Steamboat grad to be inducted into High School Hall of Fame |

Steamboat grad to be inducted into High School Hall of Fame

Southall is 22nd Coloradan to be inducted into High School Hall of Fame

Tom Southall competes in the hurdles during a track meet in 1980. Southall was part of three state track championships and one football state championship during his time in Steamboat Springs.
Courtesy Photo

— One of Steamboat Springs’ own was recently selected to be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Association’s National High School Hall of Fame.

Tom Southall, who graduated in 1981 from Steamboat Springs High School with 12 letters in four sports, was named March 1 as one of five athletes, four coaches, two administrators and one official who will be inducted into the High School Hall of Fame during a July 2 ceremony in Reno, Nevada. He is the 22nd person from Colorado to achieve this honor, with this year’s 34th induction class bringing the number of honorees to 447.

“It’s super exciting,” Southall said, extending a special thanks to Bert Borgmann of the Colorado High School Activities Association for championing his nomination. “I’m surprised people have a good enough memory to remember back 35 years ago.”

Actually, it isn’t hard at all to remember Southall, who moved to Steamboat Springs with his parents in 1976, in part, because he accomplished all his athletic feats without having a right arm below the elbow.

Born without his right hand and wrist, Southall was Colorado’s two-time football player of the year and led the Sailors to the 1979 Class 2A state championship while setting the state’s single-game rushing record with 412 yards.

In track and field, he set the state’s 2A long jump record in 1981 with a 23-foot, 4½-inch effort and helped Steamboat Springs to three consecutive Class 2A state titles. Southall also was a member of the jazz and concert bands, earning all-state honors on the trumpet.

Southall’s success continued at Colorado College, where he led the nation in punt return yardage and set an NCAA Division III career mark for kickoff return yards. He also was track MVP all four years and set school records in the long jump, 200-meter dash and 4×100-meter relay. He is currently a teacher and coach at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora.

The 12 individuals representing this year’s class were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a selection committee composed of high school state association administrators, coaches, former athletes, media representatives and officials. Other 2016 inductees include Heisman Trophy winner and ex-NFL quarterback Steve Spurrier, former NFL quarterback Marlin Briscoe and two-time high jump Olympian Joni Huntley.

“The kids I grew up in Steamboat were all high-performance athletically and academically,” Southall said, crediting such coaches as Mark Drake for his success. “We were fortunate to have the high-quality coaches and teachers that we did at such a small school.”

Drake also had high praise for Southall.

“Without a doubt, he’s one of the most accomplished athletes I’ve ever coached,” Drake said. “And he still remained humble and positive and a great role model. He was an amazing and well-deserving young man.”

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