Written by Lorrie Woycik
How exciting—and how fortunate—for Valparaiso High School to have, not one, but two outstanding coaches added to its staff. For both Jeanette Gray and Joe Otis, it is like a homecoming since they are graduates of VHS with just a few years in between their graduation years. We are extremely delighted to have Joe and Jeanette as members of Valpo’s basketball program, and look forward to some mighty exciting games. Welcome back, Jeanette and Joe. You are a perfect fit. Were we to share all the accolades and honors these two have received, it would require far more space than allowed here, so we’ll just give a taste of Valpo basketball.
Jeanette Gray was an awesome basketball player both at Valpo High (1999) and Valparaiso University (2003), so those of us who are basketball fans were able to cheer her heroics for many years. Jeanette received every award possible throughout her years as a player, including being inducted into the VU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. And, as ideal a coach as she will be, Jeanette’s academic prowess (she graduated magna cum laude in mechanical engineering) will also be an incentive to her players. Prior to coming here, she served as assistant Varsity coach at Ball State University, and was Varsity coach at Hammond High and Highland High. Her heart has always belonged to Valpo, and we are looking forward to many years of amazing girl’s basketball under her direction.
Joe Otis graduated just a few years before Jeanette in 1970. His basketball years at Valpo High, however, are still remembered for his momentous achievements, which included being the all-time scoring leader with 1,113 points. As a three-year letterman at Northwestern University, Joe was honored by being a member of the Big Ten all-star team that played in other countries. He has been teaching history since 1974 with the majority of those years at LaPorte High School, where he has served as head boys’ coach from 1980-2001, and girls’ Varsity Coach from 2002-2006. Joe’s academic record is as impressive as his coaching life, and he will be an example to his players of being a successful student first and an outstanding basketball player second.
Once again we cheer for the addition to an already excellent athletic staff, and wish them IMMEDIATE SUCCESS!!