The inaugural class of the Towson High School Athletics Hall of Fame, featuring Michael Phelps (2003), Randy Dase (1972), Sue Beeler (1958), Billy Jones (1964), Jaimee Reynolds (1998) and Jack Thomas (1970), will be honored April 19 at halftime of the Hereford-Towson boys lacrosse game.
At 5:15 p.m., five minutes before the opening faceoff of the varsity game, a flagpole and plaque will be dedicated to Mike Godzik (1965), who died in 2008 and in whose name an annual award is given to a boys lacrosse player.
Phelps will be unable to attend the event, although he sent an email expressing his gratitude for being chosen.
"I am honored to be a part of the first class of the Towson High Athletics Hall of Fame," he said in an email. "It really means a lot to me to be recognized by my hometown.
"I set out to change the sport of swimming and to do something that nobody had ever done before, and thanks to a lot of hard work, dedication and a tremendous support system, I can say that I accomplished all that I wanted to do in my career. I am sorry that I will not be able to attend in person, but I would like to express my sincere thanks to the entire Towson community, city of Baltimore and state of Maryland for all of your support throughout my career. I am proud to say that I grew up in Towson, and will always call Baltimore home."
Sue Beeler (Class of 1958)
Sue Beeler was an avid athlete who played field hockey, basketball, and softball from 1956-1958 at Towson High. She was listed in the 1958 yearbook as "tops in all sports, barrels of fun, a college-bound academic, and a future gym teacher." This is exactly what she became.
After graduating from Towson she attended Western Maryland College where she became a standout in field hockey and basketball, earning high scorer honors in hockey in 1962. She was inducted in to the Western Maryland Hall of Fame in 1997.
Not long after returning to her high school alma mater, Beeler coached field hockey, softball, and lacrosse — a program she started and coached until 1996 when her team fell to Catonsville in the state championship game.
More than anything, being the daughter of former Johns Hopkins University lacrosse standout Henry Beeler, she loved lacrosse and enjoyed teaching it to others.
Sue Beeler lost her battle with cancer in 1997, the same year current Bryn Mawr coach Wendy Kridel guided the Generals to their only state lacrosse title.
The Towson Sports Boosters have established an annual award in her honor each year for the female athlete who best emulates her positive passion for sports participation.
Billy Jones (Class of 1964)
Billy Jones was a star on Towson basketball teams that recorded a 38-0 record from 1962-64 against county opponents and earned the school's only state championship (l963). The high-jumping forward was named the outstanding player of that title team, scoring a record of 58 points in 1963 and 73 points in 1964 in the playoffs. Jones, who also lettered in lacrosse two years, became the first black player at Towson.
After graduating in 1964, Jones turned down an offer to play basketball for the University of Michigan, opting to play for the University of Maryland instead while breaking the color barrier in the Atlantic Coast Conference. While at Maryland he played for legendary coach Bud Millikan and with future Maryland coach Gary Williams. He was later inducted in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Legend's Hall of Fame.
After graduating from college, Jones went on to a lengthy college basketball coaching career at American University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, Stanford University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Mr. Jones, who now resides in Florida with his wife Brenda and children Damian, Billy, and Karen, said that "My experiences at Towson High School provided a strong foundation and gave me the confidence to manage the many challenges that I experienced in college and during my professional career. During a very tough time of social unrest in American society, I was embraced and encouraged to pursue my aspirations. Towson High School taught me to be open to all peoples and to be a citizen of the world."
Jack Thomas (Class of 1970)
The son of legendary coach Bill "Bear" Thomas, Jack Thomas was an outstanding athlete at Towson High School, lettering in football, basketball, and lacrosse. Though he was the quarterback of the football team that won a county championship in 1969 and captain of the basketball team that finished second in the county twice, he was best known for his prowess as a lacrosse player. He led the Generals to three straight county championships in 1968, 1969, and 1970 and remains as the only Towson player to receive the C. Markland Kelly Award, give annually to the state's best lacrosse player. Thomas shared the Baltimore Sun's 1970 Prep Athlete of the Year honor with Dundalk High's Jeff Bradford.
At Johns Hopkins University, Thomas played three years varsity lacrosse and football. He was a three time First Team All-American in lacrosse, leading the Blue Jays to the 1974 NCAA title while setting the single-season scoring record. He also earned the Turnball Trophy as the nation's outstanding attackman in 1973 and 1974 before being named the most outstanding player of the World Games for the championship U.S. national team in 1974. He was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1989.
Thomas currently is a social studies teacher at Centennial High School where he coached four state championships soccer teams and was an assistant coach on as many lacrosse title squads.
Randy Dase (Class of 1972)
Randy Dase graduated from Towson High School in 1972, returned to teach five years later and still teaches and coaches soccer. His athletic career at Towson High School spanned nine varsity seasons in soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. He remains one of only two athletes in Towson's rich history to earn a varsity letter every season, and was named All-County in all three sports. In 1972 he was named Student Athlete of the Year by the Towson Athletic Association and the Towson High School newspaper after leading the Generals to three county lacrosse crowns and one in basketball.
Dase attended Johns Hopkins University and was a member of the 1974 championship lacrosse team.
At Towson, Dase has coached the Generals to 10 State Championships in two different sports, owning eight lacrosse and two soccer banners.
"My participation in athletics at Towson High School was the reason I decided to enter the teaching profession," Dase said. "I was provided with outstanding role models as teachers and coaches and have always wanted to provide the same opportunities to our student-athletes."
Jaimee Reynolds (1998)
Jaimee Reynolds was standout volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse player for the Generals and a member of the only girls lacrosse title in school history.
An Honorable Mention All American in 1997, she was also named to the All-County teams in basketball and volleyball. The 1998 Towson Times Female Athlete of the Year, and Mildred H. Murray Scholar Athlete Award winner went on to attend Cornell University, playing volleyball and lacrosse. She was a four-time lacrosse All American for the Big Red, a member of the 2002 NCAA Tournament team and 2002 Ivy League Player of the Year.
Moreover, Reynolds graduated from Cornell magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in biological and environmental engineering.
After college Jaimee earned a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Rochester and was inducted into Cornell University's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012. Currently she resides in Rochester, N.Y. with her husband Scott.
"Towson athletics helped me with time management," she said. "When trying to juggle all the academics and extra-curricular activities during school, you learn to set priorities. Here are mine: Family, Academics, Sports."
Michael Phelps (Class of 2003)
Dubbed by some at the school as "The Golden General," Phelps attended Towson High 1999-2003 while training to become a competitive swimmer. At the age of 15, Phelps became the youngest American male swimmer at an Olympic Games in 68 years and was, later, the youngest male swimmer in history (at 15 years and 9 months) to set a world swimming record.
Shortly after graduating from Towson in 2003, he set five world records. Michael became a superstar at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, winning eight medals (6 gold and 2 bronze) and continued to establish world records at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships and 2007 World Championships.
In 2008, at the Olympic Games in Beijing, Phelps captured eight gold medals, surpassing swimmer Mark Spitz's 1972 single-Olympic record of seven gold medals and becoming the all-time gold-medal winner in Olympic history.
In 2012, his medal count rose to 22 — 18 gold, two silver and two bronze medals to become the most decorated Olympian in historyCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun