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Cy-Fair HS welcomes newest members to Athletic Hall of Honor
Cy-Fair High School welcomed its newest inductees to the school’s Athletics Hall of Honor during a ceremony Nov. 5. The six-member class includes, from left Fred Whitfield (Class of 1986), Sam McGuffie (2008), Nneka Ogwumike (2008), Cal McNair (1979) and Robbie Grossman (2008). Chiney Ogwumike (2010) was the sixth inductee for the class, which was also recognized during a halftime ceremony at the Bobcats’ football earlier in the day.
By Miavane Jackson, Cy-Fair HS
Nov. 21, 2022—Led by the chief executive officer of the Houston Texans and two No. 1 overall selections in their respective WNBA drafts, six prominent Cy-Fair High School alumni were inducted as the Class of 2022 into the school’s Athletic Hall of Honor.
The six-member class includes Cal McNair (Class of 1979), Fred Whitfield (1986), Robbie Grossman (2008), Sam McGuffie (2008), Nneka Ogwumike (2008) and Chiney Ogwumike (2010). They were each honored and recognized during a special halftime ceremony at Cy-Fair’s final regular season football game on Nov. 5 at Pridgeon Stadium.
Later that evening, friends, family, teammates and current and former Cy-Fair High School coaches, athletic trainers and administrators joined the honorees for the Athletic Hall of Honor induction banquet at the school.
“Cy-Fair meant a lot to me growing up,” said McNair, a former football standout for the Bobcats who became the chairman of the Houston Texans in 2018 and assumed the role of chief executive officer the next year. “Cy-Fair is a community that carries families for generations, it's a great legacy to be a part of.”
The hall of honor was very active from its beginning, inducting 36 former athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and program contributors before it went on the back burner roughly 20 years ago. Helping spark the return came from head football coach and campus athletic coordinator Jeff Miller, a Cy-Fair High School graduate himself who returned to his alma mater in 2020.
Cal McNair, the chief executive officer of the Houston Texans, is interviewed before being inducted into the Cy-Fair High School Athletic Hall of Honor. The 1979 graduate was voted captain of the football team his senior year before playing at the University of Texas.
Miller wanted to get back to recognizing the greatness of the amazing Cy-Fair High School athletes, coaches and trainers. He took the idea to Donna Benotti, the Bobcats’ head volleyball coach and assistant campus athletic coordinator, and it quickly went into motion.
“Once we started going back, we realized we have dozens of qualified athletes that need to go into this hall,” Miller said. “Some of these people are qualified to be in the Hall of Fame. This is not just Cy-Fair High School elite. This is the United States elite.”
McNair was voted captain of the Cy-Fair football team his senior year in addition to being voted Mr. Cy-Fair. He went on to play football and graduate from the University of Texas, and later earned his Master of Business Administration from Rice University in 1995. McNair has had a role with the Texas franchise since its founding in 1999.
“The ‘Bobcat Fight’ mantra is something that I was taught as a child – to never give up,” McNair said. “To have that as part of what’s really believed here is a really wonderful thing and something I’ve tried to pass along to my kids, too.”
Cy-Fair High School 1986 graduate and Hall of Honor inductee Fred Whitfield, left, speaks with Jeff Miller, the Bobcats’ head football coach and campus athletic coordinator, and a Cy-Fair High School graduate himself and a former classmate of Whitfield. The honoree was a seven-time PRCA World Campion in tie-down roping and the 1999 PRCA World All-Around Champion.
Fred Whitfield was a member of the Cy-Fair High School FFA, turning his passion into a profession when he joined the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in 1990. In his first year, Whitfield qualified for the National Finals Rodeo and won the Resistol Rookie of the Year. He became a seven-time PRCA World Campion in tie-down roping and was named the 1999 PRCA World All-Around Champion.
“The hairs stood up on my neck thinking about the group of people I'm here with today who are also being inducted,” Whitfield said. “Cypress was a little sleepy town when I came here, so it's amazing to see how it's grown. It really means the world to me.”
Sam McGuffie become a viral sensation for his exploits on the football field, earning 2007 All-American honors. He played at the University of Michigan and Rice University, becoming the first Owl to amass 1,000 rushing and receiving yards. Following a professional career, McGuffie became a bobsledder for the United States National Team and competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“The 'Bobcat Fight Never Dies' mantra is more than just a slogan,” McGuffie said. “It's kind of how you do things. Cy-Fair taught me how to be a man.”
Robbie Grossman helped lead Cy-Fair to the Class 5A baseball state championship as a junior and earned All-American honors in 2008, the same year he was drafted in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2012, Grossman was named the Pirates’ Minor League Player of the Year. He is currently an outfielder with the Atlanta Braves and holds the MLB record for most games without committing an error.
“We had an amazing class of athletes in 2008 and I'm just lucky to be a part of it,” Grossman said of himself, McGuffie and Nneka Ogwumike. “‘BFND’ is a slogan I hear all the time no matter where I am. It always reminds me of home.”
Cy-Fair High School welcomed its newest inductees to the school’s Athletics Hall of Honor during a ceremony Nov. 5. The six-member class WAS Cal McNair (Class of 1979), Fred Whitfield (1986), Sam McGuffie (2008), Nneka Ogwumike (2008), Robbie Grossman (2008) and Chiney Ogwumike (2010).
Nneka Ogwumike led the girls’ basketball team to the 2008 Class 5A state title, as she was an All-American and the National Gatorade Player of the Year. She then had a star-studded career at Stanford University before coming the top overall pick by the Los Angeles Sparks in the 2012 WNBA Draft. Ogwumike was the league’s Rookie of the Year and four years later the WNBA Most Valuable Player after the Sparks won the title.
“Someone asked me this week what it was like to go to school here and the first two words that came to my mind were pride and unity,” Ogwumike said.
Chiney Ogwumike helped lead Cy-Fair to two Class 5A girls’ basketball state championships, the first with her older sister and two years later as a senior in 2010. She was also the National Gatorade Player of the Year before heading to Stanford where she graduated as the Pac-12 Conference’s all-time leading scorer. She was drafted first overall in the 2014 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Suns, where she was also named 2014 Rookie of the Year. Ogwumike became an ESPN basketball analyst in 2018.
“Chiney and I know that we are able to do what we do today and be where we are today—walk red carpets and represent ourselves in our community with grace—because of the teachers, leaders and friends we met at Cy-Fair High School,” said Nneka Owgumike, who accepted her sister’s award on her behalf.
The night was not just a celebration of the honorees but a showcase of the Cy-Fair High School community. Current and former coaches and staff members were recognized, while members of the school’s Student-Athlete Leadership Team helped serve the meal. Students also helped with the centerpiece arrangements (floral design), deserts (culinary arts) and induction plaques (manufacturing).
“Everybody asks me, ‘What's so special about Cy-Fair?’” Benotti said. “And I really believe it's our faculty, our staff, our coaches and our community really love the school and are committed.”
Former Cy-Fair High School football and track standout Sam McGuffie speaks during his induction into the school’s Athletic Hall of Honor on Nov. 5. The 2008 graduate followed his football career by becoming a bobsledder for the United States national team and competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. (Photo by Maddie Milano, Cy-Fair HS)