When one thinks of sports in Ashland, particularly boy’s basketball and men’s softball, one of the first names that comes to mind is “Honaker.” The 2004 induction of Chad Honaker brings the total family members in the Ashland County Sports Hall of Fame to three, as he follows in the footsteps of his grandfather Howard, inducted in 1992, and his father Dave, inducted in 2000.
Chad was raised at the ball parks and gymnasiums in Ashland, spending most of each summer during his youth as a bat boy for the varsity men’s fast pitch teams that his father played for and most of each winter as a ball boy for the Arrow Freshman and eighth grade teams that his father coached. Chad’s personal accomplishments began on the baseball diamond at the young age of eleven, when he started touring the Midwestern United States as part of the Johnny Appleseed Baseball Club. A few years later, he was part of the 13 and Under Pony League baseball All-Star team from Ashland which won numerous qualifying tournament and was one win from qualifying for the 13 and Under World Series, one of the most successful runs of any Ashland team in the age category.
It was, however, upon entering the varsity high school basketball scene that Chad began to truly make his mark. Starting every game at Ashland High School for his tenth grade year on. Honaker set the sophomore scoring record and helped the Arrows to win their first winning season in nearly a decade. As part of this, he was also one of the few sophomores to earn All-Ohio Heartland Conference honors as well as All-Ashland Area accolades. As a junior, Honaker averaged nearly eighteen points per game and helped lead the Arrows to another winning season. Chad was awarded First Team All Ohio Heartland Conference as well as earning All Ashland Area and All Northwest District recognition. As a senior during the 1991-92 season, Honaker led both the Ohio Heartland and the Ashland Area in scoring, averaging nearly twenty-four points per game, and in the processs led the Arrows to their third winning season in a row. It was during this season that Chad broke the all time Ashland High School scoring mark (1,113) points, as well as setting the standard for the most 3-point baskets in a game, season, and career. Honaker earned First Team All-Ohio Heartland Conference, Ashland Area Player of the Year, First Team All Northwest District, Special Mention All-Ohio and participated in the News Journal North-South All Star game.
While at Ashland High School, Honaker also lettered three years on the golf team. He was a member of the state qualifying team of 1990, and was First Team All-Ohio Heartland Conference both as a junior and senior. His senior year, Honaker took medalist honors at the McClean Invitational, held at Brookside Golf Course in Ashland, and placed in the top five at numerous other events throughout the year.
Upon graduating from Ashland High School, Honaker enrolled at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. As a freshman basketball player, Honaker earned significant playing time, and even started numerous games. He was the only freshman in his class to earn a varsity letter in basketball.
In the summer of 1993, Honaker jumped into the men’s fast pitch scene, playing first with Ohio Carbon, then Abbott Laboratories, Ashland Lumberjacks, and currently with Ashland Coors Light. In twelve years of playing, Honaker has played in eleven ASA national tournaments, acting as a player/manager for five of those years. In 2001, at the ASA Class C National Tournament in Hastings, NE, Chad hit .685 and won the overall batting title. The following year at the NSA World Series in Salem, Virginia, Honaker managed the Abbott Laboratories squad to a runner-up finish, and earned First Team All Tournament Honors.
Honaker also spent six years as the Assistant Boy’s Varsity Basketball coach at Hillsdale High School, the last three as an Assistant to his father Dave. This stint with his father included the 2000-01 season which saw the Falcons have one of the most successful runs in Hillsdale High School history, posting a 24-1 record, and recording a Wayne County League Championship and a District Championship.
Chad married high school sweetheart Erika (Clark) in the summer of 1996 and they have two daughters, Ryleigh age 5 and Reegan age 3. The Honaker family continues to reside in Ashland where Chad, who earned his CPA designation in 1999, is the Vice President of Finance at Bendon Publishing International and Erika, a former schoolteacher, now enjoys being a stay at home mother. Chad would like to acknowledge and thank his parents, Dave Honaker and Sandie Maynard, his brother Jeff, also a leading point scorer in Ashland High School basketball history, his sisters Hayley Marth and Heather Honaker, and his grand parents Howard & Kitty Honaker and Donna and the late Stanley Young for all of their support and encouragement.
Nominator: Howard Honaker