‘Once a Ram, always a Ram’ — Longtime AD Kocher, others set to join Badin Hall of Fame

HAMILTON — Sally Kocher called the job a labor of love. The former longtime Badin High School athletic director stamped her legacy in all things Rams sports before retiring in 2013.

Kocher was most prominent in making all female athletics a reality at BHS.

Because of her steadfast involvement at the prep sports level for nearly four decades, Kocher — and five other athletes — will be honored at Badin’s annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction dinner on Saturday, May 6.

“I was naturally and pleasantly surprised,” Kocher said when given the news. “I served on the Hall of Fame committee for 17 years. I know all the work that goes into the meetings and discussions as to who the people you’re putting in for the next class. I’m just tickled — that’s a good way to put it.

“As they always say, ‘You bleed green.’ I still do. Once a Ram, always a Ram.”

Those scheduled for induction into the Badin-Hamilton Catholic-Notre Dame Athletic Hall of Fame include Ed Mignery (1967), Dan Scheffel (1975), Ryan Pogozalski (1996), Brion Treadway (1997) and Lisa Sutton Gurr (1998), along with Kocher.

In addition, the family of Kevin and Kathy Pater, both from the Class of 1968, will be honored as the Legacy Family. Four members of Badin’s Class of 2024 will receive the Terry and Betty Malone Scholarship as well.

Reservations are $50 and are available via the Badin website, BadinHS.org. The evening will include refreshments at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and the program at 8 p.m.

“It will be another great night — well-deserving athletes being recognized for their outstanding efforts,” said committee co-chair Dirk Q. Allen of the event, which kicks off at 6 p.m. in the Pfirman Family Activity Center at BHS. “We always enjoy the opportunity to recognize the achievements of these talented individuals.”

Kocher was hired on as the full-time health and physical education teacher and advisor to the cheerleading and gymnastics programs.

During the first week of school in 1973, she was approached by some of the girls asking for support.

“They wanted sports,” Kocher said. “We had some really good athletes.”

Kocher took the request and immediately made some groundwork. Girls volleyball and tennis were started in the fall of the 1973-1974 school year at Badin.

Kocher continued to help with gymnastics and eventually started a swim team in the winter. Softball was also created that spring.

“The following year, I was given the title of athletic director for the girls,” Kocher said. “Title IX was coming into its own with sports, and things started to move quickly.”

Girls basketball was added shortly after, and Kocher stepped in to coach the team for a season.

It was during the 1970s and 1980s that Kocher, while the girls athletic director, started every female sport at Badin.

“I felt there was some great things happening,” she said.

Kocher was later named athletic director of both the boys and girls programs, which led to the additions of boys volleyball, boys and girls bowling, and wrestling.

“Hiring Dexter Carpenter as the wrestling coach may have been the best thing that I ever did at Badin,” Kocher recalled. “He was just what we needed to drum up interest in wrestling. That was the sport none of us knew anything about.”

But Kocher is most proud of starting an athletic grade check, which would hold students accountable academically while participating in their respective sport.

Current Badin athletic director Geoff Melzer is still implementing the grade checks to this day.

Kocher said the hardest part of the athletic director position, was trying to find home football and soccer games because Badin has had no home field to house those sports.

But that’s expected to change soon.

“I’m excited for the new stadium,” Kocher said of Badin’s new athletic complex that is currently in the early stages of being built. “I’ve always kept up with what’s going on at Badin. To see where it is now, it makes me proud and appreciative of my time spent there.”

The profiles

Badin will also be inducting the following former Badin athletes:

  • Ed Mignery (1967) was a standout prep football player on teams that went 29-0 during his varsity career, which included the very first season at Badin High. He was first team all-conference and second team All-American as a football senior at Morehead (Ky.) State University. Mignery went on to be a high school football coach, including 14 years at Hamilton High that included three trips to the Division I playoffs and two Greater Miami Conference championships — highlighted by a perfect 10-0 regular season in 1997.
  • Dan Scheffel (1975) was a standout pitcher at Badin High and Marietta College. He pitched Badin into its first-ever state championship game when he delivered a 4-0 win over Columbus St. Charles in the 1975 Class AA semifinals. His overall record as a pitcher in high school and college was 49-11, including two trips to the Division III NCAA College Worlds Series in 1977 and 1978.
  • Ryan Pogozalski (1996) was the starting pitcher for Badin in the 1996 state championship game, a 7-5 win over Tallmadge. He won big games throughout his Badin career and also played football for the BHS team that won the 300th game for head coach Terry Malone (1952). Pogozalski went on to be a successful college pitcher with two years at Vincennes University and two at Tiffin University.
  • Brion Treadway (1997) was the winning pitcher in both games as Badin captured the 1996 Division II state baseball championship, a two-hitter in a 3-1 verdict over Avon Lake in the state semifinals and 1.2 innings of hitless relief in the 7-5 win over Tallmadge in the finals. He went 21-2 during his Badin career, then 18-11 in 70 career appearances at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. A Pre-Season All-American in 2000, Treadway was selected in the third round of the MLB draft by the San Francisco Giants and pitched six years in the Minor Leagues. He has been the head coach at Badin since 2012, with a 222-88 record heading into the 2023 season — including four trips to the state Final Four and a state runner-up finish in 2016.
  • Lisa Sutton Gurr (1998) started in four state championship games for the Rams — three runner-up finishes in girls soccer (1995, 1996 and 1997) and the 1998 Division II girls basketball state title, a 50-31 win over Dover. She went on to have an excellent soccer career at the College of Mount St. Joseph, where she was a first team all-league selection for four seasons and named Heartland Collegiate Conference Player of the Year as a junior. She was also a Verizon Academic All-American and a member of the National College Athletic Honor Society.

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