekend. Hughes was named the Ohio High School Athletic Director of the Year by the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association at Columbus.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with some great student athletes and coaches here at Oakwood,” he said. “It’s humbling to be recognized by your peers. Athletic directors sure don’t do this for awards.”

As the Southwest District representative, Hughes was nominated and awarded state honors. The Columbus native has been an AD for 23 years, including the last 18 at Oakwood. He coached baseball and golf at Willard when he entered the teaching profession and also coached softball and was the AD at Gahanna Lincoln for five years before landing at Oakwood.

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He’s also as committed as ever to high school sports.

“It’s a big part of our student athlete experience in high school,” he said. “Even though they do a lot of outside sports, they still love putting on the school colors and participating in front of their peers. When you play sports in the summer, they don’t have that opportunity.”

Join the class: The Xenia High School Athletic Hall of Fame will have to make room for a sizable second class of inductees.

The entire 1959-60 varsity boys basketball team and seven other additional grads will be introduced during the Nov. 30 boys basketball season opener against visiting Northmont. The induction ceremony will be during a 5:30 p.m. banquet at Faith Community Methodist Church in Xenia on the next day.

It’s an impressive lineup. The individuals are Trent Cole (2001 grad), Lenny Bazelak (‘84), Vaughn Broadnax (‘80), Stanley Key (’70), Mike Ungard (’53), Paul Huston (’43) and former coach Phil Anderson (1959-96).

Cole remains a fixture on Philadelphia’s defensive line and ranks No. 3 all-time in sacks for the Eagles. Bazelak captained the Dartmouth basketball team. Broadnax was a three-year football starter at Ohio State and won the state heavyweight wrestling title as a senior, going 34-0 with 30 pins.

Key was a football captain at Northwestern. Huston was a starter on the Class A state title basketball team and also captained OSU. Anderson was a head football, basketball and baseball coach. Ungard was a football and track standout and wrote about his fellow inductees as the longtime sports editor at the Xenia Daily Gazette and later two Beavercreek papers.

The 1959-60 Xenia boys hoop team was 22-1, losing only to state champ Dayton Roosevelt. Members of that team were John Clemens, Ted Day, Paul Storey, Gary Walthall, John Grooms, Gary Allen, John Thomas, Leon Phoenix, Gary Neff and Mike Anderson. Bill Kaylor was the coach and LeRoy McKinney the student manager.

Those interested in attending the banquet or for more information should call Gregg Cross at 372-5417 (home) or 477-2255 (cell).

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