Kathy Keeler ‘65 had an illustrious career as a Professor of the School of Life Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and since has maintained her passion as a plant expert in a variety of pursuits. Her specialties range from ant-plant interactions to grass genetics to studies of prairie plants. In the 1980’s she was at the forefront in contributing to the analysis of genetically-engineered organisms. Kathy wrote analytical pieces and used summaries in the literature to bring existing information to bear on the emerging field. At that time, she also pioneered a flow cytometry technique that has now become the standard. Flow cytometry is the staining of a cell for a particular compound and passing individual cells in front of a laser that measured the stained material. In the classroom, Kathy taught everything from general biology to advanced evolution for new graduate students, with the courses centering around ecology and evolution. Her career as a professor spanned over 30 years and for the first decade she was the only woman professor in her department of over thirty individuals. In 2013 she was frustrated that the great stories of plants she saw traveling, of frangipani, bougainvillea, mountain ash (a giant eucalyptus), weren’t easy to find. The result was Kathy beginning the blog, A Wandering Botanist. It allows her to write about plants as entertainment—odd biology, curious folklore, largely-forgotten stories of their role in history. This has led to speaking in Colorado and sometimes on tours, and books that relate those stories on paper. Since her retirement as a professor, she still continues to write and has recently published three books: Curious Stories of Familiar Garden Plants, Curious Stories of Plants from Around the World and NoCo Notables: 15 Northern Colorado Plants Worth Knowing based mainly on the blog.
The norm is neither for a Chagrin student to play in a punk band nor ascend to be an Oscar nominated director, but Dave Mullins has done both and has had success throughout his career. Leaving Chagrin and his punk rock band Roygbiv, Dave set off to obtain a BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. He would jump right in as an animator at such studios as Walt Disney Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and MGM. He would make his way over to Pixar and work on such films as Monsters Incorporated, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Inside Out, Coco, Cars 3, Mater and the Ghostlight, Brave, and Finding Nemo. He worked his way up to Directing Animator for the film Up and Animation Supervisor for Cars 2, The Good Dinosaur, and Incredibles 2. The Pixar team has won numerous awards on these films and Dave would see his greatest individual success as the writer and director of the 2018 Oscar Nominated Short Film LOU. In addition, Dave spends a lot of time teaching animation and filmmaking at the California Institute of the Arts, Academy of Art San Francisco, Animation Mentor and Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Games and Animation to name a few.
Dave Kirk laid at lasting impact to a generation at Chagrin both in the classroom as an English teacher and as coach to our Tiger runners. He led the Track and Field program from 1990-2014 and Boys Cross Country Team from 1990-2010. Under his tenure, 80 athletes earned All-Ohio recognition and 19 athletes qualified to the National Championships. His teams also won a State Championship and two State Runners-up titles. Additionally, Dave has played an integral role in the writing, organization, and implementation of the “Ohio Plan” as it is referred to by the United States Olympic Committee Paralympic Division which has become a national model for other states looking to provide opportunities for disabled athletes to compete in track & field. He was inducted into the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2012, He continues to volunteer his time to the Department of Defense Warrior Games and has worked with both the Marine Corps and the Army in hosting this event that promotes the successful recovery and reintegration of our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans through adaptive sports competition. A published author, including an article in Olympic Coach, Dave has presented at the USOC National Leadership Conference as well as participated in the National High Performance Summit held by the USOC at the University of Illinois.
Pete Olah was the Head Varsity Cross Country and Track Coach from 1988 – 2000, a period which saw our women’s program come to be a dominant force in Ohio. The team broke out in 1990 at the OHSAA State Cross Country Championships with a 6th place finish. The following year the runners would easily outdistance the competition and earn Chagrin its first team title in 20 years. In 1992, the Tigers returned to Columbus and finished as Runners-Up. Over his 22 seasons his teams earned 3 district championships, 3 district runner-up finishes, and 4 CVC titles. Individually Pete helped to guide 189 Regional Qualifiers, 36 State qualifiers, and 20 State placers. With the success came many honors including being selected CVC Coach of the Year four times (1991 – 1994), Geauga Times Leader Geauga County Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year (1990), Geauga Times Leader Coach of the Year (1991), Ohio Association Of Track and Cross Country Coaches District 2 Coach of the Year (Girls Cross Country in 1991). Pete was also an integral part of the wrestling program in his role as Assistant Varsity Coach during the 1980s & 1990s. The program produced a Regional Runner-Up team finish, over 20 state qualifiers including 9 placers and 2 runners-up. In addition, Pete had a distinguished career as an industrial arts teacher for 34 years at Chagrin.
Sean played a total of 41 games as a varsity Tiger football player. He started in every game including his freshman year. He was selected to the News Herald “All-Star” team all four years he played. As a sophomore, he was selected as the Fox 8 “Player of the Week.” Sean holds the CFHS record for the most rushing yards in a single season, and most career rushing yards on school records. He was voted 1st Team All CVC running back each year: ’96, ’97, ’98 and ’99. His diligence and attitude allowed him to be recognized by awards such as; All CVC and all Ohio all four years of his high school career. As a senior, Sean earned Division 4 Ohio offensive player of the year, Geauga County Touchdown Club MVP, winner of the Cleveland Touchdown Club most valuable player of the year, News Herald MVP, Chagrin Valley conference MVP and was named an All American. Sean’s College football opportunities were many. Teams interested included Penn St, Michigan, OSU, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Michigan State, Boston College and Maryland to name a few. He chose Penn St, where he played for 4 years being named captain by his peers his Sr. year, along with winning the Hall Foundation award for outstanding senior player. Sean was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. He also played for the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tim participated in the unique combination of football, wrestling, and tennis while at Chagrin. His greatest success came in football where he was a standout during one of the greatest eras of Tiger football. As a starting offensive guard and linebacker during his junior and senior years, he helped lead the Tigers to a 19 – 1 record where they were CVC Co-Champs in 1971 and undefeated and CVC Champs in 1972. He earned numerous honors from 1st team CVC, MVP in the CVC, All-Ohio and the Cleveland Touchdown Club recipient in football. He would take his talents to Rose-Hulman University in Indiana. Tim would play four years and would be selected as captain during his senior year playing middle linebacker. Even forty years since graduating from Rose-Hulman, he is still on the top ten list for unassisted tackles in a season with 71.
Adam was a two-sport star both at Chagrin and later at Allegheny College. He was a 2-way starter (plus special teams) on the 1987 CVC Championship team that made the 1st ever play-off appearance for the Chagrin Falls football program. He earned CVC and Geauga County 1st team awards as an offensive guard and represented Chagrin Falls as a starting guard in the 1988 East-West All Star game. In wrestling, Adam would place 4th in the OHSAA State Championships at 189 lbs. Besides county and conference awards, he could boast that he was never pinned in his high school career and only allowed 3 back points in his senior season. At Allegheny, Adam was the starting offensive center for the #1 ranked Division III football team that recorded the first ever perfect regular season in school history. During his four years, his teams recorded three conference and one NCAA national championship. In his senior season, he earned 1st Team GTE Academic All-America and 2nd Team Offense North Coast Athletic Conference honors. On the collegiate mat, Adam would place 4th (’89) and 5th (’91) in the NCAA Regional Tournaments and be honored as Allegheny College’s Outstanding Freshman (’89) and Outstanding Student-Athlete (‘91).
Katie was a 3-sport star at Chagrin earning 11 varsity letters [Soccer (4), basketball (4), & softball (3)]. She started all four years on the soccer squad that included a state title, four state final four appearances and four conference championships with an overall record of 75 – 6 – 6. During Katie’s senior soccer season she would earn 1st Team All-Ohio and MVP honors from the News-Herald, Sun Newspaper, Chagrin Valley Conference, All-Greater Cleveland. In basketball, Katie would be a 3-year starter for a program that won a state title, finished as state runner-up and made the state final four all 3 seasons. The basketball team went 85 – 18 over her four year high school career. Katie would also earn All-District, 1st Team All-CVC and 1st Team News-Herald honors. Katie would further her soccer career at the University of Maryland where she was a 4-year letter winner and 2-year starter. Her teams qualified for three NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournaments, and Katie earned ACC All-Academic honors from 2001 – 03.
Jimmy would finish his Chagrin athletic career with 11 varsity letters [Soccer (2), Football (2), Basketball (3), Baseball (4)] and All-CVC honors in each of the four sports. He would earn 1st Team CVC in Baseball & Football (’97) & 2nd Team in Basketball (’98, ’99) & Soccer (’96). Although he would gain Honorable Mention All-Ohio as Wide Receiver in football (’97), he would garner his greatest success on the baseball field. Jimmy is still the CFHS record holder in Home Runs, RBIs, Doubles and Complete Games. His baseball career continue at Baldwin Wallace College. As a 4-year starter, he was selected for the Outstanding Freshman Award (’00), “Big Stick Award” (‘01) and “Gold Glove Award” (‘03). He would be selected 3-time All Mideast Region, 1st Team All-Conference, & All-Academic Ohio Athletic Conference in Baseball. He is the BW career leader in games (143) & Assists (404), and Season Leader in Assists (128).
Diana has been the most decorated Chagrin athlete winning a gold and silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics and a bronze at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. In 2000, Diana was a member on the American record-breaking 800-Meter Freestyle Relay Team, which won the gold & individually won silver in the 400-Meter freestyle. Her bronze medal in 2004 was in the 800-Meter Freestyle. She would participate in her first Olympic Trials in 8th grade at age 13 in the 400 & 800 Meter Freestyle Events. Over the years Diana won 21 national swimming titles and 7 medals in world championships. She was honored with the Kiphuth Award at the 2002 U.S. Spring Nationals as the highest individual women’s scorer. Diana was a 2-time State Champion (’97 & ’98) and Div. I record holder in the 500-yard Freestyle (4:45.54), while swimming for Chagrin.
Travis earned 12 varsity letters in four sports while at Chagrin. During his four year career in soccer he scored an amazing total of 62 goals, once getting 5 in one game. During his senior year he became one of the top scorers on the football team in his role as the kicker (punter/place-kicker/field goal kicker). Also in that year, he qualified for the OHSAA state track meet in the high jump. Additionally, he was very successful in the long jump. Come winter, he spent three seasons on the varsity basketball team. Travis continued with his soccer at the University of Pittsburgh where he was named captain of his team during his senior year. He also did double duty as the place-kicker/punter for the football team during his sophomore year. Travis played professional soccer with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and the Cleveland Crunch.
During her career at Chagrin, Jenny achieved so many awards that it is impossible to recount them all here. She was the captain of the first girls state championship soccer team, a 2 time All-Ohio selection and won numerous player of the year awards in both her Junior and Senior years. In addition she had the highest GPA in her class and was named the Outstanding Senior in the English Department, Outstanding Student in the Math Department, won the Neal Wheatcraft Senior Science award, was Vice-President of Student Council, President of the National Honor Society and a National Merit Commended Student. Jenny attended Princeton where she was a 4 year varsity starter. During her senior year she was the captain of Princeton’s 2000 Ivy League Co-Champion Team, 1st Team All-Ivy, Academic All-Ivy, Team MVP and was 2nd Team Mid Atlantic Regional All-American.
Trish has had success in three sports for the Tigers earning accolades in all three. Her 12 varsity letters were in soccer, basketball and softball. She was a key starter of the 1998 State Championship Team and 1997 State Runner-up Team in basketball and the 1996 State Championship Soccer Team. Her skills earned her 2nd team All-Ohio recognition in soccer and basketball in 1997 and 1st team All-Ohio recognition in soccer and basketball in 1998. She was also selected MVP of the 1998 State Basketball Tournament. She scored 100 goals in soccer and over 1000 points in basketball. Trish continued her basketball career playing collegiately at the College of Charleston. Outside of being a health and physical education teacher, she is the Varsity Girls Basketball Head Coach at Solon High School. She joins brother Travis ’95, a 2005 inductee, in the Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ryan Kaye ranks as one of Chagrin’s very best basketball players. At graduation, he held a host of school records including all time leading scorer (1,373 points), most points in a season (559) and highest season scoring average (25.4). He was Second Team All-Ohio during his junior and senior years. He was a First Team Chagrin Valley Conference selection for three years in a row. His teams won two CVC championships, two Sectional titles and one District crown. During his senior year, Ryan quarterbacked the football team into the State playoffs. He was a First Team All District selection in football. He played varsity basketball for two years at Williams College in Massachusetts before an injury ended his career.
This esteemed English teacher also distinguished himself as a coach and athletic director at Chagrin Falls High School. As varsity baseball coach for 18 years, Lenny’s teams compiled a 217-152 record. Six times he was named Chagrin Valley Conference Coach of the Year. In 1980 he was Geauga County Coach of the Year. For 20 years he was an assistant football coach, helping develop some of the finest athletes in the school’s history. During his 12-year tenure as athletic director, the athletic program grew to house 24 varsity teams. Four teams won state championships and three were state runners-up. Individual athletes excelled at state and national levels. Lenny has overseen 28 league championships in 11 sports.