Tommy Crenshaw – Baseball Coach, 65-67
Coach Tommy Crenshaw grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi where he excelled as a high school athlete. He attended Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi on an athletic scholarship, and he was named the Baseball Team MVP two of his four college seasons. During coach Crenshaw’s college Baseball career, he caught all but two of Delta States games for four baseball seasons.
Coach Crenshaw began his teaching and coaching career in Georgia at Pebblebrook Junior High, now Pebblebrook High school, where he coached football and basketball. In 1965, he was hired by Wheelers first principal, B.B. Williams, to teach and coach as a member of the original faculty at WHS. While at Wheeler, coach Crenshaw was assistant Football Coach, Varsity Assistant and Junior Varsity Basketball Coach and he was the head Baseball coach.
Coach Crenshaw’s Wildcat Baseball teams were successful from the beginning. Wheeler had no senior class during his first year of existence, but even without seniors, and competing in one of the strongest regions in the state, Wheeler missed making the state playoffs by one game. The next season, 1967, Coach Crenshaw’s Wheeler Wildcats won the region and finished fourth in the state. One of the highlights for Wheeler Baseball that second year was a game played in Florida at the Detroit Tigers training facility where the Wildcats played the number 5 ranked Florida high school team. Wheeler won the game 2-1 before a crowd of over 2000 spectators, including 25 major league scouts who had come to watch another Wheeler Hall of Fame member, Larry Keener, pitch.
After leaving Wheeler, Coach Crenshaw coached both high school and college baseball and was also a graduate assistant Football coach at his alma mater. An outstanding coach in several sports, he has coached state championship teams in Football, Baseball, and Track. He also officiated College Basketball and umpired College Baseball.
Coach Crenshaw and his wife, Joyce, have one daughter and one very special grandson. They live on Lake Blackshear near Cordele, Georgia where they are both active in their church and where Coach Crenshaw is the director of Fishes and Loaves, an outreach ministry that provides food and clothing for families in need.
Krista Kilburn – Basketball Coach, 96-02
Prior to coming to Wheeler High School, Krista Kilburn-Steveskey was an outstanding athlete at Fayette County High School in Fayetteville, Georgia. She inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1999.
Krista graduated from North Carolina State in 1990, where she played for the legendary coach, Kay Yow, and was team captain her senior year. Over those four years, NC State compiled an 83-37 record to advance to the NCAA “Sweet Sixteen” in 1987, 1989 and 1990. The 1990 team posted a 25-6 record, won the ACC regular season championship, and was ranked 11th in the nation by the Associated Press.
Following her collegiate career at NC State, Krista was a member of USA Basketball’s Women’s R. Williams Jones cup squad that competed in Taipei, Taiwan in the summer of 1990.
In 1992, Krista began her coaching career at Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Georgia, and from 1992-96, she was the head girls’ volleyball coach, the assistant girls’ varsity basketball coach, and the head junior varsity girls’ basketball coach.
Krista became Wheeler’s head girls’ basketball coach in 1996. Immediately, she took the program to championship heights. In her six seasons at Wheeler, her teams compiled a stellar 143-38 record (79% winning average) and won the 1998 AAAA State Championship. She also led the team to a state quarterfinals appearance in 2001 and to the Round of Sixteen in 1998 and 2000.
Krista was named the 1998 “Georgia AAAA Coach of the Year.” Also that same year, she was North Georgia, Cobb County and Marietta Daily Journal Coach of the Year. She was the Region 6AAAA Coach of the Year from 1997-2001, and was the recipient of the 1999 Paula Wandell Coach of the Year award.
Krista left high school coaching to become a member of the James Madison staff in Harrisburg, Virginia from 2002-06, where she was assistant coach from 2002-05, and associate head coach from 2005-06.
In 2006, Krista joined the staff of Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. Currently, Krista is entering her eleventh season as Hofstra’s head coach. She has averaged nearly eighteen wins per season since arriving on campus and has posted seven winning seasons and led the Pride to five appearances in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, including two consecutive appearances in 2014-15 and 2015-16. With a 178-139 career record Krista Kilburn Steveskey is the most winning coach in Pride history and her.561 winning percentage is second all time.
Krista and her husband, Chuck live in Long Beach, New York with their two dogs, Zeta and Elvis.
Bill Rogers attended Wheeler High School from 1974-77, for his sophomore through senior years. During his time at Wheeler, Bill played #1 Singles for the Wheeler Tennis Team and was the Region Tournament Champion all three of those years. In addition, Bill was a semi-finalist and finalist in the State Tennis Tournament. In addition to tennis, Bill was also a starting Letterman and Co-Captain of the Wheeler High School Basketball Team for his junior and senior years, earning All-Cobb County Defensive Player Honors his senior year, and averaging just under 14 points a game that same season. During his senior year, Bill was part of the Region Champion Wildcat Basketball Team that defeated then arch rival Marietta High School in the Region Final that year, and went on to play in the State High School Basketball Championships.
During his High School years, Bill was a Georgia, southern regional, and nationally ranked junior tennis player in both singles and doubles, reaching as high a national ranking as #16 in singles, and #7 in doubles, and winning the singles title in the Georgia tennis championship in his first year back in Georgia just prior to entering Wheeler as a sophomore.
Upon graduating from Wheeler, Bill attended the University of Georgia on a full athletic tennis scholarship. During his four years at UGA, Bill compiled the following tennis accomplishments:
4-year UGA Varsity Tennis Letterman; 4-time All-Southeastern Conference Tennis Team selection; NCAA All-American 1981; Southeastern Conference Champion over four year span at Number 3 and 4 Singles, and Number 2 Doubles, Runner-up at Number 2 Singles 1980; Played Number 1 Singles and Number 2 Doubles for the University of Georgia Tennis Team 1980-1981; Reached Semi-Finals of 1981 NCAA Doubles Championships losing to the eventual Champions; Reached Semi Finals of 1981 NCAA Team Championships Playing Number 1 Singles for UGA, losing to eventual Champions Stanford University; UGA Team defeated Southern Cal for Third Place in NCAA Tournament 1981(won Number 1 singles match and the clinching match at number 2 doubles) resulting in Number 3 Final ranking in the Country; Qualified for NCAA Singles Championships 1979 and 1981; Co-Captain UGA Tennis Team 1979-1981; State Collegiate Singles Champion 1981; National 21 & Under Indoor Singles Championship Runner-Up, 1980; chosen for 3-week Coca-Cola Co./UGA- sponsored tennis teaching project in the Peoples Republic of China with Coach Dan Magill, 1982; Assistant Tennis Coach at UGA under Dan Magill, Spring 1982.
Other Interesting tennis fact: Prior to attending Wheeler, Bill lived in New Jersey for his freshmen year in High School, and played in the Eastern Regional Circuit as a 14 and under player. He had the opportunity to play future pro great John McEnroe in the Eastern singles final twice with two close losses, and winning the Eastern Doubles title with McEnroe as his partner against two future NCAA All American’s Peter Rennert and Andy Kohlberg (in an all left-handed player final).
Upon graduating from UGA with an Economics degree in 1981, Bill attended the University of Georgia Law School and graduated, cum laude, in 1985. Bill is licensed to practice law in Georgia and Florida, and has been a practicing commercial real estate attorney for 31 years in a large Atlanta-based firm, as General Counsel with a national real estate developer and within his own law firm. Bill currently lives and practices law in Gainesville, Georgia, with a national law practice in multi-states focused on the acquisition and financing of multifamily, retail, industrial and medical office and other healthcare related real estate. Bill is married to Nonnie Marett, and has four children, Allison, Travis, Mary and Will.
Barry Parker was part of the original student body at Wheeler High School. As a member of the first football, basketball and baseball teams that represented Wheeler, he was instrumental in establishing the foundation of excellence that has been a characteristic of WHS program since the school opened its doors in 1965. Barry not only participated in all three sports, but he was a starter in all three sports for the three years that he attended Wheeler. An outstanding athlete, Barry lettered in football, Basketball and Baseball in 1965, 1966, and 1967. His senior year he was All Region in football, All County and All Region in Basketball, and All County, All Region and All State in Baseball. Barry was twice named the Atlanta Tipoff Club Player of the week for his skills on the Basketball court. His Baseball ability resulted in him being named to both the Metro Atlanta Dugout Club and the Atlanta Braves 400 Club after his senior season in that sport.
After graduating from Wheeler in1968, Barry attended Southern Tech, now a division of Kennesaw State University, on Basketball and Baseball scholarships. Barry has two children, Rory and Tyler, who are outstanding athletes in their own right. Barry’s great enjoy at this time in his life comes from spending time with his grandchildren and attending their athletic events.
Barry and his wife Lea live in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Keith Masters – Wrestling, 85
Keith actually began his wrestling career at Wheeler as an eighth-grader attending East Cobb Middle School. Wheeler’s new Head wrestling coach Gordon Pritz established a youth program at East Cobb as a feeder to Wheeler’s high school program. Along with the Straders and Demeritts, Keith was the first generation of this type of program that is now common practice.
The early start was successful as Keith and teammate Todd Strader made the varsity team as freshman. They both went on to become Wheeler’s first four-year lettermen in wrestling and the team captains of Wheeler’s 1985 State Championship team. As Coach Pritz took the helm, Wheeler began the climb to the top. Keith’s accomplishments in wrestling were many at Wheeler but he credits his success to Coach Pritz and an incredible cast of teammates. Both could bring the extraordinary out of the ordinary by pushing you to the brink of your limitations. Keith’s junior and senior year he had an impressive 53-1 record that resulted in back to back State Championships. Keith would wrestle in whatever weight class necessary to make the team better as Coach Pritz saw fit, going up or down in weight as needed each year. Coach Pritz often described Keith as “…a devastating wrestler. He hurts people, but that’s just because he’s so physical. He wins a lot of matches by sheer intimidation. He is tremendously physical and could win state at any weight class. He is a class act and one Wheeler will have a hard time filling when he’s gone.” During his years at Wheeler, Keith’s accomplishments are the following:
- 2X GHSA Georgia High School State Champion
- 1985 GHSA Wrestler of The Year
- Team Captain of the 1985 State Championship Wrestling Team
- 3X Region/Area Champion
- 2X North Metro Champion
- 2X Cobb County Champion, 1X runner-up
- 3X All Cobb County Team
- 3X North Metro Wrestler of The Year
- Four-year Varsity Letterman
After graduating from Wheeler, Keith received many scholarship offers from D1 universities including Clemson, Washington & Lee, UTC and The University of Nebraska to name a few. Although, circumstances prevented Keith from wrestling on the collegiate level, he did continue his education. Keith received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing and Finance from Georgia State University in four years all while working full-time at IBM. Keith continued his education and two years later earned a Master’s in Business Administration from Kennesaw State College in 1991. Keith left IBM in 1996 to open his own contracting company, Masters, Inc. in Marietta where he still works today. “Building houses and remodeling people’s dreams is a very rewarding job.” Keith also serves as a Chaplain for the Cobb County’s Sheriff’s Office. “Serving the officers and deputies in Cobb County is an honor and I try to be there when they need me the most.” Working for Sheriff Neil Warren has been a humbling experience as I have witnessed his love for this county and the men and women who serve it”.
Although Keith retired from competitive wrestling, he has stayed active in the sport. Keith is a certified “Bronze” coach for Team Georgia Wrestling and a GHSA high school coach. Keith started the wrestling program at North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw where he served as founder and coach. Keith was then joined by Leah Grissom Watson (WHS HOF class of 2013). Leah was the first female GHSA high school wrestling coach in the state of Georgia. “I consider Leah a little sister and I am so proud to have had the opportunity to coach with her in the great sport of wrestling.” We started the program with about 25 kids from 1st-8th grade and within two years we were competing on the state level in Team Georgia Wrestling and GHSA with 75-80 kids. “In my time at NCCS, I have coached many great young wrestlers, including Mark, Jake and Nate Watson along with Carson Masters and others.” There are many names you can be called in life, but surely “Coach” ranks among the highest.
Keith was truly one of Wheeler’s great founding wrestlers, but he will tell you his greatest accomplishment is his family. Keith married his middle school sweetheart, Karen Williamson, in 1985. They have two children Corey and Carson Masters. Corey is married to his beautiful wife Tatum that he met at North Cobb Christian and lives in Marietta and is a Software Engineer. Carson is a student at KSU where he is pursuing a degree in accounting and works for a local accounting firm. Keith and Karen dated for 10 years and have been happily married for 28 years. The Masters are very involved with their church, Roswell Street Baptist Church, where Keith has taught the “Misfits” adult class for the last 17 years.
“Along with my faith, the things I learned from wrestling have carried me thru good and difficult times. I am thankful for the people in my life and talents God has given me. In particular, there are three men that have modeled my life in this order: Jesus Christ, my earthly father Ernie Masters, and Coach Gordon Pritz.”
Pictured above are members of the ’84 team (Unbeaten wrestlers at the State Champs Banquet). Over and over the 1985 State Championship team credits the ’84 team for their win at state in 85.
1985 State Champion Wrestling Team
Here’s the link for the 1985 Wrestling Team’s Induction
Varsity Team Members
98lbs. – Jeff Vasquez
105lbs. – Bobby Demeritt
112lbs. – Keith Masters
119lbs. – Dean Parker
126lbs. – Richard Demeritt
132lbs. – Todd Strader
138lbs. – Scott Strader
145lbs. – Andrew Cory
152lbs. – Todd Mathes
152lbs. – Brent Meek
167lbs. – Todd Helton
167lbs. – Mike Harkins
185lbs. – Vic Gavalas
Unl. – Bob Matusak
Unl. – Tommy Kim
Head Coach – Dr. Gordon Pritz
Asst. Coach – Mr. Jeff Hollis
The 1985 Wrestling team was the first and still only Wheeler wrestling team to win a Georgia state wrestling championship. After losing the state title the year before in 1984 by only a 3 point separation, the closest team race still to date, the 1985 team was determined to bring a state title home to Wheeler. The team had some outstanding individuals but the mark of this team was their willingness to sacrifice together and for each other through hard work and dedication and win the title as a total team effort. Fifteen young men contributed to this title in the 12 different weight classes. Of these 12 weight classes, Wheeler wrestlers were named 1st Team All County in 8 weights. The team’s lineup, top to bottom, was formidable, winning the Cobb County, Region and State titles that year. The team finished with a 15-1 dual meet record with their only loss to Berkmar, which they avenged in the State Championship, beating Berkmar by 30 points. The senior members of this team Keith Masters, Todd Strader, Scott Strader, Richard Demeritt, Todd Mathes, Mike Harkins and Bob Matuszak had a four year dual meet record of 50-2, won three Cobb County and three Region Championships and went from 30th in the state as freshman to state champions as seniors. They were truly one of the all-time great athletic teams in any sport in the storied history of Wheeler High School.
This team was led by 7 state placers, 3 individual state champions and one runner-up. Individual accomplishments include:
Jeff Vasquez, Fr. – 29-2, County, Region, North Metro Champion, State RunnerUp, went on to win 3 individual state titles, All-American senior year
Bobby Demeritt, Jr. – 29-0, 21 pins, Undefeated, County, Region and North Metro Champion, Defended his sophomore year state title by winning his second state title and went on to win 3 individual state titles, All-American senior year
Keith Masters, Sr. – 30-1, 21 pins, County, Region, North Metro Champion, Defended his state title with his second straight championship, avenging his only loss of the season in the semi finals with an 11-2 win.
Dean Parker, Jr. – 22-7, 4th in State
Richard Demeritt, Sr. – 27-4, older brother of Bobby, County and Region Champion, State Champion
Todd Strader, Sr. – 31-2, led the team in individual wins, County, Region, and North Metro Champion and placed 3rd in state
Scott Strader, Sr. – 22-3-1, twin brother of Todd, Cobb and Region Champion
Andrew Cory, Jr. – 11-9 record, Honorable Mention All County
Todd Mathes, Sr. – 9-3 record, 2nd team All County
Brent Meek, Jr. – 5-2 record
Todd Helton, Jr.
Mike Harkins, Sr.
Vic Gavalas, Jr. – 14-12 record, 2nd team All County
Bob Matuszak, Sr. – 28-3-1, County, Region, North Metro Champion, 4th in State
Tommy Kim, Sr.
Head Coach – Dr. Gordon Pritz, currently Superintendent Douglas County Schools
Career Statistics as head Wrestling Coach – Wheeler – 58-4 Dual meet record (5 years, 1980-1985), Overall Career Dual Record (10 years at McEachern) 192-32, 8X Cobb County Champs ( 3 at WHS), 13X Region Champs (3 at WHS), 8X State Champions (1985 at WHS), 40 Tournament Championships (7 at WHS), 57 Individual State Tournament Placers, 20 Individual State Champions, 7 All-Americans, Georgia Coach of the Year 8X
Assistant Coach – Mr. Jeff Hollis, Wheeler High School HOF member