Class Of 2014
Wheeler High School is inducting five new athletes — including a member of Georgia’s national championship team — in this year’s Hall of Fame class.
Jeff Paulk, a quarterback who played for high school coaching legend Corky Kell at Wheeler and coaching legend Vince Dooley at Georgia, heads this year’s new inductees.
Former Florida State player Bill Shaw is also in the group along with current Kennesaw State pole vault coach Robbie Robertson, former Kennesaw State basketball player Karen Chandler Kasprowicz and former Wheeler wrestling standout Hugh Meek.
The five new additions will be recognized on the weekend of Sept. 26-27.
“It’s a pretty big deal to get nominated in Wheeler’s hall of fame because we’ve been around so long,” Wheeler athletics director Chase Stroempl said We have so many athletes, when you get nominated to Wheeler Hall of Fame it’s a big deal. It’s one time of year that we celebrate with these people.”
Paulk was a two-year starter at quarterback for Wheeler in 1977 and 1978 and led the Wildcats to region championships both years. One of his early memories of playing for Kell was the late coach having a one-on-one talk with him his sophomore year and told him to have faith, confidence and intensity and that “if you have all those three together, you will be successful.”
During his memorable 1980 season at Georgia, Paulk was a backup quarterback to Buck Belue and teammate of Hershel Walker.
Paulk started in the secondary that season, but when Belue’s original backup quarterback sustained an injury, Dooley made him the next fulltime backup. He helped Georgia to a perfect 12-0 season and the national title.
“I was honored to be chosen for (the Hall),” Paulk said. “There are so many amazing athletes that have gone through Wheeler over the time period and I was like, ‘Really, you chose me?’ I know a bunch of (Wheeler athletes) and played football with a bunch of great athletes. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.”
Paulk served as Dooley’s quarterback coach in 1983 before spending 24 years in the Air Force. Now a retired colonel, Paulk is now head coach of the Johnson Ferry Christian Academy football team.
Shaw took a similar path and enjoyed a solid career at Florida State after playing for Wheeler in the late 1960s. A two-year starter at defensive end for the Seminoles, he played in the inaugural Fiesta Bowl against Arizona in 1971. Shaw finished his career as a three-year varsity letterman.
He spent the next 18 seasons coaching in college, beginning at Virginia Military Institute. He went on to have stints at Jacksonville State, Florida State Tennessee and Tulane, serving as defensive coordinator for both Jacksonville State and Tulane. Shaw also served one year as a co-resident of Wheeler’s Touchdown Club in 1994.
Prior to becoming the pole vault coach for Kennesaw State, Robertson was the associate pole vault coach for Team USA during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He was also named track coach of the year at Wheeler in 1984.
Kasprowicz was an All-American in softball, basketball and track in 1985 and was named Georgia High School Athlete of the Year the same year. She led Wheeler to state championships in softball in 1983 and 1985. She went on to play basketball for Kennesaw State from 1985-89.
Meek compiled 115 wins, 11 losses and 81 pins in his career at Wheeler. He was the individual state champion in 1983 with 39-0 and 24 pins and topped that a year later by winning state with a 40-0 and 37 pins. He took second in the Southeast Olympic Regionals in 1988 as well as being a final qualifier for the Olympic Trials.
MDJ article by Adam Carrington