During halftime of the boys’ basketball game against Meadowbrook, Thomas Dale held their 8th annual “Ring of Champions” ceremony. The Ring of Champions is meant to honor former students and coaches who made tremendous contributions to the Knights’ family.
The first honoree was Les Keenan, Class of ’68. Les was a truly multi-talented athlete, being a three year starter in three different sports. He earned All Tri-City honors in both basketball and baseball, but ultimately baseball was the sport he decided to pursue further. He was a star baseball player at Ferrum College before later transferring to play outfield at the University of Richmond.
Wayne Butler, Class of ‘78 was also a great multi-sport athlete for the Knights. He was a two year starter in both basketball and baseball. He led the basketball team to one of the greatest upsets in Thomas Dale’s history, beating No.1 ranked George Wythe in the region quarterfinals. Despite the big win in basketball, his main sport was baseball, where he won an All-State honor in his senior year. After high school, Butler continued his baseball career at Randolph-Macon College.
Brandon Byerson, Class of ’06, was the next inductee into the Ring of Champions. Byerson started three years on the basketball team, and he scored over 1,000 points in his career to join the Knights’ 1,000 point club. Even better than being in the club, Byerson’s biggest accomplishment is being the leading scorer in Thomas Dale basketball history. After high school, he played basketball at Virginia Union.
Dale Clark was another honoree for his great coaching at Thomas Dale. He was a longtime baseball coach from 1990 to 2006 where he had much success. He coached the team to two district championships, and won a total of 154 games for the Knights. He also started the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Thomas Dale in 1990, and he is still the sponsor of the club today. Clark has also been a long time teacher at the school.
The 1975 boys basketball team was also inducted into the Ring of Champions for their incredible season. They won the Central district regular season and tournament championships, also finishing as regional runners up. The roster of that team included Henry Jefferson, Frankie Webster, John Waller, Mike Wilder, Mike Turner, Russell West, Leonard Carr-Johnson, and Carroll Briggs.
Phil Kennedy, Class of ‘01, was considered the first great volleyball player at Thomas Dale. He was a force to be reckoned with, being named to two All-District teams, two All-Region teams, and to a first team All-State team. Kennedy paved the way for the wave of ultra-talented volleyball teams that came from Thomas Dale later in the decade as the school brought home a state championship in 2007.
Community Jan 22, 2020