Amazing Blazers

Feb. 13, 2003, midnight | By Luke Bostian | 21 years, 4 months ago

A blast from our athletic past

Blair may have seen years of bad luck in the sports department, but if history teaches anything, it is that Blair is capable, every now and again, of producing a truly stellar athlete. These ten are the greatest Blazers in the sports history of Silver Spring and Takoma Park.

Steve Francis

The best athlete in Blair history is Steve Francis (Kennedy High School class of 1995). Francis played only one basketball game in his two years at Blair—he was academically ineligible the rest of the time— but his career exploded once he left high school. A one-time University of Maryland starter and the current starting point guard for the Houston Rockets, Francis is an all-star in the NBA and easily the wealthiest former Blair athlete, raking in a hefty $12.1 million a year for the next seven years.

Francis led the Rockets in points, assists and steals per game in his rookie season, and he currently has the second fewest turnovers per game in the NBA and is fifth in three-point percentage.

Dominique Dawes

A close second to Francis is Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics, Dominique Dawes (Gaithersburg High School class of 1994). Dawes attended Blair her freshman year but moved to Gaithersburg in order to be closer to the gym at which she trained under Coach Kelli Hill. A member of the U.S. National team, Dawes has won three Olympic medals: a team bronze in 1992 and a team gold and individual bronze in 1996. Dawes has also earned high accolades in national competition, winning 15 national titles in various events, including her 1994 and 1996 sweeps of the Coca-Cola National Championships, in which she won all four events for girls.

Steve Barber

Francis and Dawes are the greatest in Blair history, but tops on the list of Blair grads is Steve Barber (class of 1956), a pitcher for the Blazers and for major-league teams. He played for 15 years in the pros and compiled an outstanding 3.36 career earned-run average along with 1,309 strikeouts. Barber won 20 games with the Baltimore Orioles in 1963. An all-star in 1963 and 1966, he led the majors in fewest walks allowed during his 1960 rookie season. At least once, Barber was in the top five of 11 statistical categories for pitchers.

Tom Brown

The all-time greatest Blair football player is Tom Brown (class of 1958). Brown lettered in baseball and football at Blair and then at the University of Maryland, where he earned All-American honors in baseball and All-ACC honors in football. After graduating from Maryland, Brown became one of the original two-sport athletes, playing for the major-league Washington Senators and then for the Green Bay Packers. Brown started at strong safety for the Packers teams that won Super Bowls I and II in 1966 and 1967. In 1968, Brown was Green Bay's interception leader. His baseball career, however, was less auspicious. Brown played one season for Washington, hitting .147 with one home run and four RBI.

Bob Windsor

After Brown comes former Blair football and basketball standout Bob Windsor (class of 1961). While a Blair senior, Windsor led all Montgomery County basketball players in scoring with 38 points per game. Windsor played football for Montgomery College and then became the college's first graduate to go pro, joining the San Francisco 49ers as the starting tight end in 1967. There he caught passes from current Redskins head coach Steve Spurrier. Windsor caught 101 passes for 1,214 yards in three seasons as a 49ers starter. He was then traded to the New England Patriots. Windsor remained with the Pats until his retirement from the NFL in 1975 and has been working since 1997 as the coach of the Paint Branch High School Panthers.

Johnny Klippstein

Pitcher Johnny Klippstein (class of 1945) follows Windsor on the list of Blazer greats. A baseball star on Wayne Ave, Klippstein continued his career into the pros, where he played for 18 years. Klippstein led the majors with 14 saves in 1960 and with a .750 win-loss percentage in 1965 while helping lead the Minnesota Twins to the pennant. Over his career, Klippstein finished in the top ten of 11 pitching categories at least once. Klippstein is also among baseball's all-time leaders in games-pitched, garnering 710 trips to the mound.

Sonny Jackson

Following Klippstein is Roland Thomas "Sonny" Jackson (class of 1962). After a standout baseball career at Blair as an infielder, Jackson went straight to the pros, making his debut with the minor-league Baltimore Colt .45s in September 1963. After struggling in his first two seasons, Jackson was traded to Houston, where he played his first major-league games. In 1965 Jackson stole 49 bases, still a record for National League rookies. Three years later Jackson moved to Atlanta, where he played his final seven years in the pros, compiling a career batting average of .251.

Uranie Browne

Following Jackson in greatness among Blair graduates is Uranie "Peppi" Browne (class of 1996), an outstanding basketball player for the Blazers, the Duke University Blue Devils and the Charlotte Sting of the Women's National Basketball Association. Browne was a defensive All-American and All-ACC player while she was at Duke. In her senior year, she became only the third Blue Devil women's basketball player to score 1,000 points and have 500 rebounds and 200 assists in her career.

In 1998, Browne started for the U.S. team in the R. William Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan. She scored nine points in America's 55-28 gold-medal victory over Senegal. After being drafted by the Charlotte Sting in 2000, Browne was waived because of a severe injury to her knee.

Brian Magid

Following Browne is former Blazer sharpshooter Brian Magid (class of 1975). Magid holds Blair's all-time career scoring record, at 1,191 points. He also holds the mark for highest single-season scoring average, with 24.5 points per game. Magid was a leader on the 1975 Blair team that won a state championship. Then, Magid joined the basketball team at the University of Maryland, where he shot an astounding 63 percent from the field as a freshman.

After his sophomore year, Magid transferred to George Washington University, where he finished his college career. Magid was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1980 but never played in the NBA, instead opting to play pro ball in Israel after the Pacers waived him.

Jose Bauza

Jose Bauza (class of 1976) was Blair's greatest soccer player. In 1974, Bauza led the Blazers to their only state championship, and he remains the only Blazer to be named a high-school All-American in soccer. Along with the All-American honor, Bauza was named to the All-Met and All-State teams multiple times while at Blair.

After graduation, Bauza attended the University of Virginia. His years there were outstanding. He was a three-time All-ACC selection and was named an honorable mention All-American in his junior season as a Cavalier. Bauza compiled 57 points in 65 games for Virginia.

Wave of the future

The Blazers' glory is not all past, as a new wave of outstanding athletes is sure to bring pride to Blair in years to come. Current Blazer student-athlete Josh Richardson (class of 2003), a varsity baseball player, is one such athlete.

This year, Richardson became the first Blazer baseball player in history to be named to the preseason All-State team. Richardson joined the varsity team in 2001 and has excelled on baseball fields around the county throughout his high-school career. Also, Richardson hit .465 for 2001's Maryland American Legion State Champion Cissel-Saxon team.

Richardson, who will play baseball at Indiana University next year, has also lettered in golf and basketball during his Blair career and was part of the 2001-2002 Blazer basketball squad that captured the Montgomery County 4A regular-season title.

So there you are, Blazers: the greatest athletes in Blair's semi-illustrious past and one young man who shows promise for the future. Whenever you feel like losing faith in Blair sports, think of them and of the Blazer stars as yet unknown.

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Luke Bostian. Luke Bostian is a senior in CAP and has nothing much to say for himself. Well, actually, that's a lie. Luke has a lot to say for himself and says it all the time. So he won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say … More »

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