Lou Bender is currently the winningest prep basketball coach in Delaware history. He started his coaching career at Richardson Park Jr. High in 1964. After three years at Salesianum, Lou began coaching basketball at Delcastle High School, a post he held for 17 years. Lou later coached Wilmington College from 1987 to 1989. After Wilmington came three years at A.I. Dupont, two at Caravel and seven at Hodgson. To date, Bender amassed an overall record of 509 wins and 211 losses (70.7%), making him the all-time Delaware leader. Lou was named Eastern Regional “Coach of the Year” by National High School Coaches' Association in 1990. Lou's teams have won numerous conference titles in Blue Hen Flight "A" and "B" and the Catholic Conference. In Blue Hen Conference championship games, his teams are 6-1 (86%). His 1982 Delcastle team and 2002 Hodgson team made it to the state finals. His love for the game and skills in teaching it have inspired many of his players to become coaches. The list includes Mike Gallagher (Salesianum), Angelo Rossi (Salesianum), Joe Thompson (Sanford and St. Marks), Ed Sobocinski (Polytech and Hodgson), Randy Nowell (Glasgow and Delcastle), Jim Hagen (Delcastle) and Craig Browning (Hodgson). In addition to basketball coaching, Lou served as athletic director at Richardson Park, Delcastle and Caravel and was District Athletic Director of Vo-Tech School District. He also served as assistant football coach at Salesianum and assistant soccer coach at Delcastle and Hodgson.
One of Delaware's outstanding high school athletes in the late 1940s, Donald “Ducky” Carmichael was a multi-sport star in prep school before enrolling at the University of Delaware, where he was a top football and baseball performer, earning six varsity letters. At P.S. duPont High School, Carmichael was named the Outstanding Athlete in his junior and senior years. As a senior, Don was a first-team All-State football halfback and co-captain of a talented football team that defeated archrival Wilmington High for the fourth consecutive year. Don won a total of seven varsity letters at P.S. in football, basketball and baseball. Carmichael then entered the Augusta (Va.) Military Academy. He led Augusta to victory in the first Orchid Bowl game and the mythical Southern prep school championship. Then it was on to the University of Delaware, where Carmichael was the leading football scorer in his freshman and senior years. Don was also an outstanding defensive back at Delaware. As a sophomore on the Blue Hens' 1949 team that finished 8-1, he intercepted eight passes in nine games - the second highest total in the nation. Carmichael moved to offense in 1950 and 1951, topping the Hens in scoring in his senior season. Don also was a starting Hens outfielder for three seasons, and played guard on the Delaware basketball squad. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, Carmichael was offered tryouts by the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants, but turned them down to start a real estate career.
Nationally recognized for his accomplishments in martial arts as an instructor and professional school owner, H. James “Jim” Clapp holds one of the highest martial arts ranks among Delawareans. Clapp was an inductee of the National Federation Black Belt Hall of Fame ("Kenpo Instructor of the Year") in 1980; The World Martial Arts Hall of Fame ("Promoter of the Year") in 1991; the Eastern Martial Arts Hall of Fame ("Man of the Year") in 1992; and the International Martial Arts Association's Hall of Fame (1997). Jim began his training at West Chester University in 1967. He earned a first degree Black Belt in 1971, a 5th degree Black Belt in Modern Arnis in 1989 and an 8th degree Black Belt in American Kenpo in 1995. Jim placed second in the Japan Karate Association (JKA) East Coast Collegiate Karate Championships and 4th in JKA National Championships in 1970. Since 1973, Clapp has instructed more than 11,000 students at his American Karate Studios including John Sarmousakis, who won four national championship titles in two years (1978-79) in Black Belt Kata (forms), and Judy Anderson Clapp, who was a National Martial Arts Ratings System Black Belt Women's Forms champion in 1978-79. Jim and Judy Clapp produced TV American Karate, one of the first locally aired cable TV shows in America to feature the martial arts. In addition, many area athletes have trained with Jim including NFL standouts Randy White, Steve Watson, Kwame and Orien Harris and boxer Henry Milligan.
After playing for legendary Delaware coaches, coaching with legendary figures and developing players who became legends over the past 45 years, Ron “Captain Dick” Dickerson has become an icon in his own right. Dickerson played football at Laurel High for DSMHOF inductee George Schollenberger. As a senior, Ron was co-captain and a second-team All State selection. He was a 1963 Blue-Gold All Star Game starter under DSMHOF inductee Bill Billings. Dickerson attended Shepherd College, where he was a four-year football starter, All Conference performer for three years and co-captain for two. His football coaching career began at Seaford in 1969 as assistant to Ben Sirman. Ron became head coach in 1973 and held that post for 28 years. Ron's Bluejays won 9 Henlopen Conference crowns, qualified for the state tournament 11 times, made the final four times and won state championships in Division I in 1981 and Division II in 1983. Dickerson was a Blue-Gold game head coach twice and served as an assistant four times. Many of Ron's players earned college scholarships, led by DSMHOF inductee Lovett Purnell. When he retired from Seaford, Dickerson's 191 wins ranked fourth in state prep football history and first among downstate coaches. Ron served as Seaford's head baseball coach for seven years, with 102 wins and 26 losses, four Henlopen titles and two state championships. DSMHOF inductees Mike Neill and Delino DeShields played for him. In addition, Ron served as Seaford's athletic director and Henlopen football chairman from 1991-1997and on the state football tournament committee from 1979-1997.
Brenda Becker Ferris is a New Castle, Delaware native, an All-State selection in field hockey and softball at William Penn High School and an inductee of the West Chester University Athletic Hall of Fame. In Brenda's four-year collegiate career, her Golden Rams field hockey teams won three of the school's four AIAW national championships. As a senior midfielder, she was named an All-American and received the Broderick Award as the nation's best field hockey player. Ferris was a top-ten finalist for the best collegiate female athlete in the U.S. During the 1978-79 academic year, Brenda pulled off an improbable national championship double, leading West Chester to the first-ever NCAA title in the sport of women's lacrosse. This accomplishment catapulted Ferris into the national and international spotlight. She was selected as the youngest member of the U.S. Field Hockey Team. That team qualified for the 1980 Olympics, but America boycotted the Games that year. However, the team finished fourth in World Cup competition. Brenda then captained the first U.S. Under 21 team that beat Canada in international play. She was a three-time field hockey participant at the National Sports Festival, where her squad won a gold medal. Brenda remains a prominent figure in Delaware sports. She has played on at least 15 championship teams in softball, flag football and field hockey with two Diamond State Games field hockey titles to her credit. In 2005, her Coed League softball team won a national championship. Brenda currently coaches women's lacrosse at Tatnall School.
Doris Callaway Fry was an outstanding athlete at Laurel High School 1946-51. Doris scored more than 1,000 points in her high school basketball career, and may have been the first Delaware female to achieve this milestone. She participated in basketball, softball and field hockey, but excelled in basketball, making the team as a seventh grader and serving as team captain for two years. During her senior year, Doris was Delaware's top female scorer with 413 points during Laurel's 13-3 season. She averaged 28.5 points per game, scoring 56% of the team's points. Doris was the team's highest scorer in each game she played. She scored 58 points in an 85-44 win over J.M. Clayton H.S. in 1951. Doris was considered one of the top female basketball shooters on the Eastern Shore Peninsula. Newspaper articles quoted opponents as speaking highly of her basketball ability and good sportsmanship. Rival coaches rejoiced when her basketball career ended. She played one year of field hockey and softball. She was the team's leading pitcher and one of the best hitters. During the period 1951-1953, Doris played recreational basketball, softball and volleyball in local women's leagues. She remained active as a pitcher in the Milford Recreation League well into her 40's. A talented bowler, Doris was inducted into the Lower Delaware Women's Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 2000. She retired as a nurse from Stevenson House, a holding facility for troubled youths, where she bonded with residents by demonstrating her basketball shooting prowess.
Jack Holloway coached wrestling at William Penn High School for 25 years with a record of 297-35, including 14 unbeaten seasons. This was the most wins of a wrestling coach in state history. His teams won seven state titles, eight Blue Hen Conference Tournament team titles, and 18 of 21 Blue Hen Flight A dual meet titles. He coached 39 individual state champions and 112 Blue Hen Conference champions. Six of his wrestlers won state “Outstanding Wrestler” awards. He won seven “Coach of the Year” awards and was selected “National Coach of the Year” in 2000. He was elected President of the National Wrestlers Coaches Association in 2001, and inducted into the Delaware Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003. Jack served on the State wrestling committee for 24 years, and has given clinics for coaches all over the country. He served as Athletic Director and on the State Sportsmanship Committee for 15 years. William Penn earned the State sportsmanship award six of the seven years he was there, and in 2004 Jack received the National Award for Meritorious Service to Wrestling from the National Wrestling Coaches Association. Serving as Executive Director of the DIAA, Jack was involved in supporting a new system for determining a wrestler's safe weight class that is now mandatory for all states.
Aubrey Hudson is considered one of downstate Delaware's finest all-around high school athletes. Graduating from Georgetown in 1951, Hudson lettered for three straight years in four sports: football, basketball, baseball and track. A versatile football player, he was a running back, punter, place-kicker and defensive back. Aubrey scored 12 touchdowns in his senior season, finishing third in state scoring to Hall of Famers Ron Waller and Bunny Blaney, and was named third team All-State. At 5' 7" and 150 pounds, Hudson was a prolific scorer in basketball, becoming the first schoolboy basketball player in Delaware to score 50 points in a game. In 1951, he was named first team All-State - the only downstate player so honored that year, and the only first team basketball selection in Georgetown history. In track, Aubrey led Georgetown to three straight undefeated seasons. He won 39 of the 41 races in which he competed. In a dual meet in 1951, Hudson broke the existing state record in the 220 yard dash and at the state track meet; he was second to Ron Waller, losing by a step. In baseball, he led the team in hitting and base stealing while playing several positions. Aubrey played freshman football at the University of Delaware, but left to enter the Air Force, where he played on football and basketball teams. Later, he joined the Delaware State Police and retired with a rank of lieutenant. Hudson now lives in Lewes and is an outstanding senior tennis player.
Mary Knisely was an accomplished multi-sport competitor in high school and college. At Concord High, she was voted 1977 Delaware High School "Female Athlete of the Year" and was first team All-State in basketball, field hockey and track. Three years later, while attending the University of Delaware, Mary was a 1500-meter Nationals qualifier. But it was Knisely's post-collegiate running accomplishments that moved her into an elite class as a track athlete in world competition. In the 1984 U.S. Olympic trials, Mary placed seventh in the 3,000m. In 1985, she was a member of the U.S. Cross Country gold medal world championship team, placed third in the 3,000m at the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships, won the Silver Medal in the World Cup 10,000, and ran first in the 10,000 at the IAAF championship meet. In 1986, Mary was national champion in the 3,000m at the U.S. Track and Field Outdoor Championships and placed third overall in the 3,000m at the IAAF Grand Prix. In 1987, she repeated as national champion in the 3,000m, was gold medalist in the 3,000m at the Pan Am Games, and ran again as a member of the U.S. Cross Country gold medal world championship team. That same year Knisely ran a 5K-road race in 15:12 at Kutztown, Pennsylvania., setting an unofficial world record, and was ranked sixth in the world for track 5K. In 1988, she placed fifth in the 3,000m at the U.S. Olympic Trials. In 2001, Mary ranked sixth in the world Master's road rankings.
Jim “Whitey” Oddo was an excellent athlete for the Wimington High Red Devils in the 1950s and has become one of North Carolina's most successful and respected schoolboy football coaches. Jim was a first team Delaware All-State football selection in his junior and senior years, and has been inducted into the WHS “Wall of Fame.” Recruited to play football at North Carolina State, Oddo was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team in his junior and senior seasons, and honorable mention All American his senior year. He was selected as the “Best Lineman” by his N.C. State teammates. Following his senior year he was selected to play in the Blue-Gray All-Star football game, and also received the “Delaware Athlete of the Year” award in 1957. Still coaching football at Charlotte Catholic High School in Charlotte, N.C., Jim has enjoyed a long and excellent career. His teams have won three Division I state championships, two Division II titles, four regional titles and 18 conference championships. Jim has led Charlotte Catholic to the state playoffs 19 times while compiling an overall record of 287-129-2. In 2008, Oddo's squad was 13-3, and lost the state championship game by a 28-20 score. Selected as Conference Coach of the Year five times, Jim has coached in the state East-West and the Shrine Bowl All-Star games. School officials point out that 99% of his athletes have attended college. The Charlotte Catholic football field is named in Oddo's honor.
John Rollins was a visionary business leader who brought world-class motorsports to Delaware and personally kept the sport of harness racing alive in the First State in the 1980s when its future here was threatened by competition from neighboring states. As chairman of Dover Downs, Rollins oversaw the growth of Dover Downs International Speedway. The facility at one time was the world's second-leading motorsports venue, attracting more than 500,000 auto racing fans annually. Because of Rollins' commitment to auto racing, leading NASCAR drivers compete in Sprint Cup races at Dover two weekends each year. Dover International Speedway also hosted a major Indy Racing League event, which attracted fans from around the country. In harness racing, Rollins subsidized the sport for a number of the final years in the 1970s and 1980s. Rollins was a member of a partnership that raced a number of outstanding harness horses. Foremost of these was the great Albatross, who dominated the sport in the 1970s, winning 59 of 71 lifetime starts against the top competition in the world. Albatross went on to become the most productive stallion in the sport at that time. Rollins also raced such outstanding pacers as Jefferic Adios.
Jim Smith was an outstanding basketball and baseball player at the University of Delaware following graduation from P.S. DuPont High School, where he was the top athlete in his senior class. Smith was the second Blue Hen basketball player to total more than 1,000 career points. He was a first-team all-Middle Atlantic Conference selection as a junior and senior at Delaware during the 1955-56 and 1956-57 seasons. Jim set what was then a Delaware Fieldhouse single game scoring record with 43 points against Swarthmore, and for a time shared the University of Michigan Fieldhouse single-game scoring record with Ron Kramer, a college All-American and future pro football star. Playing for the Hens' baseball team, Smith was one of Delaware's top hitters, batting .354 as a junior and .323 as a senior. He was named to the NCAA District Two All-Star team as a senior in 1958, and led the NCAA in triples during the 1957 season. Smith then played one year in the Phillies' farm system, batting .284 for High Point in the Class B Carolina League before returning to Wilmington and enjoyed an 18-year semi-pro baseball career, with a .344 career batting mark and a league-leading .418 average in 1970, his final semi-pro season. Jim was a six-time All-League selection and hit .488 in 10 league All-Star games. A highly respected high school coach, Smith was a football assistant at Dickinson High School and also served as head girls' basketball coach, compiling a 115-28 record and winning three conference titles.