Former Lawrence Volleyball Coach Recognized by National Federation

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 28, 2007) — Joan Wells, who won 15 state championships as volleyball coach at Lawrence (Kansas) High School, is a member of the newest class of the National High School Hall of Fame.

She is among 12 individuals who will be inducted in the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame July 4 at the Desert Springs Marriott Hotel in Palm Desert, California. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 88th NFHS Annual Summer Meeting.

Wells retired as volleyball coach at Lawrence (Kansas) High School in 1997 after an outstanding 27-year career. She compiled an 865-89 record (90.7 percent), won 15 state championships and finished second in state seven other times. She coached 29 athletes who went on to play NCAA Division I volleyball. She also coached softball for 16 years, guiding Lawrence to its only state softball championship in 1977.

The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, fine arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and activity programs. This year’s class increases the number in the Hall of Fame to 338, and this year’s event will be the 25th induction ceremony.

The 12 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.

Other inductees in the 2007 class:

ATHLETES: Terry Steinbach, ice hockey and baseball player at New Ulm (Minnesota) High School and former Major League Baseball player; Clyde Duncan, track and field star at Des Moines (Iowa) North High School in the early 1960s; Jim Johnson, all-time leading scorer in high school ice hockey history from Cranbrook High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Charlie Wedemeyer, one of the greatest athletes in Hawaii history from Punahou High School in Honolulu.

COACHES: Rick Insell, former girls basketball coach at Shelbyville (Tennessee) Central High School and current women’s basketball head coach at Middle Tennessee State University; John Bagonzi, baseball and basketball coach at Woodsville (New Hampshire) High School with 12 state championships in all; Lewie Benitz, recently retired wrestling coach at Wisconsin Rapids (Wisconsin) Lincoln High School with 17 state championships; Joan Wells, volleyball coach at Lawrence (Kansas) High School with 15 state championships.

OFFICIALS: Jane Hansen, field hockey and lacrosse official from New Jersey; Sam Short, veteran football and basketball official from Alabama.

OTHERS: Tim Stevens, long-time high school sportswriter for the Raleigh News and Observer in North Carolina.

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and fine arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 18,500 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; produces publications for high school coaches, officials and athletic directors; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, spirit coaches, speech and debate coaches and music adjudicators; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at

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