Takeo Spikes Elected to NFHS Hall of Fame

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 13, 2024) – Four outstanding former high school athletes, including Joe Mauer, a three-sport standout at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul, Minnesota, before his celebrated career with the Minnesota Twins, highlight the 2024 class of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame.

Joining the four former athletes in this year’s class are four highly successful high school coaches, two former state association administrators and one contest official. The 11 honorees will be inducted July 1 during the 41st induction ceremony of the National High School Hall of Fame, which will be held at the 105th NFHS Summer Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.  

At Cretin-Derham Hall High School, Joe Mauer batted .567 with 43 home runs and struck out only once in 222 at-bats. He led Cretin-Derham Hall to a state football title as a junior and to a state baseball title as a senior. 

The other three former athletes in the 2024 class are Takeo Spikes, who as a two-way football player (tight end, linebacker) helped Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia to a 15-0 mark and a state championship in 1994; Tyrone Wheatley, who was one of the greatest multi-sport high school athletes in Michigan history during his career at Dearborn Heights Robichaud High School in the late 1980s; and Dot Ford Burrow, who scored 82 points in a basketball game for Smithville (Mississippi) High School in 1949-50 when she averaged almost 50 points a game and was making headlines long before her grandson, Joe Burrow.

The four coaches in this year’s class have coached an astounding combined 194 years (48.5 average) and claimed a total of 43 state championships in volleyball, football, swimming and baseball. These four remarkable individuals include Paula Kirkland, who was won 1,088 volleyball matches at Dorman High School in Roebuck, South Carolina, and led her teams to 15 state championships in 43 years; Gary Rankin, the winningest high school football coach in Tennessee history during his 42-year career in which he has led teams to 17 state championships at four different schools; Roy Snyder, who started the swimming program at Wilson High School in West Lawn, Pennsylvania, in 1964 and has 611 victories and four state championships in an amazing 59 years; and Ronald Vincent, who won the 1,000th baseball game of his career last year at J. H. Rose High School in Greenville, North Carolina and has led his teams to seven state titles in 50 years. 

The official in this year’s class is David Gore, a baseball and football official from Norman, Oklahoma, for 37 and 35 years, respectively, who officiated nine Oklahoma Secondary School
Activities Association state football championship games.

 The administrators in this year’s class are Mike Colbrese, who retired in 2019 after 37 years as an administrator in three state high school associations, including the final 26 years as executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, and who had major contributions to NFHS committees and boards; and Marie Ishida, the first female president and first female executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation who had major contributions at the state level and nationally with the NFHS.  

During his four years at Washington County High School in Sandersville, Georgia, Spikes was one of the top two-way players in the state’s history. As a linebacker and tight end, Spikes helped his school to a 41-3 record, including a 15-0 mark and a state championship as a senior in 1994.

            Spikes’ Washington County teams won three regional championships and finished first, second and a state semifinalist during his final three years. The 1994 state championship team scored 641 points (42.7 per game and a state record at the time) and is still considered one of the top teams in state history.

            Spikes was one of the biggest reasons that Washington County achieved that lofty status. On offense, he caught 40 passes, 22 of which went for touchdowns, for 751 yards. On the defensive side, he had 238 tackles (including an amazing 33 for losses), three interceptions and two blocked punts. Not surprisingly, he was named Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Middle Georgia Player of the Year by the Macon Telegraph.

            Other honors include two-time all-state, 1994 Parade All-American, 1994 USA Today All-American, Georgia Defensive Player of the Year, three-time first team all-region and 1994 Region Player of the Year.

In a 2007 ranking by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the state’s all-time best high school football players, Spikes was No. 7 in the Top 25 poll, which was headed by Herschel Walker, another member of the National High School Hall of Fame.

“Takeo was one of the most popular students in school among his academic teachers and school administrators,” said Rick Tomberlin, Spikes’ football coach at Washington County. “In my observation, which goes beyond 40-plus years, I have never witnessed a better high school player in any classification than Takeo Spikes. Takeo was our team leader, our bell cow! Takeo was the best team leader I have ever observed.”

Spikes also competed in track and field and earned four letters. He was a multi-event participant and received regional and state honors in his final three years.

             At the next level, Spikes was a three-year starter at Auburn University and a two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection. In 1997, he led the Tigers with 136 tackles and helped Auburn advance to the SEC championship game, in which he was named most valuable player.

            Spikes left Auburn after his junior year and was the 13th overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. He played five years with the Bengals, followed by stints with Buffalo, Philadelphia, San Francisco and San Diego. He was first team all-pro in 2004 with Buffalo and two-time Pro Bowl (2003, 2004).

            In 15 years, Spikes recorded 29 sacks and had 19 interceptions. He is one of seven linebackers in NFL history to start more than 200 games (219).

            Following his playing career, Spikes earned his degree from Auburn in 2016. He has been inducted into the Alabama and Georgia Sports Halls of Fame. He is a mentor to middle school and high school students at his annual TKO Camps.

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