Whitney's First Class

By Jeremy McDonald

 Photo courtesy of the minnesota vikings

Photo courtesy of the minnesota vikings

For the first time in school history, Whitney celebrated their inaugural Hall of Fame class which took a interesting approach to make being inducted into the Hall of Fame a ‘true honor’.

Athlete’s would have to wait seven years, coaches will have to be at Whitney for 10 years.  After that, you have to receive a certain amount of votes to get the nod.

“So We kind of set it up to be a cross between Major League Baseball, the Hesiman Trophy and kind of the NFL,” Wildcat Athletic Director Jason Feuerbach.   “So it is a true honor, so I mean to have those three honors to be in the first class is truly remarkable.”

Of nine nominees in 2015, three made the cut.

For the 2015 class they are Mike Gimenez, Deja Edwards and Austin Wentworth.

Gimenez coached since the school’s inception in 2003 and put Whitney on the map that included a perfect 13-0 season, a section championship in 2008 before stepping down after the 2014 season.

“It’s a huge honor,” said Gimenez.  “This school means so much to me and being with the kids and watching them and being a part of the process it’s been a huge honor.

“It’s thrilling and it’s fun to be around the school and watch it grow.  This is the next step, honoring all the past athletes, coaches and teams, it’s pretty awesome.”

Gimenez is still teaching at Whitney High School, helping out with the golf team and will helped Feuerbach in the Athletic Department office and be in the press box Friday night’s this upcoming season.

Interesting enough, Feuerbach was coached by Gimenez in an All-Star game and coached in Gimenez’s staff before becoming Athletic Director at Whitney.

“It’s a weird situation,” said Feuerbach.  “I played for Gimenez in a All-Star game.  I coached as his peer for several years, for about 11 years and now when I moved to Athletic Director, I became his boss.

“So it’s a weird dynamic.  He’s the ultimate role model for me.  He’s a man I looked up too and respect., a man to go to if I need something.”

Edwards was a dominant force on the track, holding several school records after transferred to Whitney before her junior year as she got a full ride to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and majored in Kinesiology.  She also spoke of her opinion on being inducted.

“It’s great,” said Edwards.  “It’s a honor I never thought I’d be inducted into a Hall of Fame.  I worked hard, so it’s great to be recognized for that.

“At a short time here, Whitney was my third high school, but while I was here I was focused.  I stayed in school and stayed on track.”

Edwards is now working on her master’s degree in Social Work at UNLV.

Despite not being in attendance due to prior commitments, but sent a video message to the event, Wentworth was also part of the original graduating class at Whitney and was a dominant force on the offensive line for the ‘Cats. 

Wentworth went to college at Fresno State before going undrafted to the Minnesota Vikings where he played in seven games in 2014.

“With Austin and Deja, you have two great, highly successful college athletes,  with Austin advancing to the professional ranks, but I think they’re all great people,"  said Feuerbach.  "They were great students at Whitney, great student-athletes, I mean I couldn’t be anymore prouder of those three.”