Don Crosslin grew up in Deepwater and graduated from DPHS in 1969. While at DPHS Don Crosslin was a varsity athlete in football, track and baseball. He was all district in Football and Baseball, and was chosen as the “Best All-Around Athlete” at DPHS in 1969. After graduation Don accepted a football scholarship to the University of Texas and was a four year starter for the Longhorns as well as All Southwest Conference 3 times. Don was also Honorable Mention All American in 1971 and Preseason All American in 1973. Don played professionally in the World Football League for the Houston Texans and in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Robert Shaw graduated from DPHS in 1979 and was the cornerstone of two of the most successful basketball teams in DPHS history. His junior year the team reached the Region III Finals while compiling a 32-7 record, as he achieved 1st team All-District and All Greater Houston honors. Robert’s senior year the team finished 27-7 and reached the Region III Semi-Finals, while achieving 1st team All-District and All Greater Houston as well as All-State and Honorable Mention All American honors. After graduating 22nd in his class, Robert accepted a scholarship to play basketball at Rice University where he excelled athletically as well as academically graduating with three BA degrees in 1983. Since graduation from Rice University Robert has enjoyed a career as a teacher, coach and administrator.
Jason Skaer grew up a “coach’s kid” and graduated from DPHS in 1994. Jason was a four-year starter on the varsity basketball team and a two time all-state selection in 1993 and 1994. He was also an All-American selection at the completion of his senior season in 1994. Upon graduation from DPHS in 1994, Jason attended Oklahoma State on a basketball scholarship and played in the 1995 Final Four as a true freshman. Jason later transferred to Rice University where he became a team captain in 1999. His professional career took him to the European Professional Leagues from 1999-2003, where he was the Austrian League MVP in 2001. After playing in Europe Jason came within an eyelash of playing in the NBA as he competed in the NBA Developmental League in 2002.
Ashley Winn is a state champion track athlete as well as a former volleyball player for DPHS. Ashley was a four-year member of the DPHS varsity track team and made her mark throwing the discus. Ashley was the track team’s MVP for three consecutive years, and she won the district and region in discus in 2004, 2005, and 2006. In 2004 and 2005 she won silver at the State track meet as the runner-up missing the gold medal her junior year by a mere 1.5 inches. Her senior year while at state she saved her best for last as she threw a school record 149’4” to win the State Championship. Ashley graduated from DPHS in 2006 and accepted a track scholarship to University of Houston where she went on to become a three-year team captain, and two-time regional qualifier.
Balor Moore was a 1st-team all district baseball player in 1968 and the only unanimous 1st-team pitcher in 1969. He pitched 69 innings, gave up 17 hits, and recorded 100 strike-outs. Balor was drafted out of high school by the Montreal Expos in their first year of existence as their number one selection in all of Major League Baseball. He was the first Deer Park athlete to turn professional. Less than a year after graduating from Deer Park High School, Balor made his Major League debut at the age of nineteen. He spent 12 years in pro baseball with the Expos, California Angels, and Toronto Blue Jays. After his playing days, Balor began working at a steel pipe company, Britex International Pipe Supply, which he baught in 1984. Balor and his Wife Paula currently live in Friendswood, Texas.
Bryan White was a model student athlete at Deer Park High School. He played football and baseball, ran track, and was on the swim team. In his senior year playing football, he earned first-team All-State honors, honorable mention from USA Today, and was a finalist for the Touchdown Club of Houston Offensive Player of the Year in 1994. Bryan also excelled academically and was a member of the National Honor Society. After graduating from Deer Park High School, Bryan continued his athletic career at the University of Texas where he played wide reciever and punt returner. During his career as a Longhorn, Bryan had an astounding 16-yard per catch average. He played in the Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and Cotton Bowl with the Longhorns.
Dr. Donald Metz has helped countless Deer Park ISD athletes as the team physician. He has been on the sidelines for hundreds of football games and provided expert evalutations and care for injured athletes. He has performed thousands of physical exams, many times free of charge for needy students. His three sons all attended Deer Park High School and were part of the athletic department. After their sons graduated, Dr. Metz has continued to serve the district as the team doctor--now for 40 years! In addition, Dr. Metz and his wife Cathy have also been generous financial supporters of Deer Park Athletics.
Sherry Redwine was a first team all district basketball performer between 1972 and 1975. She was named outstanding basketball player and the leading scorer all three years on varsity. She then attended San Jacinto Junior College on a basketball scholarship where she led the conference in scoring. She averaged 25 points per game and was named All-Conference and All-Region. She was named All-American in 1977. She then transferred to Utah State University to play basketball and softball. During her senior year in softball, Sherry finished as the leading hitter on the team. After graduating from Utah, she was named the Assistant Athletic Director and Assistant Basketball Coach at Utah State. Eventually Sherry returned home and started a 34 year career at Deer Park ISD doing what she loved--coaching and working with kids.
Even though several decades have passed since he wore maroon and gold, Tom Fuller continues to be considered one of the best point guards in Deer Park basketball history. He was known for his quick hands and athleticism and was a tenacious defensive specialist. He led the Deer to consecutive regional tournaments, and was named first team all-district, co-player of the year, and first team all-greater Houston.
Primarily remembered as a quarterback, Corey Pullig was a triple-threat during his high school sports career. He earned a place on the all-state football team, and he was also named all-district in baseball and played soccer. Pullig attended Texas A&M University on a football scholarship, and he led the Aggies to the Southwest Conference Championship for three consecutive years beginning in 1992. He remains a Texas A&M record-holder in several passing categories.
Jimmy Shelton started his junior year on the junior varsity basketball team, but his play quickly earned him a spot on the varsity squad. Shelton was known for his shooting touch, court vision, and determination. He led the Deer to district and bi-district championships and a trip to the regional tournament during his senior year. The team’s record was 32-4, thanks in part to Shelton’s scoring. As a senior, Shelton was named first team all-district and second team all-state.
Terry Venetoulias is among the elite number of Deer Park athletes named to the all-state team in two sports. He earned statewide recognition as a kicker in football as well as for playing soccer, and during his high school career, he also received numerous other district, region, and state honors. After graduation, he attended Texas A&M University on a football scholarship and was named to the All-Southwest Conference team from 1990-92.
In 2014, the Lady Deer returned to the state tournament determined to avoid going home empty-handed, as they had the previous year after winning the state title in 2012. The team’s motto for the year was, “Games are won and lost in the fifth, sixth, and seventh inning.” But the Lady Deer seized control of the game early and cruised to an 8-2 victory over The Woodlands to bring the championship back home to Deer Park.
Sophomore Payton McBride was the game’s most valuable player for shutting down The Woodlands’ powerful offense, striking out five and forcing seven flyouts. Three players were named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association 2014 High School All-American Team: Caitlin Plocheck (first team), McBride (third team), and Haley Harrison (third team). Plocheck was named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association All-Star selection list, and Head Coach Carrie Austgen was named the TGCA 4A-5A Coach of the Year. Plocheck was also the first player in 5A state tournament history to hit two home runs.
Dena Evans is one of the most talented and accomplished athletes in the District’s history. Evans earned First Team All-State honors for two years and was named Miss Texas Basketball during her senior year. She became a star player at the University of Virginia, where she led the team to three NCAA Final Four appearances and a 118-17 record during her four-year career. As a senior at Virginia, she was named the best point guard in the nation and received the Frances P. Naismith award as the country’s top collegiate player under 5 feet, 7 inches tall. She earned First Team Academic All-American honors for three consecutive years. In 2002, Evans was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Women’s Basketball Team. After college, she played professionally in the United States, Europe, and New Zealand.
Tommy Jeter’s high school athletic career included multiple local, state, and national honors. He lettered in baseball, football, and track. In 1987, he was named to USA Today’s High School Football Team, the Parade All American Team, and the ESPN All American Team. That same year, the Houston Chronicle named Jeter the best defensive high school football player in Texas. He was named to the All-District first team in 1986 and 1987, and in 1987, he was named First Team All-State. Jeter played for the University of Texas from 1988-91, during which he was a two-time member of the All Southwest Conference Team. In 1992, he was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the draft. He played in the Tokyo Bowl in 1992 and was an all-National Football League Rookie nominee in 1992. The Eagles made the play-offs in 1992 and 1995. In 1996, Jeter played for the Carolina Panthers.
In many ways, Jim Kethan was the heart of Deer Park ISD’s athletics program during his many years in the District. Along with Travis “Shorty” Hughes and D.H. “Cotton” Watkins, Kethan coached the Deer football team to back-to-back state titles in 1954 and 1955. He also coached the baseball team to regional championships. In 1967, he became the District’s first Director of Athletics. During his tenure, Kethan expanded the girls athletics program and supervised one of the area’s best elementary physical education programs. He was inducted into the Texas Athletic Directors Hall of Honor in 1990. In 1991, the school’s baseball field---which he helped plan and construct---was named in his honor. Kethan was an officer in the Marine Corps during World War II, but in Deer Park, he will be remembered best as a mentor and friend to many.
Longtime Deer Park basketball coach and administrator Ray Landers joined the District in 1964. After three years coaching at Deer Park Junior High, he moved up to Deer Park High School. He was named head varsity basketball coach in 1971, leading his teams to the district championship in seven of the 11 years he led the team. As a head coach, he earned a record of 305-95 for a winning percentage of 76.25 percent. His overall winning percentage was 78.78 percent. In 1982, Landers was named the District’s second athletic director, a position in which he served for four years. He was subsequently named assistant superintendent for instruction and retired in 1998 as deputy superintendent for instruction, having served 35 years.
As a high school player, famed pitcher Andy Pettitte earned a place on the All-District team in 1989 and 1990. In 1990, he was named to the All-State team as well as Houston Area Player of the Year and led the Deer to the state championship game. He was the winning pitcher in the 1990 state semi-final game against Austin Westlake. He signed a college scholarship with San Jacinto College, and in 1991, he was drafted by the New York Yankees in 22nd round. He has played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Yankees and the Houston Astros. He is a five-time World Series champion and a three-time MLB All-Star. In 2001, he was named American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player. Pettitte is the all-time leader in post-season wins with 19. Among active pitchers, he leads the league in wins and strikeouts and is eighth in win-loss percentage with a .635 record. He won more games than any other MLB pitcher during the 2000s. Pettitte’s jersey number was retired by Deer Park High School in 2006, and he remains the only player to receive this honor.
Danny Van Rheen is arguably the best basketball player to wear maroon and gold. He earned All-District honors in each of his four years as a varsity starter and was named to the All-Tournament Team in every tournament in which the Deer competed from Van Rheen’s sophomore to senior years. He was also named First Team All-State. During his high school career, he totaled 2,794 points and 1,615 rebounds while connecting on 62 percent of his field goals and 64 percent from free throw line. He was named one of the nation’s best players by four different basketball publications. After high school, Van Rheen accepted a four-year scholarship to national power University of Missouri, where he competed on two National Collegiate Athletic Association Final Four teams.
Jay Vaught was a pitcher for the Deer, earning All-District honors in 1989 and 1990. During his senior year, he was also named to the All-Greater Houston and All-State teams. Vaught also led the Deer football team to two consecutive nine-win seasons and was All-District performer in football. As a senior, he signed to play at the University of Texas. The Longhorns made NCAA Tournament appearances in all four years that Vaught was on the team, and they were Conference Tournament Champions in 1991 and 1994. The Longhorns were Southwest Conference Champions in 1991 and 1992 and appeared in the College World Series in 1992 and 1993. During his final year at UT, Vaught was named First Team All-Southwest Conference. Vaught was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in 1994, playing minor league ball through 1997. In four seasons in the minors, he had a 3.98 career ERA.
Duane Walker ended his high school career by lettering in four sports and earning a place on the All-State Baseball Team. He was a member of numerous all-district baseball and football teams throughout high school and was also a key member of the basketball team. After playing a year at San Jacinto College, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds minor league system in 1976. He was called up to the Reds major league level in 1982 and played through 1984. He also played for the Reds and Texas Rangers organizations in 1985. From 1986-87, he played for the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals minor league systems. He returned to major league play in 1988 with the Cardinals organization.
Having made it to the state championship game and lost in 1952, Deer Park was eager for another chance at the title. That desire fueled an undefeated regular season, including five shut-outs. In spite of their success during the regular season and the play-offs, the Deer went into the state championship game as underdogs, with sports media predicting a loss to Albany, a traditional Texas powerhouse. The Deer shocked the Lions and the rest of the state with a 26-6 victory, making Deer Park history by earning the District’s first state title.
The Deer returned to the state championship game in 1955, having earned the respect of their opponents. Another undefeated season led to a sweep of the play-offs, with an average margin of victory of 18.8 points. Deer Park would wait 57 years for its next state title.
The Lady Deer won the 2012 5A State Championship “One pitch at a time,” triumphing over Klein Collins, 6-0, to bring home the school's first state championship in softball. Although the Lady Deer did not win district, they peaked as the play-offs began, winning bi-district, area, and Region III-5A. Deer Park players were selected for seven of the 10 spots on the state 5A all-tournament team. Pitcher Kristin Davenport was named championship most valuable player and Houston Chronicle Girl Athlete of the Week for June 3, 2012. The Texas Sports Writers Association named Davenport its 2012 Class 5A Player of the Year and Head Coach Carrie Austgen Class 5A Coach of the Year. Leftfielder Haley Harrison set a record for the all-time highest batting average in the history of the 5A championship game [.714 and 5-for-7]. During the state semi-final game, the team set a state tournament record for the most runs scored in a single inning [10 runs in the fifth]. Three players were named First Team All-State and two players were named Third Team All-State.