Highlanders to hold inaugural Hall of Fame fundraising dinner | SierraSun.com

Highlanders to hold inaugural Hall of Fame fundraising dinner

Staff report

John "Coo" Griffo, who starred for the Highlanders in the mid 1980s, talks with coach Chalmer Dillard during a game. Griffo is one of four Incline alumni players to be inducted into the Incline High Basketball Hall of Fame on Nov. 30.
File photo |

Incline boys basketball coach Tim Kelly couldn’t be more excited about the Highlanders’ new fundraiser.

Kelly, a former Incline player himself, is organizing the inaugural Incline High School Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 30.

Inductees include Paul Bryant (class of 1976), Robin Kindred (class of ‘77), John “Coo” Griffo (class of ‘85) and Annie Schlegelmilch (class of ‘87).

“I have a lot of passion about the history of Incline basketball,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be a huge celebration of that history. I want our young girls and boys to know the rich tradition of the program.”

The evening will begin with nonleague home games against Division I Hug, during which the four inaugural inductees will be honored in a ceremony at halftime of the boys game, which starts at 4 p.m.

A fundraising dinner will follow at The Chateau at Incline Village at 6:30, with cocktails beginning at 6. Incline players will be the servers.

Kelly said 100 percent of the money raised will go toward both the Incline boys and girls basketball programs, covering the costs of gear, balls, travel and other expenses.

The coach plans to make the fundraiser an annual event. Along with the latest inductees, a committee led by Kelly will vote on next year’s Hall of Fame candidates.

Those interested in attending are requested to RSVP. Contact Kelly at 714-404-8592 or coachtk12@gmail.com.


All the inductees played significant roles in Incline’s storied basketball history.

Bryant, in fact, was considered by many to be the greatest Highlander of all time, Kelly said, explaining how he and Jimmy Griffo, the older brother of John “Coo” Griffo, combined to create perhaps the best Highlander backcourt ever.

“He was a legend in town,” Kelly said. “He was the leader of what people consider the greatest Incline team of all time. Back when he and Jimmy played, the gym used to be crazy.”

Bryant earned a full-ride scholarship to Montana Western University.

Kelly said Kindred was the first great female player for the Highlanders, starring on the school’s first-ever girls basketball team the 1976-’77 season.

The Incline girls won the state championship that year as Kindred, who still resides in Incline Village, was named Player of the Year.

A modest guy, Coo Griffo told Kelly upon learning of his induction, “I’m not even the best player in my family.” He gave that distinction to his older brother.

Nevertheless, the younger Griffo could ball with the best of them, Kelly said. Along with teammate Brian Staaleson, the point guard was part of one of the Highlanders’ best backcourts ever.

“He’s one of the most famous gym rats in Incline history,” Kelly said.

Schlegelmilch starred on the last Incline girls team to win a state title, in 1985. She was a second-team All-State selection as a freshman and made first team All-State her sophomore, junior and senior years — when Incline basketball ruled.

“It was unbelievable how good girls basketball was in Incline Village,” Kelly said. “Girls basketball was the thing. Incline was it, and Annie was really the head of the whole thing.”

Along with the four alumni players, former Incline coaches Rollie Hess and Chalmer Dillard and former North Lake Tahoe Bonanza Sports Editor Guy Clifton will serve as guest speakers.

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