To celebrate the achievements of athletes, the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation has created a High School Athletic Hall of Fame and will induct its inaugural class Friday (Sept. 20).
Members of the first class of inductees are Jim Tenney ('58) and John Hill ('56), who won the state boys’ tennis doubles title in 1956; and Laurie Imes ('81) and Kelly Coleman ('82), who won the state girls’ tennis doubles title in 1980.
Their induction ceremony will be part of the Distinguished Alumni Award program, which begins at 5 p.m. In addition to being honored during the program, the four alumni will be recognized at halftime of the home football game that evening. Their names also will be engraved on a plaque that will be placed inside the high school.
"Athletic competition and success is a big part of the high school experience at Ottawa Hills, and we felt it was time to honor the greatest of the great," said Erica Silk, the Foundation's executive director. "The Hall of Fame serves as a symbol of our appreciation of the excellence, honor, and devotion displayed by these celebrated individuals and teams."
The Ottawa Hills High School Athletic Hall of Fame was created to honor the outstanding athletes, teams, coaches, and supporters of the district’s athletic programs. It recognizes individuals who have made exceptional and extraordinary contributions to the OH athletic program; had outstanding statistical achievement in an individual sport or sports; and/or conducted themselves in such a way as to reflect honor on the school and must have exhibited those qualities of character and standards of conduct consistent with their status as a role model to the community.
Jim Tenney (’58)
Mr. Tenney’s greatness as a tennis player began at Ottawa Hills High School during a time when athletes and teams were “Green Arrows” and not “Green Bears”. In 1956, he and playing partner John M. Hill (see bio on page 12) won the state doubles title, beating a team from Mansfield (6-4, 6-3). That same year, Mr. Tenney’s brother Tom finished as state singles champion runner-up.
During this era, the high school did not have its own courts; students instead played at the Toledo Tennis Club. And competition was conducted among Ohio high schools regardless of enrollment.
In his junior year, Mr. Tenney was runner-up in state singles. As a senior, he not only was team captain but also won the state singles title. He also played varsity football during his junior and senior years. Under the outstanding leadership of team quarterback Jim White, the team finished undefeated both years.
While studying engineering at the University of Michigan, he played varsity tennis his sophomore, junior, and senior years. The team won the Big 10 tournament those three years and Mr. Tenney was team captain his senior year.
After graduation, he moved to Southern California and earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Southern California. He worked mainly in the aerospace industry until retiring at age 68.
In 1967, he married Joanne, a California native and physical education teacher. They have been married for 52 years and have two daughters; both are kindergarten teachers for public school systems. He and Mrs. Tenney have five grandchildren and in retirement enjoy traveling and playing with the grandchildren – and playing tennis, of course.
John M. Hill (’56)
Mr. Hill was part of the tennis doubles team (along with fellow honoree Jim Tenney) who won the 1956 state title, defeating a team from Mansfield (6-4, 6-3). Mr. Hill made it back to the state tournament in 1956, but with a new playing partner.
After Ottawa Hills, Mr. Hill enrolled at Yale University, where he played lacrosse. He graduated in 1960 with a bachelor of arts degree in history. He played lacrosse at Yale and then spent a year in London as an insurance broker with Lloyd’s of London. He worked as a reinsurance broker in New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis before returning to Toledo in 1969 to form his own insurance agency, which he subsequently sold. Clients included The Toledo Hospital, The Toledo Blade, and the City of Toledo.
In 1984, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to found a direct-response insurance agency specializing in marketing to bank checking-account customers. After later selling this company, Mr. Hill joined John Hancock, specializing in financial planning and long-term care. He retired in 2010.
Mr. Hill has served on the boards of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Toledo and Nashville. He was a member of the Fine Arts Committee of the U.S. Department of State and Cheekwood Museum of Art in Nashville. While at Ottawa Hills, he captained the basketball and football teams.
He has three children (Mawgie, Bijnie, and Lizzie) who attended Ottawa Hills, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild. He current resides in Nashville.
Laurie Imes (’81)
As a high school athlete, Ms. Imes and playing partner (and fellow honoree) Kelly Coleman won the Ohio Class A-AA doubles title in October 1980, defeating a team from Kenton (6-2, 6-1). They were coached by Ronald Ricketts.
Ms. Imes continued her tennis career at Ohio University via a full scholarship. She graduated from OU in 1985 with a bachelor of fine arts degree. She then managed a small art gallery in Cleveland for several years before moving to Atlanta. Once there, she pursued a post-graduate degree in architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology.
She was a successful tennis player in the Atlanta ALTA league. She competed in the Double AA1 category for the famed Bitsy Grant Tennis Center and won the city title for five consecutive years, which garnered coverage in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Her career and athletics were second to her role as mother to daughters Anastasia, Mischa, and Ashley. Once her children were independent enough, she became an entrepreneur. Ms. Imes has owned several construction-related companies. She has managed multimillion dollar residential and commercial construction projects – and toted lumber and swung a hammer in the field.
She currently runs Laurie Imes Inc., providing CAD drawings to general contractors, estimating of projects, and expediting construction permits. She and her partner Scott Whitfield also own a successful moving company in Atlanta.
While she put her athletic career on hold temporarily, the athlete in her never gave up. Tennis was traded in for martial arts and running. She is a first-degree black belt in Goju Ryu Okinawan style. She has won several martial arts medals at the Georgia Games. As her 5K and 10K runs became somewhat blasé, she pursued triathlons. She has placed third, second, and first in the Tri the Parks triathlon series. She also has competed in more than a 100 triathlons, including sprint, Olympic, 70.3, and full Ironman (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, 26.2-mile run) distance races. Even after a traumatic brain injury due to a motorcycle wreck in 2017, she races her bike on gravel forest-service roads in the North Georgia mountains with 5,000 feet of climbing.
Kelly Coleman (’82)
As a high school athlete, Ms. Coleman and playing partner (and fellow honoree) Laurie Imes won the Ohio Class A-AA doubles title in October 1980, defeating a team from Kenton (6-2, 6-1). They were coached by Ronald Ricketts. In October 1981, Ms. Coleman defended the doubles title against a team from Bexley, but this time with partner Torrey Lott (5-7, 6-1, 6-4).
She received her undergraduate degree in exercise science and master’s in sports management from the University of Georgia. She has a diverse background in the teaching, coaching, and healing fields.
She has had her own massage practice for 21 years specializing in sports, neuromuscular therapy, and stress relief. She also has worked as a clinic supervisor, grading and mentoring students at her former massage school, The Academy of Somatic Healing Arts.
She has been teaching spinning classes for the past 11 years in several health clubs around Atlanta. She is a Lifetime Certified Spinning Instructor with Mad Dogg Athletics. She was certified as a Level 1 Yoga fit instructor in 2012.
She became a wellness coach in 2010 and was certified as a Professional Life Coach in June 2012. She has been on a consistent personal development path and desires to help others grow and be their best selves.
In the late 1980s through the mid 1990s, she was the tennis pro and director at two clubs in North Carolina; coached Atlanta ALTA Teams; and worked for the United States Tennis Association as a schools program director for the Southern section. She was “Georgia Female Player of the Year” in 1996 and played varsity tennis at the University of Georgia and University of Minnesota.
Her other interests include investigative research, bikram yoga, weight training, hiking, traveling, live music, and dancing.
(If you would like to nominate yourself or an individual for the 2020 Ottawa Hills Athletic Hall of Fame Award, please complete the online application. Nominations will be considered by a committee comprised of Ottawa Hills alumni, faculty, and school district officials. Nominations may also be emailed to Erica Silk at email@example.com or mailed to Erica Silk, Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation, 3600 Indian Road, Ottawa Hills, OH 43606)