HHS alums to enter Bethel College Hall of Fame

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
Hillsboro High School graduates David Kuo and Lonnie Isaac will be inducted into the Bethel College Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday as members of the 1989-1990 Bethel College tennis team.

That team captured the school’s first Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championship.

The title proved to be the first of 10 consecutive conference titles for the Threshers and broke a 26-year championship dynasty by Bethany College.

That season, the Threshers finished the regular season with a 15-2 overall dual record and 7-0 in the KCAC. They also finished fourth at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics District 10 tournament and were coached by Marty Ward, KCAC coach of the year.

Kuo, a 1987 graduate of HHS, was a four-time letter winner for the Trojans and three-time state qualifier. While at Bethel from 1987-1991, Kuo played at No. 5 and No. 6 singles as well as No. 2 doubles.

Kuo’s record while at Bethel was 68-44 through his junior season. His four-year record was unavailable.

Kuo’s record during the 1989-1990 season was 21-7 in singles and 19-8 in doubles, earning him honorable-mention All-KCAC honors that season.

Kuo also earned the Bethel College Team Leadership Award as well as the Most Improved Player Award.

After graduating from Bethel in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences, Kuo attended medical school at Kirksville, Mo., and earned his master’s in business administration at Loyola-Chicago.

He completed his radiology residency in Chicago and is a radiologist in Las Vegas, Nev., at Steinberg Diagnostic Medical Imaging, the largest out-patient facility in the nation.

Kuo said his decision to attend Bethel College was simple.

“I chose Bethel because it was close to home and because of its Mennonite background,” he said from his home in Las Vegas.

He said his time at Bethel College helped mold his ideology for his current career path.

“Bethel College was a good experience and I’d do it again, no matter what,” he said.

Kuo and wife Bess are expecting the arrival of their first child.

Isaac, a 1989 graduate of HHS, attended Bethel from 1989-90 and 1991-93.

Isaac was a two-time state qualifier for the Trojans, finishing fourth at regionals his junior year and ninth in the state before claiming the regional title his senior year and finishing sixth at state.

While at Bethel, Isaac played No. 5 singles and No. 3 doubles.

Isaac compiled a career record of 79-47 at Bethel, including a 13-13 singles record and a 21-6 doubles record-highest percentage on team-in 1989-90.

After graduating from Bethel in December 1993 with a degree in health, physical education and recreation, Isaac coached tennis for a year at Wichita Collegiate before heading back to his hometown, where he was tennis coach at his alma mater for six years.

Isaac is in his fourth year as head coach of the Tabor College tennis program as well as directing the intramural program and the Campus Recreation Center and teaching activity classes.

Isaac coached the Bluejays to a men’s conference title in 2002 and said he feels his time at Bethel has helped him achieve success at Tabor.

“Coach Ward was in his fifth year before we won the first title, so I realize it takes time to build a solid program,” Isaac said. “My time at Bethel and what I learned from Marty is the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to be a good player.

“The level of athlete, the amount of work the athlete has to put in and the dedication you have to show at this level in all sports is a huge jump from high school.”

Isaac and wife Tracy have two children, Tessa and Rhain.

Isaac said Bethel has inducted players with more talent into the Hall of Fame, but this team had something others didn’t.

“We just worked extremely hard,” he said. “The coach and other players would say that, too.”

Being inducted as a team is gratifying for both men.

“It caps off a feeling of real accomplishment and it’s obviously a great honor,” Isaac said. “Just to be recognized by the school in a sport like tennis that doesn’t always get recognized is great.

“It’s really special we’re going in as a team because this recognizes we put our individual goals aside for the betterment of the team.”

Kuo agreed.

“A lot of times tennis is an individual sport, so to be able to do this as a team just kicks it up another notch,” he said.

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