Crothersville inducts three into Athletic Hall of Fame

CROTHERSVILLE — Rita Fletcher Cook, Kevin Hensley and Kathy Sage said they have a lot of great memories being involved with Crothersville Junior-Senior High Schoolathletics for the past 40 years.

Cook graduated from CHS in 1979, Hensley graduated in 1980 and Sage graduated in 1981.

They said it meant a lot to them to be inducted into the Crothersville Athletic Hall of Fame on Friday night during the boys basketball game against Seven Oaks Classical School.

Cook played volleyball, basketball and ran track for the Tigers, Hensley played basketball and ran track and Sage played volleyball and basketball.

“It’s very humbling,” Cook said about being inducted. “When Jacob (Dunn, athletic director) said they were nominating me, I just couldn’t believe it. I’ve been here for a long time, and there are other people that well deserved this, but it’s very humbling. I want to thank the Crothersville school system for putting me in the hall of fame.”

She has been an assistant coach in volleyball, boys and girls basketball and baseball and has coached middle school girls basketball and volleyball. She has been a statistician in some of those sports over the years and has been a volunteer coach with some of those teams.

“I played on the first sectional team they had in the state. The 1975-76 season was the first year they had sectionals in girls basketball. We played Brownstown at Brownstown, and that was before it was class,” Cook said. “Carl Bowman was our coach my sophomore year. The first year, it was Sharon Begley. My senior year, I was all-conference in volleyball in the Mid-Hoosier.”

During the 1970s and ‘80s, Crothersville was a member of both the Mid-Hoosier Conference and Southern Athletic Conference. Crothersville withdrew from the Mid-Hoosier but has remained in the SAC.

Cook said the reason she chose to help with the different sports is because of her love for the Crothersville community.

“I love these kids,” she said. “I can’t see myself not doing it. I like the competition, and I like athletics. I watch all kinds of sports.”

The front entrance to the gymnasium was remodeled while Cook was coaching.

“I remember this (lobby) was just an opening and you just walked in. The locker rooms have changed. The school has changed. When I played, we sat on the hard bleachers. We didn’t have the cushioned chairs,” she said. “My youngest daughter (Rebekah) played for the girls basketball team and cheered for the boys team. I’ve had a lot of good memories. As long as I am able and they’ll have me, I will continue to help.”

Sage expressed the same gratitude as Cook.

“For me, it’s very humbling,” she said. “It was very surprising to get it. I’m honored.”

Sage has been a scoreboard operator, scorekeeper and/or statistician for over 40 years.

“I’ve done it all, boys and girls basketball, high school and elementary and volleyball, and I’ve done the scoreboard at softball,” she said. “Anything they were needing somebody to help with, I helped. Even now, if somebody calls and asks if I’m available, I’ll do it. Even out of season because I’ll go with the girls in the summer to Edinburgh and do the book.”

Even before she was out of school, Sage said they had just started junior high volleyball and wanted somebody to help with that.

“I remember going over to Lutheran Central (in Brownstown) and we played a game over there before they even had a gym. We were outside. We didn’t have any uniforms or anything,” she said.

Sage said she has worked with many different coaches over the years. She was the Tigers junior varsity volleyball coach in 2000.

“I’ll help out as long as they’ll have me because I’ve always left it up to the coaches if they want me,” she said.

Her highlights have been watching the boys and girls basketball teams win sectional titles.

“It has been a lot of fun, and I’ve had a lot of memories,” she said. “When I go to the store or someplace and the kids come up and ask, ‘Do you remember when this happened?’ sometimes, they have to remind me who they are because when they played in fifth grade, they looked different than when they’re 30.”

Being inducted into the hall of fame “means a ton,” Hensley said.

“Just because I care so much for the school, being a part of this community and do anything that I can to help the school succeed,” he said. “Everything I do is not necessarily just for me. It’s because I love this sport. Plus, I think I can help the girls become what they weren’t and now what they are.”

Hensley just completed his 14th year as head coach of the girls basketball team. He had previously coached middle school girls and at the JV level.

He coached the girls to a sectional title in 2019, and his daughter, Piper, was a member of that team. He also coached the Tigers to a few SAC titles.

Piper ranks fourth in the CHS career scoring list with 1,120 points.

“I remember that Edinburgh game where she hit her 1,000th point,” Hensley said. “That was a big game for me to see her do that. To see Katrina (Christian) and Piper go to college and play college basketball was nice.”

Every year, he has a different team and said he has to coach them a different way and has to change his coaching style.

“I think that keeps me on my toes, so I have to be prepared to do whatever I’ve got this year compared to last year or the year before,” Hensley said. “It’s always different. A lot of people thought I would get out when Piper graduated, but I wasn’t there just for my two daughters (Piper and Kylie). I was there for all the girls. I hope people understand now, but I just love the game, and I’m there for all the girls.”