PLATTSBURGH — Three former outstanding athletes and two coaches will be inducted into the Plattsburgh High School Athletic Hall of Fame during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 12 and 13.
The newest members include Mitchell Tarr (1975), Karen Joubert (1979), Pam Leopard-Ryan (1983), Mark Donnelly (coach/athletic trainer) and Howard “Tommy” Thompson (coach).
The 1978 undefeated football Hornets will also become the first team to be recognized by the Hall of Fame that day.
The induction ceremony will be held Saturday, Oct. 13 at American Legion Post 20 on Quarry Road. The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., with dinner served at 7 p.m. Anyone wishing to attend the dinner can contact C. Joseph Staves at 561-7500, ext. 5092 or email@example.com. The cost of the dinner is $25 per person, which includes gratuity and taxes. A hot buffet will be served.
Pamela Leopard-Ryan (1983)
Leopard-Ryan competed in seven different sports at PHS before settling with soccer, volleyball and track & field. A natural leader, she captained the girls’ soccer team in her senior year and also captained the 1982 volleyball team, which won the Section VII Class B championship. She received the Black Letter in both sports and was a CVAC All-Star in volleyball. Leopard-Ryan finished her senior year by qualifying for the NYSPHSAA championship in the high jump.
She continued playing volleyball at SUNY Cortland, where she played four years and also competed in the NYS Empire State Games in the Open Division. After receiving her BS in Physical Education and minor in Athletic Training, Leopard-Ryan became a NATA Certified Athletic Trainer. She then attended UMass at Amherst, obtaining her Masters in Exercise Science. She has volunteered her skills in numerous activities from fun runs to working in the NYS Senior and Empire State Games.
She is currently employed at CVPH Medical Center, where she is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Department. She has one son, Mitchell Ryan.
Karen Lee Joubert (1979)
Joubert is considered one of the most successful gymnasts in PHS and Section VII history. She was the all-around champion four consecutive years from 1975 to 1979. She also represented Section VII four times in the New York State Championships. She was recognized by her teammates by being voted the 1979 Black Letter award winner, given to the most outstanding gymnast at PHS.
Joubert was also a competitive figure skater during her high school career. After high school, she signed a professional skating contract with the Ice Capades. She toured as a feature performer worldwide for five years with Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton, Tai Babilonia and Randy Garner.
She is now owner of Joubert Physical Therapy in Beverly Hills, California with a clientele that includes individuals from the NBA, NFL, former presidents, Serena and Venus Williams, and many more famous athletes. Joubert presently lives in Pacific Palisades, Calif. and has three children, Zach, Mollie and Cassandra.
Mitchell Tarr (1975)
Tarr was a three-sport standout at Plattsburgh High and was voted PHS Outstanding Athlete in 1975. In basketball, he was voted captain and played for legendary PHS coach Ray Holmes. In his senior year, he helped lead the Hornets to a 12-3 record and a CVAC Northern Division title. In the Section VII championship game, Tarr led the Hornets to a near upset of heavily-favored Saranac.
Tarr was also an excellent football player and was named a league first team all-star as a defensive end. His most successful sport, however, was baseball. He was an outstanding pitcher and led his team to a Section VII championship. He was named a first team all-star pitcher in both his junior and senior years. Tarr was awarded a full scholarship to Division I University of Maine where he pitched two years.
He eventually had to choose between baseball and his education, and he pursued a degree in chemical engineering. He continued furthering his education by securing several Masters Degrees. Tarr has remained very active in Judo, in which he holds a Second Degree Black Belt. He presently lives in Roseville, Calif. with his wife, Jamie, where he is an engineer with Northrop Grumman Corporation.
Donnelly received his BS in Physical Education and Health Education (1974) from the University of Vermont. He continued his education, pursuing his passion in Athletic Training at Westchester University, Pa. In 1981, he became a NATA Certified ATC, licensed in New York State. Donnelly also coached football, wrestling, girls’ swimming and track and field. His teams have won numerous CVAC and Section VII titles, most notably in track and field.
Donnelly’s greatest impact, however, has been in Athletic Training. He served at PHS for over 25 years. He also served Section VII at its Safety Chairperson for more than 20 years. Donnelly was a Charter member of the NYS Concussion Management Team, established by NYSPHSAA in conjunction with NYSED. He taught NYSED Coaching classes for 30 years at Section VII schools. As if that wasn’t enough, Donnelly founded the Section VII Track Officials Organization, taught CPR and First Aid throughout the North Country and was honored as the Ray Holmes PE Teacher of the Year.
Donnelly is married to PHS alumnus Joyce Angell, and they have two children, Patrick and Erin. Patrick is an Athletic Trainer at SUNY Cortland and Erin is a teacher in the Plattsburgh system.
Howard “Tommy” Thompson (coach)
Thompson arrived at Plattsburgh High in the fall of 1946 and remained only until 1950. In those five short years. Thompson made such a tremendous impact on the athletic program that even today the achievements and the athletes of that era are still talked about.
He led the football team to four City Championships and an undefeated 8-0 season in 1947. In 1948-49, after replacing the legendary “Bud” Miller, Thompson led the basketball team to both league and sectional championships.
But it was in track and field where he excelled, leading the Hornets to five consecutive Section VII championships. His 1949 team was acclaimed the best track and field team ever assembled. He also coached nine different PHS Hall of Famers.
It was Thompson’s idea to hold a contest to give PHS a greater identification beyond the “Orange and Black.” In 1946, a student, Glen Clark, was declared the winner when he submitted “Hornets,” which was compatible to the colors at PHS. Thompson also helped found Wilkes Community College in North Carolina where he served as its first President.