BURROUGHS HIGH — They have enjoyed success on the high school, college and even excelled in the professional ranks.
But for a group of former Indians athletes Friday night, being inducted into the Burroughs Athletic Hall of Fame is something they will cherish.
Two of the inductees, Mike Sheppard and Jeff Fitzgerald, who are both assistant coaches for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, took time off from their bye-week to attend the ceremony at Burroughs High.
Also inducted were Kim Peppi-Kuenn and Elvin “Hutch” Hutchison, who was inducted posthumously.
“This is a tremendous honor for me, it really is,” said Fitzgereld, who is the Bengals’ linebackers coach. “The things that I learned on the football field here…are things that I have carried over to my career, and some of the things I’ve tried to instill in my players over the years.”
Sheppard was equally moved.
“This is something that makes you feel so honored,” said Sheppard, who is Cincinnati’s receivers’ coach. “No one will be more proud, or more honored, to have been selected than I will.”
Peppi-Kuenn said she is appreciative to be honored by her former high school.
“This is my hometown, and this is the place I always brag to everybody about,” she said. “It means a lot because it’s like family to me.”
A 1968 graduate, Sheppard was a three-sport standout at Burroughs, excelling in football, baseball, and basketball. He went on to enjoy success at football and baseball at California Lutheran University.
In baseball, Sheppard was selected to the National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics District 3 team two straight years for the Kingsmen. He went on to play minor league baseball.
Along with coaching at the collegiate level in football, he has been an assistant in the NFL for 17 years.
Hutchison was Burroughs’ first head football and boys’ basketball coach. He enjoyed a fine career at Whittier College, playing football, baseball and running track. He was inducted into the Whittier College Athletics Hall of Fame.
Following his collegiate career, Hutchison was a halfback for the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 1939. He also played for Los Angeles Bulldogs and Hollywood Bears of the Pacific Coast Professional Football League until 1948.
Hutchison was an official in the NFL from 1952-1959 and in the American Football League from 1960-69.
Peppi-Kuenn, who starred in girls’ basketball and softball for the Indians from 1980-83. A former All-American in softball at Burroughs, she also set school records with the Indians’ basketball team.
She went on to enjoy an award-winning career in softball as a pitcher and in women’s basketball at California Lutheran University. She still is among the top ten in a half-dozen categories for the Regals in softball, including second in innings pitched (176 1/3) tied for fourth in complete games (19) and tied for first in saves (three). She earned All-Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference first-team honors all four years and was an All-American as a junior.
In basketball she scored 1,523 career points for the Regals from 1983-87 to set a school record, a record that lasted 19 years. He was inducted into the college’s hall of fame in 2005.
Fitzgerald was a football standout at linebacker for the Indians from 1974-77 and played at Oregon State.
Along with coaching at the collegiate level, he has gone on to enjoy a 17-year coaching career in the NFL, and is in his third season as linebackers coach with the Bengals.
Also honored at the event was Monica Flores, a former Burroughs athletic secretary who worked for the district for more than 30 years.