A number of Leavenworth High School alumni will return next weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Lady Pioneers' back-to-back state basketball championships. Under the leadership of head coach, Stuart "Stu" Ordman, not only did LHS win the girls state basketball championships in 1988 and 1989, but also finished in the final four in 1990.
"Our success was due to the combination of the foundation that many great players ahead of us built; the support from the community, school, and our families; and dedication from ALL of the teams in the program to make the Lady Pioneers successful," said Shannon Bloxom ('88).
The reunion weekend will begin with a social gathering at J.W. Crancer's (530 Delaware) on Friday, October 11, where video highlights from the championship games will be shown throughout the evening. On Oct. 12, there will be an alumni scrimmage at LHS beginning at 11:30 a.m., followed by a lunch provided by the current Lady Pioneer basketball team.
A dinner reception at June's Cottage, starts at 6 p.m. Former and current players, and Pioneer fans, family, and friends of all ages are welcome to help celebrate Lady Pioneer Basketball throughout the weekend.
"I am looking forward to seeing the players that I admired and respected from the championship teams. I was only a Freshman and a Sophomore during the two state title seasons and didn't see a minute of varsity playing time.
"But I was around the team and the players enough to understand the commitment, hard work, dedication, and excitement that surrounded their success. Coach Ordman was smart about making sure the younger players stayed close to the action, and I traveled with the team to the State Tournament and have a state medal to show for it. Shannon (Bloxom), Kelly (Dougherty), Nikki (Coates), Jodi (Hitti) - they were my heroes and I wanted to do everything I could to continue the successful program they worked so hard to create. Whether we played, cheered, or managed from the sidelines, we all had a part in the team's success and share a common history," said Paige Geiger ('91).
Twenty-five years later, Coach Ordman is still actively coaching, which is partially why the anniversary festivities are taking place during football season.
Ordman is currently the boys varsity head coach at Thomas Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
"I have many treasured memories from those seasons and times with the team in the off-season. Each team was able to sacrifice individual 'wants' for the good of the team, to strive for excellence, to be coached hard to achieve a common goal," said Coach Ordman.
Ordman began work in the Leavenworth Unified School District as an English teacher at West Junior High in 1983, and moved to Leavenworth High School as an English teacher beginning in the 1984-85 school year, where he also coached the girls varsity team until 1991.
Page 2 of 2 - "Each of our teams was unique and remarkable. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with these young women, their families, and the folks at Leavenworth High School and the community.
I look forward to seeing and getting reacquainted with the former players and colleagues next weekend," said Coach Ordman.
Community members who wish to attend the Friday or Saturday evening events are strongly encouraged to send an RSVP to Amy (Zule) Sloan at email@example.com no later than Oct. 5. Checks for the Saturday evening dinner can be made payable to Leavenworth Alumni Association, 200 N. 4th Street, Leavenworth, KS 66048.
"I realize now how fortunate and honored I was to have had the opportunity to play for Coach Ordman," said Amy (Zule) Sloan ('90). "He brought out the best in me and my teammates and taught us all life skills that we live by today. I have so many memories of Coach Ordman, he was an intense, demanding, dedicated, compassionate, and sometimes unorthodox coach – I can remember him turning the lights out in the gym to shoot free throws. It will be fun to reminisce about those days, and also interact with today's Lady Pioneers."
Submitted by Leavenworth Public Schools.