Woodlake toasts first Tigers hall of fame class

The Sun-Gazette


woodlake – Woodlake High School has had its fair share of legends. Whether just to the local tight knit community of Woodlake or have represented the small town on a grander stage. Well this Friday, April 21 the first class of the Woodlake High School Hall of Fame which included, Leo Robinson, Frank Ainley, and Louise Achenbach, will be inducted.

Frank Ainley began teaching at Woodlake High School in 1970. Teaching a freshman history class he became the defensive coordinator for the late, great Tigers head football coach Leo Robinson. Ainley remained on Robinson’s staff from 1970-1997. Over that time span the two men led the Tigers football team to six Valley titles in 1972, 1982, 1989, and three straight from 1985-1987.

Ainley even coached the baseball team from 1976-1980, spent 12 seasons as the freshman basketball coach and one year coaching softball. In 2002 after Robinson retired, Ainley took over the duties of the school’s athletic director until he eventually retired as well in 2006. Ainley was 72 at the time.

Then there was the man that Ainley coached under, Leo Robinson. The greatness of the Tiger football teams that Robinson coached are still talked about around Woodlake.

After Robinson graduated from Fresno State in 1958 with a teaching degree, he returned to Tulare County and took over the baseball program at Woodlake High School. Then four years later in 1962 Robinson became the new head coach of the football team. From there Robinson amassed a record of 290-129-11 over a 41 year career, all at Woodlake. That put him as the winningest coach in the Central Valley at the time and third all-time among coaches in California.

Over his career the Tigers won 18 league titles and six Valley Championships. Robinson’s success was not just limited to the gridiron but a record of 367-202-8 over a 27 career as a baseball coach is quite impressive as well.

Robinson went on to coach both of his sons Ron and Randy. Ron went on to the major leagues as a pitcher, while Randy reached the minor leagues. Robinson died in November of 2002. He was 67 years old.

Then joining Woodlake High School from South Dakota was Louise Achenbach. While teaching at Woodlake High School Achenbach was asked to start coaching. First, the administration asked her to coach tennis, a sport that Achenbach knew nothing about.

After that Achenbach began coaching the volleyball team and go on to coach other sports as well. But the domination of the Tigers on the volleyball courts under Achenbach is still talked about today. It is said that any Yosemite division school could step on the court with the Tigers and that other would lose. That domination came from hard work and attention to detail.

An induction dinner will be held on Friday, April, 2017 at the Woodlake Veterans Memorial Building beginning at 6 p.m. There will be a silent auction with $1,500 in prizes. As well as a live auction. Tickets are $50 a person.

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