Dan Weber’s Just Sayin’: When a service award keeps on serving; saluting the KHSAA, Y’alls

Named for the late Tom Fricke, the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame Service Award is special in how it continues to honor the man it’s named for as the work he left us proceeds. It was Fricke, a member of the Covington Board of Education, who had the vision – in spite of or maybe because of his blindness – to inspire an award that continues today. His vision joined the Hall of Fame with the Behringer-Crawford Museum for ongoing exhibits into what and who made sports so special in Northern Kentucky.

Which is why this year’s winner, to be awarded at the Hall’s annual End-of-Summer get-together Wednesday, Aug. 21, will do the same thing even though Derrick Rhoden is no longer here to see through what his family has done in his name. Derrick died at the much too young at the age of 38 last December.

Newspaper photo of Brossart Basketball player Derrick Rhoden taken in 2003 before his senior season. (Photo provided)

Our Terry Boehmker profiled the giant Bishop Brossart basketball player’s struggles with Schizoaffective disorder (a combination of bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia), a neurological disease that strikes young men often in their mid- to late-teens. Here’s the link to that Northern Kentucky Tribune story: Brother of former high school basketball player with mental disorder started fundraiser in his memory – NKyTribune

At nearly 7-feet tall and 260 pounds as a freshman, Derrick was a force to be reckoned with from that year on and, before the onset of his gradually debilitating disease, was considered a possible NBA talent. Still, he completed four years of basketball while graduating and even gave the sport a brief try at NKU. But that was asking too much.

And with his health declining over the years as he suffered episodes of the disease, Derrick’s family had to call on police agencies to be aware of what his issues were and how to handle this massive man with care for his and their well-being.

Nick Rhoden and his mother, Martie Rhoden Bessler, Kerrick Rhoden’s brother and mother (Photo provided)

“I’m a police officer in Alexandria now,” says Nick Rhoden, Derrick’s younger brother, who realizes how important Crisis Intervention Programs for people like Derrick became. “That’s why I became a police officer, how they treated Derrick.”

He has special praise for Covington, and the issues of dealing with Derrick when he had episodes that could require hospitalization. “They had it in their notes: ‘Bring everybody,’” Nick says. “They were excellent.”

The message was to “consider them your family,” as the Rhoden family and friends decided to honor Derrick and those who cared for him by raising money and challenging as many police agencies as they could reach to develop Crisis Intervention Programs.

As part of the continuing of this outreach, Derrick’s mother, Martie Rhoden Bessler, talks to these CIP training seminars about Derrick.

“We want them to think of Derrick’s story as their family’s story,” Nick says, “a relatable human story that can happen to anyone.”

Here’s the Rhoden family campaign’s GoFundMe website.
There will also be a NAMI Walk at Pioneer Park in October to raise money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness as well that will help commemorate Derrick Rhoden’s memory and programs to help others like him.


It’s not often we get to say that the state of Kentucky is right at the top, but if you care about high school sports – its history all the way back to whenever like more than a century ago for boys’ basketball – or all the very latest sports, scores, teams, rosters, coaches, schools, schedules, up-to-date stat leaders in every sport, state tournament records, you name it – check out the KHSAA.org website.

Explore it. See who’s in the KHSAA Hall of Fame from Northern Kentucky. Or whether Ryle sophomore AJ Curry is leading the state in hitting. Or just how dominant Northern Kentucky teams have been throughout the entire history of girls’ volleyball.

We’ve been involved with high school sports in a number of other states – big ones like California and Ohio – and nobody that we’ve seen has anything comparable to what the KHSAA does. It’s a tribute to the KHSAA and the coaches and stat people at every school in the state.

Nice job, folks. Keep up the good work. We probably don’t praise you as much as we should. But the KHSAA deserves it here. As we say, check it out. You’ll see.

Florence Yall’s TJ Reeves (Photo provided)


They may be just 17-23 after their first 40 games and in sixth place and nine games back in the eight-team West Division of the Frontier League but that doesn’t mean that the Florence Y’alls don’t have some good news to talk about. First of all, two of this year’s Y’alls have already earned major league contracts. Ace righthander Ryan Watson showed enough by the end of May that the Toronto Blue Jays offered him a contract after a 2.76 ERA in three Frontier League starts.

And then late this month, reliever Logan Campbell, also a RHP and a midseason Y’alls’ pickup, was signed by the Cincinnati Reds after a 1.93 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 14 innings of relief work for Florence.

And as they head into a weekend featuring Fireworks Friday and Ragin Cajun Night [first 500 fans get Y’all Purpose Seasoning], Margaritaville and Rockin’ Saturday [first 1000 fans get a parrot-head], and Family Funday, the Y’alls have the most momentum a team can have after an “ultimate” grand slam walk-off Wednesday in a game they were trailing 7-3 going into the bottom of the ninth against the third-place Schaumburg Boomers (25-16). Right fielder TJ Reeves hit the bases-loaded game-winner on a night when he went three for five with those four RBI.

With an average attendance of 2,055, the Y’alls are No. 8 in the 16-team Frontier League. With an average of 4,295, Schaumburg is the lone team in the league out of the 2000’s at the top end.

Contact Dan Weber at dweber3440@aol.com. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @dweber3440.

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