W. R. Thomas was born in 1891 and grew up in Hiddenite, North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1911. In 1912 he moved south planning to teach only one year of Latin at Miami High. He stayed 40 years. He taught for 13 years and then became principal in 1925. During his 27-year tenure as principal he shook the hands of over 15,000 students as they accepted diplomas at graduation exercises. He loved the Stingaree football team and was its greatest supporter. All the while at Miami High he is reputed to have only missed one game due to the funeral of a close friend. Three times the MIAHI yearbook was dedicated to Mr. Thomas. He finished his career as principal in 1952, but went immediately into politics. He was elected that year Superintendent of Dade County Schools. He governed the school system until 1956 after succeeding in making the position appointive instead of elected. In 1957 the University of Miami bestowed Dr. Thomas with an Honorary Doctor Of Law degree. W. R. Thomas died in 1964. He had lived his retirement years quietly. He spent summer months in his North Carolina boyhood home, always returning in time to catch the first Miami High football game of the season.
Helen Lee was born and raised in Miami. She is a graduate of Miami Senior High, Class of 1951. She graduated from Stetson University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Drama. Her teaching career began back in Miami, at Shenandoah Junior High in 1956. Continuing to teach, in 1962, she moved to Atlanta, and in 1969, to Virginia. In 1983, she returned to where it all began, and started teaching English at her alma mater, Miami High. She was the junior varsity cheerleading advisor for 3 years and Miami Times advisor for 2 years. She began work as a librarian in 1985. In 1992 she lost her vision, but within 9 months she returned to work in the library. Her favorite memory of Miami High is the football games. Even before she was a student, her neighbors would sneak her into the games on a student ticket. She fondly remembers the student section and the flash cards with which they did cheers. Mrs. Grier has been a great supporter of the football program at Miami High since her student years. In recent years she writes a letter to the team after every game, encouraging them and telling them how great they were. Coach Tillman reads the letter to the team on the first day of practice after the game. Her letters come regardless of the outcome. "She was our number one fan even when we didn't have many fans." said Tillman. She also sent the team "hugs and kisses" in the form chocolate kisses that Coach would distribute in the locker room. Last year the team voted to give Mrs. Grier the game ball of their first victory. The victory was a very appropriate one against Miami Jackson. The Generals had knocked them out of the playoffs the previous year. Every team member signed the ball, which presented in a very emotional ceremony.
Ryder played end for three seasons, 1930, 1931 and 1932. One of Bob’s teammates was Senator George Smathers. Bob was named team captain in 1932. The team’s record for those years was 26-5-2, during which they outscored their opponents 648-116, holding 21 teams scoreless. In the 1930 season, the only loss was to the University of Miami Freshman team. That earned Miami High the title, “Big 12 Conference Champions”, a year before the state championship title was coined. In both1931 and 1932, Miami High was the State Champion. Both of those seasons ended with a post-season National Championship Playoff games. In 1931, Harrison Tech of Chicago visited the Stings at Moore Park. In 1932, it was Waite High of Toledo. Miami narrowly lost both games. For his part, Ryder was selected to All-City Second Team in 1931 and All-City First Team and All-State Second Team in 1932. Bob was an all around athlete, participating in track, baseball and basketball for each of his three years at Miami High. In basketball, they were the 1933 city champions. Bob was also a member of the Athletic Council in his senior year. In his last game at Miami High, Ryder took part in a subterfuge worthy of Bobby Bowden. Wrote sports columnist Jack Bell of The Miami Herald:
Miami had the ball on Waite’s 30-yard line, near the Waite High bench Came young Joe Jenkins into the ballgame to substitute for Bob Ryder. But it was Paul Ryder, Bob’s brother, who trotted toward the Miami bench across the field as if to leave the field. And the Waite boys let him trot along believing he was leaving he game. But Paul stayed on the line of scrimmage; Miami lined up-and Bob Ryder who had been ordered from the game, simply stepped off the playing field completing the substitution. Moore dropped back, took the ball from center and whipped a long pass to Paul Ryder, over near the sideline. Paul leaped for the ball, clasped it and finally fell over the goal to complete the play for a touchdown.
Ryder received a scholarship to the University of Miami where he played on the freshman team, before having to leave for financial reasons. Bob Ryder died in Ocala in 1979.
Stevenson played end for three seasons, 1947, 1948 and 1949. He wore the number 8. The team’s record for those years was 21-6-1. This earned Miami High State Champion titles for 1948 and 1949. Stevenson’s notoriety was earned through his kicking. In 1948, he kicked 9 of 11 conversions. In 1949, he accounted for 21 points after touchdown. He was nicknamed “Andy the Foot” and “Automatic Andy”. He was Honorary Captain for the final game of the season against Durham High of North Carolina and named to the 1949 All-City Second Team. His most memorable game was the 1949, 41-6 route over a favored Edison team. Another all-around athlete, he played three years of basketball and two years of baseball while at Miami High. He was an active participant in school activities as well, serving two years on the Student Council and three years as a member of Key Club. He entered the University of Florida in 1951, earned a basketball scholarship as a walk-on in 1952, and graduated in 1955. In 1952 he had joined the Marine Corps under the PLC program. Upon graduation from Florida he went to flight school at Air Station Pensacola and was commissioned a First Lieutenant. He played football for Air Station Pensacola, which won the U.S. Military Football Program. Based at Opa Locka Air Station in 1957, he served as a jet pilot aboard the USS Forrestal. In 1964 he left the military for the insurance business. Retiring in 1995, he now lives in Gainesville with his wife, Shirley.
From 1949 to 1951 Jones wore Number 12 as a wingback and linebacker. The team posted a record of 21-5-2 over those years. In 1949, Miami High was City Champion; in 1950, City and State Champions, and in 1951, State and Southern Champions. Tom was Team Captain in 1951, when Miami High suffered its first loss ever to a city rival, Miami Jackson. However, the Stingarees beat Edison who, in turn, beat Jackson, leading to a three-way tie for the City Championship. Even so, based upon its better overall record of 9-1-0, Miami High was named State and Southern Champions. In 1950 his defensive play was cited for shutting down a powerful Robert E. Lee team from Jacksonville and holding them to only 4 yards. His 40-yard jaunt for a touchdown, helped end Lee’s state championship aspirations. Jones was named to the 1951 All-City First Team. He was also a member of the Varsity Club. Tom received a football scholarship to the University of Florida. Classmate Ed Parnel relates a story of Tom’s hitting ability. The freshman team was invited to scrimmage the first-string varsity. Tom hit standout running back Rick Casares so hard that he needed help getting up. The coaches were stunned and thought it was a fluke, so they ran the play over. Tom knocked Casares down again and gained a reputation as the hardest hitting linebacker at Florida. Tom lives in Miami.
Sells, Number 11, lettered three years as a wingback at Miami High from 1949 to 1951. In 1951 he witnessed the passage of coaching honors from George Trogdon to Charlie Tate. During those seasons, Miami’s record was 21-5-2. That earned the team a City Championship in 1949; City and State Championships in 1950; State & Southern Championships in 1951. Ronnie recorded the first score of the 1950 season to salvage a 7-7 upset tie with Miami Beach. The MIAHI prophetically reported that Sells had earned a place in the MHS hall of Fame for his 1950 performance against Edison. In the ’51 season Sells contributed greatly to the team’s success, providing the opening score against Gables, two TD’s in the 42-6 route of Tech High and another against Lanier. Ronnie was also an active member of Wheel Club for three years. Ronnie Sells passed away in 2001
Baker, Number 5, played offensive fullback, defensive halfback for the 1951, 1952 and 1953 seasons. Over those seasons, the team’s record was 23-7-0 giving them the City Championship in 1953. “Fullback Ellis Baker was a constant threat on Offense and Defense”, reported the MIAHI in the 1953 win over Miami Beach. His electrifying scoring run against Jackson denied their opportunity for the city championship. His interception of an Edison pass and 18 yard run back late in the second half set up a Fonts score that claimed the city championship for Miami High. His most memorable game was the entire 1953 season. “We beat Edison, Jackson and Gables for City Championship”. Baker was named to the 1953 All-City First Team as a defensive back. He received the Tom Jones Trophy for Most Valuable Blocker and was runner-up for the Sigma Nu trophy. He started in the State North-South All-Star Game and scored the first touchdown of the game. He also lettered in track his junior and senior years. He did the 440 yard run and relays. He now lives in Mathews, North Carolina.
Rose, Number 30, played offensive tackle and middle guard in 1951 and 1952 and guard and linebacker in 1953. During those years, the team’s record was 23-7-0. In 1951, the Stings were State and Southern Champions. In 1953, they were City Champions. Rose was named to the All-City First Teams in both 1952 and 1953, and to the All-State Second Team in 1953. The MIAHI wrote, “Standout on Miami High’s line was Guard Jim Rose”. His most memorable game was the 1951 O’Keefe High game played in Atlanta. “It was my first big game.” Jim also played baseball and basketball while at Miami High, and was a member of Wheel Club for three years. Rose received a football scholarship to Georgia Tech and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering in 1958. In 1967 he earned a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Jim is now senior pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Austin, Texas, where he lives with his wife, Phyllis Ann.
Kavanaugh played linebacker for three seasons: 1954, 1955 and 1956. He wore Number 25 on his jersey. The teams record for those seasons was 23-5-2. Miami High was City and State Champion in 1955 and 1956. At the 1956 Southwest game he ran back two interceptions for touchdowns. Kavanaugh was named to the 1956 All-City First Team. Bob also played basketball for his three years at Miami High. He was an active student as member of Zenith, Wheel Club and the Grid Men. He was named to the MIAHI Hall of Fame. Bob Kavanaugh is deceased.
Maddox, Number 88, played right end on the 1958 and 1959 teams. Over those years, the team’s record was 16-2-2. The 1958 team won the title, “State Champions”. In his senior year, Miami High outscored opponents 245-47, while holding six teams scoreless. It was almost a perfect season…with one exception. The only mar on their record was the 27-0 loss to Edison at the annual Thanksgiving Game. When asked what was his most memorable game, Ray started to say the win over North Miami that year. He was named honorary team captain and played the best game of his life. But in the end, the stronger memory was the loss to Edison. Maddox was named “Player of the Week” by The Miami Herald once each in 1958 and 1959. In 1959, he was selected for the All-City First Team and All-State Second Team. He started in the State North-South All-Star Game. Miami High named him “Best Blocker. Maddox also excelled in track. He was named to the All-City Track team for the Shot Put, setting the longest throw in the South Florida area at 52’ 0¼”. He was also an active student, as member of both Zenith and Wheel Club. The Miami Herald called Maddox, “Highest regarded lineman in Dade County by many colleges.” He accepted a scholarship to the University of Georgia. In 1966 Maddox returned to Miami High as a Football Coach, saying, “My most proud day was when I was able to walk into that field house as a member of the Miami High School coaching staff.” Ray married his high school sweetheart, Allatia, a Miami High Cheerleader. They now live in Perry, Georgia.
Poe, Number 20, played halfback in 1959 and 1960. For those seasons, the teams record was 15-1-3. Following a post-season victory over Brockton High of Massachusetts in 1960, the Stingarees became City, Big Ten, State and National Champions. For his 1960 play, Poe was selected to the All-City First Team. Miami High named him the Most Improved Back. The MIAHI included him in its Hall of Fame. Pep Club selected him as its sweetheart, Pep Doll. Butch now lives in Virginia.
Edwards, a center in 1961 and a middle guard in 1962, wore Number 52. During his varsity years the Stingarees’ record was 16-1-2. His senior year, after a post-season victory over Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, the team was named City, State and National Champions. Miami High named him the Outstanding Defensive Player of 1962. The local newspapers selected him for the All-City First Team. Ken was an intelligent and active student. He was a member of Interact service club (formerly known as Wheel Club) and National Honor Society. He earned distinction as an honor graduate and was named to the MIAHI Hall of Fame. His most memorable game was the win over Edison in 1962. He was named Honorary Captain for this traditional Thanksgiving homecoming rivalry. “It was a fulfillment of a life-long dream”. He was given a football scholarship to Georgia Tech where he graduated with a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering in 1968. He joined the Air Force in 1977, serving as weapons development officer at Elgin Air Force. He left military service in 1981, but continues the same job at the same location as civil servant. “Miami High led to a scholarship to Georgia Tech and a degree in Aerospace. Now I have the best job in the Air Force. All together, an excellent experience.” He now lives in Niceville, Florida, with his wife, Karen.
Like many other MHS athletes, Pat Kelly followed his brother, Mike, in the tradition of Miami High football. Surprisingly though, his mother had been a Miami Edison cheerleader. Kelly was a starting safety back on the1962 and 1963 teams. He wore #28 in 1962 and #12 in 1963. The teams record over those years was 13-3-1. The 1962 team was City, State and National Champs. In the 1962 Southwest game with 1:06 remaining Pat Kelly intercepted a Southwest pass at the Eagle 34. Kelly stayed in the game, utilizing his B-squad quarterback experience, to throw a 31-yard pass to Larry LaPointe and Payan cracked over from 3 yards out. In the 1962 underdog victory against Gables, Kelly snagged an interception for 60 yards that set up the first MHS score. Kelly was named to the 1962 All-City First Team as a junior. His most memorable game came in his senior year against Edison. Finally allowed to return punts in the last game of the season, he returned two: for 47 yards and 30 yards. Both were converted to touchdowns. He was named to the 1963 All-City Second Team and given Honorable Mention All-State. He was Honorary Captain of the 1963 Gables game. Kelly played baseball in 1962, and basketball in 1962, 1963 and 1964. Of him as a junior basketball player, the MIAHI, said, “We cannot forget Pat Kelly, who took over in so many games and played like a pro.” As a result he was named Most Outstanding Athlete all three years of his high career, and runner-up for the All-County Most Outstanding Athlete his senior year. He was included in the MIAHI Hall of Fame, named “Mr. Legs”, and made a Little Man Sweetheart by the Little Women service club. Kelly graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business. For the past 30 years, he has been involved in commercial real estate. He now lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Megan.
Consuegra followed his brother, George, to Miami High football. He wore Number 34 as the starting halfback in 1964 and 1965. The team’s record for those seasons was 20-3-0. He was a member of the 1965 National Championship team with its perfect 12-0-0 season. In 1964 he was named to the All-City Second Team and given Honorable Mention All-State. In 1965 he was named to the All-City First Team. His most memorable game was the 1965 Coral Gables game in front of 45,000 fans at the orange bowl. Undefeated Gables had beaten MHS the previous year, making the 14-7 victory all the more sweet. Upon graduation, he accompanied his teammate, Buster Sanchez, on a football scholarship to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College. In1967 they won the Shrine Bowl in Savannah and became the National Champion Junior College football team. Consuegra set the bowl’s rushing record. In 1968, he accepted a football scholarship to Kent State, but graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1971. In 1973 he went to Officer Candidate School at Naval Air Station Pensacola. He graduated as a Navy Flight Officer, flying an F-3 submarine chaser from San Diego. While there, he received an MBA from National University. Al left the Navy in 1979. He now lives in Suwanee, Georgia, with his wife, Donna, where they operate the Georgia Range and Gun Stores.
Sanchez played halfback in the 1963,1964 and 1965 seasons. He wore Number 24. The team’s record for those seasons was 25-6-0. Sanchez was Co-Captain of the 1965 dream team. With their perfect season of 12-0-0, they were GMAC, State and National Champions. Sanchez was a powerfully consistent ground gainer, but it was his halfback pass to Jack Massey against Tampa Plant that squeezed out the 7-6 playoff victory for the State Championship and ultimately the National Title. Sanchez was named to the All-City First Team, All Gold-Coast Conference and Honorable Mention All-State. Miami High recognized him as Most Improved Back. Upon graduation, he accompanied his teammate, Al Consuegra, on a football scholarship to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College. In 1967, they won the Shrine Bowl in Savannah and became the National Champion Junior College football team. That year he married his high school sweetheart. Since 1975 he has been a firefighter for the city of Miami Beach.
Massey, Number 84, started as a tight end in 1965 and 1966. The team’s record for those years was 17-2-1. Starting as a junior on that 1965 National Champion dream team with its perfect 12-0 season, was a feat in itself and the most memorable event of Jack’s career. Massey was selected for the All-City First Team and Honorable Mention All-American. Miami High awarded him the Sigma-Nu Trophy in 1966. Massey was two-sport standout. In his junior varsity year, 1964, he was named Most Valuable Basketball Player. As both a starter on the football and basketball teams in his junior year, he was named Outstanding All-around Athlete for the 1964-65 school year. He was given Honorable Mention All-City as a basketball player in 1967. Jack was a standout as a student as well. He was a member of Student Council and Interact service club for which he was on the Board of Directors his senior year. He was named to the MIAHI Hall of Fame and given the Joe Caldwell Scholarship and Leadership Award. He was also Miami High’s nominee for The Miami Herald’s Silver Knight in Athletics. A good looking guy, he was a Calendar Boy for each of his three years at Miami High and named Pep Doll his senior year by the Pep Club. Said Coach Bobby Carlton:
He’s one of our best blockers and an unusually fine pass receiver. He’s caught passes that would be tough for others to catch, and made it look easy. At 6-5 …we can’t get our quarterbacks to take advantage of his height. They want to throw at his knees and his waist. When he jumps in the air, he’s about eight feet tall and when he sticks up those hands, he’s a 10 or 11-foot target. We’ve had trouble getting the ball that high. He’s way up in the clouds. He’s quiet and real cacheable, our Number One college prospect, a real blue-chipper
Massey was recruited by Georgia Tech where he played in the 1971 Sun Bowl and graduated in 1972. After graduation Massey went to work for Ryder Systems where he remains today as Director of Business Development. He now lives in Alpharetta, Georgia, with his wife Adrienne.
Playing for Miami High was in Kousaleos family genes. Not only had his mother and uncles attended MHS, but also his family ran the concessions in the Orange Bowl from the mid-40’s to the late-60’s. As a kid, he sold Cokes and hotdogs at the Miami High games and would fantasize afterwards that he was a Stingaree in neighborhood games. He finally wore Number 66 as an offensive guard in the1966 and 1967 seasons. The teams record for those years was 17-3-1. His senior year (with10 wins) was almost perfect, but for a loss to Coral Gables. Gables went on to be National Champs that year. However the team won the post-season GMAC Championship Game to bring home the title. His most memorable game was the 20-0 win over undefeated Southwest. In the opening minutes of the game, he broke his ankle but continued to play the entire game. This feat earned him almost mythical status. For his part, Kousaleos was named to All-City and All-State Teams. Miami High awarded him the Robert Kirby Memorial Trophy in 1966 and named him Best Blocker in 1967. An active student, he enjoyed as much success off the field as on. He was a member of Interact service club for three years and its president his during senior year. He held memberships on the Student Council, Library Council and Inter-Service Council. Pep Club picked him as their Pep Doll. The MIAHI honored him in its Hall of Fame. Finally, The Miami Herald gave him Honorable Mention for a Silver Knight in Athletics. He attended Harvard University on scholarship, graduating in 1972. At Harvard, he played freshman and varsity football, and rugby. At Florida State University for graduate studies, he continued to play on their nationally ranked rugby club until a neck injury in 1975 ended his contact sports career. In 1978 he graduated from the Soma Institute of Neuromuscular Therapy and began practice in sports and manual therapy. In 1994 George was appointed as the General Manager of the British Olympic Sports Massage Team, and worked with over 350 athletes from Britain who trained in Tallahassee in preparation for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He is organizing an international sports massage team that will attend the 2004 Athens Olympics. He now lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Patricia.