Four to join Lions Hall of Fame

New Richmond High School’s first Division I college players in football and basketball will join two of the school’s all-time greats in softball and swimming in the 2016 class of the New Richmond Lions Sports Hall of Fame.
Thomas Wildey, 1959 graduate who played football at Ohio State; Jeffrey Kuhn, 1962 graduate who played basketball at the University of Cincinnati; Michelle Sweet, 2009 graduate who was a three-sport star in soccer, basketball and softball; and Alex Lewis, 2010 graduate who owns 11 school and league swimming records, will go into the Lions Hall of Fame at the annual induction banquet at 6 p.m. on Jan. 16 in the high school cafeteria.

The Hall of Fame banquet will follow the 4 p.m. Hall of Fame basketball game between the boys varsity against Mariemont. Tickets for the banquets are $15 and available at the high school.

Thomas Wildey, Class of 1959
Whether it was standing his ground against Ohio State coach Woody Hayes or helping bring needed social services to New Richmond, Tom Wildey never backed down from a challenge. When football coaches Dave Bechtel and Robert Tucker were tasked with putting New Richmond High School’s first football team on the field in 1955, one of their first stops was to a hay field in Monroe Township where they saw Tom Wildey and older brother Carl sling heavy hay bales onto a wagon. “These two will do,” they said as they left to scout other future Lions football players. Tom Wildey more than lived up to the young coaches’ expectations and went on to become a four-year, two-way starter at tackle for the Lions, earning all-league honors as a junior and senior before going off to college and making the Ohio State freshman team as a walk on. Hayes tested the mettle of walk on players by using them for tackling practice. Wildey was still standing after 150 hits and make the OSU squad. Wildey got a job in the summer with Cincinnati Gas & Electric, where he worked for 32 years, and never returned to college. Wildey wasn’t just noted for his brawn and was a three-year varsity basketball player for the Lions and ran relays for the track team in addition to throwing the shot and discus. Wildey served for 12 years on the board of the Clermont County Developmental Disabilities and 12 years on the county Planning Commission. He worked for nine years with Clermont County Family and Children First and has been Monroe Township director of services for the past 14 years.

Jeffrey Kuhn, Class of 1962
Jeff Kuhn earned all-star recognition on the basketball court, baseball field and in the classroom for New Richmond during his time in the Eastern Hills League and became New Richmond’s first Division I college basketball player. Jeff was named honorable mention All-league his junior year and after averaging 15 points (including five consecutive games of 20 or more points) and 15 rebounds a game his senior year earning 1st team all-league honors, Jeff walked on and made the University of Cincinnati freshman team in 1962-63, out of more than 50 players who tried out to join the seven scholarship recruits. UC’s freshman team went undefeated that season, and was widely recognized as the best in the country. Jeff also was a four-year varsity starter in baseball as a pitcher, catcher and infielder for New Richmond. Jeff also excelled in the classroom and was a member of the National Honor Society and served as class vice-president his junior and senior years. Jeff majored in applied mathematics at the University of Cincinnati, and was awarded a Fellowship and two teaching assistantships to pursue graduate studies in applied math while making the academic dean’s list twice. He joined Western and Southern Life Insurance Company in 1967 as an actuarial student following a year of graduate school and remained with the company in full-time or part-time positions through 2014.

Michelle Sweet, Class: 2009
Michelle Sweet was a scholar athlete all four years in three sports at New Richmond. She was named Clermont County Sports Woman of the Year in 2009 as well as VFW Athlete of the Year. She ranks at the top of New Richmond’s record book in softball with a pitching record of 45-11 with more than 369 strikeouts (no records are available for her freshman year). Michelle was a 4-year varsity letter winner in softball as well as a 4-year 1st team SBAAC All-Star, All-City Honorable Mention from 2007-2009 and a 3-year captain. Her record included a perfect game against Indian Hill in the 2008 sectional tournament. Michelle led the Lady Lions to three Southern Buckeye league titles (2006-08) and a Division II sectional title in 2009 when she pitched a shutout against McNicholas in the title game. Michelle won 16 games her senior year including pitching eight shutouts, a 0.66 ERA and ended No. 1 state ranked Western Brown’s 26-game regular season winning streak with an 11-1 win. She was named New Richmond’s defensive MVP in 2008 and all around MVP in 2009. Michelle was a four-year varsity player in soccer and was team captain her senior season which was cut short by injury. She was also captain of the Lady Lions basketball team her senior year. A National Honor Society member, Michelle graduated 5th in her class in 2009 with a GPA of 4.321. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ohio Northern University in 2015 with a Doctorate of Pharmacy degree. Michelle was also a member of the Rho Chi (Academic Honor Society in Pharmacy) as well as a member of Northern Without Borders completing a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. She played four years of softball at Ohio Northern and was named to the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) all-tournament team 2011 and OAC Honorable Mention in 2013. She was team captain in 2013 and was named NFCA Scholar Athlete 2011-2013. Her team also made an appearance in the D3 College World Series in 2012 being one of only 8 teams. Her team also made appearances in the Regionals 2010- 2012 and won the OAC the same years. 

Alex Lewis, Class of 2010
A typical holiday visit home for Alex Lewis would be a trip to the pool at the ‘Y where he would swim twenty 500-yard workouts. That dedication and hard work resulted in Alex setting 11 school and league records at New Richmond and receiving a four-year athletic scholarship where he would become a four-year star for DI Cleveland State University where he qualified for the United States Nationals three times. Alex was a 13-time Horizon League champion counting relay events during his four years at Cleveland State and was named the conference’s swimmer of the year and swimmer of the meet in 2014. He was the college’s first swimmer to go under 20 seconds in the 50 Freestyle (19.56). Alex was a 3 time District Qualifier & a District Champion in 2009-10 in the 100 Butterfly. Alex was a two-time Division II state qualifier for New Richmond in both the 100 butterfly and 100 freestyle events, finishing 4th in the state in the 100 freestyle and 5th in the 100 butterfly his senior year.  Alex owns individual school and pool records in the 50 freestyle (22.21), 100 freestyle (s-47.09, p-48.37) and 100 butterfly (s-51.07, p-53.93), 200 freestyle (1:49.57) and was on record setting teams in the 200 freestyle (1:37.02), 400 freestyle (3:44.48) and 400 medley relays. He also holds league records in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle relay. Alex was named team MVP 3-years in a row.  Alex was also instrumental in establishing the NR Alumni Swim Meet held each year. After college, Alex was named head site coach at Xavier University for the Mercy Health Seawolves and produced six Junior Olympic qualifiers in two years. Alex currently is an assistant swim coach at Xavier University.

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