Dave Lather said he thought he was never going to get the call into the Napoleon High School Athletic Hall of Fame. After 32 years, it would be hard to blame him.
“I thought they had forgotten about me,” Lather said.
The 1987 Napoleon graduate will be inducted into the Hall during a ceremony Saturday, where the former Wildcats football star will be enshrined among the school’s other athletic greats.
“It really is just an honor,” Lather said. “It’s a good feeling to know that everyone noticed me out there.”
Lather was named tri-captain of the football team in 1986, amassing 1,000 rushing yards in helping the Cats to their first-ever playoff appearance and postseason win. Lather was named Great Lakes League tri-player of the year and as the Toledo Blade’s Most Valuable Offensive Player in the GLL.
“Making the playoffs for the first time in school history is what I’d say I’m most proud of,” Lather said. “It was not only our first appearance, it was also our first win. We always had great fans at Napoleon, and it seemed like everyone got behind us even more when we got there.”
Napoleon beat Division III defending-champion Elyria Catholic 34-14 before eventually falling in the second round.
“That run was a great accomplishment for us,” Lather said. “We worked extremely hard and got rewarded.”
Lather received first team all-district recognition in 1986 and was named first team All-GLL that season, but the award that means the most to him today is the DC Brown Award.
“My older brother (Larry Lather) won the award in 1977, so it was great to have two family members win the award,” Lather said. “I had two brothers who played football, and having one win the award definitely drives you to work a little harder and push yourself to get to that point.”
Lather was also named to the Blade’s all-GLL team in 1985.
The former gridiron star talked about the support the football program receives from the Napoleon community.
“Napoleon always has a great fan base,” Lather said. “They’re great to play for, and you definitely always hear them yelling.”
Beyond the fans in town, Lather said his experience was shaped by the great coaching he got from former coach Lynn Schrickle.
“Coach Schrickle taught all of us a lot of things about discipline and preparation,” Lather said. “The coaching staff always did a great job for us.”
Lather said the lessons he learned on the football team have continued to stick with him.
“High school sports stick with you forever,” Lather said. “It’s something that never leaves you, and it’s a great feeling to be able to revisit that in this way this weekend.”
As far as the ceremony itself, Lather said he isn’t sure how he is going to feel, only that his speech will likely be brief and full of thank-you’s.
“I don’t know what that moment is going to be like,” Lather said. “I’ll just be glad when it comes. I’m not much of a speaker, so I’ll probably tell a few quick stories and then wrap it up by thanking some people.”
Lather was nominated by Tim Downey.
This story is being rerun because the photo that originally ran with the story was mistakenly sent to the newspaper and incorrectly identified. The Northwest Signal apologizes for any inconvenience this error may have caused.