Five Inducted Into the DHS Athletic Hall of Honor

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The Duncanville ISD Athletic Department named Christie Capps Siar, Mike Chrietzberg, Jeanne Doolan, Billy Ray Ground, and Chris Owens as 2012 Hall of Honor Inductees on Thursday evening.  Congratulations to these five outstanding individuals who were nominated by community members and chosen through a selection committee for their contributions to our school district and community.

Christie Capps Siar

Christie Capps was a 4 year All District, All Region, and All State player for the Duncanville girls’ basketball team from 1974 to 1978. She was also a 3-time High School All-American. One such honor was being a 3rd Team Parade All-American.  In 1976, she led the Pantherettes to their first state championship and made the All-State tournament team.  Other honors in high school included being named FCA National Female Christian Athlete of the Year in 1978, first girl on the cover ofTexas Coach Magazine (January 1978), and playing in the Texas North-South All Star game.  Christie received a scholarship to Baylor University from 1978 to 1980 and was the leading scorer in the 1978-79 season.  She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University in 1983 and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1989.  After several years in vocational ministry, she began coaching.  In 1994 to 1998, she was the assistant coach in Duncanville. During that time the Pantherettes were state 5A finalists in 1994 and state champs in 1998 with a 40 – 0 record. She then became an assistant coach at Mansfield High School from 1999 to 2002 and was a part of 3 of the 4 consecutive state 5A championship teams in 2000, 2001, and 2002.  She received the Distinguished Educator Award from Mansfield ISD in 2005.

Christie was introduced by Jana Davis Watts.

“Christie was quite the basketball player,” said Watts. “She was my hero, my Michael Jordan.” Watts went on to relate stories about Christie as a Panterette, as a friend, and as a prayer warrior.

Christie was instrumental in helping Watts get through her daughters battle, and victory, over cancer. “That’s what Christie is about, uplifting other,” said Watts.

Christie took the podium and thanked her father, who was in attendance, for his sacrifices so that she could play for Coach Sandra Meadows.

Christie went on to reminisce on the 1976 State Championship, of which she was responsible for the winning shot. “We were confident in our commitment to make it happen.”

She also credited Coach Meadows for the lessons in coaching, and in life. “Over the years I would hear coach’s words in my head, and coming out of my mouth.”

Mike Chrietzberg

Mike Chrietzberg is in his 37th year as a public school educator.  He has served all 37 of those years as an employee of the Duncanville ISD. Mike began his teaching career in 1976 at Byrd Middle School as a science teacher and football, basketball, and track coach.  In 1987, he began his public school administration career serving as an assistant principal at Reed Middle School for 2 years. In 1989 he assisted in the opening of the new Duncanville Ninth Grade School serving as assistant principal for 8 months and then being named principal of the Ninth Grade School in April of 1990. He continued to serve as principal until the spring of 1995. In the fall of 1995 he was appointed principal of Duncanville High School. While principal of DHS he has led the school through many changes, most notably the recent construction project that has resulted in DHS being the 2ndlargest high school under one roof in the United States. In 2012 he transitioned into the role as Duncanville ISD Chief of Staff

Mike has received several honors over the years while serving the students of Duncanville Schools. He was the 1979 Byrd Middle School Yearbook Dedicatee and the 1998 Duncanville High School Yearbook Dedicatee. He has received Honorary Memberships in the Future Farmers of America, National Technical Honor Society, and in the National Thespian Society. He was named a “Champion for Children” award recipient for Duncanville ISD, Superintendent Award from the Duncanville Education Foundation, and received a PTA Texas Honorary Life Membership and PTA National Honorary Life Membership awards. He was named the Texas Association of Journalism Educators 2006 Principal of the Year. He received the Duncanville Masonic Lodge “Community Builder” award.  Mike lists his greatest achievement as an educator is the fact that he has positively impacted the future of over 27,000 youth of the Duncanville School District over the past 36 years.

Introducing Mike was longtime DHS principal Flo Judd. “Everybody in this town, and in this district knows how wonderful he is,” says Judd.

Mike started in Duncanville as a Junior High Coach and Judd credits him with bringing those talents to DHS as an administrator. “All great coaches have the same attributes, and Mike is no different. Mike taught us all that when the going gets tough, you never quit, you try harder.”

“In 36 years there has never been another person in this district, in this community, that the teachers and kids had more respect for than Mike Chrietzberg,” said Judd.

Mike said that it was an honor to be recognized with the great athletes and coaches that have come through DHS, and named several of them.

“My deepest appreciate to my God, my family, and Duncanville High School,” said Chrietzberg.

Jeanne Doolan Cunningham

Duncanville swimmer Jeanne Doolan is a four-time state champion, a state record holder, a two-time outstanding female competitor at state meets, and was on the  high school National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association All America List seven times.  At the district and regional levels she was undefeated; she was a four-time district Swimmer of the Year from 1983-1986 and twice the regional Swimmer of the Year in 1985 and l986.  As a senior, Jeanne was ranked fastest high school swimmer in the U.S. in the 50 yard freestyle, and third fastest in the 100 freestyle. She set a national record in the 50 free, and was ranked first in the US and second in the world in that event. She was a member of the United States National Swim Team, winning multiple titles nationally and internationally including the US Open Champion and a bronze medal at the 1987 Pan American Games. After graduating from Duncanville High School, she received a scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Austin where she was part of three NCAA team championships as well as multiple individual championships.  Doolan was a nine-time National Collegiate Athletic Association  All American.  She is also a four-time American record holder, including a relay record that stood for 13 years.  The Duncanville grad was a captain of the Longhorn team her senior year, as well as being named a finalist at the 1988 Olympic trials in the 50 free.

Jeanne co-chairs Swim Across America Dallas, an open water event that raises money for cancer research at the Innovative Clinical Trials Center at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center. The event has raised over $600,000 to fund Phase I trials in just two years.

Jeanne was introduced by long-time swim coach Flip Gammon.

Gammon told the audience that during the time Jeanne was swimming for DHS the team only lost one dual meet and ended the 5-year undefeated streak by Highland Park High School. “She elevated her teammates,” said Gammon.

Gammon went on to explain that the moment he remembers most was after Jeanne had helped the Texas Longhorn swim team win the National Championship. The Longhorn tradition included the team members jumping from the 10-meter board. Jeanne didn’t want to jump but did, and landed wrong and broke her back. Gammon saw her after church and was very insightful about her injury. “It was probably a blessing in disguise because it was God telling me it was time to get on with my life.”

Jeanne said that she was surprised when she got the phone call, but very honored because Duncanville is truly the City of Champions.

While winning the National Championship was a huge accomplishment, Cunningham was proudest of the year that Texas came in second in the National Championship meet. “This was after the 1988 Olympics and we had a small team and had to pull together to win second place,” said Jeanne. “When you have the admiration and deep respect as a team, you can accomplish a lot.”

Billy Ray Ground

Billy Ray Ground grew up on a farm just east of Duncanville, and graduated from Duncanville High School in 1941 as one of the great athletes of the school’s earliest years.  Ground played football, basketball, and baseball while attending Duncanville High. In addition to his athletic success, he was honored by being chosen as “High School Favorite” for 1941. After graduation, he served with the US Navy during World War II.  After completing his military service, he attended Abilene Christian College where he became a star basketball player, lettering for four years.  In 1948, he graduated from Abilene Christian and returned to Duncanville High School to coach football, baseball, and both girls and boys basketball.  He led the baseball and basketball teams to several district championships.  Ground’s most noted success was in basketball, coaching the Duncanville girls team to the state semifinals in 1951 and the state finals in 1952. This was the start of the great girls basketball tradition that still thrives in Duncanville.  Ground later worked for Dallas ISD as both a coach and teacher.  After a long and successful career, he retired and is currently living in DeSoto, Texas.

Donnie Shepard introduced Coach Billy Ray Ground. Shepard was a football player for Ground.

“Billy Ray Ground played football, baseball, and basketball for Duncanville and was the first Duncanville athlete to receive an athletic scholarship.”

Ground’s was also the first paid coach for Duncanville.

“Coach would tell us to keep it simple, and practice, practice, practice,” said Shepard.

Coach Ground did not speak at the event, but afterward joked that the audience might not have understood him. “I coached back when the basketball had laces. You would dribble the ball and all of a sudden it would take off a different direction.”

Chris Owens

In 1995-96, Chris Owens played for the Duncanville Panther basketball team that went 33-2 and was ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation under the direction of Coach Phil McNeely.  Owens earned a number of accolades and recognitions during his time at Duncanville High School.  He was named a Parade Magazine All-American Athlete.  During his senior year, he was ranked No. 20 in the nation by Sporting News Prime Prospects.  Street and Smith’s Sports Magazine selected him as a third-team All-American.  Owens was ranked nationally in the top 25 high school basketball players by recruiting analysts Clark Francis, Van Coleman, and Bob Gibbons.  He was listed as top senior in the south by Ron Briscoe’s Regional Basketball Report, and was rated as the No. 1 senior in Texas by Texas Blue Chip Basketball Report.  Additionally, Owens was ranked sixth among small forward seniors by Athlon, seventh among power forwards by Ultimate Hoop, and among the top 15 prospects in the nation by the Super Programs Hotline and Sportsline.  Locally, the Dallas Morning news named Owens Area Player of the Year while he was a senior, after he led metro Class 5A schools with 26.9 scoring average.  He was ranked third among Dallas-area 5A players in rebounds with an 11.8 average.  Owens received numerous offers from Tulane, Arizona, Arkansas, Texas and Texas Tech universities.  After playing college basketball at both Tulane and the University of Texas, Owens was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2002 NBA Draft.  Owens currently plays overseas.

Former coach and current school board trustee Phil McNeely introduced Chris Owens.

“I’m not only proud of the player he was, but the man he is,” said McNeely.

McNeely talked about the time that Owens told him that he didn’t have pants to wear to school. McNeely and his wife took him to buy a pair of jeans, but Owen’s mother called the coach shortly after her son got home and asked the coach what he thought he was doing.  “She told me to come and get the pants because Chris didn’t get anything he didn’t earn.”

McNeely also remembers that when his father died, Owens was the first one at the visitation. “He sat next to me with his arm around me the whole evening.”

Owens first thanked his teammates from DHS, some of which were in the audience. “It was an honor to play with a great bunch of guys.”

He went on to thank coach McNeely. “I never played for a better coach. I never played for a better man.”

He also credited McNeely with teaching a basketball lesson that he carried over into his life off the court.  He said that at the end of practice they would line up to run lines and he would ask the coach how many they had to run because he wanted to pace himself. “Give me everything you’ve got, every time, because you don’t know how many you’ve got.”

The recipients will also be honored at halftime of the DHS homecoming game between Duncanville and Grand Prairie High School on Friday, October 12.