"Hall of Fame" Athletic & Faculity

Page Created May 31, 2014

Page Updated:  November 30,2018





Through the years our school and especially our faculty staff have received state recognition, local, district, national honors and special rewards for their service and excellence in the classroom and in our community.







Class of 2019

Inductees into the SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame



Coach Janice Baker             Janice Ninemire Van Gorp


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Congratulations to the two most recent elected inductees into the SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame. Representing the Class of 2019 Hall of Fame are Janice Baker, Gymnastics Coach and Janice (Ninemire) Van Gorp, three sport athlete in volleyball, basketball and track & field.

Coach Baker started her tenure as a three-sport coach, gymnastics, girls’ tennis and track and field. Yet her calling and passion was in the gymnastics arena. It was here for 36 years she established a legacy due to the high expectations she had with her student-athletes. This was evident through the many victories celebrated with seven Kansas State Team Championships (which is more than any other coach ever in the State of Kansas), 29 Individual State Titles, 14 Kansas Regional Titles, and 11 Sunflower League Championship honors. Coach Baker accomplished all this with a positive work ethic and is evident through the number of National Clinics she attended, and through her 20 years of teaching the art of dance. For Janice she has received numerous awards including Kansas Coaches Association and Kansas Gymnastics Coaches Association Coach of the Year on 10 separate occasions. Coach Baker received the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, Special Sports Coach of the Year in 1987, and was awarded the National Federation Gymnastics Coach of the Year in 2008. Even with all of team, individual and her own accolades Coach Baker’s legacy will be identified by the positive work ethic, grit and building of relationship with everyone she came in contact with; in the classroom, on the playing surface and throughout the community. Janice receives support from her husband his two daughters, and seven grandchildren, along with her sister and her two sons and their grandchildren. Coach Baker describes herself as a woman who has had a “rich life,” and as a result all that she has come in contact with are reaping the dividends.

Janice (Ninemire) Van Gorp was a three-sport athlete at SMNW; volleyball, basketball and track & field. On the playing surface Van Gorp was feared, while off it her love of others was contagious. Both on and off the athletic arena Van Gorp was admired and respected by her peers and adults who came in contact with her. In volleyball she was a three-time All SFL selection and a two time Kansas 6A All State Selection-First Team. She helped lead the Cougars her senior year to a third place finish in the 6A Kansas State Volleyball Tournament. Her other two sports were equally decorated with accolades. Janice won four state medals including a gold her senior year in the 100 M High Hurdles at the 6A Kansas State Track & Field Championships. In her senior year she also took 4th place in the 100M High Hurdles, 5th place in the Long Jump and won the gold in the Triple Jump at the KU Relays. Her Triple Jump at the time was the KU Relays meet record. Janice still has her name on the track and field record board for SMNW in the 110M High Hurdles with a 14.5 second time. Upon graduation Janice attended Iowa State University as a two-sport athlete competing in volleyball and track & field. At the 1988 Big Eight Indoor Track & Field Championships, she finished sixth in the triple jump with a leap of 37’6”. The best season of her career as a Cyclone in volleyball was her senior season, 1990, when she led Iowa State with 389 kills while also contributing 346 digs on her way to earning All-Big-EIght First Team honors. Van Gorp finished her career on the court at Iowa State with 1,001 digs and was fourth in career services aces (122) and fifth in career kills (833). As good as her skill set was her leadership was evident in college as it was in high school as she was selected team captain, and Most Valuable Player of her team. Off the court Van Gorp defined the pillar of “student-athlete.” She earned Big-EIght All-Academic First Team honors three times. Upon graduation she would continue to give back to the sport she loved, teaching and coaching at Shawnee Mission North High School and Heritage Christian Academy in Olathe. “Coach Janice” led the Indians to a 6A State Volleyball title in 2002, and was instrumental in turning the Heritage Christian program around. Not only did Janice compete on the court and in the classroom, but more important competed in daily life. One of Janice’s biggest identifying factors was her love and faith in Jesus Christ and her family (husband Mark and two children, Rachel and Andrew). Although Janice passed at the early age of 46 with a sudden brain aneurysm her strong belief, positive work ethic and passion for life has been inspirational to the number of lives she came in contact with. Janice Van Gorp was demanding not demeaning, and the passion she showed, love she gave and lessons she taught impacted all.

It is an honor for the Shawnee Mission Northwest community to induct both Janice Baker and Janice (Ninemire) Van Gorp representing the Class of 2019 to the SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame.





Rose, who stresses the importance of sticktoitiveness with his calculus students and distance runners, has spent 49 years at SM Northwest.

After 50 years with Shawnee Mission, SM Northwest’s Van Rose set to leave the classroom — but not the track

Jay Senter - May 10, 2018 11:14 am    Shawnee Mission Post.com

Perhaps it’s not a surprise that a man who has seen fit to amass 50 years in the classroom puts a special weight on the value of persistence.  

It’s a characteristic Van Rose stresses with the students he works with in his calculus classes and the distance running programs he coaches at SM Northwest.

Want to become a successful cross country runner? Practice running all year long, he says.

“Your genetics, doesn’t mean a thing. It’s persistence. You just keep plugging away at it and the body adapts.”

Want to master the concepts of calculus? Practice thinking through calculus concepts.

“It’s a thought thing, not just dumping a number into a formula and cranking it out. You’ve got to really think it through.”

After finishing college at K-State, where he ran cross country and track, he taught a single year at SM East before accepting a job as a math teacher and the head cross country coach at the newly opened — though not yet completed — SM Northwest.

“The first year we didn’t even have the whole building — it was just half finished,” he said. “They bussed the lunches in. Gym was in a couple classrooms.”

Forty-nine years later, with thousands of SM Northwest graduates having been his students, Rose will retire from teaching at the end of the month.

“I figured it was time,” he said. “We have an 11 month old granddaughter. We like to travel.”

While many people know Rose for his role as a coach — he was the first-ever inductee into the SM Northwest Hall of Fame and has been a part of 34 of the school’s 70 state titles — his teaching career has been marked by many honors as well. In both 1995 and 2003, he was named a Distinguished Teacher by the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars.

Though he loves working with students on challenging calculus coursework, he said he’s ready to hang up his chalk.

“The technology’s probably gone over my head,” he said. “My class still has textbooks and the chalkboard. It’s probably time for someone who understands the technology better.”

But he won’t be disappearing from the SM Northwest community any time soon. Rose intends to come back next year as an assistant distance running coach.

“The people that I kind of hang around with are coaches. So if I were to cut myself off from that group of people, I’d be home alone,” he said.

Rose’s family history in the Shawnee Mission district extends well beyond his career as an employee. He started attending district schools as a third grader at Santa Fe Trail before moving on to Milburn Junior High (which would later be renamed Antioch Middle School, and was torn down to make way for the new Center for Academic Achievement). He attended his first year of high school at SM North before moving on to the just-opened SM West for his junior and senior years.

Since he came to SM Northwest, his family’s ties to the school have only deepened. His nephew Mike Rose is currently a math teacher and basketball coach at the school. His own kids, as well as nieces and nephews, have graduated from Northwest.

“I love the people here,” he said. “You don’t keep coming back to a place unless you love the people. Everyone here has taken care of me.”


Kansas Cross Country Coaching Legend Van Rose Retiring At End Of Spring Track Season


Cory Mull

Jan 10, 2018

"Running isn't painful, pain is hitting your finger with a hammer. Running is uncomfortable. It's not painful."     - Van Rose 



Class of 2018

Inductees into the SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame

Coach Rich "Kuz" Kuzydym                       

  Steve Fein Class of 1995  XC & Track

Adam Giacalone  Class of 2010  Baseball   Kathy Ross Johnson Class of 1979 Gymnastics

          Story from the SMNW Athletics Facebook Page                       http://www.facebook.com/SMNWAthletics/photos/pcb.1585398131517405/1585387881518430/?type=3&theater


October 16, 2017 ~ Congratulations to the four new inductees as members of the Class of 2018 SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame:

Rich "Kuz" Kuzydym: Head Baseball Coach 1984-2014 Coach... Kuz is responsible for all 3 of the baseball state titles (1990, 1991, 1993) at Shawnee Mission Northwest. He was the leader for Cougar baseball for 31 years (1984-2014), 26 that were winning season. In addition, Coach Kuzydym brought his teams to 20 regional finals, earning 14 titles. His team had 14 Kansas State appearances, which included 10 in the final four; earning one fourth place finish, six third place finishes, and culminated with three State Championships. His state record of 22-12 (nearly a 65% winning percentage) at the highest level of post-season competition. Throughout his tenure, Coach Kuz had 90 plus players go to play college baseball, and had six who were eventually drafted in the Major League Baseball first-year player amateur draft. Prior to his 31 years as head coach he was the assistant coach from 1974-1983.

Kathy (Ross) Johnson: Class of 1979, Gymnastics Kathy competed her sophomore and senior years, taking her junior year off to care for her family, she was a Kansas State Champion in all-around both years. This is the highest individual honor in high school gymnastics. She also won several events, including floor exercise and vault. Her legacy in the gymnastics arena has not only withstood the test of time at Shawnee Mission Northwest, but also at the State level. KSHSAA records still include her name, with her floor, vault and all-around scores among the top in the State, after nearly 40 years

Steve Fein: Class of 1995, Cross-Country & Track Eight-time varsity letterman (four in cross country and four in track)
Steve received numerous accolades to make him worthy of this honor. He is the school record holder in both the 1,600 meter and 3,200 meter run. He is a four time Kansas 6A Kansas State Cross County placer; being a state champion for three straight years (sophomore-senior seasons).

Adam Giacalone: Class of 2010, Baseball Nobody is perfect, but Adam Giacalone’s high school baseball career was that way when he pitched at SMNW. The Class of 2010 two-way player had many accolades throughout his high school baseball career, including throwing the first two perfect games in school history, He is a two-time All State selection. Adam’s senior year, which will be one of the most noted individual accomplishments in the Cougar baseball history. Adam’s senior year he was a finalist for Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and awarded Kansas Association of Baseball Coaches 6A Pitcher of the Year.

Please join us as we honor this tremendous Hall of Fame Class of 2018 at their induction ceremony January 12, 2018 at halftime of the boys basketball game vs SME.


January 12, 2018....  Class of 2018 Induction Ceremony into the SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame 

Rich "Kuz" Kuzydym: Head Baseball Coach 1984-2014              Kathy (Ross) Johnson: Class of 1979 Gymnastics







Kathy (Ross) Johnson '79, Adam Giacalone '10, Steve Fein '95 & Coach Kuzydym







Van Rose, the first inductee into the SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame













February 3, 2017 ~ (From the SMNW Athletics/Facebook page)  Van Rose, the first inductee into the SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame, has set the high bar. It was a night of celebration as Coach Van Rose receives one of his recognition gifts, when nephew (and current boys head basketball coach, Mike Rose, puts a letter jacket on him). His wife Judy, a significant impact throughout Coach Rose's career and success through her unconditional love and support, and finally just a sampling of the Van Rose "Fan Club" who came to offer support and congratulations to the man who has impacted the lives of so many. Special thanks to all who helped to make this a positive memory for Coach Rose and SMNW. Also great thanks to Shawn Haley, Haley Photography or helping to capture the memory with these pictures.
Applications and recommendations for future inductees, for the Class of 2018, will begin in the very near future. If you would like to present a nominee forms will be available to down load on this site (in the near future) or you can call the SMNW Athletic Office, 913-993-7400 and ask to speak with Angelo Giacalone, Athletic Director.


Congratulations Coach Rose!



One of these special individuals is our own Mr. Ron Poplau; in 2006 he won the “Kansas Teacher of Year”.   Mr. Poplau was inducted into the Kansas Teacher Hall of Fame in 2010.  Inductee, into the National Teachers Hall of Fame also an inductee, Mid-America Education Hall of Fame.  Selected as the Shawnee Citizen of the Year in 2005.  Sent to Russia for a Volunteer Program, requested by the U.S. State Department.  “The Most Passionate Teacher in America”, an article that was written by J. William Towne in 2008.

Click on the links below for wonderful articles and videos


  Mr. Poplau and his son are on the Martha Stewart's Show.  Click on Martha's picture and watch this fun video and see what Mr. Poplau receives from her.



An Honoree in 2005


"The Most Passionate Teacher"  article by J. William Towne

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Ron Poplau, the 2006 Kansas Teacher of the Year, was presented the keys to a 2006 Chevy Malibu

On May 8, 2015 the Shawnee Mission School District honored their faculty and staff members for their lifelong service; one of them was our own Mr. Ronald W. Poplau.  More than 100 faculty and staff members will retire from Shawnee Mission this year. Each retiring attendee was presented with a plaque and gifts as a token of thanks.






Legendary Coach!  Coach Van Rose has been coaching runners, bringing championships time after time.  When he's not coaching you'll find him at the chalkboard writing out another math problem just like he did when our school first opened in 1969. To say Coach Van Rose knows how to go the distance is an understatement.  He has led Shawnee Mission Northwest cross country athletes to more than 30 state titles.  Starting in the year 2000, the Kansas Cross Country and Track & Field Coaches Association began recognizing a classification coach of the Year in Cross Country.  Coach Rose was the first to receive this honor.  Recently (May 2014), he received recognition for his 45 years of service as a math teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District (SM East one school year 1968-69, SMNW forty-four school years 1969-2014). 

In 2014 Van Rose celebrated 45 years of service with the Shawnee Mission School District as a coach on the course and in the classroom.

First Member of SMNW Sports Hall of Fame

Come join SMNW in honoring Coach Van Rose, who will be the first inductee into the SMNW Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Rose has served as a member of the faculty and coaching staff since the opening of SMNW in 1969. As head cross country coach he has won 34 state championships with nine runner-up honors at the state championships. In addition he has 14 individual Kansas State championship titles in cross country. Several other accolades have bestowed Coach Rose throughout his tenure.

Please join us as we honor this icon with his induction on February 3, 2017 at halftime of the boys basketball game vs Lawrence Free State.





Coach Richard DeMoss


An Honoree


Selected as an All-State (Oklahoma) Coach of the Year in 1993


Inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, honoree Richard DeMoss received a     Lifetime Service Award in 1998.

In 1993 Coach DeMoss was recognized by the Oklahoma Coaches Association for his efforts and for his team's success, named Coach of the Year in Oklahoma.