By Theresa Bratcher
North Posey High School has an Athletic Hall of Fame.
A crowd of nearly 90 gathered at the North Posey High School cafeteria on Friday evening to induct the inaugural class of four individuals and a single team into the Hall.
The inaugural inductees are Leonard Mauck, Bob Bulkley, Bette Hunt, and Byron Brenton. Brenton’s son Steve and daughter Marcee were on hand to accept Brenton’s plaque posthumously.
The event, sponsored by the Posey County News, has been in the works for nearly two years as a set of by-laws were established and a voting committee was formed.
“The community presented us with a great group of candidates for this first group,” said Posey County News owner/Publisher Dave Pearce. “It was very difficult. North Posey High School came into existence in 1959 and there have been many gifted athletes and lots of memories created in those years.”
Long-time North Posey High School football Coach Carl Joe Gengelbach opened the program after a catered meal was enjoyed by the inductees and their friends and families.
“This would not have been possible without the help of so many people,” Pearce said. “It is easy to realize just how family-oriented the community is when you have the school superintendent, the school principal, and various people throughout the community backing your efforts.”
Steve Brenton gave a response representing the initial inductees. The following excerpts were taken from the nomination forms submitted on behalf of the initial inductees.
The Youngest – Robert Bulkley
Robert Buckley is the ‘baby’ of the inaugural class of the North Posey High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Bulkley is 1962 graduate of North Posey High School. He was the son of Joel and Peg Bulkley. His mother served as PTA president during Bob’s time as a student/athlete. Bob was a member of some of the first North Posey High School football teams.
Upon graduation from North Posey High School, he attended Murray State University and became a biology teacher, with influence from a fellow inductee tonight, Leonard Mauck.
Bob related that he has a soft spot in his heart for education and that he maintains many friendships in the North Posey area. Many of those friends now hold positions in Expressway Automobile dealerships, many of them in key positions.
Robert Bulkley, 1962, football, Soft spot. Friends are from, workers in key positions
About 20 years ago, the North Posey Booster Club and the Bulkley’s stores united to create the yearly vehicle give-away that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for all areas of use within the North Posey school community.
Some key contributions to the North Posey School community include the Revamping of the football team field house, the recent acquisition of the Indiana University football scoreboard to replacing the aging North Posey High School scoreboard, IU scoreboard, and most recently, the digital sign that is highly visible at the entrance of the North Posey High School parking lot.
Every year, Expressway provides daily planners to North Posey students and a monthly contribution is made in honor of fellow inductee, Byron Brenton.
Bulkley has given back to his community hundreds of times and in hundreds of ways.
Bette was a, if not the, pioneer in girls’ sports at North Posey High School. Being a pioneer of course requires an extraordinary willingness to accept a charge that most won’t. No path had been chartered and failure is always more likely than not. She simply did it because North Posey and the young ladies needed someone to step up.
She helped forge the way to success in girls’ sports by giving her time to coach and mentor young women to achieve their best, just as she had done for years in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. She was directly involved in the intramural programs prior and saw sports for girls evolve from intramurals (half-court basketball, volleyball, ping pong, etc.) to what we have today. Bette undoubtedly played a major role in paving a most solid path for what was to become a girl’s sports power for years to come and that we, the community, enjoy to this day.
We have enjoyed years of success with North Posey girls sports in no small way because of the sacrifice that Bette made. I would also add that great coaches are great teachers… these are interchangeable. Bette was not only a great teacher because of the results of her students, but as it would relate directly to players, she helped us to love to learn, challenge ourselves to reach our full potential and to love each other. In her retirement year of 1996 the writer used one word to describe Bette’s career… LOVE. Bette was quoted “These years have been a labor of love for me, and I hope that my students (players) have developed a love of learning or at least a love for their fellow man (teammates). (Source 1996 Valhalla Yearbook).
As I said before the BEST TEACHERS are the BEST COACHES. She “pulled us in” with a most powerful positive force… LOVE. At the start of the school year Bette would write on the board a line from a Hawaiian song. Since no moment ever comes twice may those we share be special ones”. Of course I never “played” for Bette. However the same high character, caring and commitment got me to “perform”. She even made this sometimes unwilling young student learn to love creative writing. These are the Coaches that we all yearn to play for and to be our best for.
She coached volleyball and track & field from 1975-1980.
North Posey had just started girls’ sports when Mrs. Hunt, in her first year coaching, was able to coach North Posey’s first girls’ Volleyball PAC and Sectional Champs in the fall of 1975—Undefeated in the PAC and losing to Castle in the finals of the regional game. Over the next 4 years, and in the infancy of North Posey girl’s sports, she went on to lead 5 more championships in Volleyball and Track and Field.
She, along with her husband Bob (former North Elementary Principal) spent countless hours both on and off the field Coaching, mentoring and teaching as well as giving back time and treasure to many community organizations.
He teams achieved 7 total championships in only five years.
Leonard Mauck was the first athletic director at North Posey High School and was one of the earliest coaches.
If you think there are changes going on in education in Posey County now, you should have been around during Leonard Mauck’s 40-year tenure. That came at a time when five distinct communities, were against their will, being consolidated into one high school, North Posey High School.
Mauck’s nominator touted him as the North Posey High School athletic director all by himself for all sports for almost 40 years. He was also dubbed as North Posey’s ‘GREATEST FAN’ for all sports —men’s and women’s, as demonstrated by his loyalty to the school and it’s athletic programs even today, at 95 years old.
During his/her high school years of affiliation, he showed exemplary conduct or had exemplary success in the areas of Athletic Administration. He administered sweeping athletic administration changes as the Title IX era came into existence striving for equality.
Byron Brenton, was nominated to go into the North Posey Athletic Hall of Fame Posthumously. His award will be received by his son, Steve Brenton.
His nominator described Brenton as “A stalwart coach (football & baseball) and administrator in the history of NPHS. A pillar of the community, he demonstrated great leadership, sportsmanship, and community involvement. He won many administrative awards over the course of his career.
Byron Brenton graduated Petersburg high School in 1951 was an outstanding athlete, earning 14 Varsity Letters in baseball (4) basketball (3) track and field (3) and football (4) playing on undefeated teams his junior and senior seasons
He attended Evansville College on a baseball/football athletic scholarship. His senior year (1955) he was awarded the William Slyker award for best male athlete at the school.
After college he signed a contract with the Milwaukee Braves (Atlanta Braves now) and played Triple A baseball with them for two years in Waycross, Georgia.
He came to North Posey in 1960 to teach and start a football program. He also coached basketball (assistant) and was head baseball coach. From 1960-69 his football teams were 44-32-2 going 16-2 his last 2 years and winning the first PAC title for North Posey (in any sport) in 1969 going 8-1.
Brenton moved into administration (Gengelbach took over football in 1970) and was Principal at North Posey Junior High for two years, and was principal at the high school for five years. He was Assistant Superintendent for one year and was Superintendent for 17 years from 1978 to 1995.
Brenton was in charge of combining teenagers from five separate community schools who had never had a football team and convincing them that together, as the North Posey Vikings, they could accomplish great things.
During his tenure as football coach, the IHSAA went from 11-man football to 8-man football, and back to 11-man football.
Brenton and his wife were tragically killed in an auto/train accident.
The group will be recognized with permanent individual plaques in the trophy case of the halls of North Posey High School. They were also honored during half-time of the evening’s football game.
Members of the school’s first sectional winning team (and still only basketball sectional boys’ championship are 1966 Boys’ Basketball team Sectional Champions. First sectional championship in any sport in school history: Members of the team include Ray Motz, Steve Wiggins, Bob Krietenstein, Danny Peelmanm, Gary Kincheloe, Denny Rogers, Larry Schmitt, Ronnie Luigs, Dan Guffey, Kenny Weinzapfel, Bill Smith, and Rodney Birch. The team was coached by Jim Pittman and assistant coach Robert Schnarr. Team managers were David Heckman and Fred Jochim. Cheerleaders include Jackie Thornburg, Nancy Andry, Brenda Andry, Connie Nix, and Jean Parker.