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Honorary Inductees for the Year 2004

*** Billie Wills ***

Billie Wills was born in Washington DC. When Principal Olin Web hired her as a Spanish teacher in 1957, he remarked, “Now we have a Yankee on the staff.” She came well qualified with Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Mexico, 1946, and the University of Miami, 1953. She was a popular teacher, and faculty sponsor of Junior Debs. The 1962 MIAHI was dedicated to her. In1963 she became Activities Director, a position she held until 1967. During that time she earned a Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College, 1964. She then took a leave of absence to help foreign PhD students master English at the University of Miami in order to complete their studies. With that background returned to Miami High in 1970 to teach English as a second language. During these 15 years she was the faculty sponsor of the student government. In 1978 she organized the Silver 75th Anniversary of Miami High at the Dade County Auditorium. She also volunteered to try to teach Spanish to football players as a favor to Principal Diego Garcia in preparation for College entrance exams. Although the players towered over the diminutive Mrs. Wills she taught them well enough to perform in a school Spanish language television production. Billie retired from Miami High in 1994 and lives in Coral Gables. Since retiring she has traveled extensively, volunteered at hospitals and written a book of Greek proverbs.

*** Mary Stanley ***

Mary Stanley was born in Springfield, Ohio. She came to Miami High in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio University. She had taught in Cleveland, Central Florida and at Horace Mann Junior High. Working as a new Spanish teacher at Miami High she was still able to complete a Master of Education degree from the University of Miami in her first years. She returned from maternity leave in 1958 to find her position in the Spanish Department filled. Therefore she took an open position in the English Department. In 1961 she became its Department Head. She was active in other student activities sponsoring Pan American Club and Anchor Club and the Classes of 1958 and 1959. In 1958 Buddy Coleman, Wheel Club President, asked her to become their faculty sponsor. Thus she became the first female sponsor of a male service club at Miami High. She quickly came to find out that Wheel Club was filled with football players. Despite misgivings she provided firm leadership and gentle guidance to Wheel Club’s jocks. She fondly remembers the mischievous trophy case raids where Key Club trophies mysteriously were turned backwards. Painting the parking lot curb stones resulted in more paint on students and their faculty sponsor than the curbs themselves. She recalls one memorable event from the graduation of 1959. Lindy Infante returned to her as his homeroom teacher from the stage of Dade County Auditorium to turn in his cap and gown. The diplomas were stacked near an open window. He took his from the stack then leaped out the window to freedom. It happened so fast that Mary was stunned. In 1967 she took over the duties Activity Director from Billie Wills. In 1968 she witnessed the graduation of her son, Don from Miami High after a successful football career and as Class Co-President. She left Miami High in 1979 turning over the position of Activities Director to Richard de Aguero. She stayed in close contact with Dade County schools as representative of Herff Jones, supplier of graduation caps and gowns and class rings. In 1983 Gulliver Preparatory School asked her to be their Activities Director. She held that position for five years after which she returned to the classroom to teach English once again. She is still on the faculty of Gulliver rounding out 55 years as an educator.


From the 1930s classes

***** Frank Rentz, Class of 1937 *****

Frank “Frankie” Rentz-Class of 1937- Frankie Rentz played in an era where Miami High had to go out of state to find opponents because it had dropped out of the “Big Ten High School Football Conference” in 1931 due a disputed game with Tampa Hillsborough High. In 1936, they played only two games in the state of Florida-Jacksonville Lee and of course the Edison Red Raiders. Although their record that year was only 5 wins and 5 lose, they still won the State Championship. Frankie stood 5’-7” tall and was only 115 to 120 pounds. They called him “The Mighty Atom”. Another description of him in those days was “There’s no defense for Frankie Rentz”. Ironically fans used the same terminology to describe his nephew, Larry Rentz, who played for Coral Gables High in the 1960’s. Only then it was “There’s no defense for Larry Rentz (much to the dismay of us Stingarees). Frankie’s coach was the legendary Jess Yarbrough and they played in the old wooden Orange Bowl. Frankie was a quarterback and considered an excellent runner as well as passer. He and his teammate, Lefty Schemer, were the stars of the team and Frankie was the team captain that year. Rentz was an all around athlete playing both basketball and baseball as well as football. After graduating from Miami High, Frankie went on to play football at the University of Georgia and then went to Emory University where he became a dentist. He also served as an Orange Bowl Committee President. Rentz now lives in Altamonte Springs, Florida.

***** Ralph "Butch" Miles, Class of 1939 *****

Ralph “Butch” Miles grew up in Hialeah and Miami Springs. He was almost forced to attend Edison when school boundaries changed in 1937. He was able get rides to Miami High with friends and avoid the bus to Edison. But many times he had to walk home from Miami High to Miami Springs. Early on he entertained aspirations of becoming a jockey at Hialeah Race Track where he delivered newspapers. As high school approached he gained weight and his interest shifted to football. Butch played on the 1938 and 1939 Stingaree teams whose record was 15 wins, five loses and two ties. They were state champs both seasons outscoring opponents 334 to 185. Of 22 opposing teams 17 were from out of state. In 1938 they won the post-season game against McKeesport High of Pennsylvania. The home field in those years was Roddy Burdine Stadium. Butch wore Number 21 on his jersey as the starting offensive center and defensive linebacker in 1938. In a pre-season warm-up against the Fort Lauderdale Flying L’s Butch broke his collar bone and missed the first four games of the season. His most memorable game was his first play as center against Jacksonville Jackson. He was put in as a substitute but regained the starting position in one play. “I could never forget. Two guys on defense attempted to offset me; I spilled the two guys and was center on the football team.” Although he was offered scholarships to Miami, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, LSU and Clemson, he chose to study civil engineering at the University of Florida. He graduated in 1943 with Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. Through ROTC he was commissioned an officer in the Army Corps of Engineers. After OCA training at Fort Belvoir, Virginia he returned home in February 1944 to marry his Miami High sweetheart Helen O’Quinn (Class of 1940). Four months later he landed in France with Patton’s Third Army marching through Europe fighting all the way to Germany including the Battle of the Bulge. He was then transferred to the 11th Airborne in the Pacific theater when Japan surrendered. He finally spent a year in occupied Japan. Returning home in 1947 on a Thursday, he began classes at the University of Miami Law School the next Monday, graduating in 1949. He remained in the Engineer Reserves. As a result he was called to two years of active duty in 1950 for the Korean War. He has practiced law for 55 years including 26 years as City Attorney for Hialeah. Butch and Helen live in Hialeah just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

From the 1940s classes

***** Jerry Billings, Class of 1949 *****

Jerry “The Snake” Billings graduated with the Class of 1949. He wore Number 40 on his jersey on the 1947 and 1948 teams. He was the starting center on the 1948 team. During those seasons the team won 15 games, lost three and tied one. They outscored opponents 473 to 92. His most memorable game was the 28-0 defeat in 1948 of Miami Jackson. The General’s gained only 13 yards that night. For his efforts Jerry was named in 1948 to the Miami Herald and Miami News All-City Teams, and the Florida All-Star Team. Miami High awarded him its Most Improved Lineman Trophy. Of his Miami High experience Jerry says, ”It taught me lessons for life: teamwork, discipline, hard work, and perseverance. (Never give up).” Jerry was an all around athlete and student. He was Homeroom President for two years and President of Wheel Club his senior year. Jerry lettered two years on State Championship Basketball Teams. As a result he received the first Basketball scholarship given by University of Florida. After two years he transferred to the University of Miami where he graduated from Law School in 1957. He joined the U.S. Army. As a First Lieutenant he was stationed on Marshall Islands where the first “H” bomb was exploded in 1955. Jerry has since had a successful law practice in Florida. He is a member of the Board of Governors for the Florida Bar Association, Director of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, Member of he American Trial Lawyers Association and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Jerry now lives in Winter Park, Florida.

***** Bill Costner, Class of 1949 *****

Bill (Willy) Costner of the Miami High Class of 1949 wore number 18 on his jersey as he played halfback for the 1947 and 1948 Stingarees. During those seasons the team won 15 games, lost three and tied one. They outscored opponents 473 to 92. His most memorable game was against Robert E. Lee of Jacksonville in 1948. He was chosen honorary captain for that game, and he blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. Of his days at Miami High Bill says, “I worked very hard for a dream come true. In Fall practice of ’47 I handled Charlie George, Joe Mariano and Bernard Kesterson. I gained confidence from this.” For his efforts he was named to the Miami Herald Second Team All-City and given Honorable Mention on Miami News All-City Team. He also played in the Florida All-Star Game. Bill was an all around athlete, lettering in basketball for three years and track his senior year. He was a member of the Varsity Club. Bill married his Miami High sweetheart, Joan Carman of the class of 1950. He worked for Florida Power and Light Company for 38 years, retiring in 1989. Joan and Bill now live in Bushnell, Florida. He remains active serving on the City Licensing Board and St John’s Lutheran Church Council.

***** Bernard Kesterson (Deceased), Class of 1949 *****

Bernie Kesterson graduated with the Miami High Class of 1949. He wore jersey number 24 as a tackle during the 1947 and 1948 seasons. During those years the team’s record was 15 wins, three loses and one tie. The Stingarees outscored opponents 473 to 92. For his efforts the Miami Herald and the Miami News named him to their1948 All-City Teams. He was also a Florida All-Star and played in the 1949 post season All-Star Game. Bernie attended Augusta Military Academy for one year. He was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Miami. In 1952 he married Elaine and moved to Buffalo, New York. There he worked 40 years for Trico Products, a firm that manufactured automobile products. He was an avid hunter as a member of the Clarence Hunting Club. His hobby was raising dogs, including blood hounds for the local police department. Bernie is deceased and survived by Elaine, their two sons and a daughter.

From the 1950s classes

***** Al Grieshaber, Class of 1959 *****

Al Grieshaber graduated with the Class of 1959. Wearing Jersey Number 74 he played Defensive Tackle for the 1967 and 1968 seasons. During that time Miami High won 16 games, lost two and tied two. The Stingarees outscored opponents 477 to 131. Al was chosen Honorary Captain for the 1958 Homecoming Game against Edison. Both the Miami Herald and Miami News selected him to their 1958 All-City Teams. Al went onto to play in the North-South All-Star Game. His most memorable game was the first game of the 1958 season against Miami Jackson. Miami’s defense stopped the Generals on the goal line for 27 to 26 victory. Al learned about team work at Miami High. ““It takes all the players to make a play work or to stop a play.” Al was an active student at Miami High. He was Vice President of both his Homeroom and Wheel Club. His senior year the Pep Club named him Pep Doll, their male sweetheart. Al accepted a football scholarship to Southwest Louisiana College where he lettered for three years. He was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Navy through Officer’s Candidate School. He served two years on Minesweeper out of Charleston and two years on a Destroyer out of Key West, reaching rank of Lieutenant. Al still lives in his hometown, Miami.

From the 1960s classes

***** Joe Cooper, Class of 1963 *****

Joe (The Moke) Cooper of the Class of 1963, started as right defensive end for both the 1961 and 1962 seasons. He wore Number 95 on his jersey. During those seasons, the team’s record was sixteen wins, one loss and two ties, outscoring opponents 375 to 90. Joe had early memories of Miami High. “I went to games in the Orange Bowl since I was five years old, and dreamed of playing for Miami High.” In fulfilling that dream Joe was a significant contributor to the team’s clinching the City, Big Ten Conference, State and National Championships in 1962. His most memorable game was the 1962 21-0 Homecoming victory Thanksgiving night over Edison in the Orange Bowl. For his efforts he was named to All-City Teams in both 1961 and 1962. Joe was quite a cutup in the halls of Miami High, coining the phrase, “How’s your peltz today?” . To this day it defies definition. Joe received football scholarships to the University of Tampa, then Parsons College and finally University of Iowa where he graduated and coached for 2 years. In the 1970’s Joe started an entertainment management company. He managed two of the Rolling Stones, Dave Mason and Traffic, and the Steve Miller Band. He wrote songs with many of the artists. Songs written with Steve Miller sold over 30 million records. In the past 20 years he served as advisor to institutional investors, such as banks, state pension funds and leverage buyout funds. In the 1990’s as a representative of the New World (Investment) Group of Hong Kong he initiated 33 deals with state owned enterprises in China. He is a member of the Dean’s Council at the JFK School of Government of Harvard University. Joe was sponsor of the President of China when he spoke at Harvard following his visit to the Clinton White House. Joe now lives in Plano, Texas, and is most proud of his daughter Rosie, a professor at the Oklahoma State University. She is Professional Rodeo Performer, former Oklahoma Cowgirl of the Year 2000 and two time All American at OSU.

***** Richard Corbin, Class of 1965 *****

Richard Corbin graduated with the Class of 1965. He wore Number 84 for the 1963 and 1964 seasons. He was the starting offensive end in 1964. During those years, the team’s record was thirteen wins, six losses and no ties. Miami High outscored its opponents 201 to 152. Richard found early success at Miami High as a member of the sophomore scout team for 1962 National Champions. His 1964 team was GMAC & Gold Coast Conference Champions. Richard was the honorary Captain for 1964 Hialeah Game. But his most memorable game was that year against Jacksonville Lee. The defense shut down the off tackle and outside running game and Richard made key block for Carlos Arocha’s punt return for a touchdown. The 24 to 7 victory was sweet revenge for the loss suffered the previous year. Both the Miami Herald and Miami News named him to their All-City teams. Asked what playing football at Miami High meant to him, Richard replied, “To be part of a great tradition and represent Miami High was an honor. I learned the true meaning of teamwork and dedication that has stayed with me all of my life.” Richard accepted a football scholarship to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M Junior College and Northeastern Oklahoma State. There he started 40 games, was honorary team captain 4 times, lettered all 4 years. Richard now lives in Bushnell, Florida.

***** Tony Govekar, Class of 1965 *****

Tony Govekar of the Class of 1965, wore Number 80. He started as offensive end in the 1963 and 1964 seasons. During those years, the team’s record was thirteen wins, six losses and no ties, with Miami High outscoring opponents 201 to 152. The 1964 team was GMAC & Gold Coast Conference Champions. Tony came to Miami High with good credentials as the nephew of Hall of Famer, Stan Marks. “From an early age I wanted to be part of the great Miami High football tradition.” Tony earned the Robert Kirby Award for Outstanding Junior Scholar-Athlete in1964. His senior year he was named to the 1964 All-City Team. Tony was a triple treat, all around student athlete. He lettered in Basketball in 1964 and 1965 and lettered in Baseball 1963, 1964 and 1965. Miami High honored him with the Sigma Nu Trophy for Most Valuable Senior Athlete. He was Interact Service Club Treasurer Miami High’s Florida Boy’s State Representative, and Silver Knight Nominee. The MIAHI named him to its Hall of Fame. He attended to University of Florida on an athletic scholarship, and then went to work for Florida Power and Light Company. For the last seven years he has been Director of Industrial Relations. Tony now lives in Palm Beach Gardens.

***** Herb Minton (Deceased), Class of 1966 *****

Herb Minton graduated with the Class of 1966. Herb almost went to Gables as he lives in a non-districted area between the two schools. Miami High tradition won out in the end. As a starting defensive tackle in 1964 and 1965 he wore Number 79. The team’s record for those seasons was 20 wins and 3 loses. They outscored opponents 510 to 119. They won the 1965 post-season playoff game against Melbourne 44 to 0 to win the first GMAC Championship title. Their perfect 12-0-0 season also won them the 1965 State and National Championships. Herb was known for the exceptional quickness he brought to the position of tackle. Defensive Coach Sain compared him to another legendary Miami High defensive tackle, John Battle, and said of him, “You know the offense respects him because they always run away from him.” Herb earned the Robert Kirby Award for Outstanding Junior Scholar-Athlete in 1964 and Most Improved Lineman Trophy in 1965. In 1965 he was named to both the Miami Herald and Miami News All-City Teams, and to the All-State Team. Miami’s Pep Club chose him as their Pep Doll and he was saluted in the MIAHI. He accepted a football scholarship to Appalachian State University but suffered a head injury his freshman year and returned to Miami. Herb died at a tragically young age in 1993 from an enlarged heart. He is buried with his father at Woodlawn Park Cemetery in South Dade County. He is survived by his mother, Mattie; sister, Virginia MHS ’65; brother, Ken MHS ’67; and sister, Barbara MHS ’69.

***** Robert "Rocky" Raley, Class of 1968 *****

Robert "Rocky" Raley of the Miami High Class of 1968 wore Number 42 on his jersey as the starting halfback in 1966 and 1967. During those seasons the teams record was 17 wins, three loses and one tie. The Stings outscored opponents 421 to 163. They won the 1967 post-season playoff game against Norland 14-13 to win the GMAC Championship title. He was named Player of the Week by the Miami Herald. Coach and Athlete Magazine recognized him for All-American Honorable Mention. Rocky’s most memorable game was against Miami Jackson in 1967. He ran for 192 yards in 25 carries to beat the Generals 38 to 13. Rocky also ran track. Coach Maddox called Raley one of five outstanding track men. The MIAHI recognized Rocky in its Hall of Fame. From Miami High Rocky enlisted in the Marines for three years including two tours in Vietnam. He then made a career in the Air Force serving from 1974 to 1990 and reaching the rank of Master Sergeant. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree through the Air Force and Cameron College in 1988. After leaving the Air Force he served three years as a counselor for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Medical Center. Rocky retired in 1993 and lives in Austin, Texas.

***** John Taylor, Class of 1968 *****

John Taylor graduated in the Class of 1968. He wore Number 21 as the starting defensive safety and punt returner in the 1966 and 1967 seasons. For those seasons the team’s record was seventeen wins, three losses and one tie. Miami High outscored its opponents 421 to 163. The team capped its 1967 season with a post season win over Norland to garner the GMAC Championship. John comes from a remarkable family. He was the eleventh of thirteen children whose father died when he was one year old. His resulting self-reliance and modesty served him well. John could always be counted on to “do the right thing”. He did that well on the Miami High football field. John was named by the Miami Herald Player of the Week five times and the October Player of the month. He served as Defensive Captain in the 1967 game against Miami Jackson. Miami High awarded him the Most Improved Back Trophy. Both the Miami Herald and Miami News named him to their All-City teams. He was also selected to the South All Star Team which he helped defeat the North Team 13-7. His most memorial game was the Edison game in 1967.John intercepted 3 passes in that game and helped in a convincing blow out of a powerful Edison team. John says of Miami High, “It gave me a chance to be part of the winning tradition at Miami High School where excellence in sports and in the classroom could be accomplished with hard work and dedication. I say thanks to M.H.S. for the good years.” John was also active as a student. He was a three year member of Interact service club (aka Wheel Club) and served on their Board of Directors. He was named Mr. Good Grooming his junior year. His senior year the Honoria service club named him an Honoria Honey, their male sweetheart. John received an appointment to the US Naval Academy, but declined due to a knee injury. John married his high school sweetheart, Darlene. He worked in construction and was a member of Local Union 223. In 1976 John attended the South Florida Institute of Criminal Justice served on the training staff for the 1978 Class. John and Darlene now live in Thomasville, Georgia. Their proudest accomplishments are their sons, John Jr. and Joey, both with post graduate degrees.