*Info submitted by Andy Furman
The May Northern Kentucky Hall of Fame Class was headlined by three Highlands grads, a Bellevue and Holmes grad.
Dave Hudepohl (Highlands), Cindy Schlarman Graves (Highlands), John Schlarman (Highlands), Walter “Whitey” Kordenbrock (Holmes) and Dennis Deal (Bellevue) are the newest inductees.
Hudepohl is a 1959 Highlands grad who was a four-year starter in football, basketball and baseball. In football he was a 9th Region All-Star and in his junior season the Bluebirds went undefeated. In basketball he served as co-captain his senior year and in baseball he posted a 14-2 record as co-captain his senior year and batted .529 for the 9th Region champs. He then went to Harvard University to play football, named All-Ivy League defensive end in 1962, the Crimsons Ivy League champions in ’61.
Schlarman Graves is a 1985 Highlands grad, participating in basketball and volleyball. She was named 1984-85 Kentucky Enquirer Player of the Year, as well as First Team, All-Conference, 36th District All-Tournament team and MVP and 9th Region MVP and All-Tournament team. She’s a member of the 1,000-point club and was team captain in volleyball in 84-85 as well as team MVP, All-Conference first team, 36th District All-Tournament team and MVP and All-9th Region. She went on to NKU where she was an NCAA Division II All-Academic team member in basketball in her sophomore, junior and senior season. She scored 1,287 points and dished out 212 assists in her Norse career.
She was Highlands’ team MVP and captain and a member of the 1,000-polint club.
John Schlarman is a 1993 Highlands grad who participated in football, basketball and track-and-field. As a three-year starter on the offensive line for the Bluebirds, he helped lead them to a 14-1 record and a state title in 1992. He was named All-State by the Courier-Journal, Herald-Leader, Associated Press and was named Kentucky Post Player of the Year. In his three years as a starter, the Bluebirds went 29-8 and he led the team in tackles in both his junior and senior season. Schlarman went on to play at the University of Kentucky and was named freshman All-SEC by the Knoxville Sentinel. In 1995 and ’96, he won outstanding lineman and was on the academic honor roll for both seasons. In 1997 he was named First team SEC. He moved into coaching after graduation and served as UK’s offensive line coach from 2013-20. Schlarman died of cancer in 2020.
Kordenbrock is a Holmes graduate and was part of the first ever Bulldogs basketball team in 1935-36. After starting high school at Covington Catholic and transferred to Holmes because they offered both basketball and baseball. At 16, he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians, but his father insisted he finished high school. After graduating, he reported to Fargo-Moorhead at the age of 18 to begin his minor league career. In six seasons in the minors, Kordenbock had 2,284 plate appearances, collecting 600 hits and only striking out eight times.
Deal is a 1970 Bellevue grad and was a four-year tennis player for the Tigers. He won the region as a junior, knocking off the top two seeds. He made it to the finals in his senior season, ranking seventh in the state by the United Lawn Tennis Association. He went on to teach tennis at West Hampton Country Club in New York. Deal sponsored men’s local softball clubs and served as co-supervisor of District 22 knothole and coached two district champions. He coached the Bellevue baseball team in 2001 and ’02 and was named to the Northern Kentucky Knothole Hall of Fame in 1999. Deal also played football at Bellevue, named second team All-City in 1970 and elected to the Bellevue Hall of Fame in 1999.
Northern Kentucky University’s Christina Roybal was the guest speaker, the first Latina woman Division I Athletic Director in the university’s history. Roybal joined the NKU athletics staff as Vice President and Director of Athletics in July of 2022. She’s a graduate of Saint Mary’s College in California, majoring in biochemistry. After working an on-campus job with the athletics department, Roybal realized the organic chemistry lab was no longer for her.
After graduating from Saint Mary’s, Roybal spent 10 years at Fresno State in a variety of administration roles including interim Senior Woman Administrator and sport administrator for women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis and the implementation of women’s water polo. She then went on to Northern Iowa and their athletics staff as Senior Associate Athletics Director for sports administration and Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
Roybal became the second female Athletic Director in the university’s history, Jane Meier the AD when the Norse were in Division II. Only 14% of athletic director’s at the Division I level as of 2020-21 were women. Roybal is one of three women leading athletic departments in the Horizon League conference, Purdue-Fort Wayne and Wisconsin-Milwaukee also having women AD’s. The commissioner of the Horizon League, Julie Roe Lach is also a woman.