Kristin Folkl Kaburakis, former basketball and volleyball standout from St. Louis, Missouri, is among 13 individuals who will be inducted in the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame June 27 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. The 31st Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be the closing event of the 94th annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
"Being inducted is a real honor," said Folkl. " While I loved playing sports, to be recognized with a hall of fame induction validates that something special truly was happening at St. Joseph’s Academy from 1990-1994. What’s tough though, is that I played team sports and without my fantastic teammates, there would be no state titles, and therefore no personal accolades. So, while I’m very touched and honored to receive this award, I feel that my teammates should be recognized as well."
Folkl found out about the honor when MSHSAA contacted her and asked if she would be willing to assemble all the documents necessary to apply.
"I was touched that they took that upon themselves to reach out to me and that they thought I had a fighting chance to be accepted," she said "I did have to laugh when I found out that you have to be at least 35 years old to apply…that part reminded me that I’m not as young as I think I am."
It is hard to imagine anyone owning a more impressive high school athletic resume than Folkl. At St. Joseph’s Academy in St. Louis, Missouri, from 1990 to 1994, she helped her school to eight state championships and, in her senior year, received the Dial Award, which honors the best high school female athlete in the country.
Arguably the most talented female athlete in Missouri history, Folkl guided the St. Joseph’s volleyball team to an unprecedented four consecutive Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) state titles and an overall record of 137-7.
And if that wasn’t impressive enough, she led St. Joseph’s to four consecutive MSHSAA State Girls Basketball Championships and an overall record of 117-5. Altogether, she won 254 of 266 contests between the two sports.
Not surprisingly, she was a four-time all-state selection in both sports. In volleyball, she was named first team All-American by Volleyball Magazine, Mizuno High School All-American and Player of the Year, and Paul Mitchell Volleyball Player of the Year. In basketball, Folkl was three-time Gatorade Circle of Champions Missouri Player of the Year, and was named to All-American teams by Parade Magazine, Kodak and Naismith.
In the classroom, her high school accomplishments were equally impressive. She graduated third in her class at St. Joseph’s with a 4.2 grade-point average and was a member of the National Honor Society and American Academy of Achievement.
Folkl continued her two-sport dominance at Stanford University, where she was a part of three NCAA national championship teams in volleyball. She helped her teams to four Final Four appearances, four Pacific-10 Conference titles and an overall record of 125-8. She was a four-time All-American and earned five Player of the Year Awards. In addition, she was voted one of the top 25 NCAA Division I volleyball players during the 1980-2005 period, and she received the Al Master Award, the highest award given by the Stanford Athletic Board.
In basketball, Folkl helped her Stanford team to two Final Four appearances, three Pacific-10 Conference titles and an overall record of 85-11. As a senior, Folkl was named to four All-American teams. Folkl’s combined high school and college record for both sports was an amazing 464-31.
After completing her economics degree at Stanford in 3½ years and serving as an alternate on the 1996 U.S. Olympic volleyball team, Folkl played four years in the WNBA with Minnesota and Portland before competing in professional basketball leagues in Greece, Switzerland and Australia. She earned most valuable player honors in Greece, and was an All Star 5 selection in both the Swiss and Australian leagues.
Among her other honors, Folkl was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Stanford University Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Unfortunately her husband Tassos Kaburakis and their children Ian and Sophia won’t be able to attend the induction ceremony but her parents Tom and Marilyn Folkl will be present.
Folkl lives in St. Louis and serves as director of development for the St. Louis Sports Commission, but is planning to take some time off to spend raising her children. She said people are surprised to know she does not participate in sports and so far there is not a lot of sports in their house. She said after her Basketball career was over, she purposely did no sports or exercising, but lately she is getting plenty of physical activity.
"Once kids entered the picture all my physical activity has come through keeping up with them," she said. "For a family of individuals who have spent their lives involved with sports, we play very little of it at home."
The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, fine arts coaches/directors and others for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and activity programs. This year’s class increases the number in the Hall of Fame to 411.
The 13 individuals were chosen after a two-level selection process involving a screening committee composed of active high school state association administrators, coaches and officials, and a final selection committee composed of coaches, former athletes, state association officials, media representatives and educational leaders. Nominations were made through NFHS member associations.
Other inductees in the 2013 class:
ATHLETES: Chauncey Billups, basketball, Denver (Colorado) George Washington High School; Harrison Dillard, track and field, Cleveland (Ohio) East Technical High School; and Joe Theismann, basketball, baseball and football, South River (New Jersey) High School.
COACHES: Ed Aston, girls and boys swimming coach, Cheshire (Connecticut) High School; Chuck Koeppen, boys and girls cross country and track coach, Carmel (Indiana) High School; Chuck Lenahan, football coach, Plymouth (New Hampshire) Regional High School; Mike Messere, lacrosse coach Camillus (New York) West Genesee High School; and James Tate, boys and girls cross country and track coach, Mobile (Alabama) St. Paul’s Episcopal High School.
OFFICIALS: Jerry Kimmel, former high school baseball and basketball official from Kentucky; and Haig Nighohossian, high school soccer official from Illinois.
ADMINISTRATOR: Ronnie Carter, longtime executive director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association.
PERFORMING: Richard (Dick) Floyd, director of music for the Texas University Interscholastic League.
Photo Credit: St. Louis Sports Commission
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