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WHS honors

Lightfoot among great alumni recognized

Luncheon spotlights distinguished former students


Long before he was leading junior college baseball programs to world series, Jeff Lightfoot was a standout athlete at Weatherford High School. His honors across two sports included being an all-district selection in baseball and all-district and defensive player of the year in football.

On Friday, Sept. 15, Lightfoot, who coached the Weatherford College Coyotes to their NJCAA World Series appearance this past June, was among some of the greatest Weatherford High School alumni honored in a luncheon at WC.

The Weatherford ISD Ex-Student Association Distinguished Awards and Athletic Hall of Fame Inductions honored six individuals and one team. In attendance were former and current Kangaroos from throughout the ages.

WISD Superintendent Beau Rees delivered the welcome speech and counted through the decades of WHS graduates, starting with the most recent and joking, "They're still in bed."

When he reached the 1960s graduates, Rees quipped, "You don't even have to stand," and when they did, he added, "They've got more energy than the 2020s."

Then, in a serious moment, Rees commented, "This kind of event binds the community."

Following the invocation by Doug Dowd of the Ex-Student Award Committee, Lynn Pool, WHS Class of 1985, presented the awards. Those honored along with Lightfoot included:

Jim Duncan, Class of 1964, Distinguished Alumnus.

Wes Hightower, Class of 1983, Distinguished Alumnus.

Jo Ann Causey, former teacher and administrator 1969-90, Distinguished Service Award.

Gil Gore, Class of 1967, Athletic Hall of Fame.

Trooper Reynolds, Class of 2012, Athletic Hall of Fame.

1996-97 golf team, Athletic Hall of Fame.

"As we honor alumni today, we also recognize the influence of education," Pool said. "A lot of them are in this room."

Jeff Lightfoot (left) receives his induction award from Weatherford College Vice President Brent Baker.
Jeff Lightfoot (left) receives his induction award from Weatherford College Vice President Brent Baker.

Lightfoots acceptance

Lightfoot accepted his award from WC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Brent Baker. He then stepped to the podium to thank a lot of people, many who had written letters on his behalf concerning his induction.

"The letters all had a common theme - impact," Lightfoot began. "I hope they understand how much they impacted me as well."

This past season Lightfoot coached the Weatherford College Coyotes to their first appearance in the NJCAA Division I World Series in Grand Junction. The team also made history with its best record in school history (53-11) and a third-place finish in the World Series.

Among those he thanked most were his wife Misti, and their children Cole, Grayson and Canon. Misti was a Kangaroo cheerleader when they met in high school.

"She's been in my corner for as long as I can remember," he said.

Lightfoot quoted former Arizona State baseball coach Pat Murphy, "It's not about the X's and O's, it's about the Jimmys and the Joes."

Then he added, "Go make an impact on those around you."

Prior to coming to WC and starting the baseball program two decades ago, Lightfoot coached Eastfield College to a NJCAA Division III World Series championship in 2001 and to the championship game in 1998.

Among his many individual honors, Lightfoot is a two-time recipient of these awards:

Texas-New Mexico Division III Coach of the Year.

NJCAA Region V Coach of the Year.

Division 111 College World Series Coaching Award.

Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.

Louisville Slugger Award for Coaching Excellence.

Keith Young, coach of the 1996-97 WHS boys golf team.
Keith Young, coach of the 1996-97 WHS boys golf team.

Other individuals

As Duncan received his award, he told the story of how he and several friends played a prank by putting a concrete bench on the third floor of a fire escape. The next day, however, the joke was on them as he noted, bringing it back (per orders from a school official) "wasn't as much fun."

To which Pool said with a laugh, "Good thing there's a statute of limitations."

Duncan, whose career in real estate has covered more than five decades, noted that he's seen a lot of changes - good changes. Among other highlights in his life and career was receiving the Omega Tau Rho Award from the National Association of Realtors in 2015 for exemplary dedication to his profession. In 2018 he was the recipient of the True Blue Roo Fan award, now known as Roger's Roo Pride award in honor of the late Roger Grizzard.

Duncan and his wife Susan have been married for 56 years and two children, Matt (WHS Class of 1989) and Ashley Duncan Conlon (Class of 1991).

Hightower could not attend the event. However, Pool noted that "If you're going to the George Strait concert in November at Dickies Arena, he'll be onstage. You can wave to him and say hi."

Hightower has provided vocals on approximately 150 million records sold world-wide. Music Row magazine named Musician of the Year for 10 straight years and he is currently the most recorded singer in the U.S. He has sung on over 150 No. 1 country singles.

Causey, when presented with her award, said, "I didn't think there were many more surprises left to discover, but this is a big surprise. How could I receive an award for something I loved doing so much?"

Causey began her career in the WISD as an elementary teacher. She later became the reading coordinator for the district and in the early 1980s she created the Gifted and Talented Program, now known as the Quest Program. In this program she showed how servant leaders work and inspire students.

Causey ended her career with the district as public relations director. She currently lives with her daughter, Julie, in Aledo.

Reynolds, who played for Lightfoot at WC following graduation from WHS, had one of the most decorated careers of any Kangaroo athlete ever. This included being an Underclass honorable mention All-American in 2010, along with all-state and a member of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Team.

He still holds several records at WHS, including the single season record of runs batted in with 54.

In 2014 Reynolds was selected as one of the nation's best junior college players and competed for Team USA at the 80th Annual National Baseball Congress World Series. 

Following his time at WC, he played for Dallas Baptist University. His first NCAA Division I hit was a home run and in 2015 he tied the school record for most RBI in one game with 15.

In his acceptance speech, Reynolds acknowledged the influence Lightfoot had on him.

"Coach Lightfoot took it up a notch. He didn't want us just to compete on the field, he wanted us to compete in real life," he said.

He also thanked his brother for inspiring his success.

"I always wanted to impress my brother. He put up with me being the younger, being four years older, but I wouldn't be here without him pushing me," Reynolds said. 

Reynolds is employed with DOC Homes as a construction manager. He and his wife Spencer have two children, Lindy Lu and Logan Ann.

Gore was a two-sport standout at WHS in football and track, throwing the discus and shot put. He was honorable mention all-district on one of the most successful WHS football teams of all time when the Kangaroos won district and reached the state quarterfinals, finishing with an 11-2 record.

Only the 1999 team coached by Larry McBroom won as many games.

Gore played collegiately at Texas Tech and Howard Payne, where he was named a Little All-American. In 1971 he helped Howard Payne to a 10-1-1 record and a Lone Star Conference championship.

Gil enjoyed a long career in the railroad industry as a locomotive engineer, retiring in 2018

The 1996-97 Weatherford High School golf team is recognized as perhaps the school's best ever. Pictured are (from left) Justin Dickey, Brock Widener, coach Keith Young, Jarrod Dickey and Travis Garren (accepting on behalf of his late brother Chad Garren). Not pictured is KW Gibbons.
The 1996-97 Weatherford High School golf team is recognized as perhaps the school's best ever. Pictured are (from left) Justin Dickey, Brock Widener, …

Team Award

The 1996-97 Kangaroos are considered one of the best golf teams ever to come through the program. They set records for lowest team score (293), won district and qualified for regionals, had four all-district members and won seven tournaments - including four straight.

The team consisted of Jarrod Dickey and his brother Justin, KW Gibbons, Brock Widener and Chad Garren (awarded posthumously). They were coached by Keith Young.

"Each one of these young men were leaders," Young said. "Chad gave his life rescuing others. He was a hero."

Garren died during Tropical Storm Allison in Houston in 2001.

"I may have been the coach, but they taught me more than I taught them," Young continued.

Trooper Reynolds was a baseball standout at Weatherford High and Weatherford College.
Trooper Reynolds was a baseball standout at Weatherford High and Weatherford College.

Musical ending

Pool told the crowd as the event was nearing a conclusion, "If you've listened to the remarks from these recipients, relationships, being kind to others is important."

Then, Pool, who played and coached at WHS herself, then turned the focus to the school song. The golf athletes who had been honored moments earlier led in the singing by former students in attendance.

"When you turned on Eureka, it was time to sing the school song," Pool recalled the times when teams would return from games on the bus.

Then she told the crowd with a laugh, "If you want to go home, sing it loud and proud."


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